Yeah, this guy is more fun than many P-4-P poster boys.

Sound & Fury: Chavez Jr-Zbik, Donaire & P-4-P Lists, Mike Jones, & RingTV Exceeds Low Expectations

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(Welcome to another edition of Sound & Fury, the boxing column that blackens eyes and skips clichés. This week TCS takes a look at the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Sebastian-Zbik dustup, wonders how Gary Shaw had his way with Ross Greenburg, puts one cent in on the Nonito Donaire “P-4-P” debate, checks in on two Joneses–one a Machine Gun that misfires and another who is better suited to a pulpit than a microphone–and checks back in on RingTV, with odd results. )

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HBO is reportedly putting out the welcome mat for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sebastian Zbik in what many consider a peace offering to Bob Arum. Dan Rafael wrings his hands over the behind the scenes gerrymandering a few months ago that forced Lou DiBella to accept Sergei Dzinziruk as an opponent instead of Zbik.

Chavez Jr., lazy outside of the ring, is much-maligned by the press, but perspective about him has often been lacking. Unlike some of the real phonies in boxing, his career has not been underwritten—inexplicably—by a premium cable network for no discernible reason. Whatever he has managed to earn in his career has been strictly on a supply and demand basis. And, except for his woeful performance against Troy Rowland in 2009, Chavez Jr. is almost always entertaining. In addition, he is not skilled enough—or dedicated enough, perhaps—to blow out many fighters, which also brings up the fact that his bout with Zbik is an even matchup, and there is a good chance that Chavez Jr. will lose.

If HBO is going to air mediocre fights, it ought at least to broadcast ones people will watch. Chavez Jr. will draw 8,000 to 10,000 fans in Mexico, and, like his last fight, against Billy Lyell, will draw as many viewers as supposed “P-4-P” stalwarts.

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More disturbing is the story that HBO allegedly gave Dzinziruk the date with Martinez (skipping over Sebastian Zbik) as “payment” to Gary Shaw for delivering Tim Bradley as one half of the infamous Silverdome Stuporfight last month.

This is like Michael Corleone taking orders from Fredo.

Suspension of disbelief is a prerequisite to follow boxing, but this scenario is beyond comprehension. Instead of having Gary Shaw say “I will put Bradley in against Alexander if you give some dates to Sergei Dzinziruk,” the conversation might have been more realistic to have HBO brass say, “You will deliver Bradley, who cannot sell more tickets than a Medieval Times joust, or you can take your fighters–along with your collection of designer track suits–somewhere else.”

For a fight that produced roughly 1.4 million live viewers, paid attendance figures that are completely fictional, and a match so dull that it should be broadcast in sleep clinics throughout North America, HBO guaranteed the loser a big money comeback fight, poured millions into a licensing fee/marketing campaign for a guaranteed promotional disaster, and, to top it all off, are forced to air Sergei Dzinziruk against Sergio Martinez. Apparently, Al Haymon and Richard Schaefer are not the only ones who can bend Ross Greenburg over a barrel.

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Roy Jones Jr. often brings some insight into the action from his seat at ringside with HBO. But on the Donaire-Montiel telecast, Jones sounded more like Creflo Dollar than a boxing analyst. At one point he said it was “Christian faith” that was galvanizing Mike Jones in the ring. Even Harold Lederman was moved to comment on the “Christian Faith” angle. Then, when closing thoughts were offered on the HBO telecast, Jones Jr. began sermonizing about how God would decide how far Nonito Donaire goes. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we should all hope that this does not become a regular thing with Jones Jr. Pairing a preacher with a circus barker, Max Kellerman, will make for some very uncomfortable viewing in the future.

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Mike Jones has a new nickname—“Machine Gun—“but he hardly lived up to it against Jesus Soto Karass last Saturday night. Jones outpointed the tenacious Karass over 12 in a rematch of a close bout held last November. Karass, tough but limited, was hampered from the third round on by gory cuts and was lucky to see the final bell.

Jones throws some nice combinations now and then, but he is not the fighter the cheerleading squad thinks he is at this point. To begin with, his footwork is terrible and it is impossible to see how someone who crosses his feet, often steps with his back foot first, and lists like the Tower of Pisa half the time is going to be some future great. It says a lot about Andre Berto, “The Human Bermuda Triangle of Boxing,” that he would avoid someone as raw as Jones is.

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One of the more tiresome byproducts of Nonito Donaire atomizing Fernando Montiel is all the self-absorbed pound-for-pound claptrap spewed forth by a media crew constantly on the egotistical make. This is like a reporter for the New York Times citing his Fantasy League team every time the Knicks play. Dan Rafael, for example, devoted six paragraphs of his fight recap to “P-4-P” silliness. No other sport goes out of its way to hype an imaginary concept as if it were real. Why not mention Hippogriffs, Valhalla, Middle Earth, Kris Kringle, and Doctor Octopus as well? The Cruelest Sport, happily, also saw an unusual spike in readers for its own P-4-P rankings over the last couple of days.

