Sound & Fury: Jacobs Jacked, The Madness of Marquez, GBP Junk Shops

LAS VEGAS - JULY 31: Referee Robert Byrd tends to Daniel Jacobs after he was knocked out by Dmitry Pirog in the fifth round at the Mandalay Bay Events Center July 31, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pirog won the vacant WBO middleweight title. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Welcome to another edition of Sound & Fury, the boxing column that blackens eyes and skips clichés. This week, TCS takes a jaded look at things that cannot be looked at with anything but a jaded eye or a bottle of 100 proof nearby: Golden Boy Promotions, overhyped prospects, the dreaded boxing press, and any time Oscar De La Hoya opens his mouth. In addition, notes on undercards, compliant boxing fans, Dimitry Pirog, HBO, and Juan Manuel Marquez and his obsession with Manny Pacquiao.)

Another marzipan prospect crumbled when unknown Dimitry Pirog leveled Danny Jacobs in five rounds on the only undercard bout worth removing a blindfold for last Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Pirog, who nearly dropped Jacobs in the second round and seemed to be in control of the fight early, flattened Jacobs with a strange variant of the Fitzsimmons Shift. When Pirog saw Jacobs retreating in a straight line on the wrong foot, he pursued as a righty, slipped into southpaw, and shifted to orthodox for the final crushing blow. This was purely by design and Jacobs, whose ring I.Q. appears to be maybe half of that of Andre Ward or Juan Manuel Marquez, fell for it with an ease one might have expected of his own list of past tomato cans, say, Juan Astorga or Jose Miguel Rodriguez Berrio. Then he pulled an Anthony Bonsante and decided to play possum with the referee, Robert Byrd, crashing to the canvas like a corpse that had fallen out of a casket carried by drunken pallbearers. A frightened Byrd immediately stopped the count and a doctor stormed the ring with dust clouds trailing his feet. “I’m good!” Jacobs yelled. No, Danny, no, you are not good, Danny.

The worst part of these prospects getting obliterated is having to see them built up on even poorer competition than got excitable folks excited in the first place. Like Victor Ortiz, we will have to see Jacobs in the ring against washed-up fighters from lighter divisions for probably another five years or so. Oh, if only some of them could lose a decision once in a while instead of always crashing in flames!

The “comeback” began the second Jacobs gathered his scattered neurons together again. Disgracefully, HBO producers allowed Jim Lampley to interview the loser, Jacobs (because he is the star, after all) and ignored the winner, Pirog. Lampley did his best Dr. Phil routine and Jacobs got to mumble his excuses about focus, etc. Funny, but on the way to the ring, Jacobs, mugging and shouting at the cameras, looked awfully calm and self-confident. That happens sometimes when guys collapse at your feet with the vapors as soon as you twitch a nostril.

Still, the question, as always, it seems, remains: How do you wipe out nobodies, look mediocre against a couple of journeymen, and still get more headlines than President Obama? Unlike Jorge Linares, or even Ortiz, Jacobs has no obvious skill set, and he looked positively amateurish against Pirog, as he did in his only other fight of note, an unimpressive decision over gatekeeper Ishe Smith.

As for Pirog, he will now likely be overrated on the basis of whipping a man not ready for the annual Wife Carrying championship in Finland. Already some folks have started to make Pirog sound like a cross between Dizzy Gillespie and Tony Canzoneri. That said, he has panache, imagination, and a tricky style. We should wait until he beats someone more accomplished than Jacobs before conceding his greatness.

*****

Things are improving on HBO lately. Instead of a fight with 10-1 odds (like they had headlining their last broadcast), they have one with 6-1 odds when Devon Alexander takes on Andreas Kotelnik, who has not fought in over a year. Look for a big, 1,000-word preview overrun by exclamation points on The Cruelest Sport tomorrow night. Check in at about 3 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

*****

No sooner did Oscar De La Hoya wipe the spittle from his chin after promising fantastic undercards for all future Golden Boy shows in perpetuity than the supporting cast for Mosley-Mora was announced to the world. Obviously, he was just making things up again.

Lawdy, lawdy, the trash lined up for September 18 would make a landfill smell good. Better to watch a footrace between organ grinders than suffer through that agony. No matter, the so-called hardcore boxing fan, the one who sits around watching “Fight Night Club” with half-lidded eyes, will still buy it. Only in boxing does “hardcore” equate to a lack of taste and discrimination. Usually an aficionado has high standards and deplores the dilution of his pursuit. A wine connoisseur, for example, is not interested in a bottle of Bartles & Jaymes; cigar enthusiasts presumably want nothing to do with White Owls; and art lovers never wax lyrical over crude doodles on restroom stalls. But boxing buffs seem almost hypnotized and will buy almost anything a press release commands them to.

