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Archive for the ‘Boxing’ Category

So Long, Thanks For The Memories, That Is, If You Can Remember Anything After That Hit. Wait, What Was I Talking About Again?

In Boxing on December 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm

By Jonathan Danielson

Juan Manuel Marquez did more than just knock out Manny Pacquiao Saturday night. He also delivered the final, lethal blow to the sport of boxing.

"Mommy, I dont want to ride the pony."

“Mommy, I dont want to ride the pony.”

A few months ago, after Pacquiao was robbed in a decision which gave Timothy Bradley the WBO title, and people were proclaiming boxing as officially over, I argued that the sport wasn’t actually dead, not yet at least, because a Pacquiao/Mayweather Jr. fight had yet to happen. Then, and only then, I argued, would boxing be allowed to ride off into the sunset while MMA took its rightful place as the premier fighting sport of the masses.

But then this weekend Marquez delivered a counter punch to end all the build up and hype of that potential matchup. In a single blow, he put the most famous (current) boxer on the planet face down on the mat, and in those moments when Pacquiao wife, in a scene stolen from Rocky, was screaming her husband’s name as she tried to push her way through the crowd, and we all sat in silence in our homes while officials put two fingers to Pacquiao neck to check for a pulse, and we wondered if Marquez’s counter actually killed a man right in front of our Paid-Per-Viewed eyes, the sport changed forever.

To great relief, Pacquiao turned out to be fine. The sport of boxing on the other hand, was not so lucky.

"Manny!"

“Manny!”

Besides Pacquiao, Marquez, and Mayweather Jr. (and technically Bradley, but that’s only because he was mentioned earlier in this article. He shouldn’t count as a nameable boxer, because people are more likely to refer to him as “The Guy Who Robbed Manny,” than knowing his actual name), name another boxer?

Now name some UFC fighters?

"Mission accomplished!"

“Mission accomplished!”

Boxing changed forever last weekend. After what happened, Mayweather might very well stop being a coward, and come to terms with Pacquiao. There might finally well be a Mayweather/Pacquiao fight, just as their might very well be a Pacquiao/Bradley 2, or Marquez/Mayweather or whatever. There might even be a Pacquiao/Marquez 5 (but if I’m Marquez, why would I ever agree to that?).

At that point though, does it even really matter?

It's like Star Wars, in that they should have stopped with all the sequels in the 80's.

It’s like Star Wars, in that they should have stopped with all the sequels in the 80’s.

Mayweather is a convict, Marquez’s victory is in question after alleged PED use (you’re 39 years old, and you naturally got more muscular and stronger?), and Pacquiao was TKO’ed. The unbeatable was beaten Saturday, and the last of the great names went down. There is no more unicorn to chase in the sport. There is no more mythical fights still to be fought. There are three names left (four, if you include Bradley, which you shouldn’t), and how long can we continually watch them beat on each other, and only each other, over and over again?

"Is that what it felt like in November, Honey? Honey? Mitt?"

“Is that what it felt like in November, honey? Honey? Mitt?”

The last of the great boxers were beaten Saturday, and why should anyone care anymore about three fighters who quickly are approaching their 40’s, as they try to punch each other (and considering how the preliminaries went Saturday, even that rarely happened), when we can watch an every changing lineup of legitimate contenders choke each other out, or roundhouse kick each other in the face, over on FOX?

The world’s attention is on MMA now, not boxing, and the pool of talent for boxing is quickly shrinking. Marquez knocked out Pacquiao on Saturday, but the UFC has had a stranglehold on boxing for a while. After the poster boy went down in Vegas, the sport also went down for the count.

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Coming Out Swinging

In Boxing on October 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm

On Saturday, boxer Orlando Cruz won his match against Jorge Pazos.

Earlier in the month, he announced he was gay, and in doing so, became the sport’s first openly gay boxer.

If it doesn’t get better, train like Orlando Cruz.