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Golden Boy Promotions continues to serve its weekly slop of gruel in a rusty bucket when it airs, as a main event, undefeated Danny Garcia against 7-8 Jose Figueroa on the latest episode of So-Low Boxeo. Check SadisticBastards.com for broadcast times. Or you can read RingTV to get the latest soft pedal.

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Speaking of that hallowed institution, a few days ago The Cruelest Sport wondered about the strange air that surrounds RingTV, a website whose poor—and often biased—content does not measure up to its vaunted boxing “website of record” reputation. In order to confirm or refute suspicions, TCS has spent a little more time on the website. And the truth is, things look far worse than originally thought.

As of this writing–5 p.m. EST–the last five posts on RingTV.com are about Golden Boy Promotions. A post announcing that Cristian Favela will now be facing Jessie Vargas in the main event of the Fright Night Club “premiere–“ as if the world were waiting with collective bated breath for this woebegone series–is filled with shill talk.

From RingTV: “Favela (28-31-7, 18 KOs) is 1-1-5 in his last seven bouts, but four of the five losses (all of which were competitive) were to unbeaten prospects, including Abdullai Amidu, who had stopped 17 opponnets in 18 consecutive victories.”

Yes, Fischer misspelled “opponents” and also misstated Favela’s record over his last seven fights. It is 1-5-1.

Why does RingTV feel like it has to boost up the woeful career record of Favela? (Cristian Favela is 3-14-1 in his last 18 fights.) Why not just let facts speak for themselves? Instead of just saying that Favela has stepped in as a late substitute against Vargas—which would fall in line with the pseudo-journalistic pose RingTV often adopts–we have to read about how competitive Favela has been lately and how hard it was for GBP matchmakers to find a late stand-in over the weekend and the “national holiday.”

“It wasn’t easy finding a fighter willing to commit to the Feb. 24 date.” writes Doug Fischer. “For starters they only had a few days notice and Vargas, who is trained by Roger Mayweather, is (sic) punishing boxer-puncher.”

Boo hoo for Eric Gomez, aka “The Mortician,” if he has not gotten used to the 24/7 pitfalls of boxing. He would have a lot more headaches, believe it, if the most revered brand name in boxing did not also give him pedicures and bring him breakfast in bed.

Next, the headline for a puff piece on the Morales-Maidana mismatch is—and this is flabbergasting—“Better With Age (and a few pounds?)” Again, we need to be clear here: if this was a Top Rank fight, Michael Rosenthal would use all of his limited rhetorical skills to lambaste it. What we have, instead, is a shill-fest making excuses for how far Morales has slipped. The Cruelest Sport, known for its grimness, laughed out loud upon reading this gem:

“I fought Chavez, Hernandez, Barrera and Pacquiao in less that a year and a half,” Morales said. “Each fight was a hard 12 rounds.”

Is it any wonder he lost his next four bouts?

But things actually get worse over in the RingTV Wonderland. A few suspicious banalities among the thousands to be found there looked familiar for some reason. In fact, RingTV often looks like the official Golden Boy press releases printed on other websites without attribution.

Here is what Doug Fischer writes about the upcoming Garcia-Figueroa mismatch on Telefutura:

Figueroa (7-8-3, 3 KOs), a rugged 30 year old from Salinas, Puerto Rico, has been in tough battles with lightweight prospects Luis Ramos Jr. and Carlos Molina in his last two fights.

And here is the GBP press release:

….John Figueroa (7-8-3, 3 KO’s), a rugged 30-year-old who has been in tough battles with hot prospects Luis Ramos Jr. and Carlos Molina in his last two fights.

Here is what Fischer writes about Dion Savage (also on the card):

Savage…is a protégé of renowned trainer Roger Mayweather.

The GBP press release refers to Savage as:

A protégé of renowned trainer Roger Mayweather…

And, finally, here is Fischer on another fighter scheduled to appear on the undercard, Marco Antonio Periban:

Periban (10-0, 7 KOs), of Mexico city, is coming off of an 80 second knockout of normally durable spoiler Darnell Boone in December. Friday’s card will be his United States debut.

And here is GBP press release:

….Periban is coming off of an 80 second knockout of Darnell Boone last December, and now he’s ready to make his United States debut on February 25.

Either Fischer also doubles as press release factotum for GBP, or he likes to crib off of these publicity materials without shame. Both possibilities are troubling. Of course, other boxing journalists moonlight as copywriters for promoters and fighters, but none of them are as venerated or as pompous as the RingTV editors.

Forty percent of RingTV is Golden Boy puffery, 20 percent is anti-Top Rank bias, 20 percent is arrogant Ring self-referentiality (stuff about Ring ratings, Ring magazine previews, the Ring belt, Ring P-4-P nonsense, etc.), and the rest is made up of trite posts and mailbag windbaggery.

Why, exactly, should anyone consider RingTV the boxing website of record? Now before any slavish RingTV devotees pop their girdles, they should ask themselves this: Is there some merit to what you have just read? Or is it all just the incoherent rambling of a “hater?”

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Tags: Fernando Montiel Gary Shaw HBO Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Lou DiBella MAX KELLERMAN Mike Jones Nonito Donaire RingTV Roy Jones Jr. Sebastian Zbik SERGIO MARTINEZ

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