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Quick Jabs: Hopkins Vs. Kovalev Ramifications, Arum’s Orgy, Conte’s Trustworthiness

That Vice Sports interview between Carmelo Anthony and Daniel Jacobs doesn’t really get going until about five minutes in, but it’s good after that.

We won’t take five minutes getting into a juicy Quick Jabs, which delves into the topics in the headline, the popularity (or lack thereof) of Gennady Golovkin, some wacky business involving heavyweights Mike Tyson and Shannon Briggs, and more.

Quick Jabs

With Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev booked, Kovalev promoter Main Events was expected to drop a portion of its lawsuit against Golden Boy, Adonis Stevenson, Showtime, Yvon Michel and Al Haymon. It makes a certain amount of selfish sense — Golden Boy promotes Hopkins, so might as well drop the suit against them as any kind of party to blocking a fight between Kovalev and light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson, if Kovalev is getting a big fight from one of those parties. But Main Events has gone one further, too, and dropped the whole lawsuit. That part is too bad, somewhat. It’s better for boxing if fights are happening in the ring rather than the courts, overall, but the potential for some revelatory discovery relating to ultra-secretive, ultra-influential manager Haymon was drool-worthy…

This is most certainly a win for HBO: getting Kovalev-Hopkins, after Stevenson left for Showtime to chase Hopkins and avoid Kovalev. But David Greisman puts it in the proper context — it’s more a victory in a battle, at this point, than any kind of major blow…

Looking at Kovalev and Hopkins in a post-fight interview after Kovalev’s win Saturday over Blake Caparello, I thought Kovalev was eyeing Hopkins like he was a delicious steak. Others saw a Kovalev ill at ease. There’s room for both things; initially, Kovalev stared at him hungrily, but after talking for a while, maybe Hopkins got under Kovalev’s skin, something he’s a master at doing. Or maybe the discombobulated answers from Kovalev after Hopkins walked off were more about the language barrier of a native speaker of Russian trying to make a shitty rejoinder about Hopkins’ “alien” shtick. We’ll see how the mind games/language barrier plays out as we go along. As of now, I lean toward Hopkins. Hopkins has never, ever — not once — met a big, slow puncher he couldn’t dismantle, but then, few of them have been as big or well-schooled as Kovalev, and Hopkins wasn’t nearing 50 years old the other times…

It doesn’t sound like there’s going to be any advanced drug testing for Hopkins-Kovalev, which is too bad. It’s not great that it’s come to this — ideally, there’d be advanced testing for everyone, all the time — but it’d do wonders for Hopkins’ reputation if he passed some high-level testing at his age, given the speculation. It feels like it’s building, too, for middleweight Gennady Golovkin, who can knock people out while being off balance and getting punched at the same time, drawing comparisons to Tyson for his power, so why not nip it in the bud and start now? (Back to GGG in a minute)…

Please give a look at the update from Sunday morning to the post about Brandon Rios-Diego Chaves and the disqualification of Chaves in that welterweight bout. The video very much shows Chaves trying to dig his glove into Rios’ eye, as Rios complained. That’s a DQ-worthy offense, especially with the rest of what was happening in that bout. There is no evidence at all, however, that referee Vic Drakulich saw it, as he didn’t issue the DQ until hearing Rios complain for a while, and the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s comments on the matter aren’t impressive; they called in Drakulich to review his performance, apparently, and we’re left with “Drakulich was aware because Rios’ corner told him,” basically. Can you imagine that in any other sport? Atlanta Falcons: “Ref, watch out, #59 is digging his cleats into the tight end’s feet.” Ref: “Noted.” Atlanta Falcons: “Ref, did you see??? He did it again!” Ref, despite being nowhere near the play: (100-yard penalty.) So it was a bad call for Drakulich to make, ultimately, yet still a DQ-able offense. As with heavyweight Mike Perez’s point deduction a weekend ago in the 12th round by Harvey Dock, it all should’ve been handled better, but Perez and Chaves were both doofuses to commit deliberate fouls late in fights that were up for grabs, and it’s hard to feel too much sympathy for them…

Why the NSAC wanted to talk to Drakulich (so far, so good) when there’s no evidence they wanted to talk to the trio responsible for an even more poorly-rendered decision — the extravagantly wide scorecards for Jessie Vargas in his junior welterweight bout against Anton Novikov — is mystifying. Whatever you have to say about Drakulich, at least he backed into what now looks like the right decision. The judges for Vargas-Novikov probably ought to be suspended even without a review…

