10 & Counting: Hopkins & HBO, Saul Alvarez, Donaire-Moreno, Bam Bam Rios, The Mexican-Filipino “Rivalry”

What is it about this guy that makes you drool?

****

HBO gets pummeled often, and rightly so, but reports that the beleaguered network is looking to sign 46-year-old Bernard Hopkins to a three-year contract calls for more than just a mere pummeling for the dynamic duo of Davis & Greenburg.

How stupid is it to sign an ancient fighter who has never been a ratings magnet to an exclusive contract? Hopkins has had over 20 years—since before Twin Peaks and grunge—to develop a following or television ratings. Twenty years!!! The Pyramids of Giza, according to reruns on the History Channel, took less time to build—successfully, one might add—than it has taken Hopkins to try to become a solid gate attraction. Of course Pascal-Hopkins II will take place in Canada. This is where so-called “P-4-P” Americans have to go to hear the sounds of a turnstile in motion for the first time in their lives: Hopkins, Timothy Bradley, Chad Dawson. Look for Andre Berto to head North any day now in hopes of seeing a crowd for once.

Why HBO keeps rewarding Golden Boy Promotions, the most hapless outfit to see the boxing light of day since Murad Muhammad dropped out of sight, in strange ways is inexplicable. Richard Schaefer and company could ruin a perfectly good ostrich farm just by stepping foot on it.

As for Hopkins, his three-fight HBO contract—contingent on defeating Pascal—is no doubt another feeble attempt to court the diminishing African-American demographic. Do Mexicans, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Polynesians, etc. want to see boring, overpaid, safety-first, dispassionate fighters? Of course not. Everyone wants to see exciting fights regardless of race, age, ethnicity, denomination, and political affiliation. African-Americans want action, drama, charisma, and blood, too, just like any other demographic. Pushing Devon Alexander, Chad Dawson, and Bernard Hopkins is not going to make any new fans among any select group. Period.

****

Inspired by the insipid self-referential ego tripping of RingTV.com (this link is a masterpiece of masturbatory boxing pseudo-journalism), The Cruelest Sport will write about itself more often. First, The Cruelest Sport congratulates itself on being able to write about Brandon Rios without using the hackneyed phrase “A Star is Born” or the word “star” or any variations of the word “star.” The Cruelest Sport also congratulates the Sole Editor, Carlos Acevedo, for going the entire month of February without writing a throw-away article on Manny Pacquiao. The Sole Editor of The Cruelest Sport does not chase Penny Clicks.

****

When Gary Shaw drew a reported 6,000 fans to the nondescript Antonio DeMarco-Reyes Sanchez bout held in, of all places, Grand Island, Nebraska, on Saturday night, he actually succeeded in achieving what promoters of every stripe all over the world live for: a paying audience. Unfortunately, this particular feat is reminiscent of a tramp stumbling across a winning lottery ticket in a cornfield. Yes, Shaw drew possibly the biggest crowd ever for one of his shows by a force mankind has no control over: sheer chance. And no, a few locals on the UNICEF undercard had nothing to do with it. Good work, Gary, try Butte, Montana, next time.

****

Carlos Acevedo, Sole Editor of The Cruelest Sport, is thinking about changing the font on TCS. He is trying to decide between American Typewriter and Baskerville Old Type. The Sole Editor might put up a poll to see what readers of The Cruelest Sport and Fansided think. Other font options include Rockwell, Palatino, and Herculanum. Carlos Acevedo is also thinking about starting some sort of voting panel to rank each font by strength.

****

Matthew Hatton joins a slew of undistinguished opponents to be paraded on HBO over the last couple of years when he faces Saul Alvarez on Saturday night. Hatton, along with Harry Yorgey, Freddy Hernandez, Bryan Vera, and Brian Minto, may be what some taxonomically challenged may refer to as a “fringe contender,” but the truth is, he belongs on the fringes of American television. As for Alvarez, his strange allure continues to mystify. At this point, as bizarre as it sounds, it seems that Alvarez has become such a buzzword simply because of the fact that he is…he is…a redhead! Boxing fans, on the whole not the most sophisticated bunch (TCS just lost countless readers), but, really, is it that important that Alvarez is a redheaded Mexican with freckles?

