|Weekend Howlings: Oscar De La Hoya, Ring Magazine and much More
By Coyote Duran (April 9, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © thering-online.com)
The more the tongues wag, the more everyone seems right.
There’s an uneasy aspect to being on the fence. In the world of boxing journalism, I’m on that fence. As a ratings panel analyst for The Ring magazine, I’m stuck between what I believe is right in what I consider a stand-up way and reality. So when I learned that Golden Boy Promotions was tentatively putting together Joel Casamayor vs. newly signed Juan Diaz, I groaned. Loudly.
It’s no secret that Golden Boy Promotions, arguably the most powerful promoter in the business today, had bought The Ring, along with sister magazines, such as Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Soon after, fans went nuts. The Ring, although a trusted journalistic entity, already had been seen as an archaic source of boxing news in an age when one gets everything he or she needs at broadband speed. When the magazine re-introduced the policy of gifting fighters with belts, skeptics found issue with what they felt were shoddy positioning of fighters in the top spots of contention in certain weight classes (Vitali Klitschko vs. Corrie Sanders, Paulie Ayala vs. Bones Adams II). Many loved the championship policy for they found it a refreshing alternative to the corruption of sanctioning bodies while others made no hesitation in reminding us that The Ring fell into indiscretion itself in the 1980s when their ratings were manipulated.
And there was no lightening up when Oscar De La Hoya and company paid for the publishing control of The Ring, no matter how much Editor-in-Chief Nigel Collins assured us that editorial decisions would not be influenced in any
way, shape or form. You know what? He told the truth.
Collins and crew are not responsible for matchmaking decisions nor are they responsible for whoever buys their magazine. And to be technical, De La Hoya and CEO Richard Schaeffer aren’t guilty of manipulating the magazine’s policy or its ratings.
What Golden Boy is doing is making ‘in the right place at the right time’ the right thing for their newest acquisition in Diaz and ‘the right place’ just happens to provide residence for The Ring World Lightweight Champion Joel Casamayor. Nate Campbell, who beat Diaz for the WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight straps, for all his bluster and insistence, is being pushed aside for preference while Casamayor, also ‘interim titlist’ for two alphabet groups will put up those belts (all 'official-like'), along with The Ring belt, against Diaz, unless a lucrative fight against Marco Antonio Barrera surfaces. And if Juan Diaz wins, Golden Boy will have another World Champion under its banner. Interestingly enough, Diaz lost his last fight so this idea comes off as little more than alphabet politics and reasoning; everything The Ring has tried to be against in the first place.
What does this mean for Nate Campbell? Nothing but waiting to prove what he believes he really is: The one, true Lightweight Champion of the World and that, obviously, isn’t fair.
I haven’t talked to Nigel Collins about this but, rest assured, Howlers, when I do, you’ll be the first to know.
Clear Line of Sight Leads to Chavez…
Who gets laser surgery on his eyes before a big fight? Daniel Jimenez apparently did but seeing better didn’t necessarily bode well for the visiting Dominican against comebacking Jesus Chavez. In a Solo Boxeo main event brought to us by Telefutura, Chavez, 43-4 (29), outworked Jimenez, 17-3-1 (10), over 10 heats, keeping control better than a 35-year old lightweight who hasn’t fought in 14 months was expected to. In witnessing this fight, I’m reminded by what my fellow Doghouse Boxing writer Julian Kasdin made clear during my internet radio show last Thursday night and that was, with the examples that (both) 36-year old Joel Casamayor and Nate Campbell made out of Michael Katsidis and Juan Diaz, respectively, showed the world that being 35 in the lightweight division is not a death sentence. Truer words were never spoken. In Our Sport, we’re treated to heart and persistence all the time. Mind you, we weren’t jumping the gun with Chavez’ return, but let’s just say we wouldn’t be surprised if a little greatness came his way before it was all over.
An aside worth mentioning regarding heart: If Daniel Jimenez hadn’t enough stress with the optical surgery and whatnot, he also came in ¾ of a pound overweight. According to Francisco Salazar of Fightnews.com, when Chavez was informed that a portion of Jimenez’ purse for the night would be turned over to him per penalty rules, Chavez turned it down, sympathizing with Jimenez for his difficulty prepping for the fight. If there’s anything Karma loves, it’s heart. ‘Nuff said.
He Ain’t Heavy; He Just Didn’t Do Enough…
Lance Whitaker just didn’t do enough on Friday night despite entering the ring against heavyweight prospect Jason Estrada much lighter and defined. ESPN2 commentator Teddy Atlas made an excellent point when he said that Whitaker wasn’t fighting tall, despite his height. Possessing a wicked reach, Whitaker, 32-5-1 (27), hardly threw a jab allowing Estrada to work hard on the inside, winging punches around Whitaker’s guard and using the right uppercut with precision which worked especially well in the few instances ‘Mount’ switched to southpaw. Fighting well off the ropes (and showing a pretty decent beard) where Whitaker frequently herded him, ‘Big Six’ never gave ground even in the later rounds where Whitaker finally awoke and pressed the attack.
Estrada, 12-1 (2), not the greatest puncher in the world, did just what he predicted and boxed well. If he truly believes he can someday rule the land of the giants, his consistency must become just that: Consistent. One doesn’t have to knock out opponents to be great; or even good. One only has to remember where he comes from, skill-wise, and erase the mistakes of the past to enjoy a prosperous tomorrow. In the case of Jason Estrada, who’s enjoyed relative challenge early in his career, a much bigger microscope views him from here on out.
Williams’ Biggest Challenge Was Anything But…
Andre Purlette didn’t know what hit him. In the co-feature to Estrada-Whitaker, Purlette learned the definition of what ‘Awesome’ really was and that definition was ‘put together’.
Aaron Williams, 17-0-1 (12), a former amateur standout was anything but amateur in excellently combining movement and power against Purlette, 40-3 (35), who had few shining moments, often looking for the sweet spot but missing even more. Williams, under the tutelage of former WBC light heavyweight titlist Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, displayed all the right tools offensively and defensively, counterpunching when the situation called for it and attacking with prejudice when the openings were available. In two, Purlette became an afterthought as Williams ended it all with an onslaught that began with a combo and ended in right hands.
Seemingly more confident than ever, Aaron Williams, a fighter who fancies future success in the heavyweight division, also curiously seems more than comfortable biding his time as a cruiserweight. Perhaps there’s an inadvertent strategy in place for the soon-to-be-22 year old ‘Awesome’ Aaron. World Cruiserweight Champion David Haye isn’t planning on sticking around and by the time Williams is ready for IBF titlist Steve Cunningham (and he isn’t just yet), Cunningham might or might not be around. If the latter isn’t, Williams could very well be the best cruiserweight in the world in another year or so.
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