Boxing: NYFightblog

Rigo's rep wants Mares or Frampton

April, 16, 2013
I checked in Monday with Gary Hyde, the Irishman on top of the world after his guy Guillermo Rigondeaux proved against Nonito Donaire that he is more than an amateur legend, cementing himself in the pound-for-pound top 10 with a superb showing at Radio City Music Hall.

I asked Hyde what's next for Rigo (12-0, 8 KOs), 32, now the man at 122 pounds, with Donaire announcing his intention to move up to 126.

"I am expecting Bob Arum will offer another big fight to Rigo as soon as the bitter pill prescribed and administered by Rigo on Saturday night by schooling Donaire wears off," Hyde said. "I would like to see Rigo defend against Abner Mares or Carl Frampton." (The Brit Frampton seems a better bet, as Mares is a Golden Boy fighter and Arum/Top Rank doesn't work right now with GB.)

And what did Hyde think of the reaction to the win? Some pundits and fans put down the manner in which Rigo won, with low punch volume and a concentration on defense.

"Rigo executed a perfect plan," Hyde said. "He is a complete fighter who has the tools to beat anyone. Saturday he beat the hardest pound-for-pound fighter in the world, fighter of the year, in just his 12th pro fight. He beat the best in his division and won the titles ... next time he will impress."

NYFightBlog to attend BWAA dinner

June, 5, 2012
The 87th annual Boxing Writers Association of America's awards dinner runs tomorrow night at the Copacabana in NYC.

Honorees slated to attend include Vitali Klitschko, Andre Ward, Bernard Hopkins, and Al Bernstein.

A limited number of tickets remain for the June 6, 2012 banquet. They can be reserved and picked up at the door. For information, go to

Can't get there? You can catch all the action on GoFightLive (,which begins a live webcast at 7:00 p.m. ET.

I will attend with notebook and video camera at the ready ...

Floyd: Pac must leave Arum to make fight

February, 28, 2012
He's right there with many of the glittering talents who have graced the stage of the Apollo Theater in Harlem in the past century. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has "it," the charisma that forces people -- love him or loathe him -- to pay attention.

Thousands of folks waited outside the theater on Tuesday to gain entrance to see "Money" talk up his May 5 Las Vegas clash with 154-pound champ Miguel Cotto, the Puerto Rican ace who has held crowns in three weight divisions.

Once inside, several hundred fans made their presence felt -- noisily -- making it hard at times to concentrate on the goings on.

But my mind drifted during the event anyway. As I heard Mayweather talk about what a stern test Cotto is, and how his lengthy run at the top of the heap comes from his loyalty to hard work, I found myself pondering a fight that won't happen on May 5 ... or maybe at all. The Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao showdown.

Of course I asked the requisite questions, because that's only fair and righteous. It wouldn't be decent to Cotto to act as if he had no shot against Mayweather or that this exercise is merely an appetizer until we get to the main course. But, nothwithstanding how Cotto looked on Dec. 3 at MSG against Antonio Margarito, and how it looks like he has had a happy fire lit under him by Cuban trainer Pedro Diaz, I do think he will be in over his head on May 5.

That's no slam. I think Mayweather handles everyone from 140 to 160 pounds. He's simply a stunning, stellar pugilist whom I think mastered the shoulder roll in his crib.

The media conference got off to a late start -- what, you think Mayweather isn't going to make 'em wait, in the grand tradition of the main attraction? -- and we heard ample boos when the spotlight bathed "Money" and his name was announced. Mayweather didn't frown. No, he grinned, fully aware that each and every soul motivated to boo and hiss would also be motivated to purchase the pay-per-view in May.

This fight will take place at 154 pounds, and some wonder how Mayweather, maybe better suited for 147, will deal with the physical Cotto. Floyd managed to land a shot at Manny Pacquiao while delving into this matter. "I want to fight the best Miguel Cotto," he said. "I don't want to fight you at a catchweight." This referred to Pacquiao's occasional tactic of demanding that foes weigh under the high-end weight limit for his bouts.

