Time for Joe Cortez to find another nickname

July, 3, 2008
7/03/08
8:26
AM ET
Your weekly random thoughts...

• Regarding referee Joe Cortez's miserable handling of last Saturday's Humberto Soto-Francisco Lorenzo fight: He was neither fair, nor firm.

Soto, who was disqualified in the fourth round for landing a grazing shot after Lorenzo had been knocked down for the second time, got screwed out of a knockout win, plain and simple. I watched the HBO telecast when I got home from the fight and I have to say, I have known trainer and HBO broadcaster Emanuel Steward for a long time and I've never seen him quite as worked up as he was over Cortez's heinous disqualification ruling. You could feel Steward's rage through the TV. It's pretty much the way I felt at ringside. It was an utter miscarriage of justice. Soto shouldn't give Lorenzo a rematch either. What's the point?

Speaking of Soto being ripped off, I never thought I would write this, so sit down and brace yourself: I actually agree wholeheartedly with a ruling by the WBC. Yes, pigs apparently are flying. Yes, hell might have actually frozen over. But I agree with Jose Sulaiman's gang, which refused to award Lorenzo the WBC interim junior lightweight title that was supposed to be on the line in the fight. With Manny Pacquiao's ruthless lightweight title victory against David Diaz, he'll stay at lightweight, so the Soto-Lorenzo winner was poised to become the WBC's full titlist at 130 pounds.

But because of the ridiculous and awful ruling by Cortez, one upheld by the Nevada commission officials at ringside, the WBC didn't award Lorenzo the title, opting to leave it vacant. I agree. You don't give a title to a bloody and thoroughly beaten fighter who, in my opinion, was faking that he was hurt by Soto's glancing blow while he was down. It was a punch which, in my view, was in no way intentional. In basketball parlance, it should have been a no-call, as in no harm, no foul. Lorenzo was done before the love tap even landed. Shoulda been a TKO for Soto.

• I thought HBO announcers Jim Lampley and Steward did their usual excellent job on the Pacquiao-Diaz PPV telecast with one quibble (more on that later), despite being just a two-man crew (with more input than usual from unofficial judge Harold Lederman). However, it just didn't feel right without Larry Merchant or Max Kellerman there. It's as simple as that. I hope this two-man setup was a one-shot deal. And memo to HBO's graphics department: Diaz did not win his belt against Erik Morales, as indicated on the broadcast. In fact, he made his first defense against Morales. Also, another graphic said Pacquiao was going for a title in his fourth division, a notion wrongly echoed by Lampley and Steward throughout the telecast. The graphic listed Pacquiao as having won titles at junior featherweight, featherweight and junior lightweight with him going for a fourth at lightweight. Apparently, nobody can look up his record. If they had they would see that his first world title came at flyweight.

• In the immediate aftermath of Pacquiao's clinical disposal of Diaz, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum quickly turned his attention to the prospect of Pacquiao defending his new lightweight belt against junior lightweight titlist Edwin Valero, a raw puncher who would join Pacquiao at 135 pounds. If it happens, I think it's an easy, easy win for Pacquiao. Although it would be violent for a few rounds, I think eventually Pacquiao would lay waste to him. Valero is fun to watch but when he faces a serious opponent, he'll be exposed as a one-dimensional slugger with little technique or defense. I'd much rather see Pacquiao face Soto. And, in a perfect world, I'd rather see Pacquiao face unified titleholder Nate Campbell before either of them. Arum will never make that fight because it's way too dangerous.

• I guess 135 is the new 130, given the fact that Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Joan Guzman and Valero are all moving up in weight.

• Maybe having 1996 Olympic teammate and pal Fernando Vargas at his side at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay was a bad omen for Diaz. The retired Vargas, who looked like he has been more than making up for all meals he missed while struggling to make weight, doesn't exactly have fond memories of Mandalay Bay. It's where he suffered three of his five career losses, each by knockout. Now, he and Diaz can swap stories about what it's like being drilled there.

• I know it's only 25 days until Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito, and I can't wait. But how many days until Kelly Pavlik-Arthur Abraham?

• Top Rank is billing Saturday's Ricardo Torres-Kendall Holt sequel on Showtime as a "no excuses rematch" after Torres stopped Holt in controversial fashion last fall. So when the rematch is over, no matter what the outcome, I don't want to hear any excuses.

• I had a chance to meet flyweight titleholder Nonito Donaire in person for the first time last week in Las Vegas at the press conference announcing his signing with Top Rank. I was impressed by the young man. He has a lot of charisma, an outgoing personality and I already knew he could fight. Now he has a promoter who knows what to do with him. With the proper care from Top Rank, Donaire has a chance to be one of boxing's lighter-weight stars.

• In case you've forgotten: There's only one Ricky Hatton.

• I rewatched Andre Berto's destruction of Miki Rodriguez from a couple of weeks ago and I have to say that the lightning-quick double right-hand combination Berto used to floor Rodriguez for the first time in the seventh round was a thing of beauty. It's not the kind of combination you practice. It's the kind of combination a gifted fighter throws on instinct. When I saw it, I thought I was seeing the reincarnation of the hand speed that Roy Jones Jr. and Shane Mosley had in their primes.

• If Ruslan Chagaev and Vitali Klitschko signed to fight, who would pull out first?

• Featherweight titlist Steven Luevano looks like he's about 14 and the kind of guy you'd bully, but he's one tough dude. He took some serious punches from Mario Santiago in their fight last week and held on for a deserved draw. I'd like to see a rematch.

• Tye Fields = TIMBERRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!

• For those of you who watched lightweight Anthony Peterson grunt his way to a lackluster points victory against Fernando Trejo on Versus last week, what do you think a child fathered by Peterson and Monica Seles would sound like?

• For all eight of you upset when the Sept. 20 rematch between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya was canceled after Mayweather abruptly retired last month, this ought to add to your pain: Had the fight not been called off, the national media tour was scheduled to have kicked off Tuesday in New York. It was scheduled to run through July 11 and hit roughly 13 cities. Alas, Mayweather's retirement saved us all from a fight nobody really wanted to see again.

• Here, Winky Wright, Winky, Winky, Winky. Here, Winky, Winky, Winky.

• The flight home from Las Vegas on Sunday night (yes, on the upgrade) sure was a lot smoother than the rough ride home from Florida the week before.

• DVD pick of the week: Didn't have a lot of time, so how about a quick fight? I went with perhaps the most famous 91-second bout of all time. Believe it or not, it was 20 years ago, June 27, 1988, when Mike Tyson, 34-0 and at his zenith, walked to the ring shortly after punching a hole in the wall of his dressing room at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall. Moments later, he pulverized Michael Spinks, who was 31-0 but looked petrified to be there, inside of a round. Tyson, the menacing force, entered with the three most notable belts, but Spinks, by virtue of his two wins against Larry Holmes, remained lineal champion even after being stripped of an alphabet title. Tyson cleared up any confusion when he knocked Spinks down twice in a brutal display to cement his status as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. Spinks, now a Hall of Famer, never fought again. It was Tyson's greatest night. The downward spiral would soon begin.

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