A lot was learned in boxing this past weekend.
Busy weekend in the fight game, as we had a bounty of content to choose from. This is a new era, content is king and ease of transmission makes it so there’s more of it to take in than ever. Thus, you had the option of tuning in to fighting put forth by the Top Rank crew, topped by a heavyweight tango, and a DAZN slate, top[ed by one of the best middleweights in the world. That was Friday. Then on Saturday, Showtime had a four bout pay-per-view assembly, with Manny Pacquiao vs Adrien Broner on the marquee.
Looking back on this weekend in fights, down the line, most of the cemented memories will be from that Pacman card, which unfolded at MGM Grand.
Here is a list of some off the top of the head takes:
—Broner, Broner, Broner. How provocative you are. You push our buttons. You are never boring. But are you good for the sport? On Sunday morning, I woke up late, after staying up way too late writing and posting stories and to Twitter, and I sat down at the kitchen table, sipped coffee, and sent an email to the Showtime boss, Stephen Espinoza. “I admit I felt myself feeling ‘as a fan’ irked that I’d fallen for it again, had my hopes raised, and Broner was same as he ever was,” I told the SHO bossman. “What is the thinking from you and your team on Broner, and how he is viewed from you guys, from your station, at this point?” I will insert a response when it arrives; in the meantime, I spent too much of Sunday asking myself: Really?
Did Broner really think he won that fight? Is that how his brain operates? Or was he doing a put on when he went in on Jim Gray, and stated that this was a robbery? And does it matter? Broner makes people react, with a majority sitting on the anti-Broner side. They end up judging him, and most of that comes off of frustration, because they feel he can do more. Also, as consumers, many of us end up unhappy — maybe we thought this time would be different, that Broner had seen the light and knew what he needed to do so he’d get that career-defining win over an A-grade boxer?
One time we bought in and had hopes dashed, shame on you. The second time, shame on me. And after that, super shame on me, and maybe on people pushing the “This time is different” narrative? Should they, by now, know and do better? Or naw, is Broner giving us what we want?
Is he giving us entertainment, even if of the negative variety, allowing some of us to feel superior because we can point the finger at AB and say he doesn’t live up to his potential? Summing it up, are we being used here. Is he being used? Or should a larger part of me just sort accept Adrien Broner, who he is, how he acts, etc?
—Pacman is pretty fine at 40. But how fine? I feel safe sayng he’s not what I regard as an “A-plus” fighter. His volume and the quality of the sharpness of his shots tells me he’s not an “A” fighter. Is he an A-minus guy, a B-plus guy? That is for you to say, based on how you rate fighters. I think the Senator is in the B-plus/A-minus zone. Think of it this way: at 147, does Pacman beat a Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, or Mike Garcia? One ultra smart insider I chatted with late, late Saturday said he thinks Manny gets chewed up bad by a Thurman. I put it to you: how good is this time stamp’s Pacquiao? Maybe this only gets answered in the way these queries best get answered, by setting up the fight and letting it play out as Fate intends. That said, what fight do you want next for Pacman?
—We are getting a second Manny versus Floyd fight, right? But of course. Why wouldn’t we? They want it. It would draw heavy attraction and big bucks, and that is why pretty much all the people who put these things together are in business. Now, secondarily, should it happen? That is for you the consumer to decide, individually. Back to my late night chat with the ultra smart insider. He and me are on the same page, that second fight couldn’t be worse than their first, right? And do we not think that Manny, having been busier, might be closer to Floyd in what they bring to the table at this point in time. Floyd is 42 next month, he is a bit bulkier and Manny’s fast twitch style might have aged better than Floyd’s reflexes-based, pot shotting planning.
—Now, one elephant in the room from Saturday: Badou Jack and that cut. Was it caused by a machete, or a head butt? I think I could see through his skull, so why did the Nevada docs allow him to continue after the slice opened in round seven? It must be said, we over here know less than doc. The cut looked bad, like a special effects movie deal. I messaged someone at the Nevada commission to ask what the thinking was on allowing Jack to fight on. I received a response, check it out.
