It's Monday. Welcome back for another edition of Observe and Fight, The Boxing Observer's compilation of observations and random thoughts from the week that was in boxing. Get caught up on some of the most recent events you may have missed out on, including Adrien Broner's whirlwind weekend, the cruel side of boxing, Jim Lampley's big blunder, and much more. Without further ado, check out the latest observations from The Boxing Observer, David Kassel.
- "The Problem" was worth the "weight" for Adrien Broner. The 22-year-old Cincinnati native may not have conducted himself in a professional manner leading up to his fight with Vicente Escebedo, but at the end of the day, when the dust clears, all most fans will remember is that Broner looked spectacular once again against his toughest opponent to date. Like him personally or not, Broner has the attributes to be boxing's next big thing. He has speed, power, strong defense, ring generalship, and charisma. His chin has yet to be tested, but that is to Broner's credit because he hasn't been hit flush. His stamina is still a question mark, but nobody will find out until he goes into deep waters, a la Floyd Mayweather's first fight with Jose Luis Castillo. Broner not making weight did not change the outcome of his fight with Escebedo, however, it may have changed the mindset of Escebedo's corner deciding to stop the fight earlier than they would have otherwise. It may have changed the perception of Broner in the eyes of the public, but it did not change the way this fight was going to end. This fight was another showcase for Adrien Broner, and that's exactly what happened. Broner would have stopped Escebedo at some point in this fight based solely on the talent difference. HBO boxing analyst Max Kellerman put it best when he said that the best Adrien Broner could do was break even. He did that, and now we'll see how he progresses as he moves up to lightweight.
- 50 cent is now a licensed promoter in the state of New York, and soon to be in Nevada. News broke late last week that 50 formed TMT Promotions (The Money Team Promotions) and has already signed Cuban sensation Yuriorkis Gamboa and 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Andre Dirrell. 50, real name Curtis Jackson, is Floyd Mayweather's best friend and one of his closest confidants. This looks like a move for Floyd Mayweather to expand his promotional company (Mayweather Promotions) to the east coast in a way to increase revenue, sign more talent to his stable, and get more television exposure for his fighters. I predict it's only a matter of time before we see Mayweather Promotions, TMT Promotions, and Al Haymon Productions team up to form a promotional company to rival that of Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions. With Haymon's current stable of world-class fighters and his growing list of prospects, it seems like only a matter of time until he is "officially" running the boxing world.
- Broner's current immaturity will either make him, or break him, in the future. What people must remember is this young man is 22 years old. Imagine what most of us were doing at 22. We were in college or working to make a buck, but most of us were partying at the club, chasing every woman (or man for you ladies) that peaked our interest, and drinking like crazy (possibly even more recreational activities for some of you). We didn't have a spotlight on us at all times. We didn't have tons of money in our pockets. We weren't under a constant microscope, and we certainly didn't have expectations of being the next Floyd Mayweather on our shoulders. It doesn't matter what Broner may say publicly; he feels the pressure of all the expectations because he doesn't want to be the big thing that could have been. We, as the general public, feel pressure on a day-to-day basis. What if our pressures were magnified on the national stage? How would we handle those pressures? Personally, I don't think I would have handled those pressures well at the age of 22 because I wasn't ready to grow up yet. Just before the post-fight interview with Kellerman, Marcus Watson (son of Sam Watson, who works directly with Al Haymon), said to Broner, "Be a professional." Clearly, after everything that took place in the days prior to the fight, Al Haymon did not want anymore missteps by Broner. It's all part of the learning process. If Broner learns from his mistakes (i.e. not tweeting pictures of fast food bags and candy bars before fights), his maturity will grow as he gets wiser both in and out of the ring. If Broner takes nothing away from this experience, eventually, he will learn the hard way by taking a loss in the ring, which in turn is a loss in the eyes of the general public. He made some mistakes, no question about it, but he has been flawless to this point. I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt this time and hope he learns how to behave in a professional manner from here on out. Based on the people who handle his career, I'm going to predict this will be the last time, for a long time, that Broner has a big misstep like he just had.
