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Floyd Mayweather crossing the LeBron Line

Let’s get things started with a nice little disclaimer.
 
I absolutely despise Floyd Mayweather. Describing the reasons for doing so would just be a repetition of things that you guys already know.
 
So when taking my obvious bias into effect, if I say that Mayweather might be slowly crossing the LeBron Line, then you’d know that there’d be a lot of truth behind it.
 
The LeBron Line is the imaginary line that King James crossed when basketball fans outside of Cleveland substituted appreciation for its previous hatred. This past basketball season, LeBron submitted one of the finest basketball seasons of our generation. His offensive repertoire expanded again, and he completed the capture of my heart by becoming a defensive savant.… Read more...

The Future of Manny Pacquiao

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people refuse to do something because they just “don’t have the time” to do it. Time is endless, and we have many choices of what to do with it. But we always possess the requisite amount of time to do anything. When we say that we don’t have the time to do something, what we are really saying is that we prefer to do something else with our time. Now, granted, if KOBEsh asks me to blog about the Knicks and I’m literally (correct use of the word “literally”) in a meeting, I may not have the time to do it at the present moment, but I can always make time to do so later. Show me the man who has absolutely no free time in his life, and I’ll show you a liar.

The Fighting Pride of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao, may seem to fit the bill. He’s an attentive Congressman on the islands, and when there’s a fight looming, no athlete in the world trains as hard as fighters do. But even Pacman can be seen playing darts with his posse, engaging in serious religious group study, and the like. To put it another way, it’s not that he doesn’t have time to sleep with groupies, drink copious amounts of alcohol, or throw money away at a casino. It’s that he chose to spend his time that he previously reserved for that past life, for the things that he currently does now.

So how does affect his choice to fight again?

When Juan Manuel Marquez defeated Pacquiao by knockout on December 8th, his elongated body plunged face-down into the mat, springing laughs, cries, and memes worldwide. After talking heads allowed the shock of the moment pass over, the first question they entertained, as always, is whether or not the beaten fighter will come back to the ring again.

And from there, the possibilities are endless. Is Pacquiao too old to fight again? Does he need to gain a competitive advantage the way Marquez allegedly did? Did he get knocked out because a religious life doesn’t allow him to have the drive to physically destroy an opponent?

When I ventured back into my parents’ country of origin years ago, I endured culture shock from beginning to end. As my family stepped into a car waiting for us, I saw many people walking to their next destination. As our car stopped at traffic lights and stop signs, people knocked on our windows hoping to sell knick-knacks and other various items that had a sole purpose of acting as legal tender. And whenever we had to step out of the car, a small child would run to us and stick his palm out for some coins, as if we were entering a live UNICEF commercial.

“You smell like America,” my father said.

__________

It would be ignorant of me to talk about the political structure of the Philippines. It would be similarly foolish of me to deny that a Pacquiao fight does not help the economy of a third-world country. But what I do know is that Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, once upon a time, looked at his busy schedule and decided to use his time to run for Congress. Pac himself used to be the little boy who tugged at my dry-cleaned pants looking for any way to make some extra money. By running for public office, he wanted to foster enough change so that there would be less Filipino boys and girls appearing on TV commercials that make you sad and sick to your stomach.

Merry Christmas Manny. Give your wife, your family, and your country what it needs, but not necessarily what it deserves (obligatory Batman reference whenever possible), and call it a career. Championships in eight different weight classes will defeat any argument that proposes to ta… Read more...

Pacquiao-Bradley Review

It was a nice little Sunday, on October 16, 2004. It hadn’t gotten too cold yet in Chestnut Hill, although my friends from the left coast would swear to you otherwise. YOUR New York Yankees had just finished obliterating the Boston Red Sox, taking a 3-0 lead in the American League Championship Series. Hideki Matsui hit two moonshots, and was joined by Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield in the long-bomb department. Legendary Boston sportswriter Bob Ryan called it “an official death sentence.”

I remember being on the phone with irregular MAMBINO contributor TuckRule late that night. I said that winning Game 4 was an absolute must, because if the Red Sox were to prevail, they would push it to Game 7 in the Bronx. He laughed at me, of course. But then came the fourth game, when Dave Roberts stole second base, eventually forcing extras with the tying run, and when David Ortiz walked off to make the series 3-1. It was that one moment where at least a little bit of yourself asked whether the opponent could come back.

