Top Rank/Golden Boy: Little Men Big

By Michael Schmidt on October 10, 2012
Top Rank/Golden Boy: Little Men Big
I am a big fan. Set your feet and let your hands do the talking. (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

Little Men Big it shall the next few weeks and thanks to Top Rank, Golden Boy and some throwback unique fighters we shall enjoy!

As we head deep into October country, Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions are serving up a feast of Little Men Big fights. There will always be something alluring in the scene of a big man, a heavyweight, dating back to Boston Strong Boy days and beyond, walking into a tavern and announcing that he can “lick any son-of-a-bitch” in the house. There will always be something of threat, the danger of a big man by sheer physical force or size commanding respect. A rare occasion indeed that some son-of-a-bitch would take up of such an offer as the room grew quiet. These are my thoughts as I sit in the middle of a bar-tavern-saloon setting of the hundred-plus-year-old “Pacific Tavern” up North in Wiarton, Ontario, Canada.

There are a few “regulars” in the back area as I sit down to Chicken dinner. Hardened men, the life look of one thousand deaths, one thousand disappointments, and lady loves, long lost by, as they tend to their beers in long brown bottles. A man in his early forties, a face as hard and tight as cowhide set long to the sun, walks in with a do-rag on his head. A Native Canadian by the looks of the design of feathers attached to the side of his do-rag. He can’t be more than one hundred thirty pounds. There is a nod from an older gent in the back and the room grows a little quiet. Clearly a man of danger this lad who looks like he would uncork six or seven punches before you could respond in kind. Little Men Big it shall be the next few weeks and thanks to Top Rank, Golden Boy and some throwback unique fighters we shall enjoy! Little Men Big fights and Little Men Big danger!

Unfortunately, and I am sure the gents at Top Rank are working on it, we will not see a truly gifted fighter in Mikey Garcia take the Top Rank plunge against Orlando Salido due to a Salido injury. It will be a stern test for the young man but make no mistake about Mikey Garcia. He is a good fighter on the tip of great. Fear not for Little Men Big commences this coming weekend.


This scrap is for the IBF and WBO super bantamweight titles and Donaire, although favored, will have his hands full. Nishioka is on a winning streak dating back to 2004 sprinkled with quality names such as Gonzales, Munroe, and Marquez. For Donaire it is an opportunity to reestablish that excitement from the Montiel fight although this bout will be overshadowed by the battle of indestructible unmovables, Rios and Alvarado. Donaire has the opportunity to once again electrify in Montiel-like fashion. Donaire’s fights post that electrical explosion have been less than impressive for a guy on many people’s top end pound-for-pound list. His in-ring theatrics on occasion during fights have not helped. Born of frustration no doubt but dropping your hands and mugging to the opponent, switching stance and changing angles from a distance of no danger does not endear one to fight fans. There are cracks showing recently in Donaire’s boxing the most notable exposed by Vasquez Jr. Donaire, for all of his quick combinations and in and out foot movement, does not fight head-to-head, feet planted, inside very well. He had to bail out of those type of exchanges with Vasquez late in the fight time and time again. Donaire is a hard working fighter and a very nice guy. He is, otherwise, in and out of the ring, the total package. I am a big fan. Time to shine Mr. Champion Nonito Donaire. Set your feet and let your hands do the talking. This is the perfect opportunity for a Top Rank showing and top rank money to follow. There is a list of great fights ahead of Donaire from one weight up to fighters moving up one weight.


This one is for Marquez’s WBA flyweight title. I had the distinct pleasure of being in young Marquez’s dressing room the night he won his title in Panama against the then-World Champion knockout specialist Luis “El Nica” Concepcion (see “Mainstream Media: Marquez-Concepcion II”). I was also staying in the same hotel the week leading up to the fight and had opportunity to watch and speak to young Marquez. He is as calm and contained a fighter as you will ever find. He was a prohibitive underdog leading up to the fight and more so going against “El Nica” in his own backyard at Roberto Duran Stadium. In what turned out to be on a short list for fight of the year Marquez, like an old surgeon doing a routine operation for the one thousandth time, slowly took “El Nica” apart after some early round explosions by both fighters. In Brian Viloria he meets a seasoned fighter who will take this opportunity to the fullest. Perhaps, as extra incentive, and maybe ready in the wings, is the great Nicaraguan combination technician, undefeated World Champion Roman Gonzalez.


