I'm not Jay-Z, so I don't have 22 2's. I do have 15, though, which should make me only slightly less wealthy. In a perfect world, anyway.
1. Too much Showtime hyperbole in promotion of Tarver-Dawson, an intriguing fight but hardly "the most anticipated fight of the year." Showtime's undying, unbelievable slobbering over Tarver has gotten way out of control. Remember when they tried to hype Tarver-Santiago as being for "the light heavyweight championship"? Hey, remember when they got burned hyping Tarver-Green instead of Tarver-Santiago, but then Tarver had never actually signed to fight Danny Green? Remember Tarver-Muriqi? Remember Tarver getting a boxing lesson of a lifetime from Bernard Hopkins? Showtime does not. Showtime has only seen Antonio Tarver against Roy Jones. Showtime is unaware of the existence of other Antonio Tarver fights. Showtime presents, "Antonio Tarver: Greatest and Most Important Fighter on Earth."
OK, he did beat Rocky...by split decision.
2. Too many fears from me, personally, that Vitali Klitschko will drop Samuel Peter like a bad habit this Saturday. Why fear? Because then there's no unification in the heavyweight division past Wladimir perhaps fighting Nikolai Valuev at some point. I like Vitali Klitschko as a fighter because he was a hell of a good one. At his best, he was way better than Sam Peter has ever been or ever will be. And even with the long layoff, I still worry that a couple good shots will just knock Peter the hell out, the same thing that happened to 34 of Vitali's 35 past victims. The man can punch, to say the least.
And what if Vitali does win? Is the 37-year old really going to keep the belt and fight on? It's a freaking miracle that he hasn't been hurt in training camp. Knock on wood, too, because there are still a few days left. I hope for the sake of boxing and the dreadful heavyweight division that Peter beats Vitali and does so convincingly, so that Peter and his management can really get on Wladimir Klitschko about a rematch. It's the only fight in that division that truly matters.
3. Too many papered seats coming your way on November 8 for Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones. Jones' drawing power in New York is nowhere near what it was in his heyday, and Calzaghe, good as he is, is not quite an A-side guy in America. I'm not trying to insult anyone that thinks Roy has a legit shot in this fight, but if you don't see a Calzaghe cakewalk decision with maybe one or two moments of Roy electricity sneaking in there, I don't know what to tell you.
Calzaghe's younger, fresher, far more confident than Jones has been in years besides his exhibition fight with a blown-up Tito Trinidad, and he's much faster now, too. Prime versus prime, I think Roy knocks Joe out in the mid-late rounds. This isn't prime versus prime. This is an aging Calzaghe that can still go with the best of them against a washed-up Roy Jones. There is no other sane way to look at Roy Jones. He is washed the hell up. I like him, too. But I'd rather pay money to watch replays of his old fights than watch this farce against Calzaghe.
Am I getting too mean about this fight? I don't know, I might be. But I literally give Roy maybe a 10% chance to beat Joe. They've talked a lot about how great it is to put this card on without promoters, and I think they're also finding out why promoters are employed. This fight is a dead zone for ticket sales, reportedly, and I guarantee you they lose a lot of money on this one, even with HBO behind them, and with HBO doing all they can up to and including a "24/7" series on the fight. There is not much legitimate intrigue. Very casual boxing fans have caught a passing wind of the fight's happening, and have asked me, "Roy Jones still fights? What is he, like, 40? I didn't know he still fights." They also don't really know who Calzaghe is.
Oh, and given that we're a month away, HAVE YOU TWO FIGURED OUT HOW YOU'RE GOING TO PIECE TOGETHER AN UNDERCARD?
4. Too many pay-per-views, period. And too many people lately trying to come to the defense of this many pay-per-views. In an economy like ours in the United States, who wants to pay 50 dollars to see Bernard Hopkins?
5. Too much hype for Yuriorkis Gamboa, and I know how we all love to watch the young man fight. When mildly criticizing the Gamboa hype the other day, I wondered if I was being too harsh, trying to spoil the fun for everyone. I'm not. Honest! I like watching him, too, because like many of you, I like to see him throw his hands, and I like to wonder if maybe he's about to get caught with a bad one.
