Your weekly random thoughts …
You can say what you want about the decision in last week's Miguel Cotto-Joshua Clottey fight. Some folks thought Clottey won; more people I have encountered since the fight thought Cotto won. I had it 116-111 (like one of the official judges) for Cotto, and have no doubt in my mind that he was the rightful winner of the fight, which I watched closely from the middle of Row 1, just a few feet from the ring apron.
When I got home, I rewatched the fight twice on my DVR, and there was one round in the middle of the fight that I scored for Cotto that I might consider changing to a Clottey round. But whatever you think of the decision, one thing I think we can all agree on is that Cotto showed immense heart in a fight against an excellent opponent.
That was a bad, bad cut over Cotto's left eye, incurred from an accidental head butt in the third round. We've seen it happen too often in recent fights: A guy suffers a cut and finds a way out in order to walk away with a technical decision or a no-contest. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Robert Guerrero and Hasim Rahman. But not Cotto. He easily could have said he wasn't able to see after the fourth round, when it became an official fight, and gone to scorecards for a technical decision. He led 39-36 on all three cards after four rounds. Had Cotto waited until after the fifth, he still would have been ahead 48-46 on all three cards. After the sixth, it was 58-55 across the board. But Cotto, despite blood flowing freely throughout, toughed it out like a fighter is supposed to -- and deserves everyone's respect for it.
I've covered 17 of Cotto's 35 fights from ringside and seen the rest on video. He never has given anything less than 100 percent or done anything but fight like a professional is supposed to, no matter what adversity he has faced. People seem to forget that sometimes.
• I thought referee Arthur Mercante Jr. did an excellent job for Cotto-Clottey. There were some touch-and-go moments when the fight could have gotten out of hand, but he kept control and got it right when he ruled that the cut over Cotto's left eye was caused by an accidental head butt instead of a punch. Good job.
• The fans at Cotto-Clottey -- almost all of them rooting for Cotto -- showed a lot of class by giving Manny Pacquiao, who was ringside for the fight, a rousing ovation when he was introduced to the crowd. I liked that, especially because many of them knew that Pacquiao very likely would be Cotto's next opponent if he beat Clottey. If Bob Arum finalizes Cotto-Pacquiao, it's going to be sensational. As for Clottey, even though he lost, he gained a lot of exposure and respect. That one loss did more for him than any other fight in his career, win or loss.
• Which do you think gave HBO more bang for its buck: the May rematch between Chad Dawson and Antonio Tarver, which cost about $3.2 million, or last week's tremendous battle between Cotto and Clottey, which cost HBO about $2.65 million and tied for the network's best boxing rating of the year? Hey, at least HBO bought the fight. Showtime didn't even bother to make an offer. I'm just sayin'.
• Hmmmm. Maybe it's just a coincidence that Floyd Mayweather Jr. suffered a rib injury, causing his July 18 fight with Juan Manuel Marquez to be postponed, when the fight was dead at the box office. I'm not surprised the fight died at the MGM Grand ticket window because, right or wrong, it was perceived as a mismatch by most -- not to mention that fights in Las Vegas in the brutal heat of the dead of summer usually are a disaster. So Mayweather can heal up and watch from the sideline as Cotto and Pacquiao make their deal to deliver a fight that fans will be truly excited about. I doubt they're going to have any trouble selling pay-per-view subscriptions or MGM Grand tickets for that one.
• Middleweight Daniel Jacobs is 16-0 -- soon to be 17-0 when he beats George Walton on ESPN2 on next week's "Friday Night Fights" -- and one of the best prospects in boxing. He has a crowd-pleasing style, a friendly demeanor outside the ring and maturity beyond his 22 years. He's also from the same Brooklyn neighborhood that produced Mike Tyson and Riddick Bowe. In other words, Jacobs is very promotable. So for the life of me, I wish I knew why Golden Boy hasn't made any effort whatsoever to promote him in his hometown. Other than an untelevised spot on the Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones undercard at Madison Square Garden on a card Golden Boy was only peripherally involved in, Jacobs has fought almost exclusively on the West Coast (including six fights in Las Vegas and four in California). His fight with Walton is the main event in, of all places, Tucson, Ariz. It's fine to expose a young fighter to different audiences, but at some point you need to build a fighter's hometown fan base. So far, Jacobs has no hometown fan base because he doesn't fight at home.
