Category Archives: Boxing

The “fight” is finally over

For those of you who wasted your money and your time watching the Mayweather-Pacquiao match last night, too bad. 

The lovely and taletned Elizabeth Banks said it best: “I was bored out of $100”. 

I had no faith whatsoever that Pacquiao could win, especially by decision. I figured that the only way the Filipino could win is if he knocked out the woman beater. The judges, all of whom live in Las Vegas and were receiving $20,000 plus expenses (at least three nights in a MGM Grand luxury suite, five-course dinners) were clearly for Mayweather. 

The fighters combined to land 229 punches. That sounds like a lot, but most championship boxers can land more than twice that in a 12-round championship bout. Pacquiao connected on just 19 percent of his punches and landed a miniscule 81. 

Pacquiao was depressingly underagressive. He probably knew going in he would have to KO Mayweather, but he kept clutching and grabbing. That’s a great strategy in hockey, not so much in boxing. 

Mayweather is now 48-0, one win short of Rocky Marciano’s record for an unbeaten career. However, to call Mayweather the greatest fighter of all time is a joke. He has cherry picked each and every opponent he has faced in recent years. He does not fight on a regular basis like Marciano and the other great fighters of the past. Mayweather is the greatest of all time in his own mind.  

Also, I would like to see Mayweather or any of the other fighters who have been in their prime since the mid-1980s to fight 15 rounds. The first Ali-Frazier fight in 1971? The full 15. The Thrilla in Manila, Ali-Frazier III in 1975? 14 rounds. Heck, even Chuck Wepner, the inspiration for Rocky, took Ali to 14. 

I would watch boxing before tennis, the Summer Olympics and the X-games, but that’s it. 

Tonight, it’s just as bad. ESPN is treating us to yet another Yankees-Red Sox game. Ho hum. 

Fight of the Century? Not quite.

ESPN is promoting today as the greatest day of sports this year.

Kentucky Derby? Horse racing has lost its prestige, but the Run for the Roses is still the world’s most prestigious race. NBA playoffs? Game 7 between the Spurs and Clippers should be entertaining. NHL playoffs? The Rangers face a must win at home today vs. the Capitals, and the Ducks will probably go up 2-0 on the Flames. Third day of the NFL draft? Take it or leave it.

Oh yeah, there’s a fight in Las Vegas. If you haven’t heard of it yet, you’ve been smart enough to avoid all forms of media, or at least turned off the TV when mention of the bout begins. I bristle at the idea that the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao duel is the “Fight of the Century”.

First, Pacquio’s best days are well behind him. Less than three years ago, he was knocked out in the sixth round by an undistinguished fighter, Juan Manuel Marquez.

Second, Mayweather may be a great fighter, as evidenced by his 47-0 record, but he’s a turd outside the ring. I have zero respect, and in fact, great enmity, for anyone who would commit domestic violence. Even worse, Mayweather has been convicted on multiple occasions, serving 90 days in jail during the summer of 2012 after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor and thus avoiding felony chargers.

Mayweather may be 47-0, two wins shy of Rocky Marciano’s career record, but Mayweather has been able to cherry pick his bouts, taking more than 18 years to build that mark. Marciano won 49 fights in less than nine years.

I wasn’t alive to witness it, but from all I’ve read and what I’ve watched on ESPN Classic, there is only one Fight of the Century, Joe Frazier’s 15 round unanimous decision over Muhammad Ali to retain the world’s heavyweight championship on March 8, 1971 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The hype for that fight was remarkable, one of the most hyped sporting events in the era before cable television, but unlike numerous boxing matches, this fight lived up to the hype and then some.

I would put THREE Ali bouts ahead of anything Mayweather-Pacquiao could offer. I would also have to rank the third Ali-Frazier fight in 1975 in Manila and Ali’s 8th round knockout of George Foreman in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1974 higher. Another one I would rank higher is No Mas, the 1980 fight in the Superdome between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran.

To me, boxing hasn’t mattered since the evening of April 6, 1987, when Leonard surprised Marvelous Marvin Hagler in a 12 round split decision to win the middleweight championship. The fight was on pay-per-view, but I remember the reports before and after, and the wrapup the next morning on SportsCenter before I went to school.