The thing that convinced me that those that expect Gamboa to climb to the top of the P4P list someday are putting too much into him, though, was just really taking a moment to think about his age. He's about the same age as Kelly Pavlik. I don't spend entire Kelly Pavlik fights wondering if someone's about to dump Pavlik on his butt, you know what I mean? I'm not saying don't love on Gamboa, because a fighter that exciting is deserving of the props. Just don't be Frank Warren with Amir Khan or Manny Steward with Andy Lee, going overboard. Gamboa needs serious work and is probably too old and too stuck in his habits to change for the better. He will live and die by the sword -- that's about my favorite criticism I've ever given. "Hey, this guy is awesome to watch." That's my criticism.
6. Too much Lennox Lewis still on my HBO broadcasts, which we've been over before. Boxing commentators often get criticized. I thought Lampley went a bit overboard the other night with the Angulo-Tsurkan fight. It's one thing to call for a fight to be stopped, even aggressively so, as Teddy Atlas did during Campbell-Quiles. That's great commentary. That's seeing and calling a situation for what it is, and it shows a level of care for the fighters. But bringing up deaths was too much for me.
Larry Merchant takes some shots for being a prick at times, for lack of a better word. Max Kellerman is great, but his Young Larry Merchant schtick is getting a little too heavy for me. Nick Charles at Versus often just sees things that I don't think are actually happening in his effort to make a point he wanted to make. Steve Albert too heavily buys Showtime hype at times, I think, spewing company nonsense when I believe he's smarter than that. Joe Tessitore, good as he is, is often wooden during his play-by-play.
But Lennox Lewis is the only guy I flat-out want removed from his position. He adds nothing. It's to the point where I'm expecting him to jubilantly declare, "He's punching him!" during a fight.
7. Too much amazing potential in Juan Manuel Lopez, isn't there? Right now, there is NO young fighter I'm more excited about. When he got in with Daniel Ponce de Leon, I worried that Lopez was being pushed too far, too fast. Ponce is a tough customer and a banger. Lopez wasted him. Lopez knocked out Cesar Figueroa with two punches this weekend, turning him into a regular Kimbo Slice, minus the ridiculous, promotion-killing hype.
Speaking of EliteXC, I'll say this: Gary Shaw is at least better than his son, seated in front of Hulk Hogan and acting like Vince McMahon:
But back to Juanma -- how amazing would a fight against Israel Vazquez be right now? How long could that even last? And if Izzy doesn't want to go right in to a fight like that, and doesn't want to go right at Rafael Marquez again, how about Lopez-Marquez? How about Lopez against the Caballero-Molitor winner? 122 might not be the deepest division, but its top tier rivals any other division's.
8. Too many old guys on the HBO fall lineup, and that's something that needs to be considered by the network. When some of these guys are gone, who are they turning to? This season's boxing is headlined by Oscar de la Hoya, Bernard Hopkins, Joe Calzaghe, and Roy Jones. Those three fights (Oscar-Manny, Pavlik-Hopkins, Calzaghe-Jones) are the HBO meal tickets for the time being. As boxing fans, let's hope Pavlik and Manny are the ones being talked about when it's all over.
9. Too little being done with Devon Alexander, the final nail in the coffin filled with reasons that Don King should get the hell out of boxing, or at the least, NO young fighter should sign with Don King, particularly one as talented as Alexander.
Dan Rafael posted an Insider blog about it this morning, too, and he hits the nail on the head. When Dan says that Devon can't even get a return call from King, it blows my mind. What the hell is Don King doing to this young man's career, and why isn't anyone stepping in? Kevin Cunningham, Alexander's manager and trainer, has to know what this is doing to Alexander's pocketbook. Without TV exposure, a 21-year old fighter with great raw gifts is going to stall, and he's not going to make the money he should be.
How can anyone let this happen to their guy? Fighters leave promoters for failing to execute on promises all the time. Nonito Donaire got the hell away from Gary Shaw for precisely this reason. James Kirkland also did it, and those both happened this year. Alexander and his team should really look into any way they can find to get away from King. A fighter that talented and that young will find a home at Top Rank, Golden Boy, with Lou DiBella, even Roy Jones' Square Ring -- anywhere would be better for his career!
Don King was once a highly important figure in boxing. Think what you will about the man, he put on a lot of great events, and he was the man that took promoting boxing to a whole new level. I also can't say enough how much I love that DKP has extended into the world of streaming cards online, as I think that's an innovative thing that every promoter will eventually look into. But the way he's handling Alexander and other fighters is shameful. There's no way around that.