Floyd was asked about his Jan. 13 Jeremy Lin tweet, which went as follows: "Jeremy Lin is a good player but all the hype is because he's Asian. Black players do what he does every night and don't get the same praise." He said he wasn't backing off the comment, but offered that the media does tend to twist his words and cherry pick to fit their needs. Why, he wondered, wasn't more made of his praise of Lin? He mentioned that a few people write his tweets, but this one, he said, was all him.

But of course, the topic of Manny Pacquiao came up. Mayweather was asked if he thought a fight with the Filipino would go down. He didn't sound optimistic, saying that any talk of a 50-50 revenue split with Manny is a non-starter. OK, he was less than optimistic; when asked it that fight will happen, he answered, "Absolutely not." He said any talk of him being afraid to fight Pacman is nonsense, and offered one avenue to make the road to fruition easier to travel.

"The only way I think a fight the guy with three losses and I-don't-know-how-many draws, the only way that fight happens is he has to leave Bob Arum," Mayweather said. "And I'm not telling him to leave, because I know how the media is -- they take your words and screw them up. They make it the way they want to make it."

I asked Top Rank if Arum wanted to respond. A rep wrote back: "What's to respond to? Floyd clearly does not want to fight Manny."

Note: Cotto had been with Bob Arum and Top Rank forever, but he didn't re-sing with Arum when his contract ended in December. He signed on with Golden Boy for this fight, a single fight deal. If he was still with Arum, almost certainly this date with Mayweather would not have been realized.

Note No. 2: Mayweather didn't dispute any specifics in the reports of the last round of negotiations. A couple weeks ago, Pacquiao advisor Michael Koncz said he offered a compromise to Mayweather in the form of a $50 million guarantee to each and a 55-45 revenue split in PPV monies, with the extra portion going to the winner, and that Floyd turned it down, preferring for Pacman to simply receive a flat fee and no slice of the PPV pie.

Moretti shoots down Cotto-is-leaving rumors

December, 4, 2011
Top Rank VP Carl Moretti said rumors that Miguel Cotto is on his way out, and will exit Top Rank post-haste are not true. "He said in the ring after the fight with Bob Arum next to him, 'This is my promoter.' "

--Cotto afterward said he wanted Antonio Margarito to see him savor his win up close, that's why he stood close and stared at the loser.

---HBO's Max Kellerman pulled no punches, saying he believes that this performance basically proves Margarito had a plaster edge in the first fight. "Obviously, he didn't have the same effect. We all know what it is." Max also said he thought the fight should have gone on, and that the plug was pulled early.

---Arum said Margarito is being stitched by a plastic surgeon, as of 1:45 AM, but would attend the post-fight presser.

Cotto speaks at post-fight presser

December, 4, 2011
Miguel Cotto said after his stoppage win over hated rival Antonio Margarito that he will not hold on to angry feelings against the Mexican whom he called a criminal and accused of using plastered fists when they battled in 2008. He has his life, I have mine, the Puerto Rican said.

The boxer said that he did note that his face looked different this time versus last time, so the implication is clear: he believes that Margarito used illegal weapons last time. "My face now is a lot different," he said.

He said his energy was excellent, his camp was superb and the chemistry with his team was marvelous.

Would he fight middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr? For the next few weeks, he said, he will rest, then think about boxing.

Promoter Bob Arum said Brandon Rios is all done at 135 pounds, and that a body shouldn't go through such hell to make weight.

Cotto beats 'Margacheato'

December, 4, 2011
Miguel Cotto accused Antonio Margarito of being a criminal, of using plaster in his fists during their 2008 bout, which the Mexican won by stoppage in Round 11. In a most anticipated rematch, the Puerto Rican junior middleweight titlist punished the man he thinks toyed with his life and made the ref pull the plug on Margarito after nine rounds at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

Cotto said the punches didn't feel as hard this time after the bout. His face looked like a nasty Halloween mask in 2008; tonight, it wore a grin after the effort, because he can now make amends with the fact that he took a knee in 2008, and said no mas.

