Sound & Fury: Mayweather Madness, Pacquiao Cleared, Klitschko-Peter, Hapless David Haye

01 May 2010 - Las Vegas, Nevada - Floyd Mayweather. Floyd Mayweather Host's His Official After-Fight Party at Studio 54 in the MGM Grand Resort Hotel and Casino. Photo Credit: MJT/AdMedia

(Welcome to another edition of Sound & Fury, the boxing column that blackens eyes and skips clichés. This week TCS takes a look at the latest Floyd Mayweather debacle and how it absolves Manny Pacquiao, wonders why HBO loves longshots so much, scoffs at the sensitive stars of the Super Six, ruminates–but only for a paragraph–on the chic vulgarity of David Haye, and previews the upcoming Wladimir Klitschko-Sam Peter heavyweight matchup.)

Ultra-talented Yuriorkis Gamboa faces a longshot on Saturday when he steps into the ring with grizzled Orlando Salido at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Right now Salido is closing in on 1 to 7 status as a shortender on several books, and if he keeps slipping in the eyes of oddsmakers, this fight might become the third “hero” versus double-digit underdog to be showcased on an HBO main event in a month. Salido is a real professional prizefighter–he has lost only two bouts in the last 8 1//2 years–but his biggest win over that stretch, against Robert Guerrero, was ruled a no-contest when Salido tested positive for steroids. (Salido claims he tested clean at a private lab a day following his positive result.) Still, struggling with Cristobal Cruz is an ominous sign, and a 10-1 line would not qualify as an overlay. Most likely Gamboa will look to jackknife Salido as quickly as possible.

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Thankfully, the opening bout at the Palms, Brandon Rios against Anthony Peterson, is a competitive scrap between two young, undefeated fighters who have yet to realize the dream of fighting no-hopers for large sums of money.

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Vile Floyd Mayweather continues to make internet headlines for his contemptible tirade last week (and more recently for being a possible suspect in an alleged domestic assault case). So, Mayweather is a vulgar blockhead who occasionally shows up on police blotters. Who knew?

Actually, Mayweather sounded no different than lots of the forum dolts on leastsideboxing and boxingscheme.com, but that might be another story for another time. Anyway, the most interesting aspect of his diatribe centered on the details of his non-fight with Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather, by revealing that Pacquiao consented to stringent drug tests, basically admitted that negotiations were, in fact, ongoing, and, most importantly, that the demands he made were merely smokescreens. If the holdup was drug testing and Pacquiao agreed to them, then what kept the fight from happening this time? Mayweather claims he is on vacation and not interested in fighting–unless, it seems, one counts women–but no longer does he deserve the benefit of the doubt from his few remaining acolytes. He is merely waiting for Pacquiao to show signs of slowing down or to lose outright.

And now that it is public knowledge–admitted by Mayweather himself no less–that Pacquiao agreed to labyrinthine drug testing procedures, where are all the screaming headlines? When it appeared that Pacquiao was reluctant to give in to dreaded OLYMPIC STYLE whimsy, lots of folks began braying about how suspicious his behavior was and casting aspersions about his accomplishments. Are they going to revisit their claims and make adjustments? Retractions? Reassessments? Does anybody ever do that?

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Lem Satterfield at Fanhouse reported last week that Showtime sent legal notices to Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell about their Super Six bout currently stuck in a strange limbo of their own making. Since no one–Gary Shaw, Dan Goosen, Ward, Dirrell–has come out with an alibi for this delay, it stands to reason that the most prevalent rumor is true: these guys are just too chummy to come to blows right now. How cute! Maybe someone can come up with a fine Hallmark card for the occasion. Modern boxing never ceases to outstrip itself for ridiculousness and this peculiar case ranks right up there in a year full of absurdities.

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Golden Boy Promotions serves up gruel with the soul-crushing regularity of a gulag, but its Juan Manuel Marquez-Michael Katsidis matchup—despite being another in-house affair (funny how only Top Rank gets called out for the practice of insularity)—promises quality bloodshed. Both fighters are the kind to look for trouble in the ring, and they will likely find plenty of it when they face off in November. It might almost make you forget how often Golden Boy ladles out the slop.