10. Too much talk of Kimbo Slice trying boxing instead, to go back to Kimbo for a moment. The guy is in his mid-thirties. He made a name hanging out with porno d-bags and beating up fat guys in boat storage parking lots. He is not going to become an elite professional athlete. He's just not. I still like Kimbo as a person -- any knock on him demanding more money to go on against Seth Petruzelli after that dork Ken Shamrock pulled out doesn't mean much to me. I'd ask for more money, too. You're asking me to fight a guy completely different than the guy I prepared for on hours' notice.
In the wake of Kimbo's MMA career collapsing in 14 seconds, some have suggested that he should try to go into boxing or kickboxing. Kickboxing is not happening because the "kick" part is really f-ing hard to master. Ask Shannon Briggs, who tried K-1 once and will now laugh, shake his head, and say, "Never again."
Boxing? No dice. I always thought from his YouTube classics that it was clear that Kimbo had some formal boxing training at some point in his life. People fighting don't naturally have head movement. But he'd get smoked in this sport the moment he fought someone with an ounce of credibility the same way he has in MMA. And that's not his fault. He never said he was the best. He gamed the system. F it -- good for him.
But he's not going to be a great pro athlete in any venue. Forget it.
11. Too little attention paid to a nice upcoming card overseas on November 1, with WBO junior middleweight title bout between Sergei Dzinziruk and Joel Julio. I love that fight. Julio is still one of my favorite young fighters, and Dzinziruk is one of those guys I wish would get more love. He's a quality boxer.
On the same card, WBA middleweight titlist Felix Sturm defends against Sebastian Sylvester. I wish Sturm would get another chance on the world stage. I know he doesn't have the most supporters in the world, but the Oscar robbery (and I legitimately think it was a robbery given the magnitude of upset it should have been) has stuck in my craw and I've rooted for him ever since. Pavlik-Sturm would be perfectly acceptable.
12. Too few opportunities for Glen Johnson, who is forced to fight a bum as part of a triple-header at the Seminole Hard Rock next month, headlining with Edison Miranda and James McGirt, Jr., who will also likely fight a couple of cans. For a man that arguably outboxed Chad Dawson in April, that's a crime. At 39, no one wants to fight Glen Johnson. Still. I'll take Glen over Tarver or Roy any day of the week.
13. Too big of a dropoff this year after the great 2007. 2007 was such an amazing year for boxing. Floyd Mayweather became a household name thanks to two massive fights with Oscar de la Hoya and Ricky Hatton, plus his participation on "Dancing with the Stars," which made him recognizable to housewives and teen girls. What's he do in '08? Nothin'. Fakes retirement.
What does Ricky Hatton do to follow the biggest fight of his career, which made him more money and I dare say more fans than all of his wins ever did? Fights with Juan Lazcano and Paulie Malignaggi. No disrespect intended to either man, but not truly marquee affairs.
What's Oscar do? Fights Steve Forbes in a sham as some sort of alleged "thank you" to his fans, then chooses to fight Manny Pacquiao in what is an intriguing bout, but not quite the way a lot of us would wish. Still, it's the lone chance for boxing to make major headlines this year. It's not been a BAD year, but it has greatly struggled to follow 2007.
14. Too much talk about Ike Quartey's return, if you ask me. I mean no offense to Quartey, who was a damn good fighter very briefly, but he hasn't officially won a significant fight since 1997 -- by "officially," I mean that for the sake of this point, I'll count his loss to Vernon Forrest as a loss, even though he was robbed that night. Does the boxing landscape really need another guy rapidly approaching the grand age of 40? If he wants to fight, then that's great, but I'm not exactly feeling the need to put him in against a top opponent, because he'll just lose, and someone else could've been in that spot. Someone that'll be around in two years.
15. Too easy a forgiveness from the WBA to Joan Guzman, and I mean that. Guzman deserves to be penalized by the body and even suspended, even if it's just from fighting for their titles. He gave up a 130-pound title to fight for a 135-pound title, and when he couldn't make weight out of laziness (he says he came into camp too heavy, which is his own fault), he sent Nate Campbell into bankruptcy because nobody gets paid if a fight doesn't happen. Guzman did a disservice to Campbell, to Showtime, to the promoters, to the Beau Rivage Casino, to the fans that paid to go to that show (even though they've been offered a full refund), and to the fight fans that planned to watch on TV. He made his own bed. The WBA shouldn't fix it up for him and so eagerly open the door for him to come back into the fold.