Cotto started off strong and accurate and never faded. Margarito was a step behind him, and he'd grin that Grinch-y grin when tagged, but he was never able to sustain the pressure he did in the first tangle.

Does this mean necessarily that Margarito was cheating the first fight? No; he's had three eye surgeries in six months. Manny Pacquiao hammered him brutally at the end of 2010. He may have just lost a step. But suspicion will linger, and even intensify because he looked less effective this time than he did in 2008.

Max Kellerman told Margarito that his punches didn't seem to have the same pop this time around, and basically hinted heavily that he was using loaded wraps last time.

The bad guy got his comeuppance on this night. Citizens hunger for this -- witness all the protests that dot the nation. On this night, in a boxing ring of all places, it looks like the good guy got what he deserved, and the bad guy did too.
Brandon Rios didn't make 135 Friday and had to pay John Murray $20 Gs for being over. He handed over the cash, but took it out of the Brit's hide, busting his nose in the sixth, and then finishing him off in the seventh. Rios had more energy than anyone could've or would've suspected. Then again, maybe Murray would say that's because he didn't have to go that extra yard to make 135.

Rios wasn't the fan fave at the Garden, as fight fans like to see pugilists be professional all the way. He postured after the win and the people booed.Maybe some were happy that he had to give up his WBA lightweight crown because of the scale debacle.

Interesting that his team says he might stay at this weight. Do they not think he'll have enough pop at 140?

Fighting Serrano sis Cindy loses in France

October, 2, 2011
Fighting Serrano Sister Cindy Serrano went overseas to attempt to take French welterweight champion Anne Sophie Mathis' crown Saturday night.

NYFightblog heard from Cindy's trainer Jordan Maldonado Friday, when he expressed concern that the wind was in their face in Moselle. He weighed in again late Saturday, after the Brooklyn gal, now 15-4-2, fell short, losing a unanimous decision to Mathis.

Here's his email report:

"Hey Mike, like I said we would, we fought the judges and the ref as well as Mathis. She was hitting us behind the head and shoving and the ref did nothing. He threatened to remove me from the corner for yelling at him for not doing his job. The girl was 24-1 with 21 KOs, and thought we would be number 22. Not in this lifetime. Ten round decision loss. I pretty much knew it when I took the fight. --Jordan

C'est la vie.

Malignaggi critiqued ex-promoter DiBella on radio

September, 22, 2011
When Lou DiBella went into the ballistic zone on the afternoon of Sept. 14 as he discussed his former fighter, Paulie Malignaggi -- the Bensonhurt, Brooklyn, native who moved to California last year to try and re-invigorate his career -- I wasn't clear on what he was responding to. What set Lou off?

So I poked around, and found comments Malignaggi made on the "Rope A Dope" radio show on the evening of Sept. 14. Was the show pre-taped, and Lou got wind of the contents? Or was the promoter simply hearing things on the grapevine? The hard-and-fast timeline aside, here's a taste of Malignaggi's comments regarding DiBella.

"People talk about my career, they have this myth I couldn't punch, I had constant injuries and (all the success) was all thanks to Lou," Malignaggi said. "They're fifty percent right. I think the other fifty percent is Lou owes me a thank you for doing all the things I did to me making his company as well."

Malignaggi acknowledged that he can be emotional, and said the same goes for DiBella. He made sure to mention that he isn't trying to tell the world that fighting under the DiBella banner was such a curse to his career. "It could have been worse. Signing with Don King would have been worse."

But he did lay out a decent sized list of where he think DiBella and company could have served him better. He said DiBella didn't fight to get a smaller ring than the enormous one which was used during the 2006 Miguel Cotto-Malignaggi fight at MSG. "I'm doing my job you got to do your job ... At least look out for me ... this is where I get a little critical."

