For your viewing pleasure: Some cinematographically luscious boxing ritual porn, accompanied by the spectacular croonings of Mark Lanegan.
For your consideration: Sports By Brooks, citing unnamed sources, saying that HBO had agreed to some pretty serious and unconscionable on-air editorial concessions in exchange for the pay-per-view rights to Floyd Mayweather, Jr.'s next fight. Basically, nobody gets to say anything about Mayweather's outside-the-ring high jinks, or anything about the outside-the-ring affairs of any Al Haymon-advised fighter, according to the story. Explosive, to say the least, if true. An HBO spokesman says that it is not.
I've tried hard to assess the credibility of this story. I've asked around the sports blogging/reporting communities a little to see what people say about Brooks. His rep, apparently, is as someone who has legit reporting chops, although some say the quality of said reporting varies at times. So, score one (or at least one-half a point) for him there. And I can conceivably imagine new HBO Sports boss Ken Hershman, in a moment of vulnerability near the beginning of his reign and eager to score a big money fight, making uncool concessions.
It is harder for me to imagine how Hershman, a smart operator, could then turn around -- per the SBB piece -- and tell Bob Arum about this. Arum is pretty leaky with the media, plus he absolutely abhors Haymon and Manyweather. You'd have to be pretty dumb to think Arum would keep that one secret. Then I get to wondering whether this kind of thing wouldn't lead to mass resignations from the HBO editorial team, since Larry Merchant and Jim Lampley et al aren't ones for holding their tongues. Deadspin called up Merchant to find out more and Merchant told them HBO hadn't said anything to him (which contradicts one of the assertions in the story, which was that Merchant had been informed of what was happening). And, of course, I'm immediately skeptical of anything attributed to mere "sources" without any information about those sources' affiliation.
Time will tell, I suppose, on the veracity of this. Either the report will be duplicated or refuted; or there will be an internal dust-up at HBO where some folk resign and/or these concessions are rolled back; or we'll never get to the bottom of it, and someone will either say something on-air about Mayweather's legal woes or they'll never get mentioned again, which, in the latter case, will suggest that the SBB report was accurate. I'll just offer this comment: If it is true, it's beyond reprehensible. If it's not true, this will be just another in a long line of erroneous reports about this great sport of ours.
More Quick Jabs, and a few Round and Rounds, await you below.
Whatever Haymon's level of influence at HBO these days, his fighters continue to be spotlighted disproportionately over at Showtime right now. I haven't done an official tally and I'll have more to say on this next week for a larger piece, but every other day some Haymon fighter seems to be getting yet another Showtime date, the latest being middleweight Jermain Taylor getting his second appearance of the year, in April. Interpet this, if you will, as me being wrong about Haymon's level of influence previously (me, in 2010 and 2011: he's influential, but his level of influence is overstated by some in the boxing media), or take it as me responding to the changing circumstances (because that's what I'm doing)...
After initially laughing off the notion that referee-threatening, boxer-biting, posse-riot-starting junior flyweight Luis Lazarte needed to be penalized whatsoever, Argentinian boxing authorities have reversed themselves and given him a suspension. Better late than never...
Trainer Freddie Roach is worried that his star pupil, Manny Pacquiao, might be loving God too much these days to punch people hard. God love hasn't stopped very many boxers from beating up people before -- however contradictory that might seem -- so I don't know why it would start now. But Pacquiao kind of sounds like he's increasingly having a problem with it. If that's really how he feels, he should quit. A boxer who doesn't like punching people isn't much good to boxing, and maybe even dangerous to himself; part of defending yourself in a fight involves, you know, punching back...
Spike Lee dissed Mayweather for his Jeremy Lin tweets, which had to sting someone like Mayweather who thinks he's Mr. Everyone's Racist Toward Me, for a respected black thinker like Lee to not back him up. Alas, Lee and Mayweather made up later. Also UFC boss Dana White called Mayweather a racist over those Lin tweets, which was accurate, although I doubt Mayweather being called a racist by a big bald white guy convinced him of the error of his ways...
Most everyone thought light heavyweight Gabriel Campillo took the 12th round off of his fight with Tavoris Cloud. Campillo has subsequently confirmed that his corner advised him to back off, basically, because he had the fight in the bag. I don't have any idea why any boxer or trainer ever would think taking off the final round of a fight was a good idea. I have less than an idea why any boxer or trainer would ever think of doing so when on another boxer's home soil. I have -100 idea how someone who had lost two separate fights (Beibut Shumenov, Karo Murat) that everyone thought he should've won would think taking off the final round of a fight was a good idea...
Things are off to slow start in the ratings department over at the rebranded NBC Sports. No word in a recent Sports Business Journal story about how well the new boxing show is doing. I wouldn't jump to too many conclusions about the long-term viability of NBC Sports as a boxing outlet out of these early, early results, but I guess this isn't exactly a positive indicator...
In other boxing-on-other-channels news: The Golf Channel, per a news release, l is debuting its new season of a show Monday trying to make celebrity golfers out of people. One of them is Sugar Ray Leonard. Tune into "The Haney Project" Feb. 27 if you care to see how he does. I bet he smiles a lot and says the occasional polished, but insincere-sounding, thing.
Round And Round
Surprise surprise, middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. is A. not looking to fight Andy Lee, as I predicted he would not be; B. looking instead at Martin Murray, another small but legitimate step up in the slow process of Chavez fighting more and more legitimate competition and C. complaining about his treatment by the WBC, which has repeatedly babied him and continually allows him not to fight the man he ought to under their rules, i.e. true middleweight champ Sergio Martinez. I like Chavez as a fighter. But he is such a spoiled brat he doesn't even know how good he has it.
When Pacquiao fights Timothy Bradley June 9, the pay-per-view undercard is likely to host Mike Jones-Randall Bailey at welterweight. It's a decent fight for a PPV undercard -- a moderately intriguing bout that neither HBO nor Showtime should spend much money on, but totally worth airing somewhere.
When Brandon Rios and Yuriorkis Gamboa face off at lightweight April 14, Mike Alvarado and Mauricio Herrera are likely to be on the undercard. The junior lightweight Alvarado is a potential future Rios warmate, while Herrera has pulled off enough upset wins and is smart enough in the ring to make a legit challenge for Alvarado without being exceptionally dangerous. It's a pretty good doubleheader.
(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene)
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