House of Cards
How the mighty have fallen.
Rather, how the mighty refuse to fall because they are refused the right to face one another. Provided the allegations set forth by Floyd Mayweather at a fight week press conference in Las Vegas are true (that Top Rank deliberately stood in the way of Floyd's potential matchups against other marquee fighters in his division), then the case can now be made that there's yet another boot to the throat of boxing.
Regardless of what happens at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night, when Mayweather faces Victor Ortiz and once (or thrice) again when Manny Pacquiao faces Juan Manuel Marquez in November, the top two fighters have been unable to dodge questions concerning the other during their respective press appearances.
Leapfrog reasoning is never advisable in life, much less in professional sports. The 2007 New England Patriots can attest to this as well as the 2010 Miami Heat. We've been subjected to everything from "take the test" to "if the gloves don't fit, you must acquit". Or, "if there's rocks in your wraps, only your wrist we'll slap". Floyd's revelations set forth the very plausible mindset of a certain promoter; one which spoke of selfishness and insipid logic.
Fight Week in Las Vegas of all places should be fun for fans and the media alike. What we're getting instead is a seemingly regimented dose of what's on the horizon for Mayweather rather than the formidable, yet overwhelmed opponent he'll face over the weekend. At the time this snippet was written - most betting houses have the following odds posted: a $100 bet on an Ortiz victory will get you $525 in return. Not bad, but this isn't how casinos pay their electric bills. You'll need to bet $625 to get $725 (your $625 bet plus the $100 you'd win) in winnings if you take Money Mayweather.
You can get better odds, of course if you bet on specifics. For example, the surefire result so many have in mind of a Mayweather decision win is quite a lousy wager. His idea of switching his moniker from Pretty Boy to Money doesn't exactly check out here; at least not with those odds. The entire PPV telecast is awash with walkover painted all over it. We'll get a treat for the co-main event when the cameras jump to the Staples Center in Los Angeles for the Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Alfonso Gomez matchup. Canelo is a staggering favorite in this fight as well.
Hardly a month has passed since a press conference in San Antonio, TX announced that Mexican legend Erik "El Terrible" Morales would be featured in the "Star Power" fight card. Morales was originally set to face Argentine lightweight Jorge Barrios. The veteran fighter was pulled, somewhat inexplicably and quickly replaced with the hard punching and cagey Lucas Matthysse, also of Argentina. This would have been a great fight for boxing fans as well as the casual fan who raids your house to watch the fights for free. It had everything in it necessary to steal the thunder of the main event.
Wait. Oh, no. Lucas turned ill. Maybe he did, or perhaps he just wasn't looking forward to giving his all only to be robbed by the myopic American judges, as he was versus Zab Judah and Devon Alexander in two separate bouts since November 2010. The timeless jaw of the sweet science flew open after Erik's efforts versus Marcos Maidana this past April. Its palate was molten with the lusting for a rematch and a few in the fight game thought we'd get one as soon as September 17th. Not to be, though. It's acceptable once you realize that it's easier to get a drive-thru divorce than it is to get two promoters or fighters to come to the table.
This isn't an ad for a betting house or website. But you get the idea here, which is even further compounded with the third boxer named in a month's time to face Morales, Pablo Cesar Cano. This will be the first fight in the United States for the undefeated Mexican light welterweight. In fact, it's his only his second fight outside of Mexico (he fought once in Colombia). Morales and his credibility are shot if he doesn't pummel his new foe. What has happened here? Remember Hagler vs Hearns? When Tommy Hearns pulled out of their originally scheduled fight in May of 1982 because of an injury to his pinky finger, Marvin Hagler laughed at him.
Love him, hate him, praise him or berate him, there's no questioning the fact that Floyd Mayweather is a serious talent in the sport. Save the all-time rankings until he's really and truly done, please. He's expected to breeze to an easy win once he tests and masters the barrage Ortiz will try to impose upon him.
The co-main event in Los Angeles will be no different and perhaps some of the criticism thrown the way of Canelo Alvarez is justifiable. Many say he's been protected. Not Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. protected, but a guarded fighter nonetheless. Any who remember Alfonso Gomez getting pummeled by Miguel Cotto three years ago can only imagine what the quick and deadly redhead from Jalisco will do to him.
The best fight of the night could easily be the first one of the night, at least the pay-TV portion. Undefeated lightweight Jesse Vargas of Las Vegas will face Josesito Lopez of California. So often, mega-fights are preceded by coma-inducing undercard bouts. This one is inherently different. Perhaps you'd rather see two relatively unknown fighters square off rather than 3 or 4 chip shot fights where the outcome is all but finally settled.
If Mayweather was honest with his tales of avoidance on the part of Bob Arum or anyone, bring us the Pepto right now; perhaps some humility, too. So many painted Floyd as a "ducker", when he may have just been given the brush-off instead. Just like a house of cards. One is pulled, then another. Not long afterwards, the house crumbles. Not only are promoters harming more than helping, they're also holding all the cards and cutting the pack.
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