He went on, saying that he thinks no one at Dibella Entertainment thought he'd win that fight. (He got this info, he said, because he was on the sly dating a lady who worked at DBE, and she told him what others at the office said about him.) He also said Lou should have warned him about hiring an ex-manager, who he says was no prize. Malignaggi said he didn't think DiBella battled hard enough for him before he was jobbed by the judges in Texas in his 2009 fight with Juan Diaz, and didn't lobby hard enough for the bout to take place outside Diaz' home state. A rematch with Diaz was secured, and the fighter said he did that himself.

The boxer said he's happy to be working with Golden Boy, which he said is helping build him back up on TV, whereas, he thinks with DiBella he would not have been on TV. It would have been out of sight, out of mind, in that case, the transplant said.

The radio segment went over 20 minutes, so Malignaggi laid out more dirty laundry. Come back for more of his side, and then NYFightblog will take a look at the origin of the flareup. Hint: it stemmed from a mistake made by the radio host.

DiBella-Malignaggi beef re-heated

September, 22, 2011
Lou DiBella, the combustible promoter, was in typical form at the Red Lion on Greenwich Village last Wednesday.

The Brooklyn-born Long Island resident, whose office is in Manhattan, was there to hype an undercard fight (Andy Lee-Brian Vera) on his Oct. 1 Atlantic City show featuring Sergio Martinez. He spoke passionately about his stable of boxers, dropped in the occasional eff bomb, and as usual, made the media's job that much easier, because he is unafraid to go there.

He touched on the Lee-Vera bout, what's next for his marquee welterweight, Andre Berto, and some other notables in his stable. Then someone asked about comments one of his ex-fighters, Paulie Malignaggi, had made on a radio show called "Rope A Dope Radio," on Sept. 14.

The floodgate opened wide, and out flowed a heavy helping of beef. DiBella promoted Malignaggi for almost 10 years, but last year, the two parted ways, and not gently. They'd been extremely tight, and most in boxing saw the duo as having been in a mutually beneficial relationship. DiBella stood by Malignaggi while the fighter struggled with hand problems, and Malignaggi stood out as a boldfaced name on the roster for several years. Both men made money along the way.

"It sucks," DiBella said of Malignaggi's comments. "He's said it to many members of the press on and off the record, he's said it to loads of fighters. I've tried to take the higher road and he won't stop. If I ever go into the Hall of Fame, which I think eventually I deserve, that's one of the jobs I did with a fighter which most deserves to put me there. Six years I took care of him. My office called him my nephew cause he broke his hands so many times. I didn't make a dollar with him until the seventh year I promoted him. I never took more than thirty percent in any fight and less than that the last few. He thought his career was over when he (messed) the bed, (messed the bed) against Ricky Hatton, and he was ready to retire. He made seven figures with me after that. Why is this emeffer out there badmouthing me to people, to fighters, is he stupid? Off the record means the writer won't write something. But I have enough members of press who are my friends that they share the conversations with me. So here's my thing to Paulie: go eff yourself and if I never effing see you I don't give an eff. The lesson I learned in the Hopkins situation ... I learned hate eats you up. (Hopkins and Dibella feuded bitterly, after Hopkins accused DiBella, then his adviser, of unethical practices. DiBella took the fighter to court in 2004 and won a judgement for libel against him.) I don't hate the kid, I just don't want to talk to him, I don't want to see him."

NYFightblog was out of the loop, didn't know what DiBella was responding to. Check back here in a bit, and we'll share what it was that got DiBella so steamed ...

Nonito Donaire went from being seen as top 20 pound-for-pound guy to a top 10 or top 5 pound-for-pound guy with his TKO2 win over highly regarded slugger Fernando Montiel in February.

The hitter was born in the Philippines, so he enjoys a measure of the adulation among Filipino fight fans that the Congressman, Manny Pacquiao does. But Donaire lives in the U.S., in California, so his level of fame isn't in that Pacquiao zone.