I felt the exact same way on Saturday night, when the first judge scored the fight in favor of Manny Pacquiao, 115-113. Was it really that close? HBO’s Harold Lederman scored it 119-109. ESPN’s Dan Rafael had it the same. The people in my apartment gave two rounds, tops, to Timothy Bradley. But the first official scorecard gave FIVE rounds to the man who was jelly-legging his way to the finish? How could this be?

I stand up during Manny Pacquiao fights. They make me nervous. When Juan Manuel Marquez counterpunched his way to what seemed like a true draw, I anticipated Michael Buffer reading the official scorecards with the same anxiety I feel when I’m about to take a penalty kick in soccer.

This time, I actually sat down during the 7th round. This one was in the bag, and for the rest of the fight, I wanted to enjoy some good prizefighting and hopefully see Manny clinch it with a knockout left punch. I pondered the possible Facebook statuses, and thought about which one would get the most Likes. I was preparing to tweet at Bernard Hopkins, who said that Pacquiao could never defeat an African-American fighter. KOBEsh, on his way back from Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals, even texted me in disbelief that the fight went the full 12 rounds. But when Pacquiao had won the first card by winning only seven measly rounds to Bradley’s five, that anxious feeling came rushing back. The trembling culminated in full-on shock when Buffer read the final two scorecards that gave Bradley the split decision victory.

It took a while to discuss the moment with those whom I had watched this tragedy, but when words finally came out, I realized that this was a no-win situation.

Yeah. This girl is not getting beat.

In other sports, if you score more baskets, goals, runs, etc., you win the game. Plain and simple. There can be some controversy that leads to how points were scored, but ultimately, the loser can chalk up his loss to a myriad other things besides controversial calls. Boxing is the complete opposite. Unless the referee or the opposing fighter has a say in stopping the fight, three judges are left to their own judgment has to who wins. Each round produces a winner and loser based on how things look, which feels much like a beauty pageant.

But even in beauty pageants, if the frontrunner answers all the hypothetical questions correctly and with grace, if the frontrunner lays the smackdown on her fashion attire choices, and if the frontrunner flat out looks better than all of her opponents, she wins. And if she doesn’t, then Dona… Read more...

Pacquiao-Bradley Preview

I used to be a regular churchgoer. There were the years of my childhood, where Mama BockerKnocker would dress me in Sunday best, dragging me to Mass against my will. But there was also a period of time where I went on my own. I was never a superfreak about it, but for one hour every week, life slowed down to a stress-free pace. I couldn’t say no to that.

Fast forward to the real world today, and I just can’t bring myself to lose that precious hour of sleep, which is necessary due to the robbery that weekdays pull on me. 4 Sundays per month became 3, then 2, then 1, and now I’m one of those phonies that attend on Easter and Christmas only.

Manny Pacquiao has taken the opposite route. Before, he carried himself with God, but only as part of his exterior. These days, Manny leads church groups, quotes Bible verses, and declares that the “old Manny” is gone.

Pacquiao says that he hates who he was. The drinking, the smoking, and the gambling fueled a lifestyle that was all too common for an international superstar athlete. And of course, the trim that came with it made its mark as well. While Ms. Pacman tended to the home life like a typical Filipina, Manny ran roughshod through tons and tons of women.

The only problem, if you’ll allow me to call it that, was that the “old Manny” was the first boxer to win world championships in EIGHT divisions. Pac combined lightning-quick speed with the punching power of men twice his size. Diaz, De La Hoya, Hatton, Cotto, Clottey, Margarito, Mosley: all lost to The Fighting Pride of the Philippines in blowout fashion.

But then came Juan Manuel Marquez. It has come out recently that Jinkee Pacquiao discovered her husband’s talents outside of the ring during Pacquiao’s training camp for Marquez. Jinkee makes a cautious, but ultimately unsuccessful, attempt at hiding it during HBO’s 24/7 series, speaking many times about marriage troubles leading up to the Marquez fight. Like any human being would be, the champion was a battered man heading into Pacquiao-Marquez III, and Marquez made him pay for it. Pacquiao won, but not in the court of public opinion.

