|Tyler's 'Real Bite' w/ Jack Hirsch - On Mayweather, Pacquiao, Bradley, Garcia, Golovkin, Trainer of the Year and more...
By David Tyler, Doghouse Boxing (Jan 13, 2014)
Jack Hirsch has been a chief American correspondent for Boxing News since 1989. Additionally, Hirsch served as the Vice-president in the Boxing Writers Association of America before he became the President of the BWAA in 2009. Previously, he was the senior writer for Boxing Beat Magazine and has had his work appear in numerous other publications. Please welcome Jack into the Doghouse.
David Tyler: Was 2013 a good year for boxing?
Jack Hirsch: I think it was a very good year for boxing. If you look at all of the potential candidates for fighter of the year, all the promotional groups that are having an impact on the sport, you would have to say it was a great year for boxing.
DT: Who are the boxers that were nominated as “fighter of the year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA)?
JH: The BWAA had nine fighters on the ballot…this is unusual because normally we have a cutoff of five. There was much support for all nine candidates that we decided to keep them on the ballot. Fighters like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Gennady Golovkin, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Mikey Garcia, Timothy Bradley, Danny Garcia; we could have added many more to the list.
DT: How about Marcos Madiana?
JH: Madiana scored a nice win over Adrien Broner that made a lot of people happy considering how unpopular Broner is to a large segment of the boxing population. To make Madiana a fighter of the year candidate, Broner would have had to be a serious fighter of the year candidate.
DT: Tim Bradley is my pick…your thoughts?
JH: Tim just had a tremendous win over Juan Manuel Marquez and earlier in the year he had that great fight with Ruslan Provodnikov which is probably going to be named the fight of the year.
DT: The picks for trainer of the year?
JH: The fight names on the list were exceptional trainers….Considering the fact that two that were left out were last year’s trainer of the year and the trainer of the year for 2011. That would be Robert Garcia and Virgil Hill. The ballot had some of the best trainers in the game….Freddie Roach, Floyd Mayweather Sr., Angel Garcia, Javan Hill…..it’s tough to pick who will win this award.
DT: I agree but I would also have put Robert Garcia on the ballot. He has done exceptional work with Marcos Madiana.
JH: You make a good point. We have a meeting and the top five nominees who receive the most votes are placed on the ballot. Robert Garcia was nominated but did not receive enough votes to be among the final five. The vote did take place a week before the Broner fight but even with this fight, I don’t think he would have made the final five. He had certain fighters suffer key losses during the year and Brandon Rios didn’t exactly pick up his game against Pacquiao.
DT: I am glad you mentioned the Rios/ Pacquiao travesty. I still can’t believe that I was stupid enough to pay $70.00 for Pacman’s comeback fight. I am still mad enough to eat nails. That’s my candidate for worse fight of the year. Your thoughts on the event?
JH: I know what you mean, there are very few shows that are worth $70.00 unless you get a terrific undercard. The Mayweather/ Alvarez event was an exception, not only did you get a great main event but the undercard was also great. Lucas Matthysse against Danny Garcia, Carlos Molina against Ishe Smith, and Pablo Cano against Ashley Theophane. The Pacquiao/ Rios fight was decent enough. There was an element of thought that Pacquiao was a shot fighter and maybe Rios had a chance to beat him. That didn’t happen but the undercard of that fight left much to be desired. The price of a PPV event demands that the fans get a decent undercard leading up to the main event.
DT: Jack, speaking of Floyd Mayweather Jr. I think he is one of the greatest ever. What’s your take on Mayweather?
JH: I wouldn’t say that but I can understand why some fans feel that way. It’s not unfair. You have to look at his body of work on the whole to this point in his career. Even though he had a very nice 2013 with two excellent or outstanding victories, he hasn’t been very active over the years. He went about five years in a row fighting just one fight a year…something is missing when you are that inactive. Also, he didn’t take the ultimate risk by demanding a fight with Manny Pacquiao when Pacquiao was at his peak…Mayweather just looked the other way. Now I would also say that I give Mayweather lot’s of credit for taking on Canelo Alvarez and doing such a great job. I personally had picked Alvarez and I was proven wrong.
