10 & Counting: Trash TV, Pacquiao-Jones, Alexander-Matthysse, Saul Alvarez, Adrien Broner & More

****

“Top Rank Live” has apparently decided to go into the same business—procuring anatomical specimens—as Solo Boxeo and Fight Night Club. Last week, Zanfer Promotions dug up Eddy Zuniga, 7-5, to face bruising junior flyweight titleholder Giovanni Segura and called the farce a main event. This pathetic mismatch was a headline bout in the same way www.theboxingtribulation.com calls what it does “writing.” The result was a predictable first-round KO. Tomorrow night we get to see Mike Jones pull the arms and legs off of Raul Munoz, a Topeka circuit fighter who has not beaten an opponent with a winning record since his pro debut in 1995. This is a fight no one with any kind of conscience or taste ought to be supporting, and no commission-least of all the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission—should allow it to take place. Unless Jones decides to carry Muniz, this is another first or second round blowout waiting to happen. Golden Boy Promotions, whose chief carnecero, Eric “MakeAGore” Gomez, seems almost congenitally incapable of making a competitive matchup on anything other than a premium network, joins the fun by airing powerpunching James Kirkland against hapless Dennis Sharpe tonight on Telefutura. Somebody bring a Catherine Wheel into the ring. Sharpe, 17-7-4 has been featured on TCS before: Wizards of Gore: TV Boxing That Drips Blood!

No matter what promises a promoter makes when a new television deal is signed, in the end, these shows always wind up being worthy of CSI treatment.

*****

Bob Arum recently mentioned Jones as a possible future victim for Manny Pacquiao. This is a relatively cheap way to earn publicity for Jones, whose anonymity outside of Philadelphia is palpable. Arum knows that in a climate where even the most picayune occurrence gets as much attention as the Warren Commission Report did in 1964, linking Jones with Pacquiao is free internet PR, and Jones has probably added a few viewers to his cynical exhibition tomorrow night. But, no, Jones is unlikely to be facing Pacquiao any time soon.

****

According to some sources, over 30 million households in Mexico watched Saul Alvarez take apart veteran Ryan Rhodes on Saturday night. This is nothing short of astonishing and Alvarez is a cultural phenomenon whose moneymaking magic almost ensures selective matchmaking in the future. But this is how boxing works—bona fide attractions get some leeway in their choice of opponents.

Even so, Alvarez looked impressive in scoring a 12th-round TKO over Rhodes. Referee Hector “Snafu” Afu intervened when he saw the Rhodes corner preparing to lob the white towel of surrender into the ring. Alvarez, who led from wire to wire, completely shut Rhodes down, and the veteran Yorkshireman was simply at a loss as to how to deal with the nifty moves in front of him. Alvarez does a lot of things many fighters no longer bother doing: he feints regularly, tosses decoy shots, and creates openings by throwing almost exclusively in combination. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., to whom Alvarez is often compared, is light years behind Alvarez technically, and Bob Arum is simply talking out of the corner of his mouth when he says he would match Chavez with Alvarez right away, if possible. Thankfully for Chavez, “if possible” is boxing speak for “are you fucking kidding me?”

*****

It looks like Sergio Martinez will be taking on Darren Barker in October, with promoter Lou DiBella swearing that the fight will happen with or without HBO. That sounds like Showtime talk. If not, then it would be the hollowest threat uttered since Saddam Hussein promised the “mother of all battles” after invading Kuwait. Like his new cohort Gary Shaw, DiBella is little more than a booking agent for HBO, and his resources are as limited as the vocabulary of boxingtribulation.com. Martinez is not going to fight on HD Net, Lou, and Epix is not going to be shelling out enough of a fee worth skimming off the top from in exchange for you making the sure the ring has four posts. Keep letting HBO yank hard on the leash. The latest news seems to be that HBO has approved Barker. DiBella no doubt heaved a sigh of relief when he realized he would not be called on his bluff—the threat of actually being a promoter.

