Monthly Archives: May 2012
By Alex P. Vidal
HOLLYWOOD, California – As long as the fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. will push through, Manny Pacquiao doesn’t mind if the newly crowned unbeaten world junior middleweight champion will get the lion’s share of the purse.
“It’s OK with me getting the lesser amount as long as the fight (against Mayweather) will take place,” said Pacquiao, 33, who started reporting for training at the Wild Card gym on Vine Street here on May 7.
Both Mayweather and Golden Boy Promotions and Golden Boy Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Richard Schaefer have blamed Top Rank, Inc. big boss Bob Arum why the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight has not materialized.
Schaefer, reiterating Oscar De La Hoya’s statement, had asked Pacquiao to “put a pressure” on Arum if they (Pacquiao camp) really wanted the Mayweather fight.
Arum has repeatedly declared he was not closing the deal with Mayweather’s camp saying the Pacquiao-Mayweather duel “is not anymore a question whether to push through or not but when.”
“I’m tired of the media and the people being fooled,” Mayweather exhaled on the podium during the post-fight press conference after snatching Miguel Angel Cotto’s WBA junior middleweight belt on a 12-round unanimous decision at the MGM Grand on May 5.
“The truth is that Bob Arum is not going to let the fight happen. It’s not on me. I offered him $40 million. I told him I’d wire him $20 million in 48hrs. He wanted 50% of the earnings,” Mayweather said.
“But he doesn’t earn record breaking numbers to deserve that. He doesn’t know what he wants. The public is being fooled. Once he is free from Bob Arum the fight will happen because Arum doesn’t care about the fighter making money. This sport is grueling and I want Pacquiao to make money.”
Pacquiao, meanwhile, expressed confidence he will roll past Timothy Ray Bradley Jr. on June 9. He has opened his training camp at the Wild Card gym for press people and is expected to conclude the two-month training a week before motoring to Las Vegas.
Younger by five years, Bradley (28-0, 11 KOs) said he is unfazed by the disadvantages listed by ring experts of fighting a top caliber fighter like Pacquiao.
Called “The Desert Storm,” Bradley said he wanted a name that would stick.
“I’m from the desert down here in Palm Springs. I was listening to a rapper named Fabolous and in the background, I heard, ‘Desert Storm,” and I was like, ‘Man, that sounds good.’ The war was going on and I was like, ‘That would be perfect.’ I wasn’t in the military, but mentally and the way I train, I train like I was in military – a lot of discipline.”
Bradley was an amateur standout. He was eliminated in his first fight at the 2004 Western Olympic trials, but became the first member of the “Class of ‘04” to win a world title on May 10, 2008. Eleven months later, he also became the first to win two world titles.
By Alex P. Vidal
HOLLYWOOD, California — I was in Canada when I received the news that Angelo Dundee, the greatest trainer of all time who piloted Muhammad Ali’s ascension to boxing immortality, died of heart attack in Tampa, Florida on February 1, 2012. He was 90.
I was a kid when I first saw Dundee on black and white TV during the “Thrilla in Manila” on October 1, 1975 where he embraced the charismatic world heavyweight champion after referee Carlos Padilla Jr. declared Ali the winner by technical knockout (TKO) after Joe Frazer refused to answer the bell in the 14th round.
I finally met Dundee personally on December 4, 2008, two days before the world welterweight “Dream Match” duel between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao on December 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
In my brief interview with the legendary trainer from Philadelphia, he insisted that “Ali is the greatest fighter of all time.” While he admired the skills and power of Manny Pacquiao, Dundee said sports scribes should not compare Pacquiao to Ali (56 wins, 5 losses, 37 knockouts, 19 decisions) because Ali was a light heavyweight gold medalist in the 1960 Rome Olympics prior to becoming the world heavyweight champion on Feb. 25, 1964 in Miami, Florida when he upset Sonny Liston as “Cassius Clay.”
When Clay beat Liston, he was the youngest boxer (age 22) ever to take the title from a reigning heavyweight champion, a mark that stood until Mike Tyson won the title (age 20) from Trevor Berbick on November 22, 1986. At the time, Floyd Patterson (dethroned by Liston) had been the youngest heavyweight champ ever (age 21), but he won the title during an elimination tournament following Rocky Marciano’s retirement by defeating Archie Moore, the light-heavyweight champion at the time.
