Boxing: Is there something in the air?

By Ted Sares on February 23, 2015
Boxing: Is there something in the air?
The old guard will be diminished as a direct result of their own complacency. (Shunichi)

The boxing schedule leading up to May 2 is like a symphonic crescendo that translates to a boxing fan’s dream come true…

“Assuming for the sake of argument that boxing needs to be saved, it’s unlikely that Mayweather vs. Pacquiao will be the fight to do it. The zillions of dollars it generates is one thing. Saving the sport is another.”—Robert Ecksel

“I can’t wait for the nine week stretch from March 7 to May 9 that will see more good boxing reach more Americans than at any time in boxing’s history. Finally, boxing is moving in a positive direction…”—Paul Magno

Some assert that the moment regarding the May 2 mega fight has been lost. They say five years ago, we had something very, very special but now it might be like going straight to Leonard-Hearns II without having Leonard-Hearns I. Others say it’s too little too late and/or that it’s closer to Tyson-Holmes which is patently absurd. On the flip side, some will contend it’s a generation-defining fight. The opinions will be as varied as the mentality of those offering them and as salty as the fringe around a Margarita Glass. From blasé and disenchanted to enthusiastic and excited, the opinions will pour out and the media will look for every possible angle from which to portray drama where none exists. The hype machine will induce a goodly amount of bile before it is sated.

Something Different

For me, however, this fight and the events leading up to the contractual signing reflect something ever-so-fresh and clean beginning to finds its way through the traditional foul smells of boxing and might portend new dynamics that in turn could be this generation’s single-best chance for boxing to mitigate its reputation as the cesspool of the sporting world.

There is a transition going on and we saw it in a business model in which Mayweather Junior worked out the issues without the help of someone lurking in the background waiting for his percentage and without a cunning and self-serving Arum getting in the way.

We see it when the powerful “man with the plan” and mysterious hybrid, Al Haymon, and NBC announce new prime time boxing and 20 live broadcasts for 2015. Haymon’s $20 million outlay translates to five Saturday night “Premier Boxing Champions” prime-time shows on NBC, six more shows on Saturday afternoons and the remaining nine in prime time on the NBC Sports Network. Al Michaels will do blow-by-blow, with Ray Leonard providing analysis. Who needs Don King? What’s not to like?

Timothy Bartolini sums it up this way in a February 22, 2015 article on THA BOXING VOICE titled, “If ESPN Rumors Are True, Al Haymon Has Already Won The War”:

“The dynamic of the boxing industry is changing for the first time in 30 years. Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya look to be on the losing end of the first war. While Bob Arum was focusing on China, the real war was right in his own backyard. Top Rank and Golden Boy won’t go away, but their roles in the industry will be diminished as a direct result of their own complacency.

“ESPN, CBS, NBC and Spike TV have all been available for years. Al Haymon was the only one that recognized their value and planted his flag. Instead of coming up with fresh ideas and new approaches, the old guard stuck with an antiquated battle plan that will leave them starved for resources. The war is almost over, and the ramifications will be felt in the years that come.”

The Fight

“With Mayweather turning 38 … and Pacquiao 36, this might be an epic meeting of the two biggest names in the sport, but two fighters squaring off in the heart of their prime it certainly is not.”—Martin Rogers

Stylistically I doubt it will be an epic. In fact, it could be a boring tactical affair. From every other standpoint, however, it will be the biggest single extravaganza in boxing history and maybe even in sports history. It also might be the start of something new and something better. And for icing on the cake, the fight will occur after an incredibly long run of potentially more thrilling fights featured on NBC, CBS, HBO, Showtime, ESPN, and Spike TV.

Indeed, the boxing schedule leading up to May 2 is like a symphonic crescendo that translates to a boxing fan’s dream come true. I haven’t been this excited since I don’t know when. 

The Upcoming Schedule

February 27: Pablo Cesar Cano vs. Juan Carlos Abreu (California)
February 27: Odlanier Solis vs. Tony Thompson (Hungary)
February 27: Cletus Selden vs. Johnny Garcia (New York)

February 28: Tyson Fury vs. Christian Hammer (UK)
February 28: Dmitry Chudinov vs. Chris Eubank Jr. (UK)
February 28: Carl Frampton vs. Chris Avalos (Belfast, UK)
February 28: Denton Vassell vs. Viktor Plotnykov (Belfast, UK)
February 28: Roman Gonzalez vs. Valentin Leon (Nicaragua)
February 28: Jackie Nava vs. Mayra Alejandra Gomez (Mexico)
February 28: Kenia Enriquez vs. Mellissa McMorrow (Mexico)
February 28: Rey Loreto vs. Nkosinathi Joyi (South Africa)