****

In other news, Carlos Acevedo decided not to update his P-4-P ratings in February because he is waiting for some big fights to take place in the next few weeks that may “shake up” the rankings. In fact, Carlos Acevedo, The Sole Editor of The Cruelest Sport, is specifically waiting for the outcome of the Del Ray “Rainmaker” Raines versus TBA bout scheduled for March 19 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. This fight is important because Carlos Acevedo is thinking of vaulting the winner into the TCS “P-4-P” ranks. Acevedo, in an effort to be as self-regarding as other websites, will now update his “P-4-P” ratings every 20 minutes and make important announcements about TCS rankings as often as possible.

****

Brandon Rios may not be the star he has been alleged to be, but he will remain undefeated a little while longer if his first “title” defense comes against geriatric Marco Antonio Barrera. This is a stomach-churning bout on paper, and Bob Arum ought to hold it in the biggest vomitorium he can find.

****

Nice to see that some media members finally discovered the so-called Mexican-Filipino rivalry (Hi, Michael Rosenthal!) after years. It would be nicer if someone had the insight to point out that this rivalry is manufactured and has more to do with economics than anything else. That can be said about 90 percent of what happens in boxing, of course, and it is no different here. Both Mexico and the Philippines are boxing mad countries. When a promoter gets an HBO date or a Showtime date, he can effectively triple his television revenue by matching a Filipino and a Mexican (or including prominent fighters from each country in separate bouts) and getting foreign broadcast rights. This cannot happen when, say, Devon Alexander fights Tim Bradley in Pontiac. Or whenever Golden Boy Promotions puts together one of its Fred Sanford junkyard cards subsidized by HBO and with hardly any rhyme or reason involved.

****

Muckrakers continue to decry the WBX and the machinations they used to make Alvarez-Hatton into a “WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP” fight. But they almost never mention the fact that this fight was “petitioned” for by the promoter (in this case, Golden Boy Promotions) and that both fighters were happy when they heard the news that some belt or other would be on the line. So the promoter, the fighters–and their managers–are happy, but the WBX are crooks and frauds? Again, the only way these sanctioning bodies stay in business is if they are paid by fighters and promoters. Without the active complicity of the boxing infrastructure, such as it is, Jose Sulaiman and his “Ratings Committee” would have to go out and buy squeegees for extra pocket money. And how about all those headlines declaring Brandon Rios a champion and prominently mentioning the WBA?

****

Anselmo Moreno has started woofing in the media for a fight against Nonito Donaire. His barking is senseless, since it will prove impossible to eat a Milkbone without teeth. With any luck, Moreno will sign with Golden Boy Promotions, reportedly interested in the Panamanian titleholder. Since they are underwritten by HBO, Golden Boy offers outrageous contracts to fighters and can make all sorts of ridiculous moves without fear of consequences. Moreno is better off getting on the GBP Money Train before it’s too late.

****

Friday night was Massacre Central on television as each main event was over in one or two rounds on Telefutura, ESPN2, and Telemundo. So long as the same people keep watching this crap, it will continue. The Sole Editor of The Cruelest Sport, Carlos Acevedo, rarely wastes his time on this kind of drivel. On the plus side, however, Freddie Norwood will be fighting on ESPN2 next week.

****

Follow The Cruelest Sport on Twitter & Facebook and follow a website that is 100% incendiary, harsh, acerbic, snarky, enraged, negative, critical, whatever.

Topics: Anselmo Moreno, BERNARD HOPKINS, Brandon Rios, Gary Shaw, GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS, Jean Pascal, Matthew Hatton, Nonito Donaire, RingTV, Saul Alvarez

Want more from The Cruelest Sport?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • carlos512

    Anselmo “Chemito” Moreno is a nice, humble, simple person, not the big mouth that you are trying to portray here, Carlos

    You say “Anselmo Moreno has started woofing in the media for a fight against Nonito Donaire. His barking is senseless…”

    I resent that its not how he is. Chemito Moreno is a quite kid who hardly talks at all!

    He won the WBA world bantamweight title in Germany against an undefeated powerhouse Wladimir Sidorenko on his prime.

    And has made 8 successful defenses. And he never talks or brags at all.

    He is not doing that right now either. Anselmo just said what a confident champion should say, or do you expect him to say “oh yes, Nonito is James Cameron the King of the world and i have absolutely no chance to win”? is that what you expect?

    Fyi, Chemito says that he respects and was impressed by Donaire.

    But note the fact, that Montiel was very static, unable to move at all, Kochulito even lowered his guard against a much faster opponent. Moreno does not do that.

    See his video against Sidorenko. He fought him 2 times. and you will see that Moreno moves (not runs!) moves. The art of boxing is offence and defence, isn’t it?

    Isn’t Sidorenko so static as well, same as Montiel?