Donaire (26-1 with 18 KOs) -- as you can see in the video I shot at the Edison Ballroom in NYC on Tuesday, at a press conference to hype Donaire's Oct. 22 title defense at the MSG Theater against fellow lefty Omar Narvaez (from Argentina; 35-0-2 with 19 KOs) -- is an affable gent with a wicked sense of humor. Combine that with a fan-friendly desire to separate his foe's head from his neck, and you have someone who has a chance to make some ripples outside the hard-core circle.

Donaire understands this, which is why he he tried to maximize his leverage after the Montiel win. "The Filipino Flash" left Top Rank, and signed with Golden Boy, in March. Top Rank cried foul, saying that the 28-year-old was still under contract. An arbitrator agreed, and in July, Donaire kissed and made up with Top Rank, with a multiyear contract extension.

Americans aren't overly enamored of jockey-sized fighters. They'll make some exceptions, more so in this era, in which the heavyweights by and large stink up the joint ... but fighters under 120 pounds basically get ignored by the non-fanatics. But we recommend people make an exception, and tune in to see Donaire do his thing. And if you really have an aversion to under 120-pounders, not to worry, he'll be moving up to 122 pounds soon, and likely 126 after that. We hear that Donaire attacked NY cheesecake and pizza with the same ferocity he does foes, so he'll likely have to add a mile or two of roadwork so he makes 122 for Narvaez.

Woods' Twitter handle is @Woodsy1069

Bob Arum, the Brooklyn-born promoter who worked in JFK's Justice Department before breaking his parents' heart and jumping ship to the the boxing biz, was in town on Tuesday to hype two NYC shows. The bigger one takes place on Dec. 3, at MSG. That card is headlined by Miguel Cotto versus Antonio Margarito, in a rematch of their 2008 thriller. That scrap had the look of a "Saw" sequel. Cotto was leaking blood copiously by the third round, and by the seventh, he was in a bad state.

Margarito, who looked like a Terminator of pugilism as he shook off Cotto launches and plowed forward with scary malevolence, ended the affair in Round 11. Cotto took a knee twice to stop the Mexican's bomb-dropping, and the ref pulled the plug as Cotto's corner moved to do the same. Fight fans looked at Margarito as a certified badass at that point, but their estimation shifted radically when he was found to be trying to use hardened hand wraps when he met Shane Mosley in his next bout, six months later. He was suspended for more than a year, and to this day, many if not most boxing fans assume -- fairly or unfairly -- that he'd cheated before.

They note that he is 1-2 since the Cotto victory, having been schooled by Mosley (TKO9 loss), beating lesser light Roberto Garcia in his comeback bout (UD10), and getting pummeled by Manny Pacquiao in his last outing, on Nov. 13, 2010.

There is no evidence that Margarito had ever used implements to get an extra, illegal edge before, and he says his ex-trainer inserted the pads, and he didn't notice they were not kosher. His promoter, Arum, concurs.

I admit, Arum's stance holds sway with me as I ponder the issue. You see, Arum promotes Margarito and Cotto. If he were working from a purely political place, one would think he'd take pains to not take sides. You'd think that he'd defer on making a judgement on whether or not Margarito is a serial cheater, or if, indeed, the boxer was involved in a single incidence for which he deserves no blame, because it was his trainer who messed up.

But no, Arum defended Margarito to the hilt once he sifted through all the evidence. We will post some video in a bit in which Arum explains why he thinks Margarito is no villain. My stance has shifted, I admit, from being one who finds it hard to fathom that Margarito hadn't used illegal aids in the past, to one who admits that he doesn't know. A good deal of that is because of Arum's behavior on this matter. Because bottom line, it seems like his stance makes his dealings with Cotto more difficult. Mostly reading in between the lines, I sense that over the last couple years, Cotto has been less-than-thrilled that his promoter essentially chose Margarito over him.

What do you think?

