Well, it looks like Manny-PBF is now off. Here are my thoughts on the winners and losers as a result of this unfortunate outcome: (in no particular order, and PBF and Manny are left out as the most obvious losers)
LOSER #1: HBO -- what a mess they now face. Both Manny and Floyd are HBO fighters, and now both guys are posturing to fight within one week of one another, against less than stellar opponents, and presumably on HBO PPV. The two fights which look most likely (PBF-Malignaggi and Manny-Yuri Foreman) have the potential to be snoozers, and to be poor moneymakers. Add in an public frustrated by the breakdown of the fight they want to see, as well as a potentially semi-organized backlash against, and even boycott of , these fights amongst the boxing hardcore, and it isn't pretty. Does HBO dare to only pick up one fight and risk alienating the other? Or will one fighter elect to push his date back enough to make the fights more plausible? This is a real headache for the network.
WINNER # 1 SHOWTIME: what's bad for HBO is good news for Showtime. While HBO sorts through this mess, Showtime will continue on with the Super Six, which now, more than ever, looks like THE main attraction in boxing. I could add "Super Middleweight" as a winner here, because the major contenders/beltholders have proven that they are willing to fight one another, unlike welterweight, where ducking seems to be becoming the norm. If HBO angers one fighter with respect to their upcoming fight, could the other head over to Showtime?
LOSER(s) #2: Everyone associated with fight negotiations - Arum, Schaefer, DLH, etc: what an absolute embarrassment this is for everyone who had anything to do with making this thing happen. From DLH's asinine blog posts trying to insinuate that Manny is on the juice, to the ridiculous posturing and refusal to compromise, the entire process has been an embarrassment to the sport of boxing. Here we have the opportunity to make the biggest fight in arguably twenty years, to generate an absurd amount of money for all involved, and to greatly promote the sport, and you all blew it. Bravo, fellas.
WINNER(s) #2: Yuri Foreman and Paulie Malignaggi -- Foreman went from being a little known contender, to strapholder and potential opponent for one of the greatest P4P fighters of all time, in ninety days. Paulie goes from near career extinction after a shellacking by Hatton to two exciting, well received fights against Diaz, and now a potential fight against an undefeated P4P great with giant name recognition. Neither guy can win their fights, but both are in for a nice payday.
(Winner 2(a): the BLH Community's Yuri Foreman Schtick! Long live the Kosher Krusher!!!)
LOSER NO. 3: Las Vegas: the city loses on out a mega-event that would have been a huge boon during still-tough economic times.
WINNER NO. 3: The winner of Mosley-Berto: with Pac-Man and PBF apparently dug well into their positions, and seemingly unwilling to fight one another later in the year, the winner of this fight is now well positioned to fight either Floyd or PacMan, later in the year for a huge payday. Maybe, just maybe, things are shaking out for Mosley to get the mega fight he has so desperately sought before retirement. The winner of this fight certainly feels like the TRUE welterweight champion given the current state of affairs.
And last, but not least,
LOSER NO. 4: BOXING -- finally, at long last, the sport was making a spirited comeback., as 2009 was absolutely loaded with exciting, important fights. The sport has produced two mega stars that the whole world wants to see fight, and who have such diametrically opposed lifestyles/stories that the storyline for the fight is essentially built in ---the good guy, Manny, vs. the bad guy, Floyd. Losing this fight reinforces all of the worst assumptions about boxing, and sets the sport back considerably.