But he taught me one of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned. Some people close to me are familiar with this story while others have never heard it, so there’s no better time to bring it up than now. I have a big history with Vernon Forrest that goes back six years to when I was 19 years old, and when he was undefeated. It was at that time that I got sucked into sports betting on a daily basis by a kid on my dorm floor who had just about every bad habit you could imagine (I think he once placed a sports bet on the computer while sipping 151 and snorting coke off a hooker’s ass with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth). I had been making money betting on college basketball games and it all stemmed from betting against UCLA because they were so horrible that year (Lavin got fired but the UCLA name still made them favorites in the book, so the formula was quite lucrative). On one particular Saturday, January 25th, 2003, I had made a little over $100 betting on Pac-10 hoops — not bad money for a college sophomore. I was looking for just one final score to get me up to about $150 for the day and I had been eying the Vernon Forrest line for about a week.
OK, I know it’s sad and all that we’ve had nothing but unexpected deaths in the sports world lately, and ones caused by women, but I have questions. Namely, how is it that one of the toughest boxers in the history of the sport can possibly be strangled to death by his wife — a female who likely is much smaller and weaker than him? Now some details are starting to come clear that make a little more sense. For instance, Arturo Gatti, who was on his honeymoon with his wife Amanda Rodrigues, was passed out drunk apparently. He and his wife were at odds according to Brazilian boxer Popo Freitas and Arturo planned to divorce her. I guess that was enough reason for the wife to try and kill him, first by taking a kitchen knife to the back of his head and next by strangling him with a purse strap when the knife didn’t do enough damage.
The wife seems pretty stupid and sloppy in this case and really didn’t seem like she cared much about covering her tracks. She’s been charged with first degree murder after there were inconsistencies during the interrogation. She’s trying to claim that someone else came into the room and committed the murder, but the room was on the second floor of the hotel and a magnetic key card was needed to open the room, making it highly unlikely someone else came in. Boxing Scene says the two were out to dinner the night before the murder and had gotten into a fight on the street where Gatti pushed his wife to the ground. Between McNair and Arturo, it’s pretty clear that guys need to be extremely careful about what they’re doing and with whom they’re cavorting. Better yet, never pass out drunk around your lady — you never know if you’ll wake up!
It seems like wherever Floyd Mayweather Jr. is going and whatever he’s doing the guy is always putting on a show. The man who claims he’s back to “steal more money” because he can, because he’s “Money Mayweather,” is coming back to the ring from retirement to fight Juan Manuel Marquez on July 18th. He was doing an interview tour this week to promote the fight and wound up doing most of the interviewing. These two separate interviews are utterly classic. In the first one on ESPNews, Mayweather catches an unprepared David Lloyd with his pants down and exposes him as a guy who doesn’t know boxing but is just following what the rest of the world says. Make sure you watch at the 1:20 mark to see some serious embarrassment:
Dude, like who doesn’t know that Manny Pacquiao has lost three times?? That’s embarrassing. How could he even proceed after that? Now if you’re ready for a role-reversal, Brian Kenny owns Mayweather on SportsCenter in this interview:
It’s funny how much things change in a small amount of time. 18 months ago, Floyd Mayweather Jr. destroyed Ricky Hatton to cement his reputation as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. At that point Manny Pacquiao was fighting at 130 lbs and wasn’t really on the radar (as far as being a contender). A year and a half later, Mayweather’s coming out of retirement (as I predicted), and Pacquiao’s the top fighter in the world coming off a win over Hatton. As for Ricky, well, nothing really changed for him — he still wound up laying on the canvas on top of the Rockstar logo, a loser in both bouts.
Manny really has proven to me that he has an excellent skill level in addition to his impressive punching power. This guy absolutely destroyed Hatton, to the point where I thought he broke Ricky’s jaw and inflicted serious long-term damage with the knockout blow. I’m not going to get carried away with his ability and tell you how great he is — go see his fights against Juan Manuel Marquez to see otherwise — but Pac Man has really has opened up many people’s eyes with his wins at the higher weight class. Manny proved that he has a lethal knockout punch and that great results can be achieved when you pair a diligent fighter with a smart trainer.
Back to Hatton, truth is he got exposed once again. The guy is nothing but a straight ahead puncher who fails to make in-fight adjustments (probably because he was able to beat up just about anyone he’d ever faced). Pacquiao and Freddie Roach devised a plan to exploit Ricky’s weakness (Hatton leaves himself open when he throws his left) and they executed perfectly. Retirement isn’t necessary, but mechanical adjustments and fighting lower-quality opponents is. And with the layoff, Mayweather has a lot to prove against Marquez before a fight with Pacquiao can be scheduled. (Even if that’s what we all want to see).
