Saturday, March 6, 2010
Sound & Fury: Mayweather-Mosley Nastiness, Tavoris Cloud Befuddles Yet Again, Nevada State Athletic Commission Shenanigans, & How Much $$$ Would It Ta
Mayweather vs Mosley
The Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley mini-media tour has already dipped its toe into boorishness and it is a shame that Mosley, one of the classiest fighters to step into the ring over the last 20 years, has to be stained by its muck. Aside from his BALCO folly, admittedly a big folly, Mosley has never been anything but a credit to the sport. Now, perhaps for the first time in his career, Mosley is engaged in WWE shenanigans for a fight that needs no selling. As it is, Mosley seems uncomfortable in his new role as straight man. And why should he feel at ease? For years he has been magnanimous, respectful, and easygoing. Now he is forced into a mudslinging contest with the master of the cow chip toss. Interestingly enough, Mayweather pulled no such stunts with Juan Manuel Marquez last year, preferring a more low-key approach. Something is, surprise, surprise, askew here. Mosley is a far bigger name in America than Marquez is and as such needs fewer woof tickets sold on his behalf. In other words, if any event needed to be hyped up, it was the Marquez fight. Was Mayweather so subdued last September because he knew that Marquez was a pushover? And is Mayweather trying to psych Mosley out or psych himself up with his misbehavior?
Someone ought to go out and buy a Ouija board or a Magic 8-Ball for Tavoris Cloud. Maybe then some of his business decisions will start making sense. The perplexing MS-DOS light heavyweight champion recently pulled out of a fight against Glen Johnson and signed a promotional contract with boxing fossil Don King. Cloud claims, to the skepticism of most, that a pulled hamstring forced him to withdraw from the Johnson bout. This apparent mishap has caused no small amount of collateral damage. Lou DiBella is outraged and had to scramble for a replacement, Glen Johnson loses a payday, HBO sees a rare competitive fight evaporate, and Cloud, whose previous team earned one of the more dependable reputations in boxing—for foolishness, takes two steps back into the swampwater of anonymity from which he came. Skipping out on your first HBO appearance is not the wisest business move, and it will certainly hurt Cloud in the long run. As it is, it will be another few months before Cloud gets back in the ring. In that case, he will have fought only three times in the last two years.
As for signing with King as his promoter, this must certainly be an act of nostalgia on the part of Cloud, who probably remembers King being at the side of Mike Tyson, Terry Norris, Julio Cesar Chavez and Felix Trinidad when Cloud was still in junior high school. Or maybe King dusted off his trusty old duffel bag, the one he often filled up with large denominations and used as potent bait for a generation of fighters from the early 1980s until he started running out of steam–and large denominations, perhaps–around 2003. (Rumors that he lent it to Oscar De LA Hoya a few years ago, when “The Golden Boy” wanted to impress Manny Pacquiao at LAX, are unconfirmed). According to Boxrec.com, King staged half a dozen shows in the United States in 2009. Even a Deep South promoter like Shela McMurray staged more fights last year. If Cloud wanted to be a little more active, maybe he should have headed over to Texarkana for a spell. That might have been more logical than anything Cloud has done over the last two years.
It sure is nice to see the Super Six taking place in Detroit, a city with an unemployment rate of nearly 25% (Metro Detroit has an unemployment rate of about 15%) and with roughly 35% of its residential lots vacant. Among the figures not revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, are those regarding the number of unlicensed matchmakers and crooked promoters operating under fronts and screwing boxers over every which way but loose. You might catch a glimpse of some of them on the Showtime telecast on March 26. Look for the fellows with slime dripping all over their faces.
About a week or so ago it was reported that Manuel Vargas, unmercifully flogged by junior bantamweight titleholder Nonito Donaire in a grievous mismatch on February 13, failed a post-fight drug test. Apparently, Vargas had taken painkillers at some point before the bout. This does not come as a shock at all; Vargas knew he was in for a beating and prepared accordingly. Seriously, though, Vargas was just living his life, going about his business, when he got the call to fight Donaire only three days before the bout and so did not have time to think about what he had recently ingested. What is shocking is the fact that Vargas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, only pulled down a $10,000 paycheck to play sacrificial lamb. Ten grand to fight on short notice – -and far beyond his weight class—against a bad hombre with KO power. For Vargas to jump at $10,000 under those circumstances tells you what kind of money he usually makes as a professional prizefighter. After all is said and done, after the IRS, the manager, the trainer, and the cutman get their share, Vargas will be lucky to return to Jalisco with $4,000. If someone offered you $4,000 to get your ass kicked by a world-class professional boxer, would you take it? To make matters worse, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will no doubt be fining Vargas for failing his drug test despite the fact that Vargas agreed to the fight only three days before the opening bell. Maybe the NSAC ought to slap themselves with fines for allowing such a blatant mismatch to happen in the first place. Vargas, after all, was coming off of a loss at strawweight before entering the ring against Donaire.
Like much in boxing, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has a vaunted reputation earned via osmosis. In a recent post on SecondsOut.com, Dr. Margaret Goodman, former Chief Ringside Physician and Medical Advisory Board Chairman for the NSAC, points out the shortcomings of a commission that recently cleared 47-year old Evander Holyfield and 41 year-old walking time bomb Roy Jones Jr. to fight in Las Vegas. “Nevada,” writes Dr. Goodman, “who claims to be the best U.S. commission, has long since forfeited this title.” But what can you expect? These are the same folks who nearly abetted manslaughter when they allowed a prime William Joppy to brutalize 47-year-old Roberto Duran. Like many other commissions, the NSAC has its share of flunkies and political appointees and is not averse to oiling the wheels of the often shady boxing machine. It is high time they matched their smug talk with plain actions once in a while.