3 More Rounds

Bank or Bust: Mayweather, PBC, Canelo-Cotto

It’s time for another edition of Bank or Bust, where we present statements to our writers and see if they agree (bank) or disagree (bust) and hear their explanations as to why.

This week we have a three-man BoB, as Matt Knowles, Ali Shakoor and Raymundo Dioses lend their thoughts.  So let’s get down to business!

Photo: Esther Lin / Showtime

Photo: Esther Lin / Showtime

1. Floyd Mayweather will stay retired.

Ali Shakoor: Bank – For so many reasons:  This is a guy who has done things his own way for the past decade. I don’t think he cares about breaking Marciano’s “record.” As reckless as he’s seemed to be with money, he’s made so damn much that I have to figure that he won’t be hurting for cash going forward. He’s seen first hand what damage boxing can do, by being around his father and Uncle Roger. The “0” on his record is very important to Floyd, and I don’t see him wanting to risk losing it, by facing a dangerous foe in a comeback fight. I genuinely believe he is tired of the grind of training and self-promotion. After all these years of playing the shady game of depending on USADA protections and having all of his fights conveniently at the exact same home location, he must know the house of cards will fall at some point, if journalists keep investigating. Lastly, I think those last moments in his corner before round 12 vs. Berto, were absolutely legit and heartfelt. He’s done, in my very firm opinion. Frankly, I’m glad and so ready to move on to the next era.

Raymundo Dioses: Bust – Mayweather did not have his last fight on September 12, 2015. There are very few people who do believe the Andre Berto domination was the fighters last dance, perhaps only ‘The Money Team.”

What the Berto fight did was successfully and lucratively end Mayweather’s six fight contract with Showtime and opened up possibilities for a one-fight contract negotiation between Mayweather and whatever outlet wants to throw their hat into the ‘50th fight’ ring, that outlet perhaps being HBO in what would be an epic financial battle worthy of its own primetime event.

Not since perhaps Sugar Ray Leonard has such as lucrative retirement paycheck hung in the balance for a fighter, and adjusted for inflation, a Mayweather return would garner the highest ‘out of retirement’ comeback check a fighter has ever received.

Given that, is there any doubt that a fighter nicknamed ‘Money’ would turn down a payday such as that?

Matt Knowles: Bank – Hardest question of the collection by a long shot. On one hand, Mayweather doesn’t need the money (CLEARLY), and seems somewhat genuine in his stance that he wants to leave the sport with his faculties intact. That said, superstars from every segment of entertainment have a very difficult time walking away from the limelight, so the glitz & glamour of the hot Vegas lights may entice Money to collect another post-fight check some time down the road. My gut tells me that he’s most interested in keeping his unbeaten legacy intact, and that he won’t return to the squared circle, but I wouldn’t be blown away if he arranged one more nine-figure dance session in Sin City.

Photo: Gene Blevins - Hoganphotos/GBP

Photo: Gene Blevins – Hoganphotos/GBP

2. Canelo-Cotto will earn Fight of the Year nominations.

Ali Shakoor: Bank – Nominations? Absolutely. I’ve seen folks online expecting Cotto to get destroyed, but I don’t see it. I give Canelo the advantage in size, power, and when it comes having a better chin, but it’s not like Cotto has a glass jaw. Also, Cotto has great power, but importantly, I think he’s more naturally gifted than Canelo, with better quick-twitch reflexes. Moreover, if Cotto can’t handle Canelo’s size and power early–and maybe he can–he has the versatility to move around and pick his spots from the outside- see the Clottey fight and the second Cheato fight. Cotto can box, when necessary. 

Lastly, if you wanna look at a recent common opponent, see Floyd Mayweather Jr. Despite the scorecards, any honest boxing fan saw that Floyd made Canelo look like a slow and clueless clown. Cotto on the other hand, gave Floyd problems with his body attack and pace, even in the early second half of the fight. Credit to Floyd for digging deep in the final two rounds to rock the tiring Cotto, but Cotto fought a strong fight. Floyd told him right afterwards: “You’re the toughest guy I ever fought.” Take all that in, and consider that Cotto has looked even more physically fresh, sound in technique and powerful with Freddie Roach. It will be a tough fight. I think it’s a great clash of styles and talents. I tend to think Canelo will stop Cotto late after incredible action, but Cotto has a legitimate chance of winning. Add Puerto Rico v. Mexico, and my oh my, what a fight.