*****

Speaking of making things up, whenever I get in the mood for some fabulism, I log onto boxingscene.com. Anybody notice the strange headlines over there, some of them directly contradicting each other within hours? Boxingscene.com is 50 percent fiction, 50 percent spy ware, 10 percent Lyle Fitzsimmons, and 10 percent Mr. Press Release. (Those numbers do not compute, of course, but neither does BS.) With “reliable sources” about as reliable as Fredo Corleone (or those–maybe Fuzzy Dunlop–who inform for ringsidereport.com), Boxingscene has a stranglehold on the dreamlike and the illusory. Whether you think risking identity theft is worth it or not is a personal choice, but always use Firefox when diving into fantasyland.

*****

Someone should see if “Bark Off” works on humans and use it whenever Richard Schaefer starts his inane yapping. Not long after saying Golden Boy does not do “in-house” shows, he announces a pay-per-view, bafflingly backed by HBO, where 5 of 6 fighters are Golden Boy fighters. That comes on the crooked heels of the “loaded” show last week, where 7 out of 8 fighters were Golden Boy fighters.

The Marquez-Diaz show, by the way, resembled a pawn shop owned by Golden Boy Promotions, stocked with dusty, brittle knickknacks whose tickets will never be redeemed. The Cruelest Sport did not sell anyone a bill of goods when this extravaganza was announced, something that cannot be said about many other outlets. See this edition of “Ten & Counting” for particulars. Just scroll down to the picture of Clifford The Big Red Dog.

*****

Juan Manuel Marquez, a consummate professional, took apart Juan Diaz as if Diaz were made of LEGO pieces and still looks like he can dismantle the current lightweight division in a single Día De Los Muertos. But Marquez is that rare fighter–one that hardly exists anymore–with ambitions geared to creating some kind of super-luminous legacy based on exalted notions of pure competition. He wanted the fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. despite the incredible odds against succeeding and still burns to wage war with Manny Pacquiao. His is a special kind of madness, one more fighters ought to suffer from these days.

*****

It was nice to see Vic Zeigel receive a ceremonial 10-count on the Marquez-Diaz pay-per-view broadcast on Saturday night. But it was also distressing–although perhaps not surprising–to see major boxing outlets (like RingTV.com, for example) ignore his death entirely, despite the fact that Ziegel once received the Nat Fleischer Award for boxing journalism and was a lifetime member of the BWAA. (Ziegel, if memory serves correct, even contributed to Ring Magazine during the Bert Sugar era.) This goes beyond what contemporary boxing writers are typically guilty of–shilling, purple prose, unearthly pomposity, cretinism, nepotism, and cliché-mongering. No, this is just plain old shameful.

*****

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Topics: Bark Off, Danny Jacobs, Dimitry Pirog, GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS, HBO, Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya, Vic Ziegel

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  • http://profightnews.com Irvin Ryan

    Good job!
    I’m really happy to see someone gives emphasis on that Pirog killer move. It was wonderfully done and you can see Jacobs really have no idea what’s coming.

    “Those numbers do not compute, of course, but neither does BS” ~~~ Will use it one day!

    Great read, I browsed the older articles too and I like it. Wondered how I missed them reading other rubbish from other websites.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Irvin,

      thanks for writing. You’re welcome to use any of my one-liners. When I get the chance, I’ll e-mail you my paypal account.

      I’m what they call a “well-kept secret,” I guess….I’m surprised you haven’t stumbled over TCS before since I pop up in the comments section of TQBR once in a while and Tim is nice enough to let me guest post now and then. I’m the guy who writes 10,000-word articles on fighters nobody’s heard of from the 30s and 40s…

      That was a nice move by Pirog….the real Fitzsimmons Shift was used by Bob Fitzsimmons to KO Jim Corbett in 1897 for the Heavyweight Championship…he would throw a right and step forward with his right foot simultaneously; this shift would leave him in a southpaw stance and then he would rip a hard left to the body…Pirog put a strange twist on it by shifting back to righty…

      Anyway, welcome aboard…hopefully, you won’t flee like many others!

