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Boxing Notebook: Oscar And The Risk


Reprinted from Rich Mancuso column @ World Wide Boxing on

New York: What’s going on here? Dick Young, a late and great mentor used this line with the ridiculous developments in sports. Boxing, to Dick Young. was always a storyline on the beat covering sports for the New York tabloids.

And now, more of the ridiculous. First it was Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. coming out of the retirement pasture and planning a comeback fight that will go as an exhibition. The fight has been pushed back to November and probably to give more time to expose what a farce this is for boxing.

Truth is, Hall of Famers in the 50’s. as these two are, should focus their efforts on promoting the sport and not put a dent on their reputations. It’s no longer their time. And it’s a clear and present danger with any blow to the head, though the punches they say won’t be the same as they threw in their heyday.

Regardless, they are not a replica of a George Foreman story and his efforts to make boxing history as the oldest competitor fighting for a heavyweight title.

Bernard Hopkins, the Hall of Famer, respected here all the time, he knew when to hang up the gloves and take on other roles as a promoter, mentor, and good ambassador for the sport.

As chronicled by the American Journal of Medicine, and with numerous other medical professionals, a severe blow to the head is detrimental and we are aware of that fact. And it is proved, more than once, a severe blow to the head has an impact on the brain.

More so, an impact to the fighter past the age of 40. More of a risk at 50. Yet promoters, no names pointed out, allowed 41-year former champion Jab Judah to get in the ring last June at the Turning Stone Resort Casino.

Judah, was stopped in the 11th round after sustaining punishment from
a younger and skilled Cletus Seldin. Judah, rushed by paramedics to a nearby hospital after collapsing in his dressing room. It was touch and go, Judah appeared to sustain brain damage and today has recovered.

His boxing days are over, and all for a risk of using his name as a main eventer, putting some needed and minimal money in Judah’s pocket after taxes, fees and, payment of corner people are taken from the purse.

Then there is Adonis Stevenson. The former light heavyweight champion, 41-years of age, stepped in the ring in December of 2018 against Oleksandr Gvozdyk. The brawler from Ukraine stopped Stevenson in the 11th round.

Stevenson, put in a stretcher and collapsed at a nearby hospital. Stevenson. sustained damage to the brain and was on life support. Fortunately, he has recovered and is trying to resume a life of normalcy.

But his boxing career is over. More of a fact, a fighter over 40 needs to hang up the gloves and resume a normal life instead of going for the money. The human brain can only take so much after sustaining a good amount of punches to the head.

Remember, Stevenson got a late start to his boxing career which adds more to the justifican of enough is enough.

Which leads to this latest fiasco and boxing Hall of Famer Oscar De La Hoya. The 47-year old Hall of Famer, head of Golden Boy Promotions, said this week there is a comeback on the horizon.

According to a reliable source, De La Hoya, could be headed to significant payday against UFC star Conor McGregor. It’s been 12 years since De La Hoya, a 11-time champion, was in the ring .

“The rumors are true,” he said. De La Hoya also said he has been in the gym and sparring. The comeback fight will not be an exhibition.

He said, “ It’s a real fight. I miss being in the ring. I love boxing. Boxing is what gave me everything I have today, and I just miss it.”

Yet, this champion of the past is also looking at a risk. Unless, of course, De La Hoya, like the others, is desperate for another payday. Regardless, again, a risk and only satisfying picture for those nostalgia buffs who love seeing former champions return and get their brain kicked from here to there.

No, this is not to be taken seriously. Boxing needs to focus on real time. Young and good champions along with the good fights ahead during this revival as a global pandemic continues.

Take it from this oldtimer. Enough is enough. Retire, more on. Save us the embarrassment and a potential tragedy for the sport we love. Go home Oscar, continue to focus on Golden Boy and your champions of the future.

THROWING THE PUNCHES: So you have had to know that the conflicts with promoters and putting on boxing cards would occur as a global pandemic continues. Once proper medical protocols and bubble isolations could be put in place there would be that saturation of promoter, streaming networks and cable outfits making sure that obligations were met.