March 5: Joseph Parker vs. Jason Pettaway (New Zealand)

March 6: Joseph Agbeko vs. Carlo Magali (Ghana)
March 6: Tony Harrison vs. Antwone Smith (Las Vegas))
March 6: Zolani Tete vs. Paul Butler (UK)
March 6: Roy Jones Jr. vs. Willie Williams (North Carolina)
March 6: Karo Murat vs. Benjamin Simon (Germany)

March 7: Amnat Ruenroeng vs. Zou Shiming (Macau)
March 7: Glen Tapia vs. Daniel Dawson (Macau)
March 7: Jose Felix Jr. vs. Raymond Sermona (Macau)
March 7: Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero (Las Vegas)
March 7: Adrien Broner vs. John Molina Jr. (Las Vegas)
March 7: Abner Mares vs. Arturo Santos Reyes (Las Vegas)
March 7: Tommy Coyle vs. Martin Gethin (UK)
March 7: Christina Hammer vs. Kali Reis (Germany)
March 7: Timy Shala vs.  Dominic Boesel (Germany)

March 12: Francisco Vargas vs. Will Tomlinson (Texas)

March 13: Andre Berto vs. Joselito Lopez (California)
March 13: Shawn Porter vs. Robert Garcia (California)
March 13: Billy Wright vs. Gilberto Matheus Domnigos (Arizona)
March 13: Antoine Douglas vs. Thomas Lamanna (New York)

March 14: Steve Cunningham vs. Vyacheslav Glazkov (Canada)
March 14: Sergey Kovalev vs. Jean Pascal (Canada)
March 14: Vasily Lepkhin vs. Isaac Chilemba (Canada)
March 14: Ovill McKenzie vs. Matty Askin (UK)
March 14:  Thomas Oosthuizen vs. Ryno Liebenberg (South Africa)

March 20: Alfonso Gomez vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai (California)
March 20: Alejandro Hernandez vs. Martin Castillas (Mexico)

March 21: Juergen Braehmer vs. Robin Krasniqi (Germany)

March 26: Frederic Lawson vs. Breidis Prescott (Florida)

March 28: Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Gary Russell Jr. (USA Showtime)
March 28: Jermall Charlo vs. Vanes Martirosyan (USA Showtime)
March 28: Kell Brook vs. Ionut Dan Ion (UK)
March 28: Donnie Nietes vs. Luis Ceja (Philippines)
March 28: Luis Conception vs. Carlos Cuadras (Panama)

April 3: Boxcino (USA ESPN)

April 4: Adonis Stevenson vs. Sakio Bika (Canada)
April 4: Artur Beterbiev vs. Gabriel Campillo (Canada)
April 4: Denis Lebedev vs. Lukasz Janik (Russia)

April 11: Andy Lee vs. Peter Quillin (Brooklyn)
April 11: Danny Garcia vs. Lamont Peterson (Brooklyn)
April 11: Orlando Salido vs. Roman Martinez (Puerto Rico)
April 11: Willie Limond vs. Chris Jenkins (UK)

April 16: Shinsuke Yamanaka vs. Diego Ricardo Santillian (Japan)

April 18: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs., Andrzei Fonfara ((USA Showtime)
April 18: Terrance Crawford vs. Thomas Dulorme (USA Showtime)
April 18: Lucas Martin Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov (HBO)
April 18: Richar Abril vs. Derry Matthews (UK)

April 25: Wladimir Klitschko vs. Bryant Jennings (New York City HBO)
April 25:  Lee Selby vs. Evgeny Gradovich (UK)
April 25: Anthony Dirrell vs. Badou Jack (USA)
April 25: Javier Mendoza vs. Milan Melindo (Mexico)

May 2: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao

Like a Samoan Buffet, there is something for everyone.

More to come…

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Thurman vs. Guerrero & Broner vs. Molina | GP Promo

Ruslan Provodnikov vs Lucas Matthysse | Promo

Wladimir Klitschko vs Bryant Jennings promo

Manny Pacquiao Vs Floyd Mayweather "The Super Fight" Promo 2

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  1. Kid Blast 07:09am, 03/06/2015


  2. Mike Silver 11:41pm, 03/05/2015

    This time I agree with you Kid Blast.

  3. Kid Balst 12:04pm, 03/03/2015

    Mike Silver excluded from “so-called Historians.” I always respect his opinion because he has done the work to earn my resect,

  4. Kid Blast 01:57pm, 03/02/2015

    Good point on PEDS.