• I was schmoozing with newly inducted International Boxing Hall of Famer Larry Merchant the other day. Impressed with what he has seen so far from Russian middleweight prospect and 2008 Olympian Matvey Korobov, Merchant said he could envision a significant fight between Korobov and Paul Williams in a few years. Later in the day I talked to Arum, Korobov's promoter -- the same man who fell in love with Merchant's idea for the Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya fight. So I mentioned it to him, and Arum liked it. "It could be," Arum said.
• It may not be the biggest fight in the world, but I am looking forward to seeing junior featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez back in action next week against Olivier Lontchi. It's not because I think so highly of the match, it's because I think Lopez is exciting and could the next superstar Puerto Rican fighter.
• We all know Top Rank is one of the most powerful promoters in boxing. Literally. Does it have an impressive lineup of big punchers or what? It promotes Pacquiao (37 KOs in 49 wins), Cotto (27 KOs in 34 wins), Lopez (23 KOs in 25 wins), Kelly Pavlik (31 KOs in 35 wins), Edwin Valero (25 KOs in 25 fights), and it just added Yuriorkis Gamboa (13 KOs in 15 fights) to its roster. That's a Murderers' Row of big hitters.
• Just how many fights are going to be canceled or postponed? In just the past three weeks we've seen four major fights either canceled or delayed because of an injury or illness: Nikolai Valuev-Ruslan Chagaev, Wladimir Klitschko-David Haye, Andreas Kotelnik-Amir Khan and Mayweather-Marquez. At least Klitschko and Chagaev found each other and will fight for the heavyweight championship on Saturday. And don't forget: It's live at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN Classic. (Shameless plug.)
• Nice of promoter Don King to finally put tickets on sale Thursday for the July 11 fight between bantamweight titlist Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko and junior bantamweight champ Vic Darchinyan. Nothing like giving yourself only 24 days to sell seats for a big arena like the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., which isn't exactly a boxing haven. At least King did one thing that makes sense: For a change, he priced tickets extremely well. Tickets are priced at $75, $40, $25 and $10 with a few "golden circle" seats for $200. It's an excellent card, and at that those prices it's definitely worth attending if you're in the area. I think this is the sleeper fight of the summer.
• If Bernard Hopkins, the No. 1 contender in the Ring Magazine light heavyweight rankings, is going to retire, I wish he would announce it so that the fall rematch between No. 2 Chad Dawson and No. 3 Glen Johnson can be for the vacant Ring Magazine belt.
• Don't forget: Versus has live coverage of what should be an excellent fight Friday night, when light heavyweight titlist Adrian Diaconu defends against fellow Montreal resident Jean Pascal. There will be 20,000 at the Bell Centre for the first title match in history between Montreal fighters. It should be quite a scene.
• I got a press release this week in which former junior welterweight titlist Vivian Harris announced that he is a free agent now that promoter Gary Shaw has given him the release he'd been asking for. My initial reaction: Who cares?
• I don't really have much interest in a rematch between junior flyweight champ Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon and Rodel Mayol, who fought to a six-round technical draw last week on the Cotto-Clottey undercard. I'd much rather see Calderon face somebody like Edgar Sosa in a unification bout. They are clearly the two best in the division and the fight would have the additional intrigue of being another chapter in the storied rivalry between Puerto Rican and Mexican fighters.
• DVD pick of the week: When I got the news this week that Top Rank was moving Jorge Arce's fight with Fernando Lumacad from its card on Saturday in Mexico to next Saturday's pay-per-view show in Atlantic City, N.J., it got me thinking about Arce, one of the most exciting fighters of the past several years. So into the archive I delved for the one Arce fight that stands out above all others. It was March 19, 2005, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where Arce and Hussein Hussein waged a memorable battle on the HBO PPV undercard of the first Erik Morales-Pacquiao fight. Arce showed huge heart as he fought with a deep gash on the bridge of his nose. Hussein also took incredible punishment in the bloody, toe-to-toe battle until he could take no more as Arce won the flyweight title eliminator via 10th-round TKO. Often this great fight is overshadowed by the classic main event.