I had originally planned to post a year end type review of sorts but my highly respected colleague Tim beat me to the punch and if you have not read it yet I insist you do so. In one word, it’s freaking awesome and you can take that to the lake!! (Special thanks to Eugene Dammrod for that great link) As it would be pointless to post a similar article my next idea was doing a recap of the Valero – Linares PPV but procrastination took hold and it no longer seems timely. So in their place, another edition of Punch Drunk Ramblings Q & A edition! What does the future hold for both Jorge Linares and Edwin Valero? Make no doubt about it Linares is going to emerge as a legitimate star in 2008. The buzz surrounding the young Venezuelan is deafening and don’t think that the major players in the sport have not taken notice. Not only does Linares posses technically sound fundamentals but he brings with him a willingness to attack his opponents with a steady salvo of punches and not simply pot shot and run. Let’s not forget to mention the fact that Linares also possesses that hard to define “it factor” that will bring in the casual fans and tepid mainstream media in droves. It is understandably more difficult to forecast Edwin Valero’s career as it all hinges upon the NYSAC lifting the medical suspension that has currently black-listed the Venezuelan slugger here in America. Teiken Promotions, who promote Valero, have gone on record stating that they are going to fight tooth and nail in ’08 to get Valero’s license reinstated. The thought of Valero being able to fight in America has got many hardcore fight fans salivating, but with this being boxing you can never count on the just thing to happen. While I applaud the NYSAC for putting a fighters safety first, the commission should also go to lengths to ensure that a fit fighter is given the opportunity to ply his craft for a living. Valero’s team has stated on numerous occasions that he has been deemed fit to fight by some of the worlds best neurosurgeons out there. If this is the case have the Venezuelan pug take another battery of tests from an independent physician and if they agree that Valero is at no greater risk than any other practitioner of the sweet science, then let him fight. If Valero does get his license reinstated, what are the chances of him facing Manny Pacquiao? Slim to none right now if Bob Arum has his way. It seems that the “Bobfather” has rescinded his past comments of possibly staging a mega-fight between Pacquiao and Valero that would have taken place in Macau, China. Arum is quoted by Viva Sports as saying that “nobody has heard of him [Valero] in the United States and putting him in a fight against Pacquiao in Macau in not attractive.” Flies right in the face of all the claims Arum has said in the past. Is Top Rank concerned about the possibility of their star loosing to the unheralded Valero? Perhaps after seeing Valero KO yet another opponent cold feet have surfaced? I doubt it on both counts and it is clear that Arum just does not agree with the high risk low reward of such pairing. Now should Valero begin to fight here in America and start to make a name for himself don’t be surprised if Arum once again changes his tune. What the hell happened to the Juan Diaz-Michael Katsidis fight that was to take place!? In short, Don King. It is a shame that we the fans are not being treated to what is all but guaranteed to be a sure-fire candidate for 2008 Fight of the Year. I am not sure what to make of this whole mess. Golden Boy Promotions was the lone bidder in the purse bid mandated by the WBO with not so much of a peep from DKP. King likes to throw out the line that he could not make the purse bid on account of him spreading cheer to our troops in Iraq. While that is all well and good and if King is sincere in his attempts to lighten the dark days that our soldiers contend with than I applaud the man. Still the fact remains that the WBO gave King ample time to plan for this and DKP could have sent an associate on King’s behalf. King was well within his rights to exercise the clause in his contract with Diaz forbidding the Houston pug from fighting under the banner of any other promoter but it’s clear that Team Diaz is none too happy with the current state of affairs at DKP. Kudos to Diaz’s manager Willie Savannah for keeping his charge from signing any long term deal with King. It’s clear that Golden Boy Promotions clearly wants to make a run at Diaz but it’s a shame that promotional drama will prevent us from enjoying such a great fight for now. There is a slight chance that we may get a consolation prize as King is reported to be working on making a Juan Diaz-Nate Campbell match for March 8th. Wait, Ahmed Kaddor was in prison? Apparently so. Contender season 1 participant Ahmed “Babyface” Kaddour has apparently been held in a Harris County (Houston, TX) prison sine June on charges of burglary. The charges stem from Kaddour breaking into the Houston residence that he and his now ex-wife shared. Weird is not the appropriate word but the first one to come to mind. Kaddour has been MIA on the boxing scene since becoming the “heel” of the premier season of the Contender with his brash self-absorbing attitude. Authorities have since deported Kaddour to his native Denmark. So is it safe to say that Mayweather has finally emerged as a PPV star? Not entirely. While it is true that the De La Hoya – Mayweather battle this past May shattered box office receipts and PPV buyrates let us not kid ourselves. The real draw in “The World Awaits” was The Golden Boy and notthe Pretty Boy. The recent announcement of over 850,000 PPV buys for Mayweathers showdown with Ricky Hatton again shows us that Hatton is the real draw in the equation. You need proof? Pull the PPV figures of the two PPV where Mayweather was the name, Mayweather-Judah and Mayweather-Baldomir. Both fights did over 300,000 which is good but not awe inspiring. While it is true that Mayweather’s “Q Rating” has risen this year, I simply do not see fans flocking in droves to buy his fights if the opponent does not bring his own congregation. Face it, fans tune in to see if Mayweather will loose, not to cheer him on to victory. Now that Larry Holmes has been elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, will he now get the respect he deserves? I think so. People forget what a great champion Holmes was because he had to fight in the large shadow that Ali had cast over the heavyweight division. Additionally, the press at that time did not warm to Holmes given his cold reception toward the media. Holmes did not crave the spotlight the way that Ali had and thought his actions in the ring should have spoken for him. The media, having enjoyed the always accommodating Ali, never warmed to this thinking. If you want a modern day comparison, think Barry Bonds (before the BALCO scandal erupted). Bonds was never the open book that the baseball media wanted him to be and as a result the San Francisco slugger never enjoyed the soft ball treatment that many in sports journalism apply to athletes “who make it easy for them to file copy”. And yes, I am a Giants apologist; yet I digress. Holmes also had the misfortune to fight in an era in which major stars were few and far between. Holmes never had a Frazier of a Foreman on his resume and his reception inside the sport took a hit because of it. Still you cannot discount Holmes as a legitimate champion and arguably one of the greatest heavyweights in boxing’s rich history. Some more quick hits:
- Well it appears to be official, WBO welterweight champion Paul Williams is now scheduled to defend his new title against Carlos Quintana. The fight will headline HBO’s Feb. 9th card.
- El Nuevo Dia is reporting that a deal is in the works for light flyweight Ivan Calderon to unify his title with hard-hitting Ulises Solis in a very intriguing boxer vs. puncher match-up.
- Tonight’s VS. card headlined by Joshua Clottey taking on Shamone Alvarez may just turn out to be a good scrap. Now the televised Tye Fields match will be just plain garbage.
- SHAMESLESS SELF PLUG ALERT!!! If you are looking for a quick read check out my newest piece on FightHype.com entitled The 10 Greatest British Boxers of All Time.