Like the other Little Men Big Fights this one involves two fighters in their fighter prime. Twenty-six-year-old undefeated Mares battles the twenty-seven-year-old, 33-1-1, WBA Champion Moreno for the WBC belt. This is not a fight Mares needs or should take. I have had the pleasure of meeting and watching Moreno down in Panama (see “Postcard From Panama: Gimnasio of Dreams to Heroes”). I once described him as a rubber band that could not be hit even if you were close by with a shotgun. He is as smooth as synthetic oil being poured high from a thin-nosed container. His combinations flow as cleanly as the sound of a Herb Albert Tijuana Brass tune on a hot lazy day. In short he is a royal pain in the ass for anybody to fight. His steady relaxed demeanor, like most Little Men Big outlined , is born of a fighter ever so confident in his boxing skills as they have been honed by fighting and fighting often at such a young age. When last I met up with Moreno I told him he reminded me of a boxing mix of Benitez, Sweet Pea Whitaker, and Antonio “Kid Pambele” Cervantes. His eyes, ever so subtle, lifted up, and with a very slight but humble smile, he took a half bow in gratitude. He is not good this “El Chemito.” He is great.

For Mares, like most boxers, there are different levels of reality. There is the reality that YOU THINK you are the best. There is the reality that somebody else is telling you that you are the best. There is the reality that you do not know where you stand in the best department. The reality that we the spectator have is that young Mares is stepping up and fighting a bigger and probably better fighter at this stage of his career. What does Mares have to say about this fight? Well, he says that he wants to be the first guy to really really punch “El Chemito” seriously in the chops! What can you say about a young Champion like Mares who is fighting every top guy at his weight? Against Moreno he will have to fire and fire often. The thinking man’s game is not going to work. Unlike many of the Champions of today Mares is talking the talk and walking the walk. He is Old School for sure. Larry Holmes was recently asked how boxing has changed since he fought and he responded that Champions don’t fight the top guys anymore. He is right in many cases of today’s fighters but not so in the case of Mares.

Support these two Little Men Big, Mares and Moreno. Turn on your TV, buy your tickets, because this is a fight indeed between two top Champions. A salute to young Mares and a huge salute to Golden Boy. These Little Men Big will fight, high speed, high volume and from bell to bell. They will honor the grand past of such greats the likes of Pep, Sadler, Olivares, Zarate, Gomez, and Salvador Sanchez. As we head through October country and into November these Little Men Big will fight and it will be best against best.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Donaire - Montiel KO (нокаут года 2011)

090523 Toshiaki Nishioka vs Jhonny Gonzalez 3rd round

Toshiaki Nishioka vs Rafael Marquez

Brian Viloria Vs Giovani Segura Full Fight-Decmeber 11,2011

Hernan Marquez vs Luis Concepcion Part1 [2011-04-02]

Hernan Marquez vs Luis Concepcion II

Showtime Boxing - Abner Mares vs. Anselmo Moreno - November 10th at 10PM

Vic Darchinyan vs. Anselmo Moreno

Abner Mares - LIttle Mexican Warrior

Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles


This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Efraim 06:43am, 10/12/2012

    Donaire is the best.

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 07:55am, 10/11/2012

    Mike Schmidt-Which reminds me….you could very well have previewed a future Fight of the Year in this article…...everybody involved comes to fight so there will be fireworks….guaranteed!

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 07:27am, 10/11/2012

    Mike Schmidt-As the thresher writes “timely and topical” is good….anytime you write about the hotels and restaurants and especially the meals you enjoy in your boxing related travels you get my attention….I’m an old fart and if there’s anything I enjoy more than our favorite sport, it’s good eats!

  4. mike schmidt 01:44pm, 10/10/2012

    Keep the focus Irish, keep the focus. It was “Jerk Chicken” actually and no smart ass comments on that. The Lady that owns the “Pacific Hotel” actually is a black gal from Jamaica now way up Wiarton, Native Canadian way. Ah what turning and bob and weaving lives we live!!! Adios and thanks as always amigos.

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo 12:41pm, 10/10/2012

    Mike Schmidt-Great report….but now I can’t stop thinking about fried chicken, fries, cole slaw, mac’ncheese, biscuit w’ honey and a frosty mug of Molson!

  6. the thresher 11:10am, 10/10/2012

    Michael, I truly enjoy these timely and topical pieces. They contrast nicely with some of the historical stuff that Norman and Mike do.

Leave a comment