It was good to see Ricky Hatton sign a promotional contract with Golden Boy Promotions. Oscar De La Hoya’s company is one of today’s biggest players. But it still hasn’t really developed a fighter from scratch to stardom.
Not that we’re criticizing Golden Boy; it takes time and the company is still young. Finding that diamond in the rough is no easy task. But in that regard, one has to be impressed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. It gave Miguel Cotto, Kelly Pavlik, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and De La Hoya their start and helped make superstars out of all of them.
One could say that with that talent, how could Arum miss? Don’t kid yourself. This business of promoting is a huge gamble rife with emotional blood, sweat and tears. And, tell you what, Arum did a masterful job with De La Hoya.
All that said, we have no doubt that De La Hoya and Golden Boy will make their mark in that way. From everything we’ve heard, De La Hoya is a tireless and passionate worker. So is his right-hand man, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.
- David Haye is an exciting, hard-hitting fighter. If you didn’t like the way he took on and took out fellow cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli in the second round last Saturday in London, you don’t like prize-fighting. Haye is someone we all should want to see again.
Haye is the type of go-getting fighter we need in the heavyweight division, and Haye has declared he is moving up to the sport’s watered-down version of its so-called bread-and-butter division. The hope here is that Haye adjusts well to the bigger men he will now be facing because he has such a viciously pleasing style.
Haye has been fighting at 200 pounds. He is 6-foot-3, which would make one think he can perhaps add some muscle without losing too much of his natural punching ability; that happens to fighters who get too muscle-bound. Still, he has not been getting hit by 230-, 240-pounders. Showtime announcers were saying Saturday he has a suspect chin.
If that’s true, that appears to be the largest hurdle he will have to clear in order to emulate Evander Holyfield. All Holyfield did was win the cruiserweight championship, unify it and then become the only four-time heavyweight champion. Holyfield was in the London crowd to watch Haye work his powerful magic.
- Arum promoted Juan Manuel Marquez when Marquez fought a 12-round draw with Manny Pacquiao in May 2004. Marquez and Pacquiao on Saturday will square off in a rematch at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Arum played host to a group of reporters last Wednesday at a restaurant in Hollywood as a precursor to a Pacquiao workout at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym. Arum said that perhaps the biggest key to this return bout will be how much Pacquiao has improved as an overall boxer in four years, and how much, if any, Marquez has regressed.
Good point. Marquez is 34 and will be 35 in August. Pacquiao turned just 29 in December. Arum now promotes Pacquiao, so he might be a little baised. But 34 is getting up there for a fighter who has toiled in the lower weights. Marquez has lost just once – to Chris John – since his draw with Pacquiao, and he looked real good two fights ago in defeating fellow Mexican superstar Marco Antonio Barrera before easily handling Rocky Juarez via decision in his most recent fight.
But fighters have suddenly gotten old in the ring on a given night. That’s something to ponder if you’re trying to predict Saturday’s winner. HBO pay-per-view will televise. Marquez’s super featherweight belt will be on the line.
- Looking forward to the lightweight title fight between Joel Casamayor and Michael Katsidis on March 22 at Morongo Casino in Cabazon, Calif. If you haven’t seen Katsidis, this young man from Australia is reminiscent of the Tazmanian Devil in those old Bugs Bunny cartoons. Former lightweight champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini is the fighter Katsidis most resembles from a style standpoint.
As much as we are anticipating this fight, it would be nice to see Casamayor try to keep it clean. But then he wouldn’t be Casamayor. HBO will televise.
- We’re not even through the first quarter of the year, but this seemed like a good story to tell regarding the annual Donald Trembaly Award. It is doled out by yours truly at the end of each year to the top publicist in this game.
So there we were at a recent news conference at Olvera Street, a famous Mexican village in Los Angeles. One of the little restaurants there has the world’s best taquitos. Anyway, having just interviewed Arum, longtime friend and Orange County Register boxing writer Carlos Arias showed up and sat down to have his own time with Arum.
About five minutes later, Bill Caplan, a publicist for 40 years and a darn good one, brings Arias a plate of food. Perplexed, I looked up at Caplan. Just then Lee Samuels, Top Rank’s hard-working in-house publicist, tells Caplan, “You just blew the Tremblay Award for 2008.”
After all, Caplan didn’t serve me like he served Arias. The look on Caplan’s face was too much for Samuels, who burst out laughing. Trying to make it up, Caplan made matters worse by kissing this writer on the cheek. Yuk!
“Now you’re really not going to get the Tremblay Award,” he was told. Samuels was still cracking up.
- Have thought about coming up with the “Hottest Publicist Award” for 2008. (Sorry guys, this would be for women only). It might not be something we could do every year, but a one-time deal could be cool. It could kill one, too. Would hate to think what the losers would do. Remember the movie “Play Misty For Me?” Yikes!
Jessica Walters was a great psycho chick in that one. Spooky eyes.
- Saturday’s Pacquiao-Marquez fight has a solid semi-main event. Steven Luevano of La Puente, Calif., will defend his featherweight belt against Terdsak Jandaeng of Thailand.
If one were to encounter Luevano walking down the street, it would be surprising to find out he is a world champion boxer. His baby face makes him look 19 instead of 27. And he is just the nicest, unassuming young man.
But Luevano is also one of the smartest fighters in the world today. The left-hander is slick, fast and unafraid to mix it up. He’s also very coachable.
When first seen, Luevano was a 12-year-old amateur out of the Baldwin Park Boxing Club, which is located about 18 miles east of Los Angeles. Even then it was easy to see that Luevano had a bright future. He is 34-1 with 15 knockouts and is looking to make his second defense.
Jandaeng, 26, is 29-2 with 19 knockouts. In the biggest fight of his career until now, Jandaeng was stopped by Juan Manuel Marquez in the seventh round in a battle for an interim featherweight title belt in August 2006.