*****

Shaw and DiBella, who recently figured out that Puerto Ricans like boxing, teamed up a couple of weeks ago, like Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, to showcase a slew of Puerto Rican “prospects” at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City, and hardly anyone, Puerto Rican or otherwise, gave a damn. If you removed industry types, entourages, janitors, security guards, and those blessed with press credentials, Roseland would have been practically empty two nights in a row. Even in the 1990s, when Madison Square Garden Boxing was scheduling one human sacrifice after another, the Felt Forum averaged around 2,000 fans per show on a monthly basis. DiBella and Shaw were lucky if they got half that combined for both of his Roseland shows.

But DiBella has never worried about crowds or the quality fights that might attract them. His “Broadway Boxing” series, which introduced The Cruelest Sport to the sight of pugs entering the ring draped by Spider Man beach towels, has never been more than a boxing Body Farm, and that same mentality follows DiBella, whose undercards rank with apartment wrestling for quality, no matter who he plays booking agent for—HBO, Showtime, ESPN, you name it. To make matters worse, DiBella is always ready to whine about the status quo in boxing, so long as he is not the beneficiary of it. In the meantime, this two-headed coin cannot be bothered to print a flyer for one of his shows, whose odd reputation has been built by cyber-shills looking for press passes and by writers who apparently attended their first live fight in 2008.

*****

The HBO tripleheader airing tomorrow night is a grab bag of mediocrity. In the main event, Devon Alexander gets rewarded for playing pattycake and footsie (often simultaneously) with Tim Bradley last January in an Ambien unification bout. Naturally, he receives a $1 million purse and a headline slot against Lucas Matthysse in a “comeback” fight, one ripe for the usual “redemption” headlines. For his part, Matthysse seems to have impressed everyone with a punching style modeled, apparently, on that of a man playing table hockey.

Tavoris Cloud, who actually deserves exposure because of his bruising style, gets to abuse Yusaf Mack, last seen waltzing 12 dreary rounds with Otis Griffin. Before that, Mack played stuntman for Glen Johnson, getting bounced around the ring from one side to the other and once again blaming a KO loss on some sort of malaise. Mack has talent, but these days he is merely a retread, and a frail one at that.

Incredibly, the third bout features Ray Austin, exactly what consumers who pay monthly subscriptions want from a premium channel. The only way Ray Austin belongs on HBO is if he is handling the spit bucket for one of the fighters. Otherwise, his presence on any “Heart and Soul of Boxing” telecast is a cruel joke, no matter who his opponent is.

As a public service, TCS would like to remind everyone of some of the names that have appeared on HBO over the last six months and possibly in the future: Matthew Hatton, Sergei Dzinziruk, Paul McCloskey, Peter Manfredo, Akifumi Shimoda, Ryan Rhodes, Freddy Hernandez, Jesus Soto-Karass, Ray Austin, Lucas Matthysse, Bryan Vera, Yusaf Mack, Darren Barker, and Bermane Stiverne. On the one hand, it is no small thing for fighters to get paydays and exposure; few boxers make enough money to justify the hard work they put into even becoming journeymen. On the other hand, many of these boxers are simply not world-class, and many of them will never be more than one-shot steppingstones for HBO prodigal sons.

****

With a single, blistering right hand, Adrien Broner went from the media doghouse to the HBO penthouse. When Broner ambushed Jason Litzau in less than a round, he went a long way toward erasing the memory of his infernal tango against Daniel Ponce De Leon last March. His Gorgeous George routine will no doubt raise the hackles of many purists out there, but if Broner can keep scrambling neurons, he ought to be able to get away with it. Litzau, admittedly, is the easily scrambled type, but scoring vicious KOs against overmatched competition is a prerequisite to getting big fights and drawing a following. At least, theoretically.