  5. John (aka L.L. Cool John) 01:30pm, 03/02/2015

    I wanted to add that athletes today also have access to performance enhancing drugs. The only way Babe Ruth ingested steroids is through the enormous amounts of steroid tainted hot dogs he ate.

  6. John (aka L.L. Cool John) 01:22pm, 03/02/2015

    Well said ... no argument from me.

  7. Kid Blast 01:17pm, 03/02/2015

    That’s not a bad comparison John. Track and field athletes have improved tremendously.

    For me, history begins in the mid-40’s because I don’t have to rely on someone else’s words or interstation. That doesn’t mean I feel that way about history in general, just that too many of todays so-called historians put their own spin on things that happened when they weren’t even born yet. Give me the facts and video footage and the dates and I’ll decide for myself but I don’t need a rewrite of what really was. Hell, I still think Willie Pep was the second greatest fighter of all time and that Joe Louis was right up there with the best, but telling me that Dempsey is going to handle a well-trained monster from Kiev just doesn’t do it for me.

  8. John (aka L.L. Cool John) 11:27am, 03/02/2015

    The fighter today have access to better nutrition, training, and are just bigger than fighters of old. Can you imagine a match-up between Dempsey and Klitschko? It would be akin to Jim Ryan attempting to compete in a mile run with today’s athletes.

  9. Kid Blast 06:45am, 03/01/2015

    Yes, agree to disagree.

    I’ll look at the book again.

  10. Mike Silver 08:02pm, 02/28/2015

    Ted, I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this point. Yes, some of the names you mentioned who stood out in the 70s and 80s could have competed in any era. But the main difference today is the lack of top trainers and the lack of activity and quality competition. Boxing has not followed the trajectory of other sports and cannot be compared to them. I wrote an entire book on just this subject, so I will suggest taking another look at “The Arc of Boxing” for a more complete answer.

  11. Kid Blast 07:17pm, 02/28/2015

    Mike, I’d agree if we went back to the 50’s but not further back. Oh maybe to the mid 40’s. I just don’t think the old timers trained with the same information and technology available to them. Yes, there were exceptions, but the men coming out of Eastern Europe are hitting the road after lengthy learning periods. Lomachenko is a case in point as is Ioka in Japan. And Artur Beterbiev is the latest, but there are plenty others. The UK also has a bunch of very solid fighters out there today.

    I’d also say that SRL, Hagler, Duran, Hearns, and Benitez—along with Eubank, Benn, Watson, and Thompson—compete with any era.  And I’d include Holmes, Lewis, and Vitali in with the great heavyweights. The new bunch leaves something to be desire but for as long as I’ve been a boxing fan we have been saying that about the heavyweights.

    And then you have Barrera, Morales, Vazquez, Marquez, JMM, Tapia, showing uncommon skill.

    Today’s Alabama football team blows the 1950 Cleveland Browns off the field. Today’s Heat beats the Dolph Shayes Knicks by 80 points. Baseball is more difficult to compare given the scandals. The point, boxing training and technique has changed. There are many savvy trainers and managers out there and know how to build stamina and strength in new ways and with new diets.

    Your move

  12. Mike Silver 06:53pm, 02/28/2015

    Ted, I give the best of today’s boxers their due in relation to the environment in which they perform. As good a fighter as Golovkin is (and in my opinion he is the best fighter pound for pound in the world today) he would just be one of many bright prospects if we time travel him back to boxing’s heyday of the 1920s to the 1960s.

  13. Kid Blast 02:48pm, 02/27/2015

    I respect your opinion and especially your honesty.

  14. Tex Hassler 02:43pm, 02/27/2015


    Fighters today simply do not have enough experience do reach the skill level of a Harry Greb or many others of the time period before 1960. Nothing against today’s fighters, they just do not have the level of competition that old time fighters had. For one thing before 1960 there were far more fighters and far tougher competition you had to fight through to get a title shot.  You gain skill by fighting tough competition. Today an unbeaten record usually means a fighter has been carefully handled to get that record not that he has the skill Greb had at 100 fights. Great trainers have also left the scene.

    Today’s boxing is what it is and far below the level of before 1960. You may not agree with this but that is the way it is. Mike Silver is correct.

