What is it about this guy that makes you drool?

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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

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