*****
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Topics: Adrien Broner, Darren Barker, Gary Shaw, GOLDEN BOY PROMOTIONS, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Mike Jones, Saul Alvarez, SERGIO MARTINEZ

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  • johnpaulfutbol

    CA

    Is “10 & Counting” replacing “Sound & Fury,” or what? I’m still pissed at the disappearance of “Lateness of the Hour.” I got a bit of a laugh out of the Mike Jones thing. No way in hell that fight happens, but some people appeared to buy it. I’m hoping Bob Arum uses his new twitter acct for more stuff like this, sort of entertaining in it’s way. How people handle these cyber feints is a way of separating the wheat from the chaff, methinks.

    Canelo does some things well, I like the way he puts punches together, and he’s fun to watch. But take it easy on my new favorite Chavez Jr. As I told someone on twitter recently when I was spraying my cyber seltzer water around, Chavez is being sharpened like the edge of a really gnarly sword that is going to be plunged into the heart of Sergio Martinez eventually….they’re just taking their time getting there.

    DiBella is full of shit, a two headed coin is right! I’ll try to catch the Cloud fight this weekend, he comes to fight. But, I really have no desire to watch Alexander or Austin, truly awful. I pay way too much for my HBO subscription to watch “opponents” fight. What was the deal with that glove thing with Cloud when he fought Johnson? I might’ve already asked you that, if so..sorry.

    BTW, I should’ve known that was who boxingtribulation.com was. Creepy definitely describes him and his gang of officialblowjob.com rejects.

    Also! I sort of liked Catherine Wheel.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi JPF,

      Sound & Fury is supposed to be angrier than 10 & Counting, so I usually only write that when I’m worked up. Also, since it’s been ripped off by theboxingtribulation.com, I might have to start some new columns. Maybe bring back “Notes from the Underground…” Oh, wait, that title was ripped from me by boxingtribulation! Ooops….”Lateness of the Hour” had to go, because, in general, I think I spend too much time on the computer and cutting that makes it easier on my eyes.

      Arum is just trying to get some PR for a guy who couldn’t make news if he pole vaulted over the Verrazano Bridge. These days, internet chumps will write about anything….I mean, I understand the wanting to make penny click money, but what some sites will post is just absurd. I’ve been in this stupid internet biz for over 4 years now, and I know exactly what to do to get TCS ranked higher than 700,000 on Alexa…but I ain’t interested. I’ll let all the experts do that stuff.

      Ha! Man, I think your Chavez fixation is well worth pursuing. I expect he knocks Martinez out in three rounds…and if he doesn’t, I’ll just say the fight was fixed!

      DiBella–and I want to make this clear–is a nice guy. But he is a phony, like any other promoter, and his props are completely unearned. I paid to see about a dozen of his cards in NYC, and he drove me singlehandedly out of the East Coast boxing scene. Did you see his interview with Gabriel Montoya at Maxboxing a couple of weeks ago? My God, the man has no shame in his contradictoriness and hypocrisy, talking about how HBO lowers its standards (for other promoters), as if they didn’t lower them every four months for Berto and as if they didn’t lower them when they GAVE DIBELLA BLANK DATES as part of his severance package.

      Theboxingtribulation dude is, indeed, a creepy little fella. One of these guys who swears everyone is inferior to him and that he owns integrity, etc. According to him at one point the best sites are TCS, Bad Left Hook, TQBR, and Boricua Boxing. I have written for–or been asked to write for–every one of those other sites. I guess I don’t make the grade anymore, sniff.

      I had a Catherine Wheel CD once, but I can’t remember a thing about it. Not so with Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, and even Curve.

      • johnpaulfutbol

        CA,

        yeah, that in a nutshell is what bothers me about St. Lou. His schtick would probably get on my nerves regardless, but it’s the carte blanche he enjoys that puts it over the top for me.

        My Bloody Valentine! I saw Kevin Shields when he first toured with Primal Scream in 2000/2001….that fucker can make a racket….or perhaps I should say a “racquet.” I’m feeling continental, just had lunch at this French wine/cheese place in the Farmer’s Market today.