  • martin

    I don’t always comment, but I always enjoy reading your articles, Carlos. You’re also making me more cynical, so thanks for that.

    That short overhand right by Pirog was very pretty, and Jacobs went down hard.

    Pretty lackluster night of fights, especially for a PPV. Thank god for the internet and streams.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for attributing your growth spurt in cynicism to me! I’ve been told a lot of things, much of it bad, but never that….

      Anyway, I don’t think I’m cynical (except in the dead of night)…I prefer to be called skeptical. Nothing in boxing should be taken at face value, its entire history is shot through with con artistry, crime, ripoffs, fraud, amorality, fixes, etc. Today’s boxing uses modern techniques of marketing and advertising–along with a more white collar crime approach–but most of it is still good-old fashioned hucksterism….

  • El Destruyo

    Jacobs wasn’t ready, and Pirog was slightly less not ready.

    HBO’s behavior was disgraceful, but as for Jacobs, who stated that he wasn’t going to consider himself a true champion if he won this (stolen) (4th-rate) belt, can only be blamed for being the fodder in Golden Boy’s cannon, as they rushed their first cradle-to-championship fight prospect in, still soft.

    The kid’s going to be fighting some dull competition on undercards for a year or two, but he ain’t fully formed yet, so he definitely ain’t yet done. Sorry, I can’t hate on anyone who comes to the ring with “Ante Up” playing.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi El Destruyo,

      Thanks for writing. I have to say, I think your first line sums it all up very well.

      You also make a good point about GBP maybe dying to develop one of their own fighters for once. I hadn’t thought of that….And I don’t mean to pick on Jacobs in particular; after all, it’s not his fault that folks blew him up like the second coming of SRR, but sometimes the fighter suffers some backlash because of this anointing business, which is one my least favorite aspects of modern boxing. I respect all fighters and even when it’s easy for some (Hi, Andre Berto!), it’s still a hard way to make an easy living. But to me, and on this site you almost never read anything about “prospects,” a fighter is not a fighter until he has proven himself against decent competition. He doesn’t even have to win–just get in the ring and acquit yourself well against a decent array of opponents and it’s all good.

      Jacobs is definitely not done, because he has a couple of corporate superpowers backing him. Even if he didn’t, prizefighters must all dust themselves off and move on. To me, there is no “comeback,” or whatever, because the man’s never been anywhere. Lord knows we can use a decent fighter over here in Brooklyn, since so many of them just talk a good game…

      I hear you on “Ante Up…”

  • johnpaulfutbol

    Hey CA,

    Nice call on the Fitzsimmons shift, Irvin Ryan up there in your 1st comment, was the only other guy that I heard even mention Pirog’s footwork on that KO. I can’t give guys like Jacob a pass on this sort of stuff. They are complicit in the hype and there’s probably no rationalizing when they’re on the way to the bank to cash the checks. I’m also pretty sure that every one or at least the overwhelming majority of Jacob’s fights have been on TV. Some yahoo tried to tell me that the stoppage was controversial, so I went back to watch it on youtube. Gimme a break! Jacobs also looked less skilled on the clip than he did when I watched the fight on Sat. night.

    Pirog is going to be overrated, without question. The best one I heard..either when I was still in Vegas or just after I got home, was that he is the “white Mayweather.” That cracked me up for any number of reasons.

    Great point on the “hardcore” boxing fan’s lack of taste and discrimination. Although you gave them too much credit with the Bartles and Jaymes analogy in my opinion. Pretty sure guzzling Boone’s Farms out of a beer bong would be more apt. I’m sure you can’t wait for GBP to start it’s east coast version of it’s bumfights series.

    What can you say about Marquez! I’m not big on him as a person, his Pacquiao schtick is a bit much for me. For all his merits as a fighter, it seems a lot of his value is tied to his relation to Pacquiao. But what a fighter. While I knew that his fight with Diaz was basically a foregone conclusion, I’m somewhat glad I went…just to get the chance to see him fight in the flesh.

    @IR – good to see you over here comrade!

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi JPF,

      there was nothing controversial about the stoppage. I don’t know anything about the “hating” concept on TCS, I just try to break things down as analytically as I’m able to, but if people who rag on Jacobs are “hating” and “haters” what do you call the people who want to pretend the KO was controversial or because of a lucky punch?