And this is that weekend of boxing, perhaps too much at once, that gives boxing fans a fix. There is a choice, flipping back-and-forth, and that does not help the sport at a time with MLB baseball, the NHL and NBA in their playoff point, MLS soccer, golf, and more.

The PBC, Top Rank, Matchroom, and Golden Boy are in that competition to satisfy the fight fans. In their defense, months of being idle will cause this situation and fighters have been waiting for the opportunity. They stood still and got some training time at home, or if they were fortunate to get time in the gyms that may or may not have been allowed to remain open due to safety concerns.

But this saturation should not be allowed, and there is nothing to stop the promoters that need to work together now and more than ever. Then again, it always comes down to the money and greed of networks and gaining that revenue from live streams and cable networks.

“Nothing you can do about it,” said a once furloughed employee back in the office of a major promotion. “We sat still for months and needed to meet obligations for the fighters and the networks.”

And, of course, there is no athletic commission or sanctioning body that will dictate the dates. They, too, are in the mix with the revenue not coming due to closed venues. As long as the safety protocols are followed, and it has worked, boxing will continue with these conflicts and a variety is offered for fans that are shut out.

And Sergio Martinez returns to the ring Friday night. Last seen at Madison Square Garden, in June 2014, he saw the legs and knee go against Miguel Cotto. There is no major network stream for this comeback fight and no interest here except to know if Martinez, a former middleweight champion still has it.

The rest and some opinion: Top Rank has a Telemundo televised card from Kissimmee, Florida 12am Saturday showcasing prospects including Saul Jimenez and Aragon.

Matchroom and DAZN: Saturday 2pm ET. Fight camp and heavyweights with WBC contender Dillian Whyte and former champion Alexander Povetkin. They could become a mix in the title pictures with Anthiony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, Andy Ruiz, and Tyson Fury.

Oh, Fury is anxious to get back from the UK and wants Top Rank to speed up that third fight with Wilder by the end of this year. Of course, the fight does not make revenue with a closed door venue so this could be a waiting game.

PBC ON FOX Saturday night 8pm: Interest as Shawn Porter returns at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and looks to get back in that welterweight title mix. The 12-round bout against Sebastian Formell, that unheralded fighter, will not be easy. Porter could set up for an eventual fight against the winner of Errol Spence-Danny Garcia set for November 21.

Porter is looking for redemption after losing the unified titles in his last fight to Spence last year. And on that same card, the unique style of junior middleweight Sebastian Fundora, lean and strong will be on Fox….

TOP Rank: Saturday night ESPN + 7:30 PM: Fight of interest as Top Rank returns to their successful bubble at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Eleider Alvarez and Joe Smith Jr. in a WBO light heavyweight title eliminator. Winner will oppose Maxim Vlasov Umar Salamov and a right to the WBO title, rescheduled from July due to a shoulder injury sustained by Smith.

This will be a barnburner, as they say, potential for that fight of the year candidate.

Pick to Watch: PBC and Porter for sure. Welterweight division continues to be the talk of boxing. Shawn Porter, he is the Showman and anything is possible even with his tendency to wear these colorful outfits when not in the ring and broadcasting at ringside.

And of course, FOX is free and not the overpriced streaming networks that refuse to provide fans with a break during these tough and difficult financial times. And for a boxing writer, all the information this week and way too much to handle. You can only write so much.

GARCIA AND CANELO: Canelo Alvarez has been ordered by the World Boxing Council to fight Avni Yildirim for the vacant super-middleweight title. Time will tell. Avarez, according to sources, is resisting to take a pay cut on his $350 million fight deal with DAZN. There is some dissension in the ranks..

And for the moment, it appears Golden Boy and De La Hoya are at peace with Ryan Garcia, the lightweight and one of those top prospects in the sport.

ESPN is reporting that Garcia and Matchroom promoter Luke Campbell have reached an agreement to fight in November for the WBC interim lightweight title.

So for now, the gloves are off with the Oscar and Ryan reality show. May peace be with them.

Keep It In The Ring people. Stay safe and enjoy the fights.

Comment: Twitter@Ring786 Rich Mancuso

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