Tuesday, March 22, 2011

SNB Nuggets 3-22-11 (Cotto, Donaire, Top Rank-Golden Boy)

Miguel Cotto is now Top Rank's cash cow.  Selling over 7,000 tickets against Ricardo Mayorga, Cotto has again shown his value in the marketplace.  As I stated here  http://saturdaynightboxing.blogspot.com/2011/03/notes-from-bute-magee-cotto-mayorga.html, Cotto is no longer a threat to beat top fighters.  However, with a grudge match against Antonio Margarito most likely coming up and, if victorious, a potential second fight with Manny Pacquiao,  Cotto and Top Rank have mapped out a nice plan in terms of maximizing his earnings in the down slope of his career. 

Make no mistake, his fight with Margarito will be captivating and those two have a wonderful contrast in styles that will always make for great television.  Even with Emanuel Steward in his corner, Cotto has little chance of beating Pacquiao.  However, as boxing fans, we will enjoy his last few fights; Cotto has been a consummate professional and left it all in the ring.
Nonito Donaire has turned many heads in the boxing world, defecting from Top Rank for Golden Boy.  Top Rank claims to have a valid contract and has threatened legal action.  This feud between the two companies just got ratched up to an even higher level.  As referenced in this post,   http://saturdaynightboxing.blogspot.com/2011/02/bob-arum-magicians-latest-tricks.html, Top Rank is following the same strategy, raiding Golden Boy for Shane Mosley's services and there are rumblings about Top Rank signing Juan Manuel Marquez to be Pacquiao's opponent after the Mosley fight.

Donaire switches promotional companies frequently.  He has gone from Top Rank to Gary Shaw back to Top Rank and now to Golden Boy.  This actually is pretty common in boxing.  In his career he has also switched trainers, moving from his father to Robert Garcia.  It's too facile to suggest that these changes will negatively affect Donaire in the ring.  There are many fighters that perform quite well with distractions outside of the ring (Pacquiao, Hopkins, Mayweather, etc.).  

However, this controversy was ill-timed for Donaire.  Coming off a career-defining victory, Donaire now faces promotional limbo while his contract status is reviewed and/or adjudicated.    

HBO finds itself in a bind because the network is in the process of wooing Arum, trying to keep additional Top Rank mega-fights from landing at rival Showtime.   At the same time, Golden Boy enjoys favored-nation status with the HBO.  There will be some tough choices to make in the coming months for the HBO brass.

Possible delays to Donaire's momentum might be inevitable.  How all of this plays out is anyone's guess at this point.  I'm just not sure if Donaire realized what kind of shitstorm this would create.  If he did, he's not that smart of a guy.  That's OK.  He's still a tremendous fighter.  I just prefer to see his prime spent in the ring instead of wasting away in professional purgatory, awaiting the resolution of his contract status.
Brad Solomon had a nice victory last Friday against Demetrius Hopkins.  As an emerging welterweight, he has many good qualities that should make him a tough opponent for years to come.  The fighter's best quality is his tenacity.  He was never a top amateur; he was incarcerated.  There was no big-money bankrolling his career.  Solomon has had to climb the ladder one rung at a time. 

The contrast with Hopkins was striking.  Hopkins, blessed with the famous bloodline and big-time promotional contracts, has found every way to squander his opportunities.  He has missed weight, clashed with promoters, trained ineffectually.  His uncle kicked him out of a house for not paying rent.  Demetrius has polish and ring knowledge, but he doesn't have heart.  

Solomon may have some real fights ahead of him.  I don't think he'll ever be elite.  His ambush style (similar to Jean Pascal, Andre Berto and Roy Jones) may be tough to defend against for the B-level fighters.  However, the upper echelon fighters can counterpunch.  Solomon doesn't have the power of Jones or Berto.  He's going to have to pile up points to get his wins but he lacks the athleticism to get in and out without suffering damage.  Great fighters are going to tag him with straight right hands and counter left hooks.

I'd like to see him against Kermit Cintron.  That would be a fun match of styles.  Cintron has real power but questionable internal fortitude.  It would be a great clash.    

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