The Drought Is Over

By Matthew Aguilar


The Drought Is Over

Finally, a fight! Little did boxing fans realize, back in early August, that it'd actually be fall before the can't-miss fall lineup got underway. Yes, it has been a miserable seven weeks since Daniel Ponce De Leon destroyed "Boom Boom" Bautista. But, providing Jermain Taylor or Kelly Pavlik don't get an infection from a hangnail, or slip on a banana peel en route to the ring, the unexpected drought will end with a gem of a middleweight encounter Saturday in Atlantic City. So here’s a little boxing update to catch you up on the latest goings-on before “Bad Intentions” and the “Ghost” swap leather.
*Down goes BoxingTalk! Down goes BoxingTalk!:

Huh? The most informative site on the Web down for the count? No, actually. Just some autumn housecleaning before the plethora of action (we hope). No better time than now to do that in light of this horrible, endless fistic hiatus. There's been so little activity that G. Leon may be considering a story on Fight Fashion: Were Hector Camacho's matador trunks good or bad for boxing?” Mixed martial arts fans are probably off waving their tattooed arms and throwing a giant celebration, assuming their sport has won this mythical disciplinary showdown between old fart boxing and young punk UFC. And who could blame them? All these cancellations have made boxing deader than a meeting of the Naseem Hamed fan club.

It all started with Fernando Vargas, whose blood tests came up abnormal a few weeks before his scheduled grudge match with loudmouth Ricardo Mayorga. Which is too bad, because Mayorga could certainly use another flattening. Then it was Juan Manuel Marquez, whose fist looked as bloated as Hamed's face after the Mexican acquired some sort of strange infection while training. And finally it was the rickety pair of Vitali Klitschko and Oleg Maskaev pulling out of  fights with Jameel McCline and Samuel Peter, respectively. Maskaev is 38 going on 68, while Vitali is apparently as sturdy these days as a newborn calf. Peter will likely take care of Maskaev by knocking him out. Vitali just needs to retire.
*The crowning of Samuel Peter:

WBC boss Jose Sulaiman and his “Board of Governors” (please!) are at it again. They bestowed a fictional crown on Peter's head, and called him a champion without the "Nigerian Nightmare"” having to so much as breathe heavy. This after the real WBC champ, Maskaev, pulled out of his scheduled Oct. 6 title fight with Peter due to an injury. Now - before Peter squares off with another Tin Man, McCline, in a hastily-arranged filler for the Oct. 6 card - there will be a ceremony to officially award the interim” title to Peter. For doing nothing more than existing.

What is an interim title, anyway? Other than a vehicle for more confusion. And more corruption (as in sanctioning fees , which is an official tag for, Powers-That-Be-Stealing From Fighters.”)
Where do Sulaiman and his venerable board of bandits come up with these elaborate fantasy coronations? You certainly have to give them points for creativity, if nothing else. Interim titles. Has there been a more ridiculous concept in the history of sport? As though boxing hasn’t chased away enough fans – now there are interim titles. No wonder the world has migrated to NASCAR. 
Whatever the case, if there were a vote for “Man Who Has Done More To Damage Boxing Over the Past Half-Century,” my vote would be for Sulaiman. His single-handed destruction of the fight game is nearing completion. Good job, Jose.
*Bob Arum considering promoting Tommy Lee-Kid Rock:
You know boxing is dead when this is an item. But at least it’s interesting. It all started when Rock supposedly cold-cocked Lee (no pun intended) at the MTV Awards a few weeks back (Britney, apparently, wasn't the only one who got smashed). But, listening to both lean, mean fighting machines jabber on about each other it's obvious that this is a brawl that has been a-brewin, for years. Ya see, they have a common love interest in ubiquitous blonde bombshell Pamela Anderson, as in, they were both married to the Baywatch babe (you might say she has a thing for angular rockers). Anyway, after the “Punch Heard ‘Round The World” (or at least in that particular hallway), it would be only fitting that Lee vs. Rock is on. Can't wait to see Lee doubling the jab and coming across with that big Hearns-like right hand. Or the Kid double-hooking to the body before stepping back and firing that De La Hoya-esque left uppercut.

Perhaps it won’t be so measured and skilled, you say? Maybe not. But one thing’s for sure there'll be a lot of flying hair.
If we’re lucky, they’ll wound each other’s egos so bad that we’ll never have to hear or look at them ever again.Pam can stay.
Mike Tyson in trouble. Again:
Well, this is not so big. It's September. And it’s 2007. And it’s a Thursday. Which means Tyson is probably in trouble. What's maddening is ESPN, and its absolute fascination with this guy. And, conversely, its absolute disregard for the “Sweet Science” itself.  The “Total Sports Network” (does it even call itself that anymore?) – specifically, “SportsCenter” - can't get enough of the former “Baddest Man on the Planet.” Even though he’s 41 and years past his fighting prime.

Yet, I haven't heard a peep about Taylor vs. Pavlik – perhaps the best middleweight showdown since Hagler vs. Hearns in 1985 (that one turned out pretty good).

Unfortunately for boxing, I don’t expect to. Such is pugilism’s fate, circa ‘07. Boxing just doesn’t matter to the mainstream sports fan anymore. Thanks to guys like Sulaiman.  Again…thanks, Jose.


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