  15. Kid Blast 09:49am, 02/27/2015

    I personally am looking forward to these bouts:

    Jhonny Gonzalez vs. Gary Russell Jr.
    Danny Garcia vs. Lamont Peterson
    Orlando Salido vs. Roman Martinez
    Lucas Martin Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov
    Sergey Kovalev vs. Jean Pascal
    Amnat Ruenroeng vs. Zou Shiming
    Carl Frampton vs. Chris Avalos
    Shawn Porter vs. Robert Garcia
    Juergen Braehmer vs. Robin Krasniqi
    Jermall Charlo vs. Vanes Martirosyan
    Terrence Crawford vs. Thomas Dulorme
    Keith Thurman vs. Robert Guerrero
    Dmitry Chudinov vs. Chris Eubank Jr

  16. Kid Blast 09:28am, 02/27/2015

    Mike, I understand you take a pro-historian view on this and I respect your view, but I think you are downplaying the Eastern Euro and Japanese influence that has surged of late. Lomachenko, Kovalev, Canelo, GGG, and others have emerged since you wrote your fine book and you need to give them their due in my humble opinion.

    I am probably in the 95 percentile when it comes to longevity in being a boxing fan and I know that most endeavors and sports have evolved in a progressive manner. Unfortunately, boxing does not appear to be among them but I think with guys like Thurman, Mayweather, Manny, Klitschko, and so many others, you cannot say it has gone the other way. I’d say it has remained semi-static with the arrow pointing up. I’d say it has lots of promise. But my view is a global one.

  17. Mike Silver 09:57pm, 02/26/2015

    Not to disappoint Mr. Franklin I feel it necessary to notch a point or two for the old guard “troglodytes”.  Yes, I’m sorry to inform you, things were infinitely better for boxing fans in the 1920s! And if you cannot realize that I feel sorry for you. Dempsey, Tunney, Walker, Leonard, Genaro, Villa, Loughran and Greb!! True immortals. What have we got today—creaking past their primes PBF and Pacman in a scam of a fight whose promoters have the nerve to charge “the sucker born every minute” boxing fan nearly a hundred dollars. This fight lost its mojo three years ago when it still would have meant something. I had to shake my head in disbelief looking at that list of upcoming “dream fights”. What have we got today—Klitschko, Chavez Jr., Berto, Stevenson, Fury, Broner and a bunch of unrecognizable names that look someone opened a can of alphabet soup and threw the letters against a wall. I know many fans want to believe these ordinary club fights are worth our attention. But unless we want to continue to deny reality I suggest we come to our senses and realize that we are witnesses to a lost art that once gave us the immortals. I know there are many former fans who agree with me on this but won’t comment because they don’t follow the sport anymore!

  18. Kid Blast 02:13pm, 02/26/2015

    Wow, great to see you on here LJ. Thanks for reading it.

  19. LJ 01:22pm, 02/26/2015

    Ted makes great points about this fight. This is one of those bouts that I wish had happened five to seven years ago. Let’s hope these two give us a night to remember!

  20. Kid Blast 06:09pm, 02/25/2015

    Al Haymon, HBO, Showtime

  21. Dollar bond 01:17pm, 02/25/2015

    Ted, who wins this fight?

  22. Kid Blast 06:34am, 02/25/2015

    For me, old is relative, Irish. lol

    But I don’t expect a sizzler here.

  23. NYIrish 06:26am, 02/25/2015

    Cheers Ted.
    I like the BikerMike analogy re the missed opportunity with Raquel Welch and the staleness of this matchup. Age is always a factor. You reach a point in life when all your old girlfriends are OLD girlfriends.
    I don’t expect too much out of these two old millionaires when the bell rings.

  24. Kid Blast 10:45am, 02/24/2015

    And I’d love to see Rios on the undercard.

  25. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:45am, 02/24/2015

    While I’m on the subject….Salido engaged in an unGodly all out war with Kokietgym a few months back where Orlando was down three times and Kokietgym was down four times before being stopped in the eleventh round…..barely made a stir here on I would rather watch a rerun of that than pay $100 for what…..a pig in a poke?

  26. Kid Blast 10:39am, 02/24/2015

    I quite agree Irish. I sense a borefest. Neither guy has knocked out anyone in years and Manny could not even put away the rabbit in Macau.

    Tactical and boring but I hope I am wrong. That’s why I set forth a long list of upcoming fights many of which will be super exciting.

    Thank you for your post

  27. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:33am, 02/24/2015

    Ted Sares-“potentially more thrilling fights”?!.....more like fights guaranteed to be more thrilling….read Mathysse/Provodnikov or any fight that John Molina Jr, Sergey Kovalev, or Orlando Salido engage in…..the only thrill that this fight will produce inside the ring (not talking about the hype/build up here) is if Manny wins…..period!

  28. Kid Blast 09:56am, 02/24/2015

    Thanks Bill and John for your posts

  29. Dollar Bond 09:29am, 02/24/2015

    Nice to see you on for a change Ted.

