September Boxing in Review
- Updated: October 3, 2016
Sept 8: The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, California
Inside the familiar posh confines of the upscale Beverly Hills Hotel, Senator Manny Pacquiao once again used the iconic venue to announce one of his fights. This time around the eight-division champion chose his 67th professional bout to come against WBO welterweight title holder Jessie Vargas.
The scenes were familiar; oversized and outlandishly happy Philippine supporters of Team Pacquiao that normally take up a large presence wherever the Pac Man goes, a strong contingent of Los Angeles and Philippine media and free genuine fine-dining that is expected to accompany such a grandiose establishment.
Promoter Bob Arum had a tough time finding network support to air the November 5 bout so the Hall of Fame veteran promoter decided to produce the fight himself via Top Rank Promotions.
The Pac Man spoke earnestly about 7,000 seats that are being sold for $50 for the Las Vegas bound fight at the Thomas & Mack Center while an affable yet semi-confident Vargas spoke well of himself, did the obligatory thank you’s to his team and promoter, and overall made a good impression of himself while the butterflies undoubtedly flowed through the 27 year olds bowels.
Pacquiao sported a high and tight, business first haircut and sharp suit which paired well with his calm, quiet and pleasant demeanor as he fights his way out of boxing and into politics. In a nutshell, even after all the titles, all the spoils that come with the riches of his hard work, even after the lackluster and disappointing Floyd Mayweather bout in May 2015, Pacquiao is still… well, Pacquiao.
Sept 10: The Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles, California
There were just about as many fights in the stands as there were scheduled on the official bout sheet when Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez earned a title in a fourth weight class when he defeated Carlos Cuadras in a spirited bout that is a candidate for Fight of The Year 2016.
The boisterous crowd was witness to great exchanges in the ring, which prompted not-so-great exchanges between inebriated Nicaraguan and Mexican fans in between, and sometimes during bouts that were being fought in the ring.
This time around at The Forum there was about one-third of the fan attendance that was present for a Chocolatito fight as he was flying solo without his regular co-headline partner Gennady Golovkin, yet the crowd of 6,714 sounded more like 16,000 at the MGM Grand for a mega pay-per-view fight.
Chants went back and forth for Nicaragua and Mexico and all that was missing was the infamous ‘wave’ to accommodate to the feel of what already felt like a World Cup soccer match.
One fan pointed out to a friend that the last time GGG fought at the venue the lines for GGG merchandise was longer than the beer line, which was true.
Nonetheless, The Forum fans that night were treated to an excellent match with both fighters having their moments and Chocolatito lifting the title from the previously undefeated Cuadras. The little Nicaraguan that could has since announced that he is deciding which title he will keep (junior bantamweight or flyweight) and in which division while taking a well-deserved break following the Cuadras bout.
Whichever division Gonzalez, the No. 1 rated fighter in the world, campaigns in, promoters know that if 16,000 or 6,000 fans show up, it’s going to be a rowdy, action filled night.
On a side note, up and coming flyweight female fighter Seniesa Estrada (8-0) won her bout on the undercard via decision, yet the announcer, KTLA’s Mark Kriski, called it incorrectly for her opponent. Estrada was ringside with media after her fight and laughed it off. (Great nickname for East Los Angeles’ Estrada: The Golden Girl.) This is not the first time Kriski flubbed, as a few years back in Ontario, California, while announcing the decision of a fight, he proclaimed the winner of the fight ‘Tony Crebs’. Crebs was the referee.
Side note No. 2: HBO paid special tribute to fallen fighter Bobby Chacon via silent 10 count and highlight video.
Sept 17: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Even though Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez did as expected against heavy underdog Liam Smith, it was not exactly a walk in the park as 51,000 watched inside Cowboys stadium and approximately 200,000-300,000 paid for the pay-per-view showing in which Smith came to fight for a paycheck.
The English lad lasted nine rounds and had his moments in the ring against one of the most, if not the most popular fighter in boxing. Overall it was a good scrap and entertaining night so long as you drank beverages and munched down instead of paying full attention to the nights less than stellar undercard fights.
It is interesting and even a bit admirable how Alvarez is just as virtuous of a fighter outside the ring as he is inside of it. The 26 year old is already considered a veteran in the sport and his negotiating skills are on par with the now retired Floyd Mayweather.
Alvarez has flexed his muscles in the past and demanded to face opponents in Austin Trout and Erislandy Lara much to the chagrin of his promotional company, Golden Boy Promotions, and now is sitting on perhaps a super mega bout against Gennady ‘GGG’ Golokin.
Canelo is playing his role as the A side and biding his time with facing GGG, even dropping the WBC belt he earned when he demolished Amir Khan’s chin in May. Mayweather waited from the rumblings of a Manny Pacquiao matchup in late 2009 and early 2010 a full five years to face the Pac Man, and in the interim Pacquiao was laid down face first by Juan Manuel Marquez and declined in both opponent choice and skill set prior to the May 2015 mega bout.
There was no way for Mayweather to know that Pacquiao would get napped by Marquez, yet the facts are both Mayweather and Pacquiao profited under the allusion of a match together while soaking up eight-figure paydays and both profited even mightier with nine figure paydays each when the showdown finally occurred.
Canelo does not know if the GGG knockout train will slow down any time soon, but he does know that in the meantime he can fill stadiums with 30,000-51,000 plus fans in anticipation of a Golovkin mega match, so why not bask in those low-risk, high paying fights until then?