Now, back to GGG: You might’ve heard some scribes say that GGG’s ratings against Daniel Geale were poor because of the season, or because the bout was short. Both might be true, and certainly neither helped. But both were the opinions of HBO executives and went unattributed by those scribes. The network is fond of planting unattributed opinions in the media as truth, something I’ve struggled with how to handle at times — I don’t want to violate any confidences, but I also don’t want to parrot things as if they are from an unbiased source (me) when they are most certainly introduced by a biased source (HBO). Golovkin’s promoter had very, very high expectations for GGG-Geale, and maybe that was naive, but something, maybe several somethings, went wrong here from hope to the reality, and the spin after doesn’t ring true when he drops down to levels from two fights ago despite bold predictions in advance. What’s weird about it is that there feels like GGG’s popularity is morphing from a fan base of the extra-hardcore into the mainstream — observe the New Yorker giving him some love. The live gate also points to growth, perhaps, keeping in mind that Living Social was offering a deal for tickets. Nothing wrong with that (it’s a smart move, actually, to try and get as many eyeballs as possible on GGG in whatever manner possible), but discounted tickets artificially inflate numbers beyond demand, obviously, and create an inflated view of popularity…

Jamie Foxx is headed toward a role as Tyson in a feature film, a good choice. Fantastic actor, one with a comedic gift for mimicry. Also, this Tyson cartoon on Adult Swim is gloriously weird based on this taste, like Venture Bros. with boxing.

And the “rivalry” between heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko and Shannon Briggs keeps getting stranger and stranger, plus more lopsided. Briggs walked into a restaurant, started eating Klitschko’s meal and then Klitschko defeated him with water. Of course, it very well could be fake

Manny Pacquiao now wants to be a senator in the Philippines, presumably as a progression toward president. Wonder how much national idol status can carry him there. His record of missed votes as a House member is not stellar, some of which is understandable given his boxing career, some of which might turn off voters…

What the hell is up with junior middleweight Glen Tapia’s blood? We’ve heard from him about it, but it doesn’t make a world of sense…

Local D.C.-area junior welterweight prospect Mike Reed has signed with Top Rank. Guess that audition went pretty well…

As for Top Rank’s Bob Arum, he got pretty, um, TMI here in talking about a two-day orgy with Muhammad Ali after the Thrilla in Manila. Granted, if there’s going to be some TMI, it should be this amusing…

Junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia’s disgraceful bout Saturday on Showtime against Rod Salka — an unaccomplished lightweight, even — wasn’t from the start going to be sanctioned as a title bout by two of the alphabet outfits who has given Garcia a title, despite being advertised as such by Showtime, Golden Boy and Barclays for a spell. That’s a real blow to the validity of the bout, if even the money-grubbing alphabet boys won’t take your sanctioning fee money. The match-up also caused some consternation among the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, which serves as the custodians of the real, lineal divisional championships, and of which I am a member. We had some discussion amongst ourselves about whether the bout should serve as a championship bout, so shoddy was it, and 10 rounds rather than 12. On one hand, I and others argued that if Salka beat Garcia, it would look silly if we ignored it and maintained Garcia as champ. On the other hand, if the sanctioning boys said “nah” and TBRB didn’t, it could look bad. For now, the situation has been averted, as Garcia-Salka will be contested at 142 lbs., making it a non-championship bout by any standard at junior welter. That’s something of a relief, except for the part where Garcia gets even MORE of an advantage against an outmatched, undersized opponent…

Hey, Floyd Mayweather got a promotional license in Nevada, too, finally! Maybe it’s OK to repeatedly violate the law if you want to be a boxing promoter, after all…

Some of super middleweight Andre Dirrell’s woes are not of his making. Some of them clearly are — from Haymon, to 50 Cent, back to Haymon — and are almost comical in how ill-conceived they are. He’d really be a nice addition to the ranks at 168 if he could follow up his words with actions…

This week, ace performance enhancing drugs reporter Tim Elfrink had a long story with Gus Garcia-Roberts related to their new book about Anthony Bosch that touched on Victor Conte, who has fashioned himself an anti-PED reformer in boxing and elsewhere. That inspired the below series of tweets from yours truly. Conte certainly has counterarguments to some of these things, and some of them are even plausible, but there’s not a false word below, all of which add up to a lot of smoke against trusting him. Do with them as you will. [UPDATE/CORRECTION: One false word, actually — it was a fake Alex Ariza account, not a fake Memo Heredia account.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.

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