By Lou Catalano: After back to back disasters for boxing on pay per view, Manny Pacquiao’s return can’t come soon enough. Here’s hoping things improve dramatically.
We can spread the blame; there’s more than enough to go around, but we can all agree that things could not have gone worse for our beloved sport in the last couple of months. Floyd Mayweather’s return to the ring should have been a triumph. Instead, the result ended up infuriating everybody. It was enough to make 143 year old Larry Merchant want to trade his tuxedo for some trunks and gloves.
The fight itself was void of any real drama; Mayweather came out firing immediately and made it quite clear very early that Victor Ortiz was severely overmatched. Ortiz was dirty almost from the outset. He attempted to head butt Mayweather more than once, but was unsuccessful until he caught him against the ropes. It was clearly an intentional foul. Mayweather was cut and furious. It’s hard to blame him for not wanting to share the love Ortiz was dishing out. While Floyd caught serious heat from fans, it was referee Joe Cortez who should have took most of it. He used to be great at his job, but for too long now he’s been awkward and unsure of himself when making calls. He added confusion at a time when he needed to provide clarity.
It’s easy to blame Floyd for the end of the fight and the aftermath, but you try acting rationally after a guy tries to ram his skull into your teeth and then kisses you.
Then came Hopkins/Dawson. The fight itself lasted under six minutes, and the shoulder injury Hopkins suffered in the second round most likely saved us from a horrible fight. Still, this writer can’t shake the feeling of being grossly ripped off. Yes, Hopkins was fouled, and no one is questioning (well maybe a few people) the legitimacy of the injury, but it’s hard to picture the late Arturo Gatti bowing out after hurting his shoulder. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine any of the top fighters in the world calling it a day without at least standing up to test it out first. Hopkins collected a seven figure paycheck, and all boxing fans got was a particularly nasty case of nausea.
Fortunately, we’re just a couple weeks away from Pacquiao/Marquez lll. It’s actually quite hard to envision the fight being less than spectacular. Marquez may be older and at a weight disadvantage, but there’s no arguing the fact that he’s gone dead even with Manny for 24 rounds.
The fight should wash away the awful taste of the last couple of matches. If anything, it’s a perfect opportunity to watch a great fight between two of the best in the world. It doesn’t hurt that they’re also two of the most exciting guys to watch in the ring.
Less than a month after Pacquiao/Marquez, we’ll get the rematch between Miguel Cotto and whatever is left of Antonio Margarito, a fight that should be a war if they stick to the formula of their first fight. Let’s hope they do. After enduring the last couple of mega-fights, the fans are owed a shootout or two.
October 28, 2011