Raymundo Dioses: Bust – Count me in the minority as a detractor of sorts for this match up.

Due to multiple failed negotiations, a Bob Arum-like marinating of sorts has taken place with this fight for the past few years, with Cotto only getting older and Canelo only getting stronger.

I don’t believe the fight will be competitive down the stretch, and I am of the belief that if Cotto cannot establish himself early against the younger, fresher fighter, it will only be a matter of time before Team Cotto needs to save the proud Puerto Rican from any further punishment/humiliation thrown at him by Canelo.

Matt Knowles: Bust – When was the last time a quote-unquote SuperFight lived up to the hype? De La Hoya-Vargas? Tyson-Holyfield 1? The Thrilla in Manila? When you look back at the biggest events of the past few decades, very few big-$ matches end up being Fight of the Year candidates. 

Considering their recent performances and stylistic attributes (IMO Canelo has become much more technical, while Cotto has been sensational vs. has-been’s and injury-cases), I do expect a highly competitive match, with bursts of great exchanges, but possibly without the sustained action that would warrant FOTY consideration. My early prediction is Cotto by sketchy SpD12, but that may change in the next month or so.

Photo: Ed Mulholland/K2 Promotions

Photo: Ed Mulholland/K2 Promotions

3. Despite looking like the contrary, Golovkin is still very much beatable.

Ali Shakoor: Bust – He’s beatable, but not “very much beatable.” I think it will take an elite level boxer or boxer-puncher to beat GGG at 160. He’s hittable, so it will take someone with superb offensive technique, to go along with the ability to stay out of harm’s way.  For fairness, I’m assuming we’re talking about GGG at MW, and MW only. I don’t see anyone on the horizon able to beat GGG at MW. In my lifetime as an active and alert boxing fan, the only MW’s I’d pick to beat him, are prime RJJ, prime Hopkins, and maybe, just maybe the version of SRL who beat Hagler. So, um, no, I don’t think he’s losing any time soon.

Raymundo Dioses: Bank – There are some who believe that in the Martin Murray and Willie Monroe fights (3MR was ringside for the Monroe fight) Golovkin took some shots in order to land some of his own, utilizing a ‘Mexican style’ that produces more action in the ring.

In these moments, Golovkin did look vulnerable and susceptible to shots, and that was more likely than not done by design. There is also a perception that Golovkin is open to receive punishment even when not meant to on purpose, as such when he opts not to follow up with a landed shot and at times leaning into his opponent when he has them in trouble, making it viable for a counter-punch to be thrown.

Golovkin had no problems fielding punches from either fighter, but with the lack of a top five, or even top ten opponent willing to step in the ring against Golovkin in recent years, it remains to be seen how Golovkin will respond to a fellow heavy hitter and multi-talented opponent.

Look, any fighter can be beat at any given time, and despite all the love thrown at the fighter thus far, it does not seem like Goliath cannot be slayed by a top tier David opponent. Perhaps this weekend’s bout will give us more of an indication as to where Golovkin’s punch resistance and durability rates are as he takes on David Lemieux.

Go ahead and BANK on it that GGG will be ringside at the Cotto/Canelo clash in November in eager anticipation to get a crack at the winner in 2016.

Matt Knowles: Bank – I’ll admit it: I’m officially on the GGG Bandwagon! He’s got a great fighting style, an arsenal of offensive weapons, and a smile designed for magazine covers. But it’s completely fair to ask the question that has been asked of so many up-and-comers that have come & gone in our sport: who the heck has he beaten?!?!

I’m of the opinion that Golovkin has been matched with predominantly “right guy, right time, right place” opponents since he won the WBA belt, and that he has never been truly tested in the ring by a B+/A- fighter (ie Quillin, Jacobs, etc) let alone an elite champion (Cotto) Is he worthy of the hype train? Absolutely. Is he beatable? Until he defeats an elite opponent, I’d say he’s definitely a beatable commodity. 

