The Sun Rises Again*: Boxing Commentary
29.08.07 - By Christopher Roche: 1) With Vazquez vs. Marquez III seemingly a done deal, will we see any new trilogies emerge down the road?
Article posted on 29.08.2007
The trilogy first emerged in the dramatic productions of ancient Greece. Famous tragedies such as The Oresteia and The Oedipus Cycle were woven together by the ancient authors, and the audience was treated to a dramatic ride as they followed the characters throughout their journey.
The sweet-science has carried on the tradition of the Ancient Greeks and produced amazing trilogies of its own. In modern times, Ali vs. Frazier, Ali vs. Norton, Duran vs. Leonard and Haugen vs. Pazienza are just some of the compelling trilogies from the 1970's and 80's.
In recent years, Gatti vs. Ward, Morales vs. Pacquiao, Morales vs. Barrera and now Vazquez vs. Marquez have kept the tradition going.
Trilogies generally unfold because audiences demand the repeated rematches, and the combatants are generally evenly matched. The making of a trilogy can take several years, and the best ones happen when the fighters begin the trilogy while they are still at the top of their game.
As I dust off my crystal ball and look into the future, I see a few compelling trilogies that could unfold.
Jermain Taylor vs. Kelly Pavlik
If Pavlik defeats Taylor, a catch weight rematch is already planned. Most boxing observers believe this will be a great match-up, and a Pavlik win would be a mild upset and set the stage for a hot rematch. If that happens, and Taylor wins the rematch, I am sure pressure for a rubber match would be intense.
Both fighters are young and hungry, and they are high-profile stars who generate a lot of passion among their fans. Since both fighters are undefeated and in their prime, there is no reason to believe the fight will be anything less than a hotly contested classic. If the fight is as close as I think it will be, then further battles would make sense, and the public will get behind them. However, if Taylor defeats Pavlik next month, there would most likely not be a rematch, as Taylor is moving up in weight, and the trilogy dream could be over before it started.
Paul Williams vs. Antonio Margarito
These two welterweights battled to an action packed decision last month, and Margarito's team was very bitter about the unanimous defeat. Williams is a difficult welterweight to match up against, because of his amazing size and reach, however, Margarito started to crack the enigma in the later rounds. Most welterweights are going to stay away from Williams, because of the match-up difficulties, but Margarito will almost certainly take a rematch. The first bout was very exciting, and if Margarito can defeat Williams in a second go-round, then a third installment is imperative.
Jean-Marc Mormeck vs. O'Neil Bell
Okay, this is cheating, because this trilogy is actually two-thirds of the way there, and the first two fights were split evenly, although Mormeck was stopped in the first match. This is a unique trilogy because both men were in their thirties when the first bout took place, but now that they are 1-1 against each other, a third bout is a perfect conclusion, and it would help revive a fairly anemic division.
O'Neil Bell reportedly disappeared before his last bout, however, and his state of mind could take some time to work itself out. If Bell and Mormeck can fight maybe once or twice more in the next twelve months, they could build up some nice hype as they work toward a their third match against each other. If both men win their "preliminary" bouts and look good doing it, then the stage would be set for a final chapter in the Mormeck-Bell saga and boxing would have one of its best trilogies of the decade.
2) Is Golden Boy Promotions working its way to the top of the American Promoters' list?
For those of you who read this column on a regular basis, you might realize that I often praise great promotions. Lately, some of the most innovative work has been done up in Canada, as they have hosted two shows during Auto Racing weekends, and both shows were highly successful. Cross promotion is the key to generating huge box office appeal, and Top Rank does this with Miguel Cotto fighting on the Eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, and Irish Ropes Promotions employs a similar strategy with John Duddy fighting on the Eve of Saint Patrick's Day in New York.
Golden Boy Promotions took the nationalism theme one step further and made a World Cup of Boxing, centered on the Daniel Ponce de Leon vs. Rey Bautista world title bout. For those of you who missed it, the entire card pitted Filipino fighters against Mexican fighters, and the show looked successful. The television outlet, which is the key to any great show, was HBO's "Boxing After Dark", and the viewing audience saw two good fights that ended with knockouts. In addition to the television coverage, the "World Cup" received a lot of attention from the Press, and the audience was left wanting more.