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In the reality TV, Youtube sensation, Twitter nitwit era, being a vulgar lout is a quick detour to stardom and David Haye is no exception. Haye, ranked #4 on The Cruelest Sport All Talk Crew, has been up to his tasteless tricks again and remains a prime example of obnoxious behavior being confused with “personality.” Even his opponent, Audley Harrison, continued being relevant to some by virtue of his tackiness, and he earned his shot at Haye by winning a sideshow tournament in the UK. (The Prizefighter tournament, by the way, is exactly the kind of gimmickry that excites so many so-called “hardcore” boxing fans, who, as much as they whine and moan about the state of affairs, will stop at nothing to watch a circus act as long as gloves and a mouthpiece are in the vicinity.) Haye is of no-account as a fighter, since he does nothing but avoid the big fights he gobbledygooks about, and he is just as useless as a personality. Listening to Haye talk is less interesting than watching paragliding donkeys on Daily Motion. Naturally, his bout with Harrison will be a smash.

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Five years is a long time in boxing. Sam Peter, who earns a rematch and a monster paycheck against Wladimir Klitschko tomorrow in Frankfurt, Germany, has lived a virtual lifetime since losing a decision to Klitschko in 2005.

After being stopped in a dreadful performance against Vitali Klitschko in 2008, Peter hit the skids and weighed a whopping 265 pounds when Eddie Chambers put on a Silly Slap exhibition against him in his subsequent bout. Peter blamed promotional difficulties for his troubles and signed with Top Rank, where he began a rebuilding process that saw him drop to a fit 237 pounds in his last fight. The irony is that Peter did not have to bother to get in shape for his recent opponents—they were all excavated from a columbarium and posed no threat to Peter. Woebegone Marcus McGee and 363-pound Gabe Brown were ring stiffs of the highest rank, but Ronald Bellamy, whom Peter stopped last September, is an argument for the abolition of whichever state commission licenses him. Bellamy has lost nine fights in a row and has been removed from the ring on a gurney in two of them. These last two years trampling corpses means Peter, still only 30, might not be in fighting shape. Like most fighters these days, he is gym ready, but a lack of meaningful action might leave him unprepared for a big test in Klitschko.

Wladimir Klitschko has improved since his poor showing against Peter in 2005 and has perfected lessons learned at the Emanuel Steward School of Heavyweight Boxing. Number one among these lessons, apparently, is: “If an opponent gets close to you grab him around the neck with both hands and force his face into your crotch.” Eddie Chambers tried to dissuade Klitschko from using this tasteless maneuver a few months ago when he picked Klitschko up and suplexed him to the mat. Klitschko still won by last second KO.

With his squid-like holding, his simple strategy of taking a half-step back when an opponent lunges, and his physical advantages, Klitschko has managed to dominate nearly every second of every round since he met Peter in a bout where he suffered three knockdowns. But he has never been particularly exciting over that stretch, and HBO–citing the fact that they are not C-Span–threw him overboard for his cautious approach.

In order to beat Klitschko a fighter must be able to step hard with a double or triple jab–to close the gap and push Klitschko onto his back foot–and rip shots off from there. Unfortunately for Peter, he does not have the kind of athleticism or footwork to put Klitschko into that position. Peter moves in the ring like a man fording a wild river with two sandbags draped across his shoulders. There is always a chance that one of his wild rights may catch Klitschko by surprise and flatten him, but Peter looks like he is past his best days, and Klitschko is the kind of fellow who puts his seat belt on at the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Klitschko will probably score a late TKO and hope that David Haye eventually mans up to fight him one day.

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Topics: ANDRE DIRRELL, Andre Ward, ANTHONY PETERSON, Brandon Rios, David Haye, Floyd Mayweather Jr., HBO, Manny Pacquiao, Orlando Salido, Samuel Peter, Super Six, WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO, Yuriorkis Gamboa

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  • nealo

    Another excellent article that just sums up the current, and frankly depressing, state of boxing. Here in the UK, we had high hopes for David Haye with his all action style as a cruiser weight and intention to transfer that into the Heavy weight ranks but what a massive disappointment. You cannot knock Vlad K’s achievements but his style of jab and then grab in desperation if someone gets close, is hardly thrilling. Unfortunately it seems that any hope of Haye engaging with either Klitschko are remote. I dont think Haye / Harrison will be a bad fight but its a big let down after all the talk. Hopefully, Haye will at least fight Adamek next if not a Klitschko,
    The Peter / Vladimir K fight may have its moments but, as you say, given Peter’s recent quality of opposition and zero mobility, I can only see a wide UD or later rounds KO for Vladimir.
    Whatever happened to the days when the best fought the next best.
    Also why are so many fights cancelled due to injury these days. An upcoming card in Birmingham UK has lost 2 of its biggest bouts due to training injuries. In the past fights would be announced months in advance and would happen or am I just looking at thepast through rose tinted glasses!.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Neal,

      thanks for writing. David Haye, even with his meltdown against Carl Thompson, did look like a refreshing change of pace when he started fighting bigger names at cruiserweight. But he has certainly made himself an object of ridicule over the last year or so.

