Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Can Jones be serious?
The return of your weekly random thoughts
• If you've been following the rhetoric from Roy Jones during the buildup to his fight Saturday night against Felix Trinidad, Jones is predicting a fourth-round knockout and talking about all sorts of future fights. One of the most laughable is Jones' assertion that he is willing to go to the United Kingdom to fight super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe next. Sure you are, Roy.
This comes from the same Jones who for years refused to entertain the notion of fighting overseas because of the raw deal he got when he was robbed of a gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. This comes from the same Jones who wouldn't ever seriously discuss going to Germany to fight his most logical opponent, light heavyweight titleholder Dariusz Michalczewski, at a time when Jones was the best fighter on the planet and Michalczewski was a huge draw in Germany. If Jones wouldn't go overseas then, when it actually meant something, why should anyone believe he would go now? More importantly, why should we care at this stage? Jones is blowing smoke, especially because he knows Calzaghe is close to a deal to fight Bernard Hopkins anyway. I've heard enough spin from Jones to last me a lifetime. And even if Jones is serious, it's too little, too late. He should have gone to Germany seven years ago.
• I don't know about you, but I want to know if anyone actually paid the $15,000 price tag for front-row tickets for Jones-Trinidad. Frankly, I'd also like to know if anyone actually paid the $12,500 for the second row. I can't wait to be in the arena Saturday night and check out who's sitting in those seats. Speaking of Jones-Trinidad, the fight hasn't exactly caught fire and it's going to take another brutal hit this week when the fight needs publicity the most. The reason is because the New York Giants advanced to Sunday's NFC title game. Translation: Very little space in New York papers for the fight and very little time on the TV and radio sports shows. An insider involved in the show read the writing on the wall, telling me Monday that the Giants advancing "was the worst thing that could happen to the show."
• With Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. talking about a May rematch, all I can say is this in the wake of their dud fight last year: The World (Doesn't) Await.
• As much as I punished Showtime for some horrible fight cards it put on in 2007, I have to also show some love when the network does something great. In this case, that is buying the rights to air the March 8 cruiserweight showdown in England between legit champ David Haye and titleholder Enzo Maccarinelli. Great move. It should be a cracking fight.
• Let's see, we are six weeks out from the fight and there still has been no official announcement of a site for the much-anticipated March 1 rubber match between junior featherweight champ Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez. No tickets on sale yet, either. That's pathetic. Can we get with the program, people? That means promoters Gary Shaw, Golden Boy Promotions and Sycuan Ringside Promotions. The first fight was sensational. The rematch was the 2007 fight of the year. Yet both fights were horribly promoted and the crowds at each were sparse. The third fight has been on Showtime's schedule for months but there has been no promotion whatsoever. How do you expect to sell tickets or let people know you have a great fight without doing any work? A fight of this caliber needs more than two or three weeks of nurturing. The fighters deserve better. Showtime deserves better. The fans deserve better.
• Here's a shocker: Antonio Tarver isn't going to fight Chad Dawson in April, but Glen Johnson is. The only reason Showtime gave Tarver two patsies last year was in the hope he would agree to fight Dawson. But I don't know anyone who believed he ever would, other than some folks at Showtime. Instead, Tarver took the easy money and Showtime for a ride. The least Showtime could have done was make sure it had Tarver under contract for the payoff fight before giving him the walkovers. Bottom line: Tarver doesn't want a tough fight. He wants to squeeze as much money as he can out of Showtime. Johnson, meantime, epitomizes what fighters should be about, and that's a willingness to fight the best without making excuses.
• Junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi, pushed to the limit by Herman Ngoudjo in a recent defense, probably won't ever be on the pound-for-pound list, but he would be if a desire to be great was a part of the equation.
• With super middleweights Edison Miranda and Jean Pascal getting through bouts on the same card on last week's "Friday Night Fights," I really hope their June showdown in Montreal winds up on ESPN2. That said, I think Miranda knocks Pascal out. While I'm on the subject of Miranda, I have to admit it: I must have watched his sensational knockout of David Banks about 50 times this week.
• So Sergio Mora got back on the winning path the other night by stopping Rito Ruvalcaba after some struggles in the early rounds. But at this point, even though Mora remains undefeated, isn't the bloom off the rose?
• I read that 34-year-old former heavyweight titlist Nikolai Valuev was fined in his native St. Petersburg, Russia, for punching a 61-year-old man in a scuffle two years ago. Obviously, the 7-foot, 320-pounder couldn't find someone his own size to pick on, but couldn't he have at least found someone closer to his own age?
• So, super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute, the popular Montreal fighter, is going to make his first defense Feb. 29 against William Joppy. Don't laugh. It's true. What, Vinny Pazienza wasn't available?
• Let's go Giants!
• DVD pick of the week: In honor of the amazing Hopkins' 43rd birthday on Tuesday, I decided to go back to a time before the light heavyweight champ was boxing royalty. On Dec. 17, 1994, "The Executioner" was just another fighter trying to achieve his championship goal and make some money. That's when Hopkins, who had lost a decision to Jones for a vacant middleweight belt 19 months earlier, got another opportunity to fight for the belt that Jones vacated in order to move up in weight. Hopkins met Segundo Mercado on Showtime in Quito, Ecuador, but Hopkins arrived only a few days before the fight and had very little time to adjust to the elevation -- almost 10,000 feet. Even though Mercado knocked the usually iron-chinned Hopkins down twice in a good fight, Hopkins was in command. However, it was ruled a draw in Mercado's hometown. Hopkins was robbed and the title remained vacant until he finally got his belt four months later, stopping Mercado in the rematch in Landover, Md. It was a title Hopkins would keep for the next decade.