—Speaking of elephants, this one is not as large, but to many folks, still to be discussed. Marcus Browne had a down 2018, with several brushes with law enforcement. “Browne, 27, and the woman, the mother of his daughter, got into an argument before he allegedly choked her during an incident at her Park Hill Avenue home on the morning of Sept. 27, according to police and the criminal complaint. Prosecutors said the 2012 U.S. Olympian, who had an order of protection to stay away from the 30-year-old woman, grabbed the phone from her hand when she was calling for help,” read an excerpt from a Staten Island, NY paper. Browne has a court date set for the end of January. So, we on the outside, is this our business, or naw?
Should an athlete facing such issues be allowed to compete? Does boxing do a poor job in having a setup structured that gives some guidance to fighters dealing with such matters? Should programmers draw a line and choose to opt out on using fighters who are facing charges for domestic issues? Or no, should there be a line of separation between outside the ring and in?
First off, I am hoping Browne is on a smooth path. I’ve seen him go from pro debuter to this place and that is to be lauded. But more important, maybe, is his path as a person. Is it not high time boxing formulated a plan of attack to deal with the Brownes, and others who are dealing with outside the ring issues, like the Staten Islander is? You saw the news, Sergey Kovalev has been accused of assaulting a woman. And guess what? Adrien Broner has two cases pending against him which fall under the category of sexual misconduct/groping/inappropriate conduct.
”Adrien is facing 5 separate charges for the two incidents, and if he’s convicted on all counts, he could go to jail for nine years,” TMZ reported.
And yes, do the math: that means SHO had two guys on the card who are facing this sort of issue. And yes, they are not alone. On Saturday night in Brooklyn, the UFC had Greg Hardy on their Barclays card. The ex-NFLer has a large group in his anti-fan club.
My guess is the powers that be aren’t going to come to terms with a sport-wide handling of this issue. They should really consider doing so, with all the platform providers and promoters agreeing to have one overseer who can recommend methods to deal with athletes’ transgressions and what the sport’s handlers can do so we act in a responsible and decent manner. We all aren’t just passive watchers; the promoters and executives at the networks are existing within a larger frameowrk, that of being human beings, and our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. Too many of us don’t see ourselves in that vein and yes indeed, the world very much suffers for it. A “to each his own” POV allows situations where people continue to flounder, where the Broners keep stepping in shit, and too many people close to him don’t close ranks to get him the help he needs.
Yes, he is his own steward, no one can force him to act in a manner not hurtful to others or himself. But c’mon, let’s be brutally fucking honest here: he still gets big fights, big paydays, and has cameras following him and taping him and people sending out posts which glamorize him. Isn’t it time for those who decide to give him time on the big stages to think, and re-think, if that is the best course of action?
—What about those fights which ran on ESPN+? We come away from those tangoes thinking Shakur Stevenson is ready for big fights sooner than later. Can we take a step back, and give the kid credit? Just three fights ago, I was seeing fans on social critiquing Stevenson for this lack of this and that lack of that. Kid has progressed at a more rapid rate than most all fans and pundits predicted, and yes, seems like everyone is now of the belief that right now, he is at title shot level. And Vikas “The Indian Tank” Krishan, India’s greatest ever amateur, has a style suited to the pros. Please keep an eye and a half on his progression, and what that means for Top Rank’s program. Know how many citizens India boasts?
Lotta potential new eyeballs to the table, eh?
Oscar Rivas is now a contender and should return soon on a Top Rank show. The 31-year-old Colombian-Canadian is 26-0 (18 KO), and upped his profile sharply by stopping vet Bryant Jennings (now 24-3; age 34) in round 12. Rivas is rated No. 10 by the IBF, the only body to slate him in their top 15. This I think might make some sense: Top Rank let Andy Ruiz jet, but they added Kubrat Pulev to their mix. So factor Pulev into if not a fight with Rivas, then a stay busy and then a meaningful fight in the near-ish future.
And now, you. What are your takeaways from the weekend? Fire me story ideas and news tips if you like. I still use an AOL account for that! MJWoods99@aol.com, my friends. Also If you missed it, Mike Tyson entertained the heck out of us on the last “Talkbox” podcast.