Dundee met Ali on February 19, 1957 when the latter was in Louisville the day before a fight with light heavyweight champ Willie Pastrano.
The teenaged Golden Gloves winner traveled downtown to the fighter’s hotel, called Dundee from the house phone, and was asked up to their room. He took advantage of the opportunity to query Dundee (who had worked with champions Sugar Ramos and Carmen Basilio) about what his fighters ate, how long they slept, how much roadwork (jogging) they did, and how long they sparred.
“When I met Ali, he was Cassius Clay and he talked too much the reason why he was called ‘The Louisville Lip’ and he was a gentleman,” recalled Dundee.
He admitted he was “disturbed a lot” when Ali was arrested and found guilty on draft evasion charges; he was stripped of his boxing title, and his boxing license was suspended. He was not imprisoned, but did not fight again for nearly four years while his appeal worked its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was eventually successful.
Ali would go on to become the first and only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion.
Nicknamed “The Greatest,” Ali was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were three with rival Joe Frazier, which are considered among the greatest in boxing history, and one with George Foreman, where he finally regained his stripped titles seven years later. Ali was well known for his unorthodox fighting style, which he described as “float(ing) like a butterfly, sting(ing) like a bee”, and employing techniques such as the Ali Shuffle and the rope-a-dope.
BEAUTY AND GRACE
Dundee said Ali had brought beauty and grace to the most uncompromising of sports and through the wonderful excesses of skill and character; he had become the most famous athlete in the world. He was also known for his pre-match hype, where he would “trash talk” opponents, often with rhymes.
Dundee said he liked the Filipinos because “they treated us like celebrities” during the “Thrilla in Manila” and remembered the historic Manila Hotel in Intramuros where they stayed.
I met Dundee once more during the Pacquiao versus Shane Mosley fight on May 7, 2011 at the MGM Grand. With his death last February 1, he will be missed when Pacquiao squares off versus Timothy Ray Bradley Jr. on June 9, 2012.
Here’s how Dundee became a legend in boxing circles
1921: August 30 – Born Angelo Mirena in Philadelphia.
1955: Helps Carmen Basilio win the world welterweight title against Tony DeMarco.
1960: Begins training one-fight novice Muhammad Ali, then still using his birth name Cassius Clay.
1964: Plays a crucial role in Ali avoiding defeat to Henry Cooper in London, illegally helping his fighter to the corner and using smelling salts after he was knocked down by a left hook. Allegedly tears a hole in one of Ali’s gloves to buy more time for his fighter to recover.
1965: Ali defeats Sonny Liston to become world heavyweight champion.
1971: Ali, back from boxing exile, loses for the first time to Joe Frazier at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
1974: January 28 – Helps Ali avenge Frazier defeat, winning points decision in rematch.
October 30 – Ali shocks George Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle, playing ‘rope a dope’ before stopping the heavy-hitting younger man in the eighth.
1975: Ali beats Frazier in the ‘Thrilla in Manila’ with an epic 14th-round stoppage victory.
1977: ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard turns professional with Dundee in his corner.
1979: Leonard wins WBC welterweight title by beating Wilfred Benitez.
1980: Leonard loses to Roberto Duran.
1981: Leonard beats great rival Thomas Hearns in ‘fight of the year’, stopping the Detroit man in the 14th round. Dundee famously rallies his charge, warning him ‘You’re blowing it, son!’ before Leonard scores the knockout. Ali retires following ignominious defeat by Trevor Berbick.
1987: Leonard returns to the ring to beat Marvin Hagler for the WBC middleweight belt.
1988: Dundee and Leonard split for the fighter’s latest comeback, against Donnie Lalonde.
1992: Inducted into prestigious International Boxing Hall of Fame.
1994: Works Foreman’s corner as the veteran knocks out Michael Moorer to regain the world heavyweight title.
2012: January – Attends Ali’s 70th birthday celebrations in Louisville, Kentucky.
February 1 – Dies of a heart attack in Florida.
By Alex P. Vidal
HOLLYWOOD, California – When Manny Pacquiao was 28, the age today of Timothy Ray Bradley Jr., he was so destructive in scoring back to back disposal wins over Erik “El Terrible” Morales in the last two collisions of their trilogy.
Then 30-year old Morales succumbed via TKO in the 10th round of the 12-round WBC international super featherweight championship at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 21, 2006 in his rematch with Pacquiao.
