There has been a lot of really harsh criticism toward tonight's undercard for the Pacquiao-Clottey event in Arlington, and while I'm certainly in the same boat with these folks when it comes to wishing the fights were more significant, it kind of seems like a bunch of people shouting down a well.
For one thing, as has been said a million times, the days of the great Don King undercards are gone. Promoters have learned to spread out their talent over several shows and maximize their profits. Furthermore, these same promoters have done studies (or the networks have, as the networks pay for the fights, too), and it's been pretty conclusive that the undercard does not matter when it comes to people buying the show.
But even more than that, this lineup is hardly worse than what we've seen on other recent major PPVs, and every fight here could at least be entertaining.
Let's look at recent PPV undercards. After running through this awful demonstration, I hope you'll agree with me that we really don't have it too bad tonight.
Oscar de la Hoya-Floyd Mayweather Jr. undercard:
- Rocky Juarez v. Jose Andres Hernandez. A bounce-back fight for Rocky, who had lost a couple to Marco Antonio Barrera. Last time Hernandez fought.
- Rey Bautista v. Sergio Medina. Green prospect (Bautista) versus a guy with a really fluffed-up record.
Manny Pacquiao-Marco Antonio Barrera II undercard:
- Steven Luevano v. Antonio Davis. An "eh" title defense for Luevano.
- Librado Andrade v. Yusaf Mack. Fun fight between middle-tier super middles.
- Steve Forbes v. Francisco Bojado. A veteran against a bust.
Miguel Cotto-Shane Mosley undercard:
- Antonio Margarito v. Golden Johnson. Nothing more than a rebound gimme for Margarito, who was coming off of a loss to Paul Williams. Last time Johnson ever fought.
- Joel Casamayor v. Jose Armando Santa Cruz. Admittedly a good fight on paper, with Casamayor defending the legitimate lightweight championship. Most famous for Casamayor's dreadful performance and robbery win.
- Victor Ortiz v. Carlos Maussa. Showcase for young Ortiz against Maussa, who had no interest in being there and had lost his last two. Last time Maussa fought. (Weird trend.)
Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Ricky Hatton undercard:
- Daniel Ponce de Leon v. Eduardo Escobedo. Escobedo showed no willingness to engage. Awful fight and a really questionable matchup to begin with, as Escobedo hadn't really beaten anyone.
- Peter Manfredo Jr. v. Jeff Lacy. Lacy coming back after a year off due to injury against an also-ran.
- Edner Cherry v. Wes Ferguson II. Ferguson is a Mayweather associated fighter so he got this rematch with Cherry on the bill. Ferguson then impressed nobody and was knocked out.
Roy Jones Jr.-Felix Trinidad undercard:
- Andrew Golota v. Mike Mollo. It had Andrew Golota.
- Roman Karmazin v. Alex Bunema. Notable as an upset for Bunema, but really nothing better than an average FNF main event.
- Devon Alexander v. DeMarcus Corley. Good prospect-versus-veteran fight and not a bad PPV opener, but a fight that could have been on ShoBox just as easily.
Juan Manuel Marquez-Manny Pacquiao II undercard:
- Steven Luevano v. Terdsak Jandaeng. See: Luevano-Davis.
- Abner Mares v. Diosdado Gabi. Prospect versus a nobody. Gabi was out of shape and finished in two.
- David Diaz v. Ramon Montano. A blatant promotional tool, as Pacquiao was set to face Diaz in a few months should he be successful against Marquez. Montano is known as a strong sparring partner and nothing more. Diaz held a lightweight belt but it wasn't on the line. Then Montano gave Diaz some real trouble, which made Diaz-Pacquiao look like a crap idea.
Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito undercard:
- Giovani Segura v. Cesar Canchila. Really good fight and a nice junior flyweight title matchup. Not a "big" fight, but a good one for sure.
- Mike Alvarado v. Cesar Bazan. Bazan was lively early, but folded once he couldn't dent the younger man. Last time Bazan fought.
- Bernabe Concepcion v. Adam Carrera. Prospect versus club fighter.
Kelly Pavlik-Bernard Hopkins undercard:
- Steven Luevano v. Billy Dib. Another Luevano PPV Special. Dib was God awful and the fight was one of the worst in recent memory.
- Marco Antonio Rubio v. Enrique Ornelas. Good scrap and an eliminator for one of Pavlik's title belts. Rubio won a close one and was later wiped out by Pavlik. FNF-level fight, though.
- Daniel Jacobs v. Tyrone Watson. Though Yuri Foreman had a fight on this bill, it was Golden Boy prospect Jacobs getting the PPV call against Watson, who 15 days earlier had lost to Fernando Guerrero. Watson was waxed in one. Last time Watson fought.
Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones Jr. undercard:
- Zab Judah v. Ernest Johnson. I called this a mismatch and someone -- perhaps Ernest Johnson's kin -- told me that I was foolish to sleep on Ernest Johnson. Ten one-sided, drama-less rounds later, I was also reminded of the time when, while running an Orioles blog, Brian Burres' wife registered to yell at us because we doubted him. Burres, like Johnson, was no good.
- Dmitriy Salita v. Derrick Campos. Best fight of the card, which is despicable. Campos is a Kansas club fighter that gave it a go, but Salita (who isn't exactly great) won easily.
- Frankie Figueroa v. Emanuel Augustus. I know we all love "The Drunken Master," but he should not be on PPV undercards. Period. This show was the king mack daddy of bad pay-per-views.
Oscar de la Hoya-Manny Pacquiao undercard:
- Juan Manuel Lopez v. Sergio Medina. Medina went out and crumbled three times on nine punches. They weren't even amazing punches. Medina had a nervous breakdown in the middle of the ring for $59.95. He later claimed that Lopez's gangster associates threatened him with death or whatever. Medina's manager would say that he was worried the fighter was "ill."
- Victor Ortiz v. Jeff Resto. Resto was a bust prospect and was predictably run over by Ortiz. Manny Steward, apparently time traveling to the days when Resto was credible, expressed shock.
- Daniel Jacobs v. Victor Lares. Prospect versus club fighter again. This wouldn't even main event a FNF. This wouldn't even be a FNF co-feature. This might be a FNF opener if they've got the room for three bouts.
Ricky Hatton-Manny Pacquiao undercard:
- Humberto Soto v. Benoit Gaudet. Kind of like all those Luevano fights. Credible titlist, bleh challenger.
- Daniel Jacobs v. Michael Walker. At least this time, Jacobs' opponent could fight a little bit. Still predictable and overall useless.
- Matt Korobov v. Anthony Bartinelli. Bartinelli's hair and moxie was the best thing about this.
- Erislandy Lara v. Chris Gray. Prospect versus a mediocre guy whose best strength is his ability to style-spoil.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Juan Manuel Marquez undercard:
- Chris John v. Rocky Juarez II. Disappointing after the fact, but a great main co-feature on paper.
- Michael Katsidis v. Vicente Escobedo. Fine lightweight eliminator.
- Cornelius Lock v. Orlando Cruz. Well, they can't all be winners.
Miguel Cotto-Manny Pacquiao undercard:
- Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. v. Troy Rowland. Awful. Rowland had barely fought outside of his backyard and had no business on this show. Or really, any televised show. More of a club fighter than Derrick Campos, even.
- Daniel Santos v. Yuri Foreman. Bob Arum promised this would be an exciting card, then gave us Yuri Foreman. Santos hadn't fought in a while and he looked like it.
- Alfonso Gomez v. Jesus Soto Karass. Pretty much what we've got with Gomez-Castillo tonight.