Cruz (19-2-1, nine KOs) is the fourth highest ranked featherweight in the World Boxing Organization (WBO). With his announcement, he also became one of the higher profile athletes currently active in their sport to reveal their sexual orientation. He revealed he was gay, and did so while participating in a sport that is infamous for its machismo and violence. It’s brutality and intolerance.

When you think of athletes of the past who broke down barriers, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson and Roberto Celemente instantly come to mind. Cruz isn’t in that kind of company yet, but that’s only because his career in no way matches those of Louis’s, Robinson’s or Clemente’s. Those men not only broke down barriers, but were champions of their sport.

But with Cruz’s victory comes an opportunity to perhaps participate in higher profile matches. And with higher profile matches, comes the chance to fight for a featherweight title. Think about this: Cruz has only lost twice in his professional career which began on December 15, 2000. In twelve years, he has only two loses and one tie, while racking up 19 victories to his name.

One day Cruz will fight for a title. He is a rising star in boxing, and is quickly becoming a hero in his native Puerto Rico, and while he’s already an inspiration for expressing who he is, when the day comes that he does fight for a belt, he will not just be an inspiration, but will become a legend.

And when that happens, you can tell your grandkids, “I remember when…”

Don’t Eulogize Boxing Quite Yet

In Boxing on June 13, 2012 at 9:57 am

Contrary to recent reports, boxing is not dead, despite the best attempts to kill it by the Pacquiao-Bradley decision.

“So many more people would care if I could just roundhouse-kick you in the face.”

Boxing isn’t dead. Not yet, at least. Not as long as people still hold a tiny glimmer of hope for the long overdue Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.

Because that’s where all this anger and resentment over Bradley ‘winning’ stems from. Yeah, people are rightfully steamed because the decision made the whole fight feel rigged (I mean, the WBO is finally investigating it, and even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is calling for a probe), but that’s just a minor detail to the larger picture.

Going into the Bradley fight, Pacquiao was undefeated for almost a decade. Not including whatever prison brawls he might face, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is undefeated during his professional career. It was supposed to be the battle of titans. The two giants of boxing in the waning days of the sport finally facing each other for ultimate supremacy.

But now there’s a tarnish on all that. It’s no longer as perfect as it could have been. Pacquiao lost to someone besides Mayweather, if he was even to lose to him at all. We feel robbed, not by the Bradley decision itself, but for its consequences. For its effect on a fight that almost happened in 2010, but, as long as Mayweather stays in jail, may never happen at all.

Because what incentive does Mayweather now have, after Pacquiao’s loss? As far as Mayweather’s concerned, he doesn’t need to prove anything anymore. Pacquiao lost, and Mayweather hasn’t, and there’s nothing more to talk about. Mayweather’s the champ. He can go on pretending to put himself above the hype, and not give in to it anymore. In fact, because of a domestic dispute, he’s now in jail and can’t train and his career might be over. Close curtain. End scene.

(Bit convenient isn’t it?)

But boxing still isn’t dead despite all of this. Not yet, at least.

Boxing fans have been told time-after-time that fights would never happen. That fighters are retired and will never return. That careers are over. That selling grills is all they want in life anymore.

“It sure beats getting punched in the teeth!!”

But there’s something funny about fighters. They keep fighting. And they keep coming back.

So, no matter who says what, or what decision tries to ruin the spectacle we all long to see, we still have hope that the one fight that needs to happen before MMA and the UFC finally puts the nail in boxing’s coffin, will still happen. We all might be a little older when it does, and the fighters not as good as they used to be, but we still hope to see it go down.

And hope is also a funny thing. Look at the fan-bases of the Chicago Cubs, Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia Eagles and Vancouver Canucks. Every year, they show up to their teams’ stadium or arena, and hope that this year is finally it. That they can finally see the one thing they’ve waited so long to see. It hasn’t yet, but that still hasn’t killed the hope, has it?

Boxing isn’t dead. No yet. There’s still one more fight before it finally is.

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