Golden Boy Promotions appears to be hitting on all cylinders, and they are in the unique position that anytime a big match is needed, one of the partners can step into the ring and make a bout happen. One big one for Golden Boy is Shane Mosley vs. Miguel Cotto, and the sport's biggest draw, Oscar De La Hoya, is also not finished fighting, so the company definitely has a bright future.
In addition to the good shows it produces, Golden Boy owns the rights to the most successful pay per view bout in boxing history, Mayweather vs. De La Hoya, so the company is not only boxing savvy but also has excellent business acumen. As Golden Boy continues to put on good shows, the rest of the boxing world will continue to respond, and the overall product delivered to the fans will improve.
The boxing business is very risky, and there is often not a great return for the investors. When someone like De La Hoya sticks his neck out, the public should support him, because in the end, our support will only improve the sport as a whole.
Fight I Would like to See and Why
David Tua vs. Roman Greenberg
I am back into mentioning heavyweights again. I recently called for Tua vs. Sultan Ibragimov, but since that is obviously not happening, maybe Tua can take on anther big, strong heavyweight with a good record. Tua showed some fire in his last win over Saul Montana (yes I bought the PPV), but he needs to stop fighting guys who are 5'10". If Tua is seriously going to challenge for a title, he needs to prove he can beat tall fighters, because all of the champions are monsters.
As for Greenberg, if he beats Tua, he will improve his credibility greatly. Tua represents the biggest name in the heavyweight division right now, barring the belt holders, and if Greenberg wants a shot for a world title, a win over Tua could catapult him there.
Quote of the Week
"The best thing? First class, baby. You start out flying coach. Then once you get a shot at the title, you start flying first class. Then winning the title, everything is elite class. You stay in suites. It was beautiful experience. It was like being the President."-James "Buster" Douglas to Richard Deitsch of SI.com, when asked what was the best thing about being world champ.
Quote of the Week II
"`I'd like to make you a deal,´" said a smiling Edward V. Rochford. "`Visit the Morris County Jail for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The quantity and quality of the food is something. And you may not find any restaurant kitchen cleaner than the jail kitchen.´
This is what is known in the business as a reliable source; Rochford is the Morris County sheriff, president of the Sheriffs' Association of New Jersey -- and a regular at the Alexis Diner."-Quote appeared on NJ.com .
The New Jersey website's reporter was visiting local diners and asking patrons where to find the best food. Apparently, we should all be so lucky to go to jail where the food is better and the kitchens are cleaner!
Injustice of the Week
The injustice of the week is that Delvin Rodriguez did not get the chance to finish off Keenan Collins last Friday on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights". I was ringside for the bout, and while I saw a clash of heads in the first round, I did not see one in the second and final round. Rodriguez was having his way with Collins in the second, and Teddy Atlas implied that Collins' corner purposely coaxed the Doctor to stop the fight because their man was fading. The bout was stopped at the end of the second round and ruled a no-contest. Collins suffered a cut that was apparently caused by an accidental headbutt.
Rodriguez is a good welterweight who was trying to bounce back from a knockout loss to Star Boxing stablemate Jesse Feliciano. Rodriguez will have to go back to the gym and start all over again. I hope he gets another fight soon.
The American mainstream media is often very disingenuous, and I cannot bear to read much of what is printed, or watch what passes for news. Most recently, the American media was caught trying its best to inject the issue of race into the Michael Vick story. For example, on Tuesday I read a report that noted most of the PETA protesters were white, while most of Vick's supporters were black, at the Falcons' preseason game on Monday night.
The reality of the situation is that Vick is a first-time offender who committed a grotesque crime. His crime was against dogs. There was no racial component to what he did. PETA is an organization that supports the rights of animals, and as far as I know, they do not favor one racial group over another. They were protesting Vick's abhorrent behavior toward dogs, which goes against everything PETA (and most human beings) stands for. PETA has a right to passionately condemn Vick, but the American media does not have the right to whip the public into a frenzy and attempt to stoke deep-rooted feelings regarding racism.
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