More random thoughts
Updated: June 14, 2007, 4:29 PM ETBy Dan Rafael
• Who has had a better recent run of action fights than Bob Arum's Top Rank? Start with an April 14 pay-per-view card that featured four entertaining bouts, including Manny Pacquiao's exciting eighth-round knockout of Jorge Solis in the main event. The rest of the card was also outstanding and gave consumers value for their PPV dollar: Cristian Mijares' one-sided, but entertaining upset of Jorge Arce; a distance brawl between Edgar Sosa and Brian Viloria, with Sosa pulling an upset; and a quick, but impressive, second-round knockout in Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s win against game Anthony Shuler. A month later, Top Rank co-promoted the Kelly Pavlik-Edison Miranda slugfest that was one of the most thrilling bouts so far in 2007. That fight saved the HBO show headlined by the dreadful Jermain Taylor-Cory Spinks match. And then, on June 9, Top Rank put on another pay-per-view home run with Miguel Cotto's scintillating 11th-round knockout of Zab Judah in what is, so far, the fight of the year. The rest of the card was solid as well with Humberto Soto powering past Bobby Pacquiao in a bloody brawl and Chavez Jr. scoring another knockout, this one against Grover Wiley, who had retired Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. two years earlier. Only the televised opener, Yuri Foreman vs. Anthony Thompson, was dull. Arum, to his credit, has had enough of the nonsense Butterbean and Mia St. John fights he used to put regularly on his cards. Arum says he's only interested now in putting on real fights with athletes who come to entertain fans, not to dance. Lately, Arum is putting his money where his mouth is. • Trouble is brewing for fight fans, and you can circle Sept. 29 on your calendar. That is the night when HBO and Showtime are headed for the kind of potential conflict that makes me sick. Showtime is planning to televise Oleg Maskaev's long-awaited mandatory heavyweight title defense against Samuel Peter. I think it will be an action-packed fight in which we see a new titlist crowned. Over on HBO, that is the same date penciled in for the middleweight championship collision between Taylor and Pavlik, a highly anticipated fight. Both are important bouts. Both figure to be highly entertaining. Showtime made its plans before HBO did, but Showtime also deviated from its highly publicized schedule of airing live fights on the first Saturday of the month. Nobody is right and nobody is wrong here, but boxing fans are the ones who will pay the price. Now think about it from my point of view: I am lucky enough to be able to go to most big fights, but which one do I go to on Sept. 29? Keep in mind, of course, that Sept. 29 also happens to be Jenn Rafael's birthday. My wife is still mad at me for leaving her on her birthday to cover Bernard Hopkins-Felix Trinidad in 2001.
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