DT: Mayweather did offer Pacquiao more money than he could make fighting any other fighter.
JH: That’s true but not fair when the offer to Pacquiao was about half of what Mayweather would make. That would have been totally unfair…the fight should have been split evenly among both fighters. Pacquiao was voted fighter of the decade and it would have been Mayweather’s legacy fight.
DT: Do you think that Pacquiao had any chance of beating Mayweather?
JH: I think he had a chance. After Pacquiao fought Miguel Cotto would have been the time to match up against Mayweather. Pacquiao looked outstanding like a machine in the ring against Cotto. Even Floyd Mayweather Sr. just didn’t want the fight for his son. Even he was impressed by the way Pacquiao beat Cotto. I think Pacquiao had a better than even chance at that point in his career but I would stop short of picking a winner.
DT: Pacquiao is on track to fight Tim Bradley in April 2014. Your thoughts about that fight?
JH: I see that as being a close fight. Tim Bradley will try to box more than he did in their first bout. Tim Bradley will be super motivated because of all the criticism directed his way from the first fight. I might even give an edge to Bradley in that fight despite the savage battle he fought Provodnikov.
DT: Who would you like to see Mayweather fight in 2014?
JH: I don’t really have a problem with him fighting Amir Khan or Marcos Maidana. Mayweather has fought at several weights and Sergio Martinez has offered to go down to 154 and fight Mayweather. Just a side note, Sergio Martinez will be fighting Miguel Cotto this June in New York. Also, Gennady Golovkin has also offered to meet Mayweather at 154 lbs. Those are two fights that could be tough for Mayweather.
DT: How about Pacquiao?
JH: I know the Pacquiao fight has been a distraction for several years but I believe that Mayweather should fight Pacquiao just to get it out of the way. I realize that the fight would not be a 50:50 split but both of their camps could come to some financial agreement that would be fair to both. The fight would still draw very well on PPV. This would be a fight that Mayweather needs to secure his legacy.
DT: What are the obstacles in getting this fight made?
JH: One guy is with Showtime, the other is with HBO. One guy is with Top Rank the other has ties to Golden Boy. That being stated the biggest obstacle may be Pacquiao’s demands. He certainly couldn’t expect an even split of the purse. All of this makes it very difficult for this fight to happen. Too many little details that all have to be negotiated and it’s hard to believe the networks, the promoters, the fighters could all agree on each detail to make the fight happen anytime soon.
DT: I really, really, hope that the great Mayweather fights Pacquiao. Without that victory, there will always be ~ 100 million Pacquiao fans still believing that Pacman could have beat Mayweather. Agree?
JH: Let’s say he fights five more times and dominates all five and retires at 50 – 0. What do you think people will be talking about at the end of his career, his great victories? To some extent they will, but they will also talk about the fights that didn’t take place. Also, I am not quite ready to anoint Mayweather as an all time great. He is still fighting and if he loses a fight then his career falls apart. What if Madiana got in a shot and knocked him out….would he still be an all time great? What’s our perception going to be at that point, are we going to list him as an all time great? Mayweather is in a tough spot, he has to win and look very good in the rest of his fights.
DT: I agree completely, his contract with Showtime demands that each fight be a great event. Also, do you think that Floyd will know when to leave this sport?
JH: I can give you a couple of examples: Had Roy Jones retired right after the John Ruiz fight, how could people keep him off the short list when they talk about the greatest fighters of all time? Now people can ignore him as far as the short list of all time greats. Another case: Had Roberto Duran retired after the first Sugar Ray Leonard fight, many people would have said that pound for pound he was the greatest fighter of all time. He would have been right next to Sugar Ray Robinson as the pound for pound all time great. Legacy is funny, some guys retain a great legacy even with losses late in their career and other fighters really get punished by these late career losses.
