“Boxing: Funny the Way It Is”


By Jason Pribila: Due to some scheduling conflicts and a battle with the worst cold I’ve experienced since the “Blizzard of ‘94”, I have been away from live boxing and more importantly my laptop for too long. Fortunately, fellow boxing scribes have kept me entertained by reporting the buzz that will shape the sport’s second half of 2009. Some of the headlines got me prematurely excited, some made me scratch my head, while others made me laugh. When I decided it was time to voice my opinion, I found myself staring at a blank Word Doc. Luckily I found inspiration from an old, familiar source. The Dave Matthews Band released their eighth studio album, and their first single, “Funny the way it is”, provided me with the vehicle to deliver my take on boxing’s hottest topics.

It’s funny the way it is that “Sugar” Shane Mosley had to send out his own press releases regarding a possible showdown with Manny Pacquiao. For years, the Golden Boy Promoters have reminded me of a Ted McGinley led fraternity. As a Mosley fan, I was initially upset with the pairing because it severely damaged any hopes of there ever being an “Oscar vs Shane III”. As time went on, I grew more frustrated because I felt like “the boss” held the welterweight division hostage while hand-picking opponents, while Mosley was forced to go about his business fighting whomever was left. Oscar was the box-office king, and he deserved to make the biggest fights possible; however, his retirement coupled with Mosley’s victory over Antonilo Margarito should have left Shane in the “GBP” driver’s seat. That has not happened.

When Floyd Mayweather Jr. came out of retirement his path to big fights ran through Golden Boy Promotions. Mayweather did sign a five fight deal with Golden Boy, but his initial fight will take place against Juan Manuel Marquez. While I don’t have a problem with the match-up, I do have a problem with Golden Boy Promotions allowing Floyd to call the shots. This is the guy that retired rather than facing Oscar in a rematch of the richest PPV fight in history. But now, all seems to be forgiven. Mayweather claims he’s fighting Marquez because Juan “called him out”, but then turns a deaf ear to Mosley’s drum banging.

Earlier this week Golden Boy Promotions CEO, Richard Schaefer, explained to Maxboxing.com that Mosley only wanted big fights: Pacquiao, Mayweather, or Cotto. He then went on to say that he told Shane, “Look, alternatively, HBO would love to have you back against either an Andre Berto or against a Paul Williams.”

Mosley wants to make the biggest fights, and gets offered a middleweight. Thanks, Partner.

It’s funny the way it is that Mosley offered to move below the welterweight limit to face Pacquiao at a catch-weight. He even agreed to a 40/60 split. While some have justifiably suggested that these concessions make Mosley look desperate, I applauded the fact that a Hall of Famer would put his ego aside in order to make the fight that he wanted. I just wonder if having those percentages attached to his name will backfire when he enters divorce court.

It’s funny the way that Top Rank Promoter, Bob Arum squashed the rumors that Mosley and Pacquiao agreed to fight in October. All along, Arum expressed his interest to match stable mate Miguel Cotto against Pacquiao, assuming Cotto is victorious against Joshua Clottey on June 13th. Arum also said that there would not be a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather in 2009.

Arum told the Los Angeles Times, “Why would I eliminate options? It could be Mosley, or it could be Cotto, Mayweather Jr., Marquez or (Edwin) Valero. They’re all in the mix.”

This is why Arum is still the best in the business. He not only keeps the importance of the Cotto – Clottey fight intact, but he also holds all the cards in future negotiations by adding Mayweather’s name to the mix. Not that anyone would suggest that Arum would use Mayweather’s name as a negotiating tool.

It’s funny the way it is that only six weeks after showing up to a press conference sporting a t-shirt with the image of himself holding the decapitated heads of Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, that David Haye is now looking for a favor. Forced to pull out of his June 20th title challenge against Wladimir due to a back injury, Haye had his manager, Adam Booth, make a plea to Team Klitchko.

“David will be ready to step into the ring on July 11. It looks like there will be only a three week delay from the original date, which hopefully means that Wladimir will only postpone the fight rather than cancel it.”
Mate, when you choose to wear funny t-shirts to press conferences you forfeit your right to ask for a favor. At this point you should just be thankful that when you wake up on the morning of June 21, you will have gone to sleep voluntarily.

Funny the way it is that the WBA believes that the heavyweight division consists of only three fighters: Nikolai Valuev, Ruslan Chagaev, and John Ruiz. When I was asked to submit my pick for last week’s canceled rematch between Valuev and Chagaev, I wrote, “Valuev, Chagaev, Ruiz, oh my”, and chose Chagaev to win with the hopes that it would prevent a trilogy.
The whole mess reminds me of the way comedian Dennis Miller once described a “2 for 1” sale at a bad clothing store, “Hey folks, two of (crap) is still (crap), and if they really wanted to (screw) ya, they would give you three.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Prib Notes:
While I was disappointed to hear that welterweight prospect Mike Jones had to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Larry Mosley this Saturday in Atlantic City, I’m still anxious to hear the results from two other interesting bouts on the card.

Jones’ stable mate, Teon Kennedy has been elevated to the main event and he will take on the always tough Lucian Gonzalez. Also contending for fight of the night honors will be undefeated middleweights, Latif Mundy and Patrick Majewski. For ticket information please go to www.peltzboxing.com.
I have confirmed that boxer Dmitriy Salita and director Jason Hutt will attend a screening of “Orthodox Stance” at the Southside Film Festival in Bethlehem, PA on Thursday June 18, 2009. The documentary follows Dmitriy’s career path from prospect to contender, while remaining devoted to Orthodox Judaism. For more information on the film and screening times please visit www.ssff.org.

It has been a while since I have gone to see a comedy on its opening night in theaters, but the chance to see former heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson jamming to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” on the big screen, guarantees “The Hangover” will have my ten dollars to add to its box office total.
June 5, 2009

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