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17 APRIL 2014

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May Day Winners and Losers




By Jason Pribila: Each year the First Saturday of May is circled on my calendar. My unofficial start of summer always a full day of sports and spirits, and this year was no different. Festivities started with the annual running of the Kentucky Derby and ended with Floyd Mayweather Jr. breaking the news to Team Guerrero that their fifteen minutes of fame have expired.

 

Unfortunately the aftermath of May Day left me losing a battle with a cold and allergies, but fortunately the Claritan kicked in and my head is clear enough to take a look back at last weekend’s winners and losers.

 

Too Early To Tell:

 

Showtime PPV – In my opinion the first installment of the Mayweather experience was a big yawn. Floyd had not fought in a year and did two months in the cooler since he fought Miguel Cotto, so no one was expecting him to put himself in much danger in the first of a 6 fight deal. However, Showtime’s build up to the fight did nothing to ever present Guerrero as a threat. No matter the odds, HBO’s 24/7 always found a way to make the challenger seem destined to pull off the upset.

 

This is not entirely Showtime’s fault. Guerrero does not have much of a personality in front of the camera, and his Pops came from central casting for the WWE.

Several outlets reported that the PPV would come in under 1 million buys. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaeffer blasted those reports on Boxingscene.com and stated that the fight would indeed break 1 million buys.

 

Whatever the final number turns out to be, this is a six fight deal and one fight won’t make or break it. That being said, guaranteeing Mayweather $32 million to face Guerrero or any opponent without their own established fan base is financial suicide. If in fact Mayweather fights on September 14 a much better B-side needs to share the marquee.

 

What will determine if this deal ends up a failure or success is how the Mayweather deal will translate to new subscribers. How this exposure elevates the Showtime brand is more important than the final May Day numbers.


Losers:

 

6. Daniel Ponce De Leon: The 32-year old Mexican brawler was considered the bigger puncher when he faced his friend Abner Mares in the evening’s co-feature. De Leon was written off when he was KO-1 by Juan Manuel Lopez in 2008. However, the former Olympian worked hard to tighten up his defensive skills, while polishing his boxing skills. This is the same guy that took Adrien Broner to the final bell in a junior lightweight bout. Against Mares, however, he was out-boxed, out-punched, out-classed and eventually stopped in 9. It was not a great night for De Leon and it is clear that he has reached his ceiling.

 

5. J’Leon Love: Being a protégé of the Money Team has its advantages. Love remained undefeated, but his reputation took a hit. First he struggled to make weight, which may have led to a sluggish performance. Then he got dropped in a fight that many people felt that Gabriel Rosado won outright.

Love seems like a really nice kid, and he even offered Rosado a rematch. However, he is not very exciting in the ring. I fear he will be to Mayweather what Derrick Gainer was to Roy Jones Jr.

 

4. Heavyweight Division: Once upon a time the sport of boxing was healthy as long as there was a strong heavyweight division. Now, the consensus heavyweight championship was being contested on a Saturday afternoon on a cable channel that few could even subscribe to if they were interested. Wins against Frans Botha and Oliver McCall may have meant something in 1993, but 20 years later it is simply further proof to how far the glamour division has fallen. You say Pianeta, I say Piñata…..you get the idea.

 

3. Herb Santos – This is the judge that watched a different fight than his colleagues at ringside, the Showtime announcers, and the millions that viewed the Love-Rosado fight worldwide. I have sat ringside, and I do have an appreciation for how judges could see different things depending on where the action in the ring takes place. However, when everyone considers the fight close, and you give a guy 8 rounds out of ten, it means that you had your card filled out before the fight. Herb, the only reason why you aren’t higher on the list is because there is no doubt that you will end up being paid at a prizefight before either Love or Rosado reenter the ring. When will judges become accountable for the cards they turn in?

 

2. Robert Guerrero – When the highlight used to promote a PPV shows a fighter holding his opponent behind the head while teeing off on him, It leads the consumer to believe that maybe he doesn’t have the body of work to challenge the world’s top fighter. Truth is, Guerrero did not deserve this shot. However, he has an ace publicist, and an inspiring story that many felt would move the needle. They miscalculated, and after 6 minutes it was clear that Guerrero was in over his head. Luckily, his promoter has their own network so he will get another shot.

 

1. Ruben Guerrero: The only thing worse than Robert’s performance was that his trainer had zero game plan or strategy. Actually, his strategy seemed to be to act a fool, and try to get under Floyd’s skin. Somehow, this would cause Floyd to forget everything he has learned and practiced his entire life. Team Guerrero did achieve one thing that I felt would be impossible, and that was to make the Mayweather clan likeable.

Winners:

 

Honorable Mention: Sugar Ra - Of all the lovely ladies that work at the local pub, it was the lovely Rachel that picked the #4 as her horse in the Kentucky Derby. When “Golden Soul” finished second, Rachel’s electric eyes lit up and everyone felt like a winner. Now if I could only figure out how to convert the staff to boxing fans.

 

5. Leo Santa Cruz: In 2012 Santa Cruz fought five times including an appearance on CBS. He continues to be one of the sport’s most exciting fighters, and he should continue to land meaningful time slots. The only issue is that he is in need of an opponent that someone recognizes. Rafael Marquez was originally offered this fight, but he thankfully pulled out. Let’s hope Santa Cruz gets the kind of B-side that will launch his career.

 

4. Gabriel Rosado – Rosado passed up a #1 ranking at 154 lbs. in order to challenge middleweight titlist Gennedy Golovkin. Rosado held his own despite suffering a nasty cut, but he earned the lead-off slot of a major PPV. Again, this loss won’t hurt him. Rosado continues to improve in the ring, and he will be a tough out when he hopefully moves back to 154. Rosado does deserve extra kudos for basically telling Mayweather Promotions mouthpiece Leonard Ellerbe to go F himself during a heated exchange during the final press conference. Way to represent Pennsylvania, kid!

 

3. Canelo Alvarez: Originally slated to support another Mayweather PPV, Alvarez opted to face Austin Trout on April 20 in San Antonio. A commercial and critical success now put Canelo in a great position when it comes to future negotiations. It will be an interesting couple of weeks as Golden Boy attempts to negotiate and announce Mayweather’s next opponent.

 

2. Abner Mares: Three titles in three divisions in the last three years. Few if any fighters have put together a better resume than Mares since 2010. When negotiations between Mares and Donaire failed, Mares moved up in weight and dominated a bigger opponent. Mares has star potential and Golden Boy needs to make it a priority to make sure it is reached.

 

1. Floyd Joy Mayweather Jr. – Love him, hate him, and boo all you want. The man earned $32 million on May Day, and woke up in less pain than those who emptied their ice boxes while dishing out $70 to see him barely break a sweat. People will continue to question his legacy, and future PPV numbers will plateau if he fails to challenge himself in his next five fights.

 

However, at this moment, there is no debate as to who is still at the top of his sport.

Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions or comments at pribs2000@yahoo.com and followed on twitter.com @PribsBoxing



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