- Vicente Escobedo is first-hand proof why boxing can be such a cruel sport. At about 3pm (EST) Saturday, I sent a Tweet saying, "if they havent cancelled yet, Escebedo will fight. They are just tryin to milk every last cent. Can't blame them but he will fight." I sent this out because the truth of the matter is that if Escobedo didn't fight, he didn't get paid. Vicente's initial purse was $150,000. Not bad, but some of that money goes to his manager, Rolando Arrellano, some of it goes to his trainer, Joel Diaz, another portion goes to the assistant trainer, the cutman, etc. Let's not forget taxes. As we found out during the HBO broadcast, Escobedo has a six-week old daughter. There was no way in hell he wasn't going to fight. To his handlers' credit, they were able to get the money renegotiated to upwards of $400,000. That's quite the difference. The weight issue is a VERY big deal because no fighter should be placed at a disadvantage before they step inside the ring, unless it was agreed upon beforehand. But unless something changes, boxing will continue to see these problems arise. Escobedo held up his end of the deal. He should not have been penalized (and he was not as he was properly compensated, in my opinion, going into an almost impossible situation) for Broner's actions. I suggest that each state adopts a fine for 20% of a fighter's purse per pound going over the weight limit. The money will automatically go to the opponent after the weigh-in, no questions asked. Should the fight not take place because of the weight issue, a stipend of 50%, for the fighter who made weight's purse, should be paid directly to that fighter so that he is fairly compensated. The fighter who did not make weight will be forced to pay that money out of his own pocket, or should he not be able to pay the fine immediately, the state commission will pay the money, and that fighter will lose that sum of the money in his next fight to be paid back to that state commission. I know it wouldn't be easy to enforce, but if a system like this were in place, fighters would either A) not sign the contract at a weight they know they can't make, B) inform the promoter/opponent/commission well in advance of the fight they can't make weight, so appropriate arrangements may be made, or C) make the weight and accept whatever fate comes to them in the ring. Also, no fighter shall be allowed to rehydrate more than 15lbs over the contracted weight limit until 4 hours before the fight. This will eliminate at least some of the problems we currently have in boxing. The ABC (Association of Boxing Commissions) and its President, Tim Lueckenhoff, needs to get on this ASAP! I just hope HBO allows Escobedo at least one more slot on a broadcast in the future to help prove himself against the likes of a real 130-lb fighter.
- Is Jim Lampley trying to get himself fired by HBO? I have always respected Jim Lampley and think he is still one of the best in the business, but taking a proverbial crap on the network who pays him, on live television, may not be the best career move. In Lampley's introduction to the HBO broadcast, he stated everything that had happened throughout the day, clearly showing his frustration with it all, while discussing the mismatch that was to be Broner vs. Escebedo. Then, to top it off, he denigrates the co-feature fight between Keith Thurman and Orlando Lora, saying this isn't the type of quality fight HBO is used to showing. I understand what he was saying, but the majority of boxing fans who tuned in to Saturday night's broadcast had no idea about the day's events and had no idea who Keith Thurman or Orlando Lora were. If they were tuning in, it was because they wanted to watch boxing, or they were interested in the main event. The undercard fight was just more entertainment. As it turned out, the Thurman vs. Lora scrap turned out to be entertaining as hell from the opening bell. To Lampley's credit, he somewhat retracted his statements by saying that he was wrong about the Thurman vs. Lora fight, and that it was somewhat competitive. The point is, however, the casual boxing fan wants to be entertained. Lampley's rant to begin the broadcast may or may not have swayed viewers to change the channel. The hardcore fight fan is going to watch regardless. The casual fan, who just felt like watching boxing, may have been turned away by Lampley's "honest opinion," and HBO may have lost viewers Saturday night because of it. It's okay to tell the truth about a fight, but be smart about it. This is boxing and as we have seen throughout the 2012 calendar year, anything can happen. It didn't on Saturday night, but it could have. That's why fans still flock toward the sweet science.
- Speaking of Keith Thurman...WOW! He was impressive as hell against a guy who just didn't want to go away. Thurman was patient and methodical, all the while throwing shots with deadly intent every single time, living up to his moniker "One-Time." He still has some holes that need to be sured up, but if this guy has a solid chin and can hold up for 12 rounds, he will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. At 147, I'm convinced he has the power to knock anyone out right now. Does that mean he is ready for Mayweather or Bradley? Probably not. But he could do some serious damage if given the opportunity. I'm just curious to see how long he can make the 147-lb limit before he has to move up to 154. He is already a very big welterweight and will only get bigger as time goes on. One final thing on HBO and Thurman. Why did the HBO broadcasters say it was Thurman's first fight in 15 months? It was his third fight in 2012 after a 15-month layoff. He fought in February in a non-televised fight on an HBO Boxing After Dark card in St. Louis (I would know since I was there to see it with my own eyes), and he fought again on the Mayweather vs. Cotto non-televised undercard in May. I guess with all the commotion Saturday, HBO's research team felt the broadcast wasn't going to take place and packed their bags early. WHOOPS!
