With nothing on tap, time
to atone for boxing sins

Sep 26, 2006 5:03 AM

Notes! Again, there’s nothing major coming up next weekend, except of course Yom Kippur. While I have a lot of predictions to atone for, let me start off the Jewish New Year by cleaning up some of desk area.

Problem: Dueling dates: One of the many, many things wrong with boxing. It hits hard when it happens at least three times in the closing quarter of 2006. At the same time, we have to suffer through consecutive weekends without a significant bout on HBO or Showtime. Competition is good, of course, but in a sport whose fan base is ever shrinking, it does not make sense for the big-buck networks to go up against each other.

Solution: One of the first things a boxing czar should tend to is make promoters and/or networks apply for dates with the possibility that, for the overall good of the game, they occasionally may be rebuffed.

Examples: On Oct. 7, I will be at the compelling rubber match between Diego (Chico) Corrales and Joel Casamayor. Corrales is -215, Casamayor +175. A better indication of the closeness of the combatants might be their two earlier fights. As good as this one is, part of me will be cussing at the Mandalay Bay for not being able to watch live the 7-foot-2 (or is he merely 7-foot?) Nicolai Valuev (-450) against (+350 dog) Monte Barrett.

”¡ On Nov. 4, I’ll be at ringside for Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his challenge of gutsy Carlos Baldomir. Again, part of me would like to see live my old Brooklyn buddy Shannon Briggs go up against the White Wolf, Sergei Liakhovich in Phoenix.

”¡ On Dec. 2, it looks like I can sit at home and try to work in two cards from the East. There’s the Antonio Margarito-Judah Clottey and Miguel Cotto-Carlos Quintana double-header from Atlantic City. The same night is Winky Wright-Ike Quartey (with a promise of Jeff Lacy on the undercard) from Tampa.

Hopkins going heavy?

One fight I bet I won’t have to watch is Bernard Hopkins challenging Oleg Maskaev for the WBC heavyweight belt. Not that it wouldn’t be fun, but I think B-Hop is just talk. Maskaev has a gimme Dec. 23 in Moscow against the Japanese-based Ugandan, Peter Okhello, who has no place being in a so-called "championship" fight. But then he has a mandatory due against Samuel Peter. Afterwards, I’m afraid Hopkins will gladly remain retired rather than face the Nigerian Nightmare.

I hear that Tommy Morrison, who insists now he never had the HIV virus and that it was a "false positive" that sidelined him, will be asking for a license to box in Arizona. The fact that he claimed not to take his meds, while at the same time showing no symptoms tends to make me believe Morrison may indeed have been robbed of a portion of his up-and-down career.

Anyway, I have the perfect match for him — Joe Mesi. They could schedule it around an undertakers convention. The ghouls would love it. And, there are a lot of ghouls out there, especially the ones who booed Marco Antonio Barrera for giving Rocky Juarez no chance in their much anticipated rematch.

Hey, it’s called boxing and Barrera was not running. The dull nature of the one-sided bout (I gave Barrera 10-of-12 rounds) was the fault of Juarez. Rocky has always had trouble with guys who move a bit (see Zahir Raheem and Humberto Soto). He’s a tough kid, but he hasn’t been taught well.

All four heavyweight "champs" are fighting in the final quarter, but none against each other. This after they all talk "unification," Instead, we’re getting Valuev-Barrett, Liakhovich-Briggs, Maskaev-Okhello. And, in what seems on paper to be the most danger to the defender, Wladimir Klitschko-Calvin Brock.

Use the phone, Oscar!

Amusing to hear Oscar de la Hoya bitch about Juan Diaz and his manager, Willie Savannah, walking out of a verbal agreement to sign with Golden Boy in favor of taking more money from Don King. What cracks me up is when de la Hoya said Savannah and Diaz did not have the decency to make a phone call. Hey, Oscar, have you told Gil Clancy yet that you’ve fired him? Or Jesus Rivero? Or Emanuel Steward? Or, how about the time you slipped a note under the door of Robert Mittleman and Steve Nelson to notify them that their managerial services would no longer be needed?

Yes, Israel Vazquez was fighter of the night by coming off the deck twice to batter Jhonny Gonzalez into submission. But I’d have bet on Joan Guzman against him at 122 pounds, except Guzman went up to 130 and defeated the tough Jorge Barrios. Didn’t Johnny Cash sing a son about a boxer named Joan?