Photo: Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing Champions

Photo: Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing Champions

4. You enjoy the amount of Premier Boxing Champions cards currently being televised.

Ali Shakoor: Bank – I’m not always happy with the quality of the cards, but no boxing fan should complain about a lot of free boxing available on television. It can only be a good thing. PBC deserves a ton of credit for making boxing so ubiquitous on television in 2015. #ThankAlHaymon

Raymundo Dioses: Bank – Without bringing up the quality of the fights being aired by the Premier Boxing Champions entity, the quantity of boxing on regular television is remarkable and refreshing. The Tuesday night shows on Fox Sports and the ESPN televised series gives us two chances at mid-week boxing, now who can’t get behind that?

It is understandable that much flak has been given to the quality of the matchups, which seem more miss than hit at times. However, no matter how quality the match-up is on paper, it is still up to the fighters to produce action and excitement, no matter which two fist throwers are in the ring.

In my eyes, the more boxing the better, words from a true sports fanatic that cannot get enough.

Matt Knowles: Bank – Love it, Love It…LOVE IT! This week alone, we have (free!) boxing on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, all courtesy of the PBC. On these four shows, we will see over a dozen total bouts, two world title matches, and a total of eight current or former champs in competitive, high-level matchups. Bravo.


5. A prime Roy Jones has his way with Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward.

Ali Shakoor: Bust – Look, if you reeeaallllly look at who RJJ fought at 175, you could argue that nobody was at the caliber of Kovalev. RJJ’s best LHW wins, as far as opposition quality is concerned, were against an older Virgil Hill and Tarver I. Kovalev is very good, but beatable. And though RJJ’s chin has looked suspect many times over, I’m not sure Kovalev could touch a prime RJJ solidly enough. I think prime Jones Jr. would beat, and perhaps knockout Kovalev, but it may be a dangerous fight for him during some tense moments. Plus, Kovalev is a bully. Bullies tend to mentally unravel when times get rough.

Ward fights RJJ at 168, since that’s where we have the best intel on Ward. I’d pick RJJ to win a competitive fight against Ward at 168. As great as Toney was, I think Ward is pretty damn dynamic, himself. Ward is certainly more disciplined when it comes to conditioning, than Toney was at that stage of his career when he fought RJJ. Ward is a really, really, good and versatile fighter. H.O.F talent. In sum, I think Jones Jr. certainly beats both guys in his prime, but I don’t think he “has his way” with them.

Raymundo Dioses: Bank – Y’all musta forgot!

Matt Knowles: Bank – I’ll keep this short: A prime Roy Jones Jr. dominates any prizefighter in history, at any weight, on any date, period.

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

6. If you were Manny Pacquiao, you’d fight one or two more times in 2016 then call it quits.

Ali Shakoor: Bank – That’s what I would do. His legacy is in tact as the second best fighter of his era and he’s clearly among the all-time greats. He’s been in many wars and has been KTFO, so he should worry about long-term health. He has a stellar career waiting for him as politician. Also, since Marquez and Mayweather have no reason to give him a chance to avenge a loss, I don’t see many big money or  intriguing opportunities waiting for him. So, he can knock out Khan and call it a career. I don’t see any reason for him to fight beyond that. However, unlike Mayweather, I have a feeling Manny will have $ issues going forward, along with loving the fight game too much. I just don’t see his ring career ending well. I hope I’m wrong. Also, I’m really “over” he whole May-Pac era, and ready to move on to new PPV kings.

Raymundo Dioses: Bank – The further that Manny Pacquiao can get from his one-punch knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012 the better, as well as his forgettable contest against Floyd Mayweather earlier this year.

Couple that with the opportunity and ability to still make seven or eight figure paydays, it seems to makes (dollars) and sense for Pacquiao to continue punching for pay.

Like Teddy Atlas said in recent years, “you want to know what fights get made? Follow the money.”

As long as Pacquiao still brings money to the table, he should have gloves strapped onto his hands.

Matt Knowles: Bust – If I were Manny Pacquiao, I would buy, I don’t know…Vermont…move there, and enjoy retirement as the 2nd best fighter of the generation. What does he have left to prove? What mountain does he need to climb? Challenge Kovalev at 170? How about Klitschko in a bare-knuckle match? Enjoy retirement Mr. PacMan, and thank you for the memories.

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