- Victor Ortiz is showing yet again why he is a prime example of immaturity. In a story by RingTV's Lem Satterfield, Ortiz's former manager (maybe still current manager, I'm not sure to be honest), Rollando Arrellano (also Escebedo's manager), said that Ortiz put a stop payment on the check Arrellano was due for Ortiz's June fight with Josesito Lopez, claiming that Arrellano's managers license had expired. Ortiz made a purse of $800,000 for the Lopez fight, and Arrellano was due 22% ($192,000). Arrellano was the same man who negotiated getting Ortiz a $2.5 million paycheck against Floyd Mayweather. While I feel 22% is a very hefty price to pay for management, it was what Ortiz agreed to. If Ortiz wanted a different manager's fee, he shouldn't have signed the contract. Arrellano fully acknowledges his license had expired when he dug further into the issue, but Ortiz needs to understand it was Arrellano who got him paid in the first place. This is a first hand example of why Victor Ortiz is not well-liked or respected within the boxing world. He is immature and doesn't seem to ever take responsibility for his actions. I don't blame him for quitting against Lopez with a broken jaw. I would have done the same thing. But it is the constant pattern of behavior Ortiz displays, in and out of the ring, that shows why he may never truly be one of the greats. He has never learned from his mistakes, and he has yet to grow up mentally. Adrien Broner needs to take a look at Ortiz's actions throughout the course of his career and do the opposite.
- This Saturday night's Showtime Championship Boxing main event between Robert Guerrero and Selcuk Aydin should be an entertaining showcase. Let's be honest about it, this is a fight to showcase Robert Guerrero as Golden Boy Promotions hopes to put him in the ring with Floyd Mayweather some time in the near future, but Guerrero has never fought above 135 pounds and is making the jump all the way to welterweight (147). That is a big jump, especially considering Guerrero hasn't fought in over 15 months. Guerrero needs a spectacular performance to even be considered as a legitimate threat to Mayweather, and he will be tested against Selcuk "Mini-Tyson" Aydin, who is always looking for the knockout. I just don't know if a win over Aydin (even if it is a spectacular knockout) warrants a fight with Mayweather. In my opinion, Aydin needs a knockout to win the fight because he is going into Guerrero's hometown of San Jose (the arena is 30 minutes from where Guerrero grew up), and he is unlikely to win any close rounds. It should be a competitive scrap and I expect Guerrero to win a close decision.
- Don't sleep on this week's edition of ESPN2's Friday Night Fights. The always entertaining, and #4 ranked lightweight according to Boxrec, "Hammerin" Hank Lundy makes his return to the ring against Ray Beltran in what makes for an intriguing match-up. Beltran's last three losses have come against top quality opposition: undefeated prospects Luis Ramos Jr. and Sharif Bogere, and the always dangerous Ammeth Diaz. Should be a good one, and I'm looking forward to it.
- Each week, I feature an email from a fan on Observe and Fight. This week's email comes to us from the boxing titan on jr. welterweight champion, Danny Garcia's, future prospects, and Amir Khan's future...
"Hey David. Great assessment on Danny Garcia (**in last week's edition of Observe and Fight**). One thing that strikes me is how patient he was after the first knock down. We have seen in the past how some fighters punch themselves out after a knock down i.e. Kirkland v Angulo. The question now is, what's in store for Garcia? Many have said they would like to see Garcia against Bradley. The reality is, any fight that includes a GBP fighter v TR fighter is not happening. One fight that's creating a lot of buzz is a fight between Garcia and Juan Manuel Marquez. Let's be honest, any fight that involves a Puerto Rican and a Mexican is always memorable (Cotto v Margarito, Vargas v Tito, Lopez v Salido, Arce v Vazquez). The list goes on and on. In addition, if the IBF vacates the title and Judah finds a way to win it AGAIN, a unification fight would be awesome, style wise. I think this will be memorable. If Garcia decides to move up, (which I think is not wise at this moment) one fight that would be interesting is a fight against Devon Alexander (if he can capture the title against Bailey). I think Garcia has a hand full of realistic options. As for Khan, he might want to stay put at 140 and take his talent back to the UK. He is 0-2 in his last 2 fights. Do you think Peterson v Khan still has some steam to happen?"
Couldn't agree more with most everything you said. Marquez is still a TR fighter, so that's out. I think we could see Judah vs. Garcia, but another option is Matthysse vs. Garcia since Matthysse is a GBP fighter. I think Garcia needs to stay at 140 though. Technically, his next fight is supposed to be against #1 contender Ajose Olusegun, but we'll see if the WBC actually holds up its end of the bargain this time. As for Khan, he needs to stay at 140 and learn some defense. Freddie Roach may not be his best option. Peterson vs. Khan still has some steam, but not as much anymore.
That's all I've got for this week. Email any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will answer them throughout the week. Your email may be featured in the next "Observe and Fight." Follow me on Twitter @BoxingObserver, and be sure to "Like" The Boxing Observer on Facebook.