I read an article online on the Kansas City Star website where the top tickets for the bout were going for $115,000. That’s not a typo. ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS. Bob Arum, the president of Top Rank Promotions, said he would not offer ringside seats to anyone who did not have a minimum credit line of $250,000 with MGM, which is hosting the fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

For the price of a ringside seat at the fight, you could buy 82 tickets to Super Bowl 50. And not nosebleed end zone seats. GOOD seats.

By comparison, the top price for a seat at the Ali-Frazier fight in 1971 went for a mere $150, a lot of money back then. By comparison, tickets for Super Bowl V, held two months earlier in Miami, carried a $20 face value.┬áThe most expensive Ali-Frazier ticket of 1971 would translate to $870 today. You couldn’t sniff the parking lot for $870 for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Prices for the worst seat start at $4,500.

I also did some reverse calculation. One hundred fifteen thousand in 2015 was a little less than $20,000 in 1971. For that price, you could have purchased 992 tickets to Super Bowl V.

Even if you want to watch the fight at home, it will cost $90 to $100. Way too much for me. Way, way too much for a fight which I doubt will come anywhere close to the hype.

Tyson busted

Where does time go?

I did not realize it until it was mentioned on ESPN this morning, but today–last night, actually, in the United States–marked the 25th anniversary of the most stunning upset in the history of professional boxing.

I’m talking about the World Heavyweight Championship fight in Tokyo between the seemingly invincible Mike Tyson and the journeyman James “Buster” Douglas, who had even less of a chance against Tyson than some of Iron Mike’s previous foes, which included much more accomplished boxers like Michael Spinks, Larry Holmes and Tony Tubbs.

Most were expecting the bout against Douglas to be a warm up before Tyson faced Evander Holyfield, who had risen to next in line to challenge for the title after Douglas. Many, in fact, predicted that Tyson not only would win by a first round knockout, but Douglas would go down faster than the 91 seconds it took Tyson to knock out Spinks in June 1988.

Douglas survived the first round. And the second. In fact, he was standing toe-to-toe with the so-called “Baddest Man on the Planet”, even though he was behind on the three judges’ scorecards.

In the eighth round, it appeared Douglas’ dream was going to die.

Tyson landed a hard right to the jaw and Douglas went down. Buster looked like he was busted. Bring on Holyfield.

Douglas was on the canvas and appeared to still be down after 10 seconds, but the count of Mexican referee Octavio Meryan had only reached nine. Douglas was still alive. Barely, but alive.

Tyson came out in the ninth round looking for the quick knockout. Instead, the bout’s tide turned 180 degrees towards Douglas, who began to devastate Iron Mike with right after right. Tyson did not go down, but he was backed into the ropes and found himself staggering when the bell sounded.

In the tenth round, Douglas continued to attack. He landed a hard uppercut to Tyson’s chin and followed with four straight right hands to Tyson’s head.

Down went Iron Mike.

Tyson was being counted down by Meryan, but it took him until three or four before he realized he was about to lose his championship.

Tyson used the ropes as leverage in his attempt to get up, but it was too late. Meryan counted 10 and called for the bell.

James “Buster” Douglas. Heavyweight Champion of the World.

Douglas liked being champion so much he forgot the hard work and sacrifice it took to get him there.

Two weeks after winning the championship, he was the guest referee in a World Wrestling Federation championship match between Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho King” Savage. He would continue to make the rounds on the celebrity circuit, all the while watching his weight balloon to over 250 pounds.

By time the Douglas-Holyfield fight arrived on October 25, Douglas still weighed 246 1/2 pounds, 38 1/2 more than Holyfield. To the surprise of nobody, save for those related to Douglas and his handlers, Holyfield won by third round knockout.

Maybe it was as good thing Tyson lost to Douglas, given the way “The Real Deal” took apart Iron Mike in their two bouts in 1996 and 1997, the latter of which ended when Tyson bit off a chunk of Holyfield’s ear.