      I’ve had the displeasure of seeing Harrison fight twice on television and both times I found myself listing from sleep. Even so, there is the possibility Haye may turn the fight into something exciting if he comes out bombing.

      Klitschko has many achievements under his belt and should earn respect merely by winning and from coming back from some embarrassing defeats. But the man has enough skill and power to put on some entertainment once in a while between the ropes. He chooses not to, despite the fact that much of his competition is overmatched.

      I agree with you that Haye/either Klitschko appears remote. If Haye can continue to generate so much publicity and make big paydays against lesser foes, then, like many American headliners, he will. What is the incentive for him, if he keeps getting paid like royalty?

      You know, these days I would settle for the best vs. a decent/capable fighter once in a while. In America, at least, there are too many 10-1 fights shown on HBO, etc. I would settle for fights that are 3-1 or 4-1. Because so many fighters are being overpaid by networks who do not have boxing consultants on their rosters, it is much easier to avoid challenges than it used to be when the only way to generate money was via live attendance.

      I think fighters are injured more often outside of the ring because they simply don’t fight often enough and their bodies become unused to the rigors of training. There are headliners in America who fight twice a year even though they are only in their 20s. It’s absurd, of course, but that’s how it is these days when most fighters are sitting around hoping to get a call from HBO.

  • funkybadger

    This kind of backlash almost makes me feel sorry for Haye though, almost:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/10/the-rise-of-rape-talk

    The wierd thing is, he is quite funny/personable when he’s not in-character. The less said about the fight with Audley the better though.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Funkybadger,

      The Guardian article was pretty interesting, but I wonder why it never mentions Sarah Silverman. Also, the author uses her own words carelessly by referring to Haye as “the world heavyweight champion.” Anyway, Haye is a prizefighter, not an Oxford Don. That’s no excuse, but he probably doesn’t feel the need for elevated discourse in boxing and he understands how tactlessness sells. And he’s right….

      Harrison is a bore and I wonder if this fight is “big” enough for people to complain that he doesn’t deserve it?

  • martin

    “But he has never been particularly exciting over that stretch, and HBO–citing the fact that they are not C-Span, threw him overboard for his cautious approach.”

    Nice.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      I try, Martin, I try!

  • funkybadger

    Hi Carlos,

    Thanks for the response. I can’t blame haye too much, if he knows anything, he knows how to sell (and he does know a fair bit more than that). A shame that far more deserving fighters – Froch for example who at least has fought the opponents he can find for the last 3 years – don’t get nearly as much coverage. {Froch doesn’t help himself, not least with his move to Monaco, but Harrison/Haye doesn’t even come close to the potential of Abraham/Froch).

    For all the boredem he generates, I can’t help but think of Audley as the one that got away. Its easy to forget, but he could have been the best, really, he’s as big as the Klithsckos, and a better boxer to boot. Frustrating…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2010/sep/07/audley-harrison-david-haye

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Funkybadger,

      You’re welcome. I usually respond to comments, although I’m not so prompt sometimes since I don’t have any kind of mobile device/gadget. Also, sometimes I get burned out on cyberspace; that’s why I often go days without updating TCS.

      I agree with you on Haye being conscious about the fact that bad taste sells tickets. He may very well be a lot smarter than he lets on, too. I read a long interview with him in Ring Magazine a while ago, and Haye certainly seems an intellectual cut above the average boxer. It’s funny, though, Froch also has a tendency to blabber. He’s a cocky fellow, no doubt, but I like him (although I’ve run him down a few times as well) because he gets in the ring with much better fighters. From what I understand, the British public is down on him somewhat…if he beats Abraham, however, he’ll get all the positive attention he wants.

      Nice work by Kevin Mitchell, a fine writer, on Harrison. I read Jacobs Beach by Mitchell not too long ago, in fact. Anyway, I remember when Harrison first came on the scene and I was reading about him all the time in Boxing Monthly. Things certainly haven’t gone as well for him as expected. He has very good southpaw skills and fast hands, but, as Mitchell notes, he doesn’t seem to be fully engaged sometimes. Poor infighting skills, an iffy defense, and inconsistency have also cost him dearly…none of his losses have been to elite fighters, and, to be honest, none of his wins have either. Against Haye, he’ll have the chance to make everyone forget his strange odyssey.

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