The seven fighters I mentioned two paragraphs ago fought against a different Manny Pacquiao. That Pacquiao was a force of nature. That Pacquiao would run through Blinky, Pinky, and Inky themselves, without the use of power pellets. That Pacquiao put fear into those 7.

The “new Manny” now lives with the fear of God in his heart, as an upstanding, devout Roman Catholic. I wouldn’t dare criticize such a life choice, but I am nonetheless scared. Does Manny really want this as much? He’s got his politician life begging him to come home for good, a family life that is being born right in front of his eyes, and a boxing life that is undoubtedly nearing its end.

Standing upright in the opposite corner, Timothy “Desert Storm”[1] Bradley will convince you in two seconds that he wants to win this fight more than Manny does. Bradley has faced 29 opponents to date, 29 men who have tried and failed to put a blemish on Bradley’s professional record. When HBO filmed Bradley jogging in the dead of night, Bradley put both eyes squarely on the camera, and had a message. The whole episode is tremendous, but fast-forward to 19:54 for what I’m talking about:

Bradley cares. He goes to the gym and calls it his place of work. He doesn’t do any extracurricular activities besides tending to his wife and children. Every free second away from his family is spent in workout gear, without … Read more...

Mayweather vs. Cotto Preview

(It’s BockerKnocker coming to you live from the United Club at Newark Airport! Yeah that’s right. I’m sneaky bougie)

Floyd Mayweather really grinds my gears. But when I really think about it, maybe he was right when he told Larry Merchant that he “never gets a fair shake.”

Mayweather does a lot of things wrong. He willingly burns Ben Franklins in public, showing apathy for a denomination of currency at which even yours truly would never scoff. He displays ignorance by intentionally mispronouncing Manny Pacquiao’s name and throwing jabs at Filipino culture. And he has the sportsmanship of the kid in youth rec leagues who would spit in his hands before shaking yours in the post game lineup.

But amazingly, I can find some ways to relate to and appreciate the guy.

If you’ve caught any of Floyd’s appearances on HBO’s 24/7 series — either for tomorrow night’s Cotto fight or really, any of his past fights — you’ll quickly realize that he is a bona fide superstar. Two weeks ago, he literally questioned 24/7 producers why they would even film anybody else but him and his entourage, appropriately or inappropriately named “The Money Team.”

What turns people, including me oftentimes, off, is how he carries his celebrity. But how many of us would flaunt our stardom given the chance? I certainly would. Maybe not to Pretty Boy Floyd’s extent, but you better believe that I would make my entrances grand and my swag imposing. I probably do that already, much to my friends’ chagrin.

And I haven’t even spoken about the man’s talent in the ring. He has boxed for a couple of decades without a blemish on his record. He doesn’t just beat his opponents…he BEATS his opponents. He fights with a defensive style that no other man has been able to break, which allows him to counter the inevitable mistakes that his opponent will make.

Miguel Cotto is no different than those who have become a mere notch on PBF’s belt. He has two losses to date, one to Pacquiao and another to Antonio Margarito. And even though Mayweather doesn’t hold those against Cotto (According to Floyd, Cotto fought PacMan at a “catch” weight, which means that Cotto weighed in at a level that he was not used to fighting. Additionally, much of the boxing world absolves Cotto of his other loss, due to Margarito allegedly using illegal wraps.), Cotto is a bit overmatched. He is quick, but he’s not Floyd quick. Strong, but not Floyd strong. Athletic, but…you get the picture.

A Mayweather fight is always a good fight; the man likes to put on a show, regardless of how high the odds of winning are in his favor. The prediction? Floyd by TKO in the 9th.… Read more...

What’s Next for Manny Pacquiao?

