Since this is my inaugural Secondsout column I will not give you any long drawn out pugilistic Smitty stuff, I will just give little doses of Smittyisms. Is that a word?
Let’s start out with the biggest boxing news this past week, the announcement by Boxing’s pound for pound best ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd Mayweather that he is hanging up his gloves for good. Yeah right. We have heard this all before billions of times from countless champions and we have also heard it a few times before from Floyd himself. Floyd had been slated for a September rematch with Oscar De la Hoya but that at least appears to have gone by the wayside, but that is OK as we really don’t need to see that rematch anyway, especially not with an unbeaten guy out there named Miguel Cotto.
That fight Mayweather vs Cotto is the most intriguing fight in all of boxing today and that is what I feel Floyd is positioning for with this so called retirement announcement. Whether this is premeditated or not, Floyd disappearing for a bit and Cotto continuing to win, (he must get by Antonio Margarito next month) will build that fight up much more. It is also good for a fighter’s psyche sometimes to actually step aside for a while in order to get himself motivated both physically and more important mentally.
I can tell from my last few meetings with Floyd and with all he has been involved with outside of boxing, (‘Dancing with the Stars’ and Wrestlemania) that he is a bit bored with boxing. You can’t blame him and it happens to nearly all the great ones who have had a long career professionally and as an amateur. And remember, Floyd has grown up in the sport and he has been a lot of drama with his family, to say the least. I expect to sit down soon with Floyd and get the real scoop. But don’t worry, I will guarantee you Pretty Boy will be back in squared circle soon enough facing Cotto, let’s hope. No matter against whom, one thing is for sure, Mayweather will come back, they all do.
Speaking of greats who have come back, Evander Holyfield has and is unfortunately still around and, if the recent news about his financial situation is accurate, ‘The Real Deal’ may never retire. Apparently, Holyfield’s 10 million dollar, 54, 000 square foot , 104 bedroom home is under foreclosure and he is also a few months behind on child support to the mother of one of is 9 children. It is really mind boggling to me that this fighter who has earned over 200 million dollars can be in this kind of predicament, but I’m certain Evander is responsible for some if not much of this. For nearly his entire career he had attorney Jim Thomas seeing to all of his financial affairs.
When Holyfield first bought this mansion, I wondered why he needed all the rooms. I know he has a lot of ladies and children but 100 plus rooms give me a break. Along this same line it was announced last week that former 5 or 6 time champion Thomas Hearns is behind a quarter of a million dollars in back taxes. This one I can understand a bit better than Holyfield’s current dilemma.
My recommendation to all high profile fighters is to hire an attorney not from within the sport of boxing, but just go to the yellow pages. Look for an ad with a picture of a dorky looking attorney, hire him, take him to the gym and let him watch you work out to scare the hell out of him, and then turn it over to him and you will not have to worry about your problems. All kidding aside it is kind of sad that two great warriors like Holyfield and Hearns, who gave so much of themselves for our pugilistic pleasure, are in this type of shape, but I guess it only makes sense when you break it down to its core.
Holyfield and Hearns never played it safe in the ring. They always went for broke and left nothing to spare inside the ring. Maybe they are just destined to leave nothing for themselves outside the ring as well. They only know how to live for the moment.
On to the news inside the ring, this past weekend had a double dip of action. HBO featured a pair of fights as did Showtime. HBO started out with the little guys as Juan Manuel Lopez, an unbeaten southpaw from Puerto Rico, taking on once beaten, power- puncher, Daniel Ponce De Leon. Well like the original Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce De Leon who discovered Florida, this boxing Ponce De Leon discovered the accuracy and fire power of this Puerto Rican early. Before De Leon could set his sails, he was derailed and stopped in round one. De Leon in truth is very crude in his style and I expect now others will take advantage of this, although this was only his second loss with 34 wins and 30 knockouts. As for Lopez he raises his record to 22-0 (20 kos) he is the WBO Super Bantamweight Champ and I think he is now a real force to be reckoned with at 122 pounds .
Before we get to Kelly Pavlik in the main event, let’s bounce over to Showtime. Their opening fight saw former Welterweight Champ, Paul Williams, get his revenge in dramatic fashion over the only man to beat him in their last fight, Carlos Quintana. Williams proved the first time out was a fluke as he jumped all over Quintana from the opening bell. Williams, who has been known for throwing plenty of punches but perhaps with not too much pop, showed he does in fact have some power as he battered Quintana and stopped him in round one regaining the WBO Welterweight Title he originally won from Antonio Margarito before losing it to Quintana.
Showtime’s main event featured another former Welterweight Champ, Vernon Forrest, once one of boxings best pound for pound fighters after two wins over ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley taking on Sergio Mora of ‘The Contender’ championship fame. Mora came in unbeaten but really untested against quality opposition. Forrest looked OK for a few rounds before aging right before our eyes. By the later rounds, Vernon looked every bit of his 37 years, and then some. His younger, less talented opponent was able to capitalize on this, finish strong and win a deserved majority decision and now a WBC Super Welterweight Title to add to his Contender Belt. Although he is now a real champ, I still don’t think a whole lot of Mora as a fighter, but at least he makes the most of what he has and I guess that’s what can make a contender into a world champion. If Forrest cannot beat a Mora, he should strongly consider calling it a day.
Back to HBO and their featured bout, unbeaten Middleweight Champion Kelly Pavlik defending his title against Welshman Gary Lockett. Pavlik, who was coming off a pair of big wins against former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, really needed this type of fight against this type of opponent. A fight where he could really look good and not have to take too much risk or punishment. Well, it worked out well for Pavlik and he looked excellent breaking down a totally outclassed Lockett en route to a 3rd round TKO. Lockett who is trained by Enzo Calzaghe, the father of Joe Calzaghe, was there to be an opponent, nothing more, and it was good matchmaking. Kelly was able to demonstrate his pinpoint power punching to the body and head and against an opponent with a strong connection to Joe Calzaghe who is a likely future opponent of Pavlik.
That fight, Pavlik vs Calzaghe, would be, I think, the second best fight out there after the earlier mentioned Mayweather vs Cotto. You could make a very strong case for either Pavlik or Calzaghe to win the fight. Calzaghe is faster, quicker, and would be favored to win a distance fight. However, Kelly has the kind work rate, accuracy and most importantly size and power to hurt Joe. Both fighters have told me recently that they badly want to fight each other, not because the dislike each other, but because they, in fact, like and respect each other and think they deserve each other. Boxing fans deserve this fight as well. I really hope we can get Mayweather vs Cotto and Pavlik vs Calzaghe sooner than later, while they all still have their skills and unblemished records to go along with it.
Well have you had enough of your first dose of Smitty? Cheers until the next round.