Weird title, hard to comprehend, but believe me, have patience and you’ll understand. Manny Pacquiao, now the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world preparing for a match with Ricky Hatton, grew up as a poor kid in the Philippines. Things can get pretty grim there as jobs aren’t easy to find and mostly low-paying. Pacquiao knows that pretty well considering he used to sell doughnuts and cigarettes in the streets to try and get by. And how did he get into boxing? His trainer, Freddie Roach, explained to the Daily Star:
Freddie Roach has revealed Pacquiao only turned to boxing after his hungry dad Rosalio tucked into his pet dog.
He said: “That’s why Manny ran away from home and became a boxer. He saw his dad eat his dog.
“The Philippines is a poor place, there’s no welfare, no health system and if you don’t have a job or money then …
“Manny was 14. He was very upset and that’s why he ran away from home. He ran away to Manila and ended up in a boxing gym.
Well, I guess that might do it for me, too. I’m pretty surprised to hear how ruthless the father was. You telling me there wasn’t any stray game around for him to poach? I wonder if Pacquiao has seen or talked to his father since. That’s a pretty gross story — definitely a classic.
Just as quickly as the name “Kimbo Slice” was vaulted into the consciousness of sports fans, the buzz surrounding the underground fighting legend dropped faster than the stock of Citigroup. It was said all along by people “in the know” that Slice was a fraud. He quickly proved that no less than a few fights into his professional MMA career, losing to Seth Petruzelli in 14 seconds. Well in case you were wondering what Kimbo’s been up to lately, he was in the Bahamas and gave an interview to his hometown newspaper. In that article, Kimbo partially blames the loss to Petruzelli on Ken Shamrock backing out of the fight at the last minute. Slice also says that he wants to move to boxing, essentially because MMA’s too hard:
“Boxing is one dimensional while there are a lot of dimensions in MMA. I don’t think it would be a hard transition from MMA to stand-up boxing because of my fighting style.
“Not taking anything away from boxing preparation, MMA training is extremely hard,” said Ferguson. “When you consider martial arts training, you have to prepare for kicks to the head and legs, and opponents wanting to grapple and throwing you to the ground, pounding you with their knees and hands, whereas in boxing you just have to be prepared to weave and bob although the training can be just as intense.”
Kimbo also added that another reason he prefers boxing to MMA is because the former allows someone to fight as frequently as they would like, whereas MMA requires six weeks in between bouts. Responding to Slice’s primary reason for changing sports, I think this is as strong of an indication as any that mixed martial arts is much more difficult than boxing. Boxing has the past, the tradition, the history, and likely won’t soon be losing it. What MMA helps determine is who is the best overall fighter in a ring where almost anything goes. Clearly Kimbo couldn’t keep up; he hadn’t been trained to.
Just as Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was incensed at the year-long suspension of his fighter, Antonio Margarito, by the California State Athletic Commission, I’m incensed at Arum’s comments in defense of Margarito. In the same breath where he exclaimed “This is America” as if to say “We don’t punish famous/rich people here!” Arum let off this rant, keeping his race card handy:
“You take a kid who’s done absolutely nothing wrong, and there isn’t a shred of evidence he’s done anything wrong, and you revoke his license for a year? Are you crazy? This is America! It doesn’t work like that. If this was anyone other than a Mexican kid, there’d be a different result. I know that for a fact! The trainer does something wrong and the fighter who knows nothing suffers the consequences? What kind of nonsense is this?”
Their excuses were so lame. To say the pads were “tossed into the bag” by another fighter who trains at the same gym is pathetic (which is what the trainer said). To try and set things up for the trainer to be the fall guy is irresponsible. The bottom line is that Antonio Margarito and his corner got busted for cheating — putting plaster pads on his gloves that were intended to hurt his opponent, Shane Mosley, and help give him a decisive advantage in the ring. They got busted for cheating and were forced to unwrap prior to the right. What more evidence do you want?
How is that any different from a hitter and batting coach getting caught corking a bat in the umpires presence prior to the game? This has nothing to do with race, Arum. Screw your head on straight before you lose any more credibility. Just admit fault so I don’t have to ignore everything you say the rest of your life, your credibility hanging by a thread. The only thing I will say in favor of Margarito is that it’s ironic he gets suspended from fighting in the U.S. for a year for loading up his gloves while the fighter to whom he lost was a BALCO boy — Shane Mosley. I think the the penalty imposed on Margarito and his trainer is a proper reflection of the severity of the infraction they committed.