Brooklyn-born Merchant sparred with Floyd before

September, 18, 2011
Floyd Mayweather and Larry Merchant -- the HBO analyst who almost threw down while Merchant interviewed Floyd in-ring after Mayweather scored a controversial KO win over Victor Ortiz in Vegas Saturday -- do not, shall we say, send each other holiday cards.

After Mayweather beat Carlos Baldomir via unanimous decision on Nov. 4, 2006, in Las Vegas, Merchant asked him post-fight if he thought he was entertaining in the fight, implying he wasn't, because people were booing and "leaving after the tenth and eleventh round."

"You always give me a hard time," Mayweather said. "You never give me the credit I really deserve."

"You got a shutout, we all gave you credit for that," Merchant responded.

"I appreciate that, but you don't give me the credit I deserve. You good at commentating, stick to commentating, let me do the fighting. I'm the best at what I do, that's why I'm with HBO, HBO is my family, HBO is my home. You can learn boxing, come to my camp, you can learn boxing from Pretty Boy Floyd. You just a commentator, stick to commentating."

"That's exactly what I'm doing and I'm asking you the question," the analyst answered.

"It's more like this, don't always be a critic and be so negative, let's be positive. I got the victory tonight, under any circumstances, so all you can do is respect me for that. Every time a fighter come out there, I know you keep your fingers crossed. You hoping and wishing that a fighter can beat me. I'm the king of the throne and Floyd Mayweather is here to stay," the fighter said, as Merchant tried to interject. "I can win under any circumstances. You always talk, so let me do the talking ... Larry Merchant is just a commentator, he don't know nothing about boxing."

Merchant didn't get flustered, and continued his interview, asking Floyd if he wanted to fight Oscar De La Hoya. Yes, Floyd said.

"Thank you very much, congratulations again, Floyd," Merchant said, before sending it back to Jim Lampley.

Merchant has as many haters as admirers among fight fans. Some don't care for his speaking style, some think he is biased in his commentary. I admit I'm an unabashed fan. And I can only hope I'm as sharp, and ready to rumble, at age 80, as Larry is.
Larry Merchant refers to the sport of boxing as the "theater of the unexpected." But sometimes the wacky goings on in the sweet science defy the imaginations of even the most been-around-the-block fightwatcher.

It's a fair bet that the 80-year-old Merchant, who was born in Brooklyn and worked at the New York Post in the '70s, didn't wake up Saturday morning and predict that that evening, he'd nearly get into a fistfight with 34-year-old Floyd Mayweather, maybe the best prizefighter in the world today.

If you missed the drama on Sunday morning ...

After Mayweather had the Marquess of Queensberry shooting ashes out his coffin from spinning so hard, because Mayweather scored a KO4 win in Las Vegas by smashing foe Victor Ortiz while Ortiz was apologizing for headbutting him, Merchant interviewed Mayweather.

The HBO analyst said the crowd was in an uproar because many felt that he took shots at Ortiz "unfairly." He asked Floyd for his side.

Mayweather said he got hit with a dirty shot, and blamed Ortiz for not protecting himself at all times. Merchant tried to redirect Floyd when he launched into a promotional spiel, and the situation went from slightly uncomfortable to tense.

They watched the replay of the possibly dirty KO. Floyd said Ortiz could have a rematch.

Merchant tried to continue the Q&A and Floyd abruptly tried to end it. "You know what I'm going to do, because you don't ever give me a fair shake, so I'm going to let you talk to Victor Ortiz," Mayweather said. "I'm through. Put someone else up here to give me an interview."

"What are you talking about?" Merchant replied, in a fiesty fashion.

"You never give me a fair shake, HBO needs to fire you," the boxer said. "You don't know s--t about boxing. You ain't s---. You not s----. "

"I wish I was fifty years younger and I'd kick your ass," Merchant replied, up in Mayweather's grill, as close as Ortiz got.

"You won't do s---," Mayweather said, as his crew pulled him away.

This was not the first time to two had beefed with such rancor. NYFightblog recalls Mayweather and Merchant sparring back in 2006. Check back in the next post to get the lowdown on their first tussle.

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