  30. John (aka L.L. Cool John) 09:19am, 02/24/2015

    No doubt we’ve waited a looooong time for this one. In my opinion, I see it akin to a Leonard/Duran match-up with Mayweather winning by decision. I’m guessing Mayweather will be close to a 2-1 favorite in Vegas. Like fine wine, some things just get better with time. However, over time, some things just decay and rot. We’ll see.

  31. Steve 07:51am, 02/24/2015

    I like that Mayweather and his Flomos think it’s all about Floyd. This will be Manny’s show.  The majority will be pulling for Manny. The Dark Side will pull for the Ghetto King wannabe. Manny will shock Fraud and many other people.  While Manny has spent most of his career punching above his weight class and fight and giving rematches to those that gave him hell Fraud has fought mostly B - B+ fighters.  Manny’s foot and hand speed will shock and amaze Fraud.

  32. Kid Blast 07:25am, 02/24/2015

    LaRue, from time to time. If they will have me.

  33. Kid Blast 07:21am, 02/24/2015

    Wow, that’s quite a compliment Paul and very much appreciated.

  34. Kid Blast 07:20am, 02/24/2015

    Ha, thanks CG.

  35. Big Walt 11:34pm, 02/23/2015

    Well thought out analysis

  36. LaRue Boenig 10:23pm, 02/23/2015

    WTF, Ted the Bull on

  37. Paul Magno 09:31pm, 02/23/2015

    It’s sink or swim time for boxing…if this push doesn’t restore the sport to some degree and bring in a wave of new fans, then nothing will work…Good job, Ted…

  38. Clarence George 08:27pm, 02/23/2015

    “As salty as the fringe around a Margarita Glass” is sheer Marlowe—Philip, not Christopher.

  39. Doo-Ran 07:04pm, 02/23/2015

    $100? No mas.

  40. Kid Blast 06:42pm, 02/23/2015

    There will be many Fight parties to ease the pain of a stiff PPV fee. But the undercard remains a big mystery at this point. With all of the juicy fights between now and May 2, you have to wonder who is left out there.

  41. bikermike 06:41pm, 02/23/2015

    Yes….I see the line up of young lions…...FINALLY

  42. bikermike 06:34pm, 02/23/2015

    talk about that Canadian kid who didn’t get hissnow board gold medal…cuz of second hand smoke…..

    I’m not driving again for two weeks after that gathering of good people who enjoy Boxing….nor am I trying out for any Olympic team !!lol

  43. bikermike 06:31pm, 02/23/2015

    Hey buddy… about WORTH SOMETHING…these fucks are going to charge us a hundred bucks a peek.ffs

    We’re gonna go Jamaican…..and have everyone pitch in three bucks….and the rest of the money goes to beer and Pizza…
    ..shouldn’t be more than sixty of us there in that apartment !

  44. Kid Blast 06:29pm, 02/23/2015

    Holy moly

  45. bikermike 06:27pm, 02/23/2015

    talk about waiting a long ...long ...loong time….since the late sixties…I’ve WAITED TO GO TO BED WITH RAQUEL WELCH !!

    Now…she’s in her seventies…..and I’m not sure I could keep up the pace…THE TIME HAS PASSED….for me and Ms Welch…and for pacman and pbf as well

  46. Kid Blast 06:23pm, 02/23/2015

    biker. that pretty much sums it up in terms of the fight itself, but hopefully the event in and of itself will be worth something.

  47. bikermike 06:22pm, 02/23/2015

    worse than Hearns leonard II….as there was no first one…pbf cs pacman .shudda been six years earlier !!

    btw…not lost is the exposure given to the ‘troops’;;;...leading up to the match up. 

  48. Kid Blast 06:22pm, 02/23/2015

    Thanks Tex. Hope you are right

  49. Kid Blast 06:21pm, 02/23/2015

    I don’t think we will get as many of those. I’ll stack up guys like GGG and Lomachenko with any and all from the past, These well honed and well trained monsters are part of the new wave—the transition.

    Cheers, FD

  50. Tex Hassler 06:19pm, 02/23/2015

    Another fine article by Dr. Sares. Pacquiao vs Mayweather is a fight we have been waiting for a long, long time. Both should be highly motivated which should make a great fight. Age should not be a factor as both are in great shape and both want a win.

  51. bikermike 06:19pm, 02/23/2015

    we’re gonna get nailed a hundred bucks .....and hope for an exciting matchup…between these two guys that are definitely on the back nine of their careers.

  52. FrankinDallas 06:16pm, 02/23/2015

    Great points, Ted. It’s going to be a fantastic year for boxing fans.
    However, I’m waiting on comments from troglodytes
    along the lines of “things were better in the 1920’s”.

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