Last night’s fight could have gone either way.
Juan Manuel Marquez’s corner shouldn’t have told him that he was winning, which led to conservative fighting in the late rounds.
Floyd Mayweather should be licking his chops to make a deal with Manny Pacquiao.
All three statements are being repeated ad nauseam by the boxing media. I’ll take aim at the last one.
Pacquiao-Marquez III was highlighted by Pacquiao’s inability to land effective combinations on Marquez. Marquez employed a patient counterattack style to neutralize Pacquiao’s speed and power. It almost seemed as if Marquez was willing to take Pacquiao’s first punch, and counterpunch before Pacquiao could unload the rest of the combo.
Manny survived this fight. His fans and his country survived this fight. And so now, the media is arguing that there is no better time for Pretty Boy Floyd to sign the dotted line. They reason that if Pacman cannot handle a counterpuncher like JMM, how can he realistically expect to defeat Floyd, the greatest counterpuncher in boxing history?
This makes sense…to us. But it might not make sense to Mayweather.
For as long as we can remember, Mayweather has been ducking Pacquiao. The common assumption is that Floyd does not want to blemish his perfect record against the pound-for-pound king. If Floyd only now decides to make the biggest fight of all-time, he would be implicitly admitting that he was scared to meet Pacquiao in the first place. Floyd is too aware of his legacy (and more importantly, his ego) to do this. Before last night, he could bank on somewhat legitimate reasons for not fighting: disagreements over the payout structure of the fight, and Manny’s refusal to submit to more rigorous blood testing than the Nevada State Athletic Commission requires. Now? Well if Floyd continues to run from Manny, can we really say that Floyd is scared? Why would he be scared when Marquez discovered and exploited a weakness in Manny’s fighting style?
To everybody but Floyd, fighting Manny last year would have made sense. Make a huge payday, fight the best fighter in the world, and definitively prove that he is the greatest — ever. To everybody but Floyd, fighting Manny now makes even less sense. Floyd Mayweather will not fight Manny Pacquiao…yet. Manny will have to go back to the drawing board. He will have to do Pacquiao-Marquez IV and score a knockout victory.
I wouldn’t go so far as to label Floyd Mayweather as Sidney Deane. Sidney would rather look good and lose than look bad and win. Floyd must win at all costs, but looking good is extremely important to him. Normal people wouldn’t care whether the media would label him as “scared before, opportunistic now.” Floyd? History has taught us that Floyd isn’t normal. Floyd will look good whenever possible, so we’ll have to wait a little longer for the fight we all want.… Read more...

Who’s ya Daddy, Floyd

One of the earliest memories I have from my childhood took place during a normal East Coast winter. I was riding in a sled with my little brother down the relatively steep slope of my backyard. Obviously, sledding is the tits, but the experience was truly fun because of the man who was pulling the sled down. That dude was my dad.
Everyone who grew up with well-balanced parents knows that it’s not just about putting a roof over one’s head or food on the table. It’s more about cheering the children on at athletic events, bonding during super long road trips, and most importantly, teaching life lessons that could never be learned in a classroom.
Last night, Floyd Mayweather extended his undefeated streak with a knockout win over Victor Ortiz. If you haven’t witnessed the mayhem, I’ll try to be succinct. Ortiz landed a headbutt in the midst of his first successful flurry of punches against Mayweather. During the delay in which the referee was required to deduct a point from Ortiz, Ortiz profusely apologized to Floyd for his actions. As he was doing so, Floyd landed two consecutive blows to Ortiz’s face. The referee, who had seemingly lost control of the situation, stopped the fight and Floyd raised his arms in celebration of his 42nd victory.
I’m certainly not the only one who had to shower after Floyd’s dirt came through my television and stained my clothes. Google “Mayweather” and one of the suggestion options will finish with the phrase “cheap shot.” However, multiple reports have stressed that the referee did in fact call time in. Even more people blame Ortiz for being too apologetic, declaring that “the first rule of boxing is to always put your hands up.” Regardless of what really happened, this fight will taint Floyd Mayweather’s legacy forever. A real champion acts with class. Not only does a real champion win the right way, but a real champion wants to win the right way.
Let’s backtrack to the weeks leading up to the fight, when Floyd had yet another public outburst with his father. Looking straight into the camera with an undeniably outstanding poker face, Floyd remarked, “I don’t need my father.”
How fitting. With that one statement, Floyd told the world that he really does need his father. A good father would never have let this happen.… Read more...