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Betcha these events happen in 2008

Dec 24, 2007 3:46 AM

Wait til next year. The evergreen call to arms seems especially pertinent when it comes to boxing in 2008. I mean, this is the year we all get even.

There are no sure things, of course, but I’m willing to bet on a list of events to likely take place in the next 12 months.

”¡ Betcha the Re-Surge continues. There are already enough good matchups on the 2008 docket for the boxing-is-dead blackguards to flee to water polo. Of course, the game is always just one more "black eye" from being inundated again.

”¡ Betcha there will not be a major steroid scandal, unless Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa try comebacks.

”¡ Betcha the heavyweight division, while not getting much better, will get a lot more interesting. The simple reason is that while good fighters are facing each other up and down the other weight classes, at least the bums will be in action against each other. I mean, Nikolai (or Nikolay) Valuev vs. Sergei Liakhovich. Can you ask for a bigger fight in February?

”¡ Betcha Wladimir Klitschko, also in February, takes care of Sultan Ibragimov. However, laying 6/1 is not my idea of a good time.

”¡ Betcha the odds on Samuel Peter against Oleg Maskaev come down a bit from laying 9/2. I mean, Maskaev is unbeaten in Cancun, where Don King has taken the match, now set for March 8.

”¡ Betcha the heavyweights, with Alexander Povetkin lurking in the future, make a mini-comeback.

”¡ Betcha we can’t get rid of Shannon Briggs, Hasim Rahman and John Ruiz.

”¡ Betcha Oscar de la Hoya turns down lucrative offer to model underwear for Victoria’s Secret.
”¡ Betcha that Floyd (Money) Mayweather Jr. finishes the year the way he starts it, as No. 1 pound for pound and No. 1 dis for dis. The only way he can shut up his critics is by taking on, and defeating, Miguel Cotto.

”¡ Betcha there’s no way the Mayweather camp lets Joe Cortez referee that fight. Team Mayweather was glad to have Cortez as the third man for Ricky Hatton. Firm but unfair ref refused to allow the Englishman to fight inside. While it made no difference in the ultimate outcome in this case, the Money men are sure to remember how the Puerto Rican official helped his landsman John Ruiz in fights against Evander Holyfield and Kirk Johnson.

”¡ Betcha Cotto has little trouble with Bob Arum’s second-string welterweights (good, but not that good) Joshua Clottey and/or Antonio Margarito while waiting for Mayweather to rest his weary bones.

”¡ Betcha Manny Pacquiao finishes the job he almost ended in the first round against Juan Manuel Marquez. Laying less than 8/5 on him (as I saw recently in one Vegas book) could be one of the steals of the year. Let all those who think Marquez "won" their first fight take a good look again at that "draw." The Pac Man was the clear winner on my card.

”¡ Betcha Bernard Hopkins gets his mouth washed out with soap, hopefully by Joe Calzaghe.

”¡ Betcha Juan Diaz becomes a superstar once he escapes the world’s greatest promoter.

”¡ Betcha the John Diaz highlight reels replace waterboarding as the CIA’s favorite form of torture.

”¡ Betcha HBO and Showtime continue their silly habit of scheduling big fights on the same night.

”¡ Betcha Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez continue their 2007 fights of the year.

”¡ Betcha I won’t know who to pick in the rubber match.

”¡ Betcha Larry Holmes refuses induction into the International Hall of Fame, saying he can’t retire until George Foreman gives him a fight.

”¡ Betcha Kelly Pavlik continues where he left off against Jermain Taylor, but at -240 and with the memory of that second-round near-knockout still fresh, I’m not sure I want to bet on it.

”¡ Betcha George W will not be re-elected President, despite his attempt to suspend the Constitution to allow a third term "for the good of boxing." Oh, that was Jose Sulaiman. I sometimes get dictators confused.

”¡ Betcha network TV, in Olympic year, muses whether to put "hot" sport back on the free tube - and betcha they don’t until 2009.

”¡ Betcha Bob Arum and Don King each turn 77.

”¡ Betcha the really little guys, like talented Ivan Calderon, fall through the cracks again.

”¡ Betcha Oscar de la Hoya retires as a boxer. Why? To cross the road.

”¡ Betcha there won’t be another Rocky movie all year.

”¡ Betcha Don Imus replaces Harold Lederman as HBO’s on-air judge because of his greater sensitivity.

”¡ Betcha if you keep following my picks you won’t have to worry about house foreclosures. You’ll be living the life of luxury in debtors’ prison.