  • Dennis Wise

    Shit, I guess there was enough info in there to figure out who boxingtribulation.com is? Over my head.

    Its terrible watching Sergio Martinez’s time at the top getting wasted like this. Its a problem that there aren’t quality opponents for him at 160, but there is nothing being done to create a fan base for the dude. When he knocked out Williams, there was talk from his promoter of having him fight in SoCal where he maybe might sell tickets, but that appears to have been a joke. Southern California or Connecticut….either or I suppose.

    I like Alvarez and hope he has the talent to match his popularity. He seems like a better athlete than people give him credit for, while being less of a power puncher than hes given credit for.

    And I agree on Broner, if hes going to fight hard, I don’t care a whole lot about the Gorgeous George routine, or his James “The Grim Reaper” Roper entourage. I’m kinda skeptical that this becomes the norm.

    At this point in boxing, are there enough quality B sides to line up for Mike Jones and others? It seems like there are precious little B- level fighters today.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Dennis,

      don’t trouble yourself with theboxingtribulation.com. It’s just a third-rate site run by a phony, nasty little fella whose poor work doesn’t equal his grandiose claims. He started ripping off of TCS about a year ago and now I guess he’s developed some kind of complex about me.

      Sergio Martinez is definitely wasting his time and, worse, because his team is inept, they are now trying to get Martinez to be obnoxious in the press to get attention. All that trash talk of Pacquiao, the Nick Diaz thing, the tasteless remarks about JCC Jr.–all, it seems to me, a weak PR plan by a promoter who does not promote. Pacquiao almost never has a bad thing to say about an opponent, and JCC Jr., despite all of his detractors, was nothing but classy talking about Martinez. They need to put that m.o. to rest, since Martinez appears to be a genuinely nice guy. Seriously, without getting into P-4-P stuff or whatever, Martinez has everything a potential star needs–good looks, sunglasses, a flashy style, decent power, and the confidence to fight whomever at any time. There are over 50 million Latinos in America to build a fan base from, but somehow it just ain’t gonna happen with Sweet Lou, who thinks promoting means Tweeting to Dan Rafael. If they are trying to build Martinez in California that’s great, I guess, but California is predominantly Mexican-American and Mexican-Americans are already strongly represented in boxing. On the East Coast, there are far more South Americans, Dominicans, Central Americans, etc. They might want to try something around NY/NJ area, where there are tons of Latino outlets–radio, TV, newspapers, to choose from. It really isn’t brain surgery–book the guy on a radio show for fuck’s sake! Have him come out on specific days to do some PR work. Years ago, that’s what managers used to do all the time, but I guess that’s passe.

      I like Alvarez despite the relatively low level of comp he’s faced, and I expect he’ll improve significantly. Like you, I don’t think he hit that hard either, it took almost 12 full rounds of repetitive pounding to get Rhodes out of there, and Rhodes is not an Iron Man by any means.

      Yeah, there aren’t many competent lower-level guys these days. The reason for that, I suspect, is that a lot of the A-level guys are actually lower-level guys who have been so carefully matched that it creates an illusion of talent out there. A good, solid fringe contender is also much too dangerous for the walking investments of promoters and managers.

  • Michael Nelson

    I’m coming around on Alvarez’ talent. I still have questions about his chin that Rhodes didn’t provide enough resistance to answer, but he does show some craft in there. I don’t think he’s terribly exciting, though he hasn’t had much of a reason to be.

    • Carlos Acevedo

      Hi Michael,

      Rhodes didn’t try asking Alvarez anything last week…not even the time of day, but Alvarez fought well and decided to close the show when he realized a dull decision W was not going to make him look good. I like his mental make-up and his sangfroid in the ring and I think he’ll be fun to watch soon when he faces guys who are not completely outclassed and looking only to survive.