      As far as fighters being complicit, maybe, I’m not sure. I remember seeing Antwun Echols back in the day telling every one he was the middleweight champion of the world at a fight because he had two title trinkets. This was before he lost to Hopkins the first time. I was also at a show in Philly a couple of months ago when Hank Lundy was in the crowd telling everyone he was the lightweight champion of the world because he had some trinket. So, sometimes fighters have a viewpoint on these things that we, as observers, can’t really understand. Because of the hard work it takes just to be on the ESPN2 circuit, fighters usually cut each other slack. I’ve seen bums and champions train in the gym, and they both train hard and make sacrifices.

      And if someone said to me (if I were a young fighter), “You’re gonna be a star! Here’s FIFTY GRAND–go knock out Juan Astorga!” of course, I would take it.

      Like I was telling El Destruyo, I don’t mean to be to hard on Jacobs. As you know, JPF, the only fighters I really dislike are the ones who kiss the gloves of their opponents, clown in the ring while being unimpressive, etc. Hank Lundy, Kevin Johnson types (and that Puerto Rican guy on ESPN2 a couple of months ago…what a disgrace to my people!)…Usually, most get a pass.

      In the case of Jacobs, unfortunately, he sort of entered that realm with his absurd KO, playing possum with the ref (I stole that line from my buddy Jose, BTW) and bouncing around all confused the minute he saw Pirog was not a junior middleweight or Michael Walker. Also, I just don’t think he had the explosive talent of some of the other “super prospects” that preceded him. I mean, I’ve seen the same fights everyone else has seen. The experts, of course, have seen every fight and were probably in the womb with Jacobs and have knowledge poured into their ears like Agamemnon had false dreams poured into his in The Iliad, but they’re the same fucking fights everyone else has seen and Jacobs has never even been on the TCS radar. You can see right away what Khan, Ortiz, Linares, Alexander, etc. have that made some folks interested. I don’t know what it is about Jacobs that gave everyone tremors.

      The White Mayweather! That’s awesome! Pirog sure has the right spirit though…He went after Jacobs and was like, “They told me I was going to be fighting THE GOLDEN CHILD, but I never knew it would actually be Eddie Murphy!”

      The stuff about the fan who is in cahoots with the three-card monte power structure cost me untold readers (especially on other sites where my posts appear occasionally)…but fuck it, this site will never be any bigger than it is and I’m not going to sit around pretending Solo Boxeo is “competition” or “good fun” when it is, in fact, 10 pounds of shit shoved into a fanny pack. They’re not gonna read TCS anyway, so let them just go on enjoying squash matches and staining themselves over 10-1 bouts. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to see the Brooklyn GBP extravaganzas on a press credential (heh), and I’m definitely not paying for any of them….

      Marquez is a proud fighter and I think if he wants to bitch about Pacquiao, that’s all right. Other folks are not exactly hunting Pacquiao down, youknowhuti’msayin? I think that stubbornness is part of his greatness and he’s always been a pro in the ring…Cuts, swollen eyes, knockdowns, behind on the scorecards, forget it, he’s gonna fight! I love him and Katsidis both. If you told Katsidis, “You have to fight Marquez in Juarez and the referee is the chupacabra,” he’ll say, “Awright.” I think JMM stops him late, however…I think both fights with Pacquiao were close, but JMM is going to have to stay on his feet against Pacman to win one…

      • johnpaulfutbol

        CA,

        Great points re: fighters seeing things differently and champs/bums both training hard and making sacrifices. I get it, even at my level….there are times when the mitts are able to steal rounds off me! Make no mistake I do respect all fighters, some more than others and so forth. With Jacobs I guess, I tend to not cut him slack as he’s been on TV since fight # 1 and pocketed $200,000 on Sat night. Significantly more than the others on the underdcard.

        LOL at the Golden Child/Eddie Murphy line! Anyway, I gotta go I got some cold Bartles and Jaymes waitin’ for me.

  • Carlos Acevedo

    Hi Milo George,

    Thanks for writing. All I know is that Jacobs crashed to the canvas like a duck shot out of the sky and laid there with his eyes shut….the ref was over him and looked at Jacobs (while counting) and stopped counting at “5″ because he thought Jacobs was probably dead. As soon as the referee stopped counting, Jacobs opened his eyes and began protesting. It was, ummm, very strange.

    That’s right, Angulo lost a decision….how could I forget? I won $350 on that fight!

    I don’t know what was sadder: watching a completely shot Casamayor or watching Guerrero not do much against him after the third round or so…..