DT: Does it surprise you that Manny Pacquiao owes so much money to the Philippine Government, the United States IRS, and who knows what he owes Bob Arum?
JH: It makes me sick to think about it, who was doing his finances? You would think that Top Rank would be taking care of the taxes. I know that Pacquiao is a very generous person and tends to give most of his money to charities and others but someone surely should have been responsible for his finances.
DT: Boxing was such a popular sport in America from the 20’s through the 70’s and 80’s. Why did it lose it popularity?
JH: I don’t think the problem is that boxing is less popular now….l think that the other sports have become more popular. Baseball has always been popular but the NFL has grown leaps and bounds in popularity. The NBA started taking off in the 80’s and 90’s. The face of sports, especially boxing has changed. You and I spoke about the first Ali/ Fraizer fight and how much we enjoyed the event. Here’s a question for you. What night of the week did the event take place?
DT: Monday or Tuesday.
JH: It took place on a Monday. Now imagine if the Mayweather/ Pacquiao fight was made three years ago, would the event have taken place on a Monday? Certainly not, it would have to be on a Saturday night. I use this to illustrate how sports have changed. Look at Baseball, when is the last time you saw a World Series game on a weekday?
DT: Let’s look at 2014. Any matches that you would like to see happen?
JH: There is a ton of matches but when they come from different promotional groups, they just will not happen unless a collision course is unavoidable. We just talked about Pacquiao/ Mayweather but who would not want to see Timmy Bradley going against Danny Garcia? Sergio Martinez is fighting Miquel Cotto. If Martinez wins, wouldn’t it be great if he fought Gennady Golovkin in 2014?
DT: What will it take to break down the barriers between promotion companies and the two major television networks?
JH: It would have to be the fighters. Major fighters insisting the fight must happen. Mayweather has to fight the top fighters, he can’t just go to Showtime and take a very weak opponent and expect them to accept this…he has to look for an opponent who would be attractive to a PPV audience. Let’s say Mayweather insisted on fighting Pacquiao and Pacquiao insisted on fighting Mayweather and both let their respective business associates know that this fight will happen with or without you. Then everyone comes to the table. But there are only a couple of fighters that are big enough to make that happen.
DT: I just don’t believe we get the fights that the fans really see under the current conditions with the top organizations at war.
JH: A lot more often you do than you don’t. There’s an old saying that if the public demands it the event will take place …. That’s not always the case and we have discussed it many times during this
conversation…Mayweather/Pacquaio, Bowe/ Lewis did not happen. For a big fight to take place both fighters have to realize that even if they lose – in a certain sense they win….they get paid so much money.
DT: Jack, let’s take a quick look at the future of boxing. Can MMA destroy boxing?
JH: No, if MMA was going to hurt boxing it would have done it by now. MMA, UFC, they have peaked out. They have their fans but I don’t look at their fans as having been former boxing fans that left the sport to follow MMA. Football, baseball, hockey, basketball, ….all have fans who are also boxing fans. In that respect I’m sure that MMA has fans that also watch boxing events.
DT: And the future of boxing?
JH: The fans that claim they don’t like boxing because the sport is all disorganized…how can you argue with them? So many different divisions, so many different champions, they manipulate weights, but at the end of the day it’s good fights that are going to attract the audience…not how the sport is administered.
DT: Jack, thank you for such a great conservation. Your views on boxing are dead on. I can’t remember when I have had such a good time discussing boxing with an expert. Many, many, thanks for insights into our sport.
JH: David, it has been an enjoyable conservation and I look forward to more great boxing events in 2014.
Readers: Thank you for visiting doghouseboxing.com and I hope you enjoyed the observations by the great Jack Hirsh. Happy New Year to all of our readers and God Bless in 2014!
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