In the same venue on Nov. 18, 2006, Pacquiao made sure Morales’ trip back to Mexico was expedited by finishing him off in the third canto with a brutal assault at 2 minutes and 57 seconds. When referee Vic Drakulich stopped the carnage, Pacquiao was leading comfortably in the scorecards of the three judges Guido Cavalleri, Glenn Trowbridge, and Duane Ford.
The twin victories avenged Pacquiao’s embarrassing defeat to Morales, his only loss in the United States, on March 19, 2005 where the hard-hitting Mexican legend scored a 12-round unanimous decision at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to annex the International Boxing Association (IBA) super featherweight title
In between the last two fights against Morales, then 28-year-old Pacquiao made a Manila stopover on July 2, 2006 to dismantle then 30-year-old Oscar Larios to keep his crown.
Pacquiao has never yielded a single match in the United States since his debacle in the first duel with Morales.
At 33, Pacquiao (54-3, 38 KOs) is five years senior when he goes up the ring to defend his WBO 147-lb belt against 28-year-old Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) who is in the prime of his career.
Mocked for his lackluster majority decision win in the last of his trilogy against Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12, 2011, Pacquiao is favored to roll past the black American dynamo nicknamed “The Desert Storm” in preparation for his off-and-on duel with newly crowned WBA junior middleweight ruler Floyd Mayweather Jr. who recently toppled Miguel Angel Cotto via 12-round unanimous decision win in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao is now in the twilight of his career and has told reporters in Manila Bradley would be his last opponent after he was allegedly told by God in a dream it was time to wrap us his fistic career and abandon his vices.
Months leading to his June 9 fight against Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Pacquiao spent his time in Bible study and attending to his responsibilities as product endorser and member of the House of Representatives representing the lone district of Saranggani Province in Mindanao.
Bradley, on the other hand, was busy revving up under the tutelage of his trainer former lightweight contender Joel Diaz and father Timothy Sr. Some experts consider him “more dangerous than Mayweather because of his age and hunger for recognition.”
“I’m just so happy. I’m so excited. Everything was looking down, looking down, and boom. Now everything is starting to look up,” Bradley Jr. told The Desert Sun shortly after he signed a promotional contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc. September last year. “My main objective was to get a promoter to build the Bradley brand, and Top Rank is good at doing that. That’s why we chose Top Rank.”
With consistently impressive performances and decisive wins in recent fights, most observers now consider Bradley to be the top 140-pounder in the world. He and Pacquiao will dispute the lawmaker-cum-boxer’s WBO welterweight crown.
Bradley is coming off an 8th round TKO win in a 12-round WBO junior welterweight title fight against Joel Casamayor in the main aperitif of the Pacquiao-Marquez III on Nov. 12, 2011. Prior to torturing Casamayor, Bradley defeated previously unbeaten WBC world champion Devon Alexander on January 29, 2011.
“Bradley once again showed he is one of the strongest-willed, most doggedly determined and tenacious fighters in the business as well as being a pocket-Hercules type physically,” wrote Fightwriter.com’s Graham Houston.
“He did what I like to see a fighter do, which is to come out ready to fight from the opening bell and let the other man know immediately that he had better be ready for a long, hard night. Bradley has boxing ability, but he was simply too much fighter for the supposedly more highly skilled Alexander. The strategy was simple but effective: Don’t let Alexander get settled, fire right hand get rough with him, keep him thinking defensively.”
Meanwhile, although Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) dethroned WBA super welterweight world champion Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) by twelve round unanimous decision (117-111, 117-111, 118-110) on May 5 night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, some observers believe he is less dangerous to Pacquiao compared to Bradley
Mayweather had the edge in most rounds over the first six rounds, but Cotto had his moments and was determined to take the fight to Mayweather and bloodied his nose early on. Big round eight for Cotto who went all out for the KO, but after that Mayweather took control, staggering Cotto in the final stanza.
A win over Bradley will oblige Pacquiao to fight Mayweather. Afterall, Mayweather has already declared he would next face Pacquiao after tackling Cotto. “Pacquiao needs Mayweather more than Mayweather needs Pacquiao,” Mayweather recently told CNN.
By Alex P. Vidal
HOLLYWOOD, California – World 147-lb king Manny Pacquiao was scheