On Sunday, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum went to the Philippines to present Manny Pacquiao with a list of four options for his next fight, none of which is Floyd Mayweather Jr. Back in November, Oscar De La Hoya stated Arum was the reason for the non-fight, and it looks like that continues to be the reason.
Today, Arum stated that a megafight will have to wait until an outdoor stadium is finished being built at the end of May, possibly turning it to look like it’s on Floyd, who has already set the May 5 date for his next match.
I rank the four fighters on Arum’s list on who Pacman should fight next below.
4. Juan Manuel Marquez – Admittedly, JMM has given Manny the most trouble, but let’s put to rest this amazing trilogy. If Pacman fights Marquez again, the thought of him beating an opponent four times is historically inane.
3. Lamont Peterson – On December 10, Peterson upset Amir Khan in a split decision that shouldn’t have happened. The incompetent referee penalized Khan two points for pushing, which turned out to be the difference in Peterson’s favor. As a fan, I want to see a Khan-Peterson rematch first, and if Peterson wins, he can be a more viable candidate. But none of this will happen in time for Pacman’s next fight date in late May/June.
2. Miguel Cotto – The thought of having this fight be at a catchweight of almost 154 pounds is the only intriguing thing in a rematch of a lopsided 2009 victory. Pacman’s camp may be talking up Cotto with his three straight TKO’s since, but he’s not all that interesting.
1. Timothy Bradley Jr. – Why I like him: He beat Peterson in a unanimous decision in 2009…He’s 28-0…He’s a junior welterweight titleholder.
Why I don’t like him: He’s dodged fights, most recently, a bout with Khan with an eye on Pacman. Khan then lost to Peterson, ruining his shot with Floyd so Bradley shouldn’t be rewarded for his action – or rather, inaction…He’ll have to move up in weight to fight Pacman…He has no big fights on his resume.
On Sunday, at the Track and Field World Championships in Berlin, Usain Bolt pistol-whipped the 100-meter field, breaking the finish line in a world-record 9.58 seconds.
If you’re unfamiliar with track and field or if you’re the average, Customary System-loving Yankee who can’t quantify 100 meters and the idea of traversing such a distance in 9.58 seconds can’t register in your head, check this: Bolt ran, considering acceleration, at the average speed of 23.35 miles per hour and approached a top speed of 28 miles per hour. That makes Bolt the fastest biped in the world that’s not an ostrich or kangaroo (which can reach a hopping speed near 44 miles per hour).
But it’s not just the speed at which he travels that amazes, it’s also his atypical body for a sprinter. Past record holders hover around six feet: Tyson Gay, 5’11; Maurice Green, 5’9; Donovan Bailey, 6’0. Bolt, who measures at six feet, five inches, one hundred ninety pounds, and endowed with the fastest of fast-twitch musculature, moves in ways a man his size shouldn’t be capable of. Watching Bolt run, you begin to think that if there is a God, he was generous the day he created Bolt.
No other human comes close. In the finals, to Bolt’s right ran Gay and Asafa Powell — holders of the next two fastest 100-meter times ever — and yet Bolt instantly eliminated any notions of contention. Gay and Powell ran the race of their careers, and all they received in return was a feature in Bolt’s highlight reel. No other athlete makes his craft seem so effortless. Which naturally leads to the question: Who is the world’s best?
The only possible candidates for Most Dominant Athlete are Michael Phelps, Roger Federer, Manny Pacquiao, Tiger Woods, and of course, Usain.
But do any of them compare to the Lightning Bolt?
Take the Olympics. Bolt so comfortably distanced himself from the field that he pulled up after 70 meters, jogged the last thirty and still broke the world record. And this was in the Olympic Finals. No other athlete has the ability and, most tellingly, the cajones to be so brazenly confident.
Michael Phelps can’t afford the luxury of decelerating to gaze back at his competitors on the final leg of a meet. Roger Federer isn’t so assured as to cede a set, knowing he’ll win the next two (though, granted, he’s cocksure enough to make a jacket stitched with the number fifteen, before winning his fifteenth major). I’ll make out with Emmanuelle Chriqui before Manny Pacquiao plays defensive and surrenders the championship rounds, thinking he has the previous nine in the bag. And Tiger Woods — well, given his year and his recent withering at the PGA Championship, I think it’s safe to say Woods is out of the running … until next year.
I'm more likely to show her my 'O' face.
Only Pacquiao and Phelps can challenge Bolt for the title.
Since a late career metamorphosis, aided by trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao has sent back all challengers regretful, and usually in a heap on the canvas. Entering boxing at flyweight (106 pounds) and being most comfortable at featherweight (126 pounds), Pacquiao has risen as far as welterweight (147 pounds) to face all comers, most recently against Ricky Hatton (KO 2), and most famously opposite Oscar De La Hoya (TKO 8).
Pacquiao is the best boxer in the world. But I say that with a little hesitation, and that little hiccup is typically brought about by the recently retired and un-retired Floyd Mayweather, who not too long ago held Pacquiao’s pound-for-pound crown.
There’s no such pause when discussing today’s greatest runner. The answer is immediately Usain Bolt. Whether it’s sprinting or long distance, there’s no better track athlete.
But it can be argued that Michael Phelps, swimming wonder and out-of-pool douche, has the upper hand against Bolt. Unlike Bolt, Phelps has mastered a wider range of strokes (butterfly, freestyle, medley) and distances (100-, 200-, 400-meter), amassing 14 Olympic gold medals and six world records.
Because of his range and overall dominance, I’m going with Phelps.
There’s an old adage in boxing that says you’re only as good as your last fight. Meaning, the perception of any particular fighter is determined by his most recent result. It’s the ultimate “what have you done for me lately?” criteria. And really, with current sports fans’ obsession with the now and our tendency to be captives of the moment, this axiom is applicable to all sports. In this sense, we have the memory of a newborn baby. It happens, without failure, before every postseason. A once-hot team that takes a midseason turn for the worse, but still manages to stumble into the playoffs, they are brushed aside — until they go on a tear, at which point everyone flip-flops again, jumping right back onto their bandwagon (the Arizona Cardinals, anyone?).
The sport of boxing, however, finds itself a unique situation. It has changed a bit since the proverb’s advent, since the golden age when fights were aired on network television. Changed in the sense that it’s, uh, dying. The casual fan no longer cares about the sport’s non-premier matchups, reserving their attention to those fights previewed on ESPN, and as we all know, ESPN only covers the bouts that fall into the “Fight of the Year” category. When was the last time you saw Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt profile a “Boxing After Dark” matchup?
ESPN doesn't care about boxing.
So the saying needs to be modified a bit. It should now read: In the public eye, you’re only as good as your last mega Pay-Per-View fight that was showcased on SportsCenter.
Taking this into account, the general public probably views tomorrow’s fight as being between the Manny Pacquiao who destroyed Oscar De La Hoya and the Ricky Hatton who was battered by Floyd Mayweather Jr. In reality, however, only half of this equation is true. The Manny Pacquiao that enters the ring will be the pound-for-pound king of boxing, the one that humiliated the Golden Boy into retirement. This much is true. But he’ll be facing a new-look Ricky Hatton. If anyone expects the plodding, head-first brawler that was dissected by Mayweather, they’ll be sorely mistaken. No, the Hatton we’ll see will resemble the one who stopped Paul Malignaggi back in November. (I bet you didn’t know Hatton fought since his loss to Mayweather. In fact, he’s had two bouts; the Malignaggi victory and a decision over Juan Lazcano. Thanks for keeping us informed, ESPN!)
Hatton’s move to bring in the audacious Floyd Mayweather Sr. to head his training camp is a good career move. As senile as Mayweather Sr. comes off at times, and he does to great extent, particularly when he rhymes like a wannabe Muhammad Ali, he’s a decent enough trainer — at least for Hatton. If anything, he’ll instill in Ricky basic defensive maneuvers (like ANY semblance of head movement, parrying and blocking punches with his gloves and arms as opposed to his face, all of which were absent in his previous career) which will benefit him, particularly against someone like Pacquiao who likes to mix things up and doesn’t shy away from a brawl.
The best fighter in the world.
But in the end, it won’t make that much of a difference. It will merely delay the inevitable. Instead of being blitzed out in the first few rounds from a barrage of head-snapping blows, Hatton will have a moment or two of his own . . . until the mid-to-late rounds, when he’ll be stopped from a barrage of head-snapping blows. There’s no one on the planet that can handle Pac-Man, and that includes the Hitman.
The revenue split details, the only obstruction from the two superstars meeting in the ring, were not released (although it appears Manny Pacquiao gave in on this issue), but Oscar De La Hoya announced Thurs. that the two will fight at 147 pounds, an uncomfortable weight for both boxers. De La Hoya hasn’t fought at 147 since 2001 while Pacquiao will move up two weight classes from his most recent fight in June, from where he already moved up to lightweight. Mark your calendars, the biggest fight of 2008 will be on Dec. 6, which now might not be Oscar’s final fight according to some recent remarks.
“My focus is my training and my next fight,” he said. “I’m not going to talk about retirement. I’m not going to think about retirement. I want to be focused on my job in the ring and we’ll see after the fight how I feel. Let’s just say my foot got caught in the door.”
Klitschko Sets Title Date with Peter
Vitali Klitschko, the WBC heavyweight champion emeritus, is ready to return amidst heavy scrutiny ahead of the Oct. 11 fight. Klitschko (35-2, 34 KOs), whose last fight was four years ago, has a history of pulling out of fights due to injuries, something current champion Samuel Peter (30-1, 23 KOs) is concerned about. But Peter, whose one loss can be credited to Vitali himself, better listen carefully to his good friend Lennox Lewis, who handed Klitschko one of his two losses and has given Peter tips on how to beat him.
Chad Ocho Cinco
The Bengals’ attention-whore of a receiver Chad Johnson is no more. He legally changed his name to Chad Javon Ocho Cinco,and I assume he would now get to sport the Ocho Cinco on the back of his jersey all the time. Good for you, Chad.
Brett Rogers Shreds Slice and Shamrock
With Kevin “Kimbo” Slice scheduled to fight Ken Shamrock on Oct. 4, up-and-comer Brett Rogers had some choice words about the two. Rogers is 8-0 with 8 KOs, but his opponents’ combined record is 34-43 and like Slice, Rogers has yet to prove he has a ground game. His blog post below:
“As for Oct 4th; that was our spot. Shamrock with his name and giant ego butted in line to get a slice of Kevin. At 103 years of age Ken usurped our rightful place against the YouTube champ. Our sincerest hope is that Ken whips Kimbo and then we can finally euthanize the “World’s Most Dangerous Man” and relegate him to some MMA dinosaur exhibit. Maybe taxidermy him and (Dan) Severn and place them on a rotating pedestal where they can endless circle each other.
If Ken proves to be more sham [than] rock and Fergi beats him, then the Slice hype grows even greater. Dude is already more myth [than] Sasquatch, Chupacabra and a [expletive] unicorn combined. Kevin is the black Yeti.
Kimbo made it a point to go frontin’ to our boys at Big Black. But that street thug B.S. might work well with the fan bois and the Internet dorks who think your street cred means something; but Son … Brett comes from Cabrini Green; the worst 12 blocks of America. Compared to that your street is Sesame Street.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly gotten Greg Maddux in a trade with San Diego on Monday, and it is not immediately known who the Padres will get in return. It is the second time the Dodgers have traded for Maddux midseason, as they swapped him from the Chicago Cubs in 2006. The 42-year-old pitcher is 6-9 with a 3.99 ERA this season, and the Dodgers are currently tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL West lead.
Maddux clearly still has some left in the tank and should help out a rotation that just lost Brad Penny likely for the year. Note: in 2006, Maddux went 9-11 with a 4.69 ERA with the Cubs but 6-3 with a 3.30 ERA with the Dodgers.
The U.S. (5-0) basketball team took care of Germany (1-4) 106-57 on Monday, limiting Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman to a combined 20 points in a game that was over soon after it began. The U.S. now have a quarterfinals date with Australia Wednesday at 7:15a PT, where they are 3 games from the gold but are now in single-elimination play.
It should be an interesting game, as the two faced off in exhibition play two weeks ago and the U.S. had a tough 11-point victory without Australia’s best player, Andrew Bogut.
Oscar De La Hoya is looking elsewhere for his December 6 bout that would mark the end of his career after talks with Manny Pacquiao have broken down. De La Hoya had given in to Manny’s wants on two of the three issues (147-pound weight limit and 8 ounce gloves) but wouldn’t budge from the 70-30 revenue split. Manny demanded 40 percent so now De La Hoya (39-5, 30 KO) is looking at “The Contender” first season winner and current WBC junior middleweight champion Sergio Mora (21-0-1, 5 KO). The two sides are closing in on a deal, but the fight is contingent on Mora defeating Vernon Forrest in their September 13 rematch.
Tough break for both Oscar’s and Manny’s camps, as the issue was whether Manny deserves more than 30 percent, which is what Floyd Mayweather got in his fight with De La Hoya. Should Manny just box and still rake in about $15-20 million, having never earned more than $5 million in a previous bout? He already had Oscar give into the more important issues.
MLB – Six weeks remaining:
Standings (if the playoffs were to end today) as of Monday: AL East (2) Tampa Bay (76-48) AL Central (4) Chicago White Sox (71-53) AL West (1) Los Angeles Angels (76-47) AL Wild Card (3) Boston Red Sox (72-53)
Closest team to playoffs:
Minnesota Twins (70-54)
NL East (3) NY Mets (68-57) NL Central (1) Chicago Cubs (76-48) NL West (4) Arizona Diamondbacks (64-60) NL Wild Card (2) Milwaukee Brewers (72-54)
Closest team to playoffs:
Los Angeles Dodgers (64-60)
Analysis: The Rays aren’t competing for division lead right now, they’re suddenly contending for best team in baseball. More and more, the Yankees (and their $207 million payroll) aren’t going to make the playoffs this year, currently 5.5 games back from the Red Sox. At least, their $40 million waste of a pitcher Carl Pavano might make it to the mound on Saturday, but no, that’s no consolation. In the NL, the East and West both look they’ll be going down to the wire again, with a different race in the West this year.
The Chicago White Sox’s Carlos Quentin leads the majors with 34 home runs and is projected to hit 45 for the year, the lowest home run leader since Matt Williams of the San Francisco Giants hit 43 in 1994.
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Brandon Webb leads the league with 18 wins and is projected to win 24 games this year, tying Randy Johnson in 2002 and John Smoltz in 1996 for most wins in a season since Bob Welch of the Oakland Athletics won 27 in 1990.
The Los Angeles Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez, who is projected to finish with a ridiculous 62 saves, is 10 saves away from tying Bobby Thigpen‘s 1990 record of 57 saves in a season. K-Rod currently has more saves than Seattle (46) and Washington (44) have wins.
The USA Today preseason coaches’ poll was released on Friday, and here is your top five for the upcoming 2008 college football season, which kicks off on August 28:
So it took a few weeks for the Minnesota Twins to read my article and realize that they needed to bring up Francisco Liriano and cut Livan Hernandez and on Friday, they did just that. Liriano, who spent three months in the minors, took the mound Sunday against the Cleveland Indians and pitched six scoreless innings in leading the Twins to a 6-2 victory and into first place in the AL Central. The lefty recorded his first win in over a year and lowered his ERA on the season to 7.16.
I’m so impressed with the Oakland Athletics’ Brad Ziegler that I’m going to update his record streak until he gives up a run. With two scoreless innings on Friday at Boston, the reliever has now tossed 32 scoreless innings to start his career.
Michelle Wie missed the cut in the men’s Legends Reno-Tahoe Open on Friday by nine strokes with a 9-over par, her eighth straight failed attempt at making the cut on the PGA.
Rafael Nadal fell to Novak Djokovic 6-1, 7-5 in the semifinals in the Cincinnati Masters on Saturday to end his win streak of 32 straight matches and five straight tournaments. Notwithstanding the loss, Nadal is set to replace Roger Federer for the No. 1 ranking in the August 18 rankings after over three years of Federer and Nadal being 1-2.
A possible Oscar De La Hoya v. Manny Pacquiao bout could take place on December 6, the date of De La Hoya’s final fight of his career. We would find out as early as Wednesday if the pound-for-pound king (47-3-2, 35 KO) would move up to the 147-pound welterweight to take on the popular boxer’s (39-5, 30 KO) swan song.
Big Brown bounced back by winning the Haskell Invitational in his first race since his Belmont Stakes flop eight weeks ago. The 1-5 favorite had to come from behind to overtake Coal Play for the win.
Team USA basketball 89 – Russia (exhibition) 68
Next game: Tuesday against Australia in their final exhibition game.