    And by the way, the Sidorenko that fought Nonito was not the sampe undefeated world champion that fought Moreno back in 2008.

    After the two fights with Moreno, Sidorenko went into 15 months inactivity wondering if he would ever return to boxing. He was just resurrected for a preparatory fight in his native Ukraine for a fiht with Donaire for an unknow bs title WBC Continental Americas. Continental Americas? Sidorenko is an Ukranian, living in Kiev.

    Sidorenko was the perfect opponent for Donaire. rusty and static like a zombie. Well done Bob Arum.

    About Moreno, Yes, Chemito is not a puncher. He is a stylist. the classical boxer. That is his style, the one that took him to win the world championship. So should he try to change it just to accomodate you?

    If Nonito and Bob Arum do not like Moreno or think he is a worthless oppponent, they why bother to have a fight fight with him.

    As you could infere, my points are two. One Moreno is not any mayweather or mayorga. Moreno does not “bark” stupid things in the media. On the contrary, he is respectful, humble and friendly.

    Carlos you are the one barking stupidities, honestly. you should ask yourself when has Moreno acted that way?

    Second, Moreno is a good fighter with a classic style that could be boring, but its effective and his hand has risen victorios in world title fighs against very hostile crowds all over the world, including Düsseldorf, La Guaira, Hérault, Ciudad de Panama, Poitiers, Port-au-Prince, Bremen, and more

    Dont you count him out just yet. Remember that not long ago an unknow fighter like South African Mhtalane gave Donaire a big scare in Las Vegas and i was there to see (while Donaire was booooed by the Mexican crowd at the Mandalay Bay).

    Donaire did not look too good at all against a second class fighter like Panamanian Rafael Concepcion. And Concepcion does not have half the boxing talent and athelicism that Anselmo Moreno has

    In conclusion, do not say that Anselmo moreno barks in the media. That is not true. How dare you? Did you interview him to say shuch a lie? No right? So, you should apologize. And finally, Moreno is a worthy opponent, he is a super champion in the WBA organization, a good, discipline, fast fighter willing to score a win.

    Roberto Duran said one time when he was a lightweight champion: “no one is invincible”

    Certainly nonito donaire is not.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Carlos512:

      you got this one, buddy. I’m not the kind of writer who always pretends he is right or who will come up with some silly semantic argument just to obfuscate.

      For the record, some of Moreno’s quotes can be found here: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/sports/03/02/11/panama%E2%80%99s-moreno-raring-go-vs-donaire

      As for the other points, it is just an opinion that Donaire will beat Moreno easy, and, likewise, your estimation of the fight is also an opinion, open to debate.

  • johnpaulfutbol

    CA,

    Let me also congratulate you! Great work! I really like the idea of a P4P list for fonts, I don’t however…like the idea of being subjected to more Hopkins’ fights. Congrats on also being a trendsetter…seems that others are following your lead on the mismatches etc.

    Not really sure what the deal is with Alvarez either, except the novelty of watching the white cholo from the movie “Colors” box.

    If I can’t watch Hagler fight anymore, I guess I’ll have to make due with “Lil’ Hagler.” Didn’t realize Norwood was still fighting.

    Your suggestion that I listen to some Bathory cd’s has sent me down a rabbit hole that I still haven’t found my way out of yet…..congrats again!

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi JPF,

      Thanks for the congrats, but, really. I think I’ll handle that from now on. Everybody else is self-congratulating, so why can’t I?

      Well, I don’t know about being a trendsetter, but I know someone has actually stolen the name of one of my columns!

      Alvarez, I guess, is a decent fighter…but does he really need to be on RingTV every half hour? Let the man beat someone of note before everybody goes crazy..On the other hand, the public has spoken–at least in Mexico–and they love redheads. I do too, by the way: Christina Hendricks, Julianne Moore, Alicia Witt, and Squeaky Fromme.

      A rabbit hole is the last place you want to be with Bathory, man….it’s dark down there and the music is scary. Get out as fast as you can!

  • timfromia

    Hi Carlos
    Excellent piece, thank you. Get ready for more talk of Alvarez’s hair this weekend. And, to quote Merchant just before the opening bell with Baldomir, “Alvarez is an unusual looking Mexican”………I have a 10 year old nephew who i the Rio Grande Valley who is a dead ringer for Alvarez. I haven’t had the heart yet to tell the little fella he isn’t “typical looking” for a Mexican. Oh, man, you cant make this stuff up….
    All the best,
    Tim

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Tim,

      thanks very much for the kind words. There’s no telling what people will latch onto these days to overrate a fighter, but, hey, it’s good for the boxer…I remember how Ray Robinson got strange write-ups just because of his name. No one seemed to notice he couldn’t fight all that well. Off the top of my head, I can only think of a few prominent red-headed fighters: pitiless Ace Hudkins, the Lopez brothers–Danny and Ernie–Chuck Davey, and Oscar Rankins.

      Maybe you should get your nephew to watch the fight…then he can see his double in action in the ring. It might be fun for him…unless, of course, the fight is a stinker…

  • nealo

    Hi Carlos
    Completely agree with your comments on Hopkins. How can HBO be considering that Hopkins is going to bring in the viewing figures at this stage of his career when he has singularly failed to do so to date. Unless they are banking on the curiosity factor of seeing a man in his late forties fight at the highest level. You cannot detract from Hopkins achievements and he remains a great ring technician but he is not going to attract new fans and drag boxing out of its current state of irrelevance to many sports fans.
    I heard on the radio this morning that Hatton’s camp are threatening to pull out of the Alvarez if the weight limit is 154. Has the light middle limit not always been 154!! but they say they have a contract for the fight to be 150. What a farce, it completely demeans the sport when championships are fought at a ‘catchweight’ to accomodate a certain fighter. The only time i had previously heard of a catchweight contest was in the 70′s watching Jim Brakes and Mark ‘Rollerball’ Rocco on Saturday afternoon World of Sport wrestling but now it seems to be rife in boxing. Pulling out for Hatton would seem to be completely stupid as i cant see him getting such a high profile opportunity again, but hey, this is boxing.
    I am not sure where Hatton and Alvarez are ranked but what happened to the concept of No.1 contender. In the past it seemed you earned a title shot by working your way up the rankings, I remember watching Tony Sibson fight for No1 contender and it was a big event. These days getting a title shot seems to have more in common with the WWE than any actual in ring achievement. What with rival promoters, Top Rank and Golden Boy, refusing to have their fighters actually fight each other, the ranking system seems to be drifting into disrepute.
    As for Rios – Barrera and Maidana – Morales, this seems to be a perfect example to any other sport of how to misuse what little exciting talent is available.
    Anyway I’m boring myself now with all this negavity.
    Bring back Randall ‘Tex’ cobb.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Neal,

      thanks for writing.

      I can’t understand the Hopkins deal at all, unless, as you noted, HBO bills him as the Fighting Fossil…maybe they do think the novelty of his age will attract viewers, but, really, he’s been old for a pretty long time now. I think he’s a physical and athletic marvel, but the money HBO is blowing down the drain for dull fighters is absurd. I’m going to have to root for Pascal when they fight.

      The entire Alvarez-Hatton fight–and everything surrounding it–is completely mind-boggling. I think even if Alvarez shows up at 160, Hatton will fight. All that training and travel, and the fact that he would probably never be on HBO again, would be too much to suffer. I don’t believe he belongs on HBO, but I’m glad Hatton has a big money opportunity after nearly 50 fights as a pro. Alvarez has been campaigning at this made-up weight for a while now, and it’s absurd. I can understand Pacquiao and Margarito fighting under similar circumstances because Pacquiao generates $60-70 million per fight and he’s still a former flyweight. But Alvarez is nobody special, despite the obsession with his red hair. He has fought some very poor opposition over the last year or so and still he’s manufactured to be some sort of star. It’s just another wasted date on HBO to me.

      I remember Sibson–they used to show his fights in America. Not only did he have to earn his title shot, but when he got it, he had to face Marvin Hagler! Sibbo losing to Hagler is more of an accomplishment that most guys winning “world” championships. Then I recall him coming back to the States soon after and destroying Irish John Collins. The sanctioning bodies are ridiculous–and I can’t match a single fighter to the belt he owns–but they are aided by networks, promoters, and managers. The fighters are also happy to fight for these trinkets because it means a pay raise if they manage to win one. Years ago, you could make a good living being a contender and even a clubfighter. Now, they only way for many fighters to make $50,000-$100,000 is to fight for an alphabet title.

      Barrera and Morales deserve better than to be fed to the wolves, but that’s boxing for you. Younger fighters will come along to beat on rickety veterans with faded names because promoters feel that recognition value among general boxing fans is important. It’s because there are few attractions for people to recognize that the older ones are put in the position of being seriously hurt. I won’t be watching either fight, however, I’ll tell you that. But too many people will order it anyway and perpetuate the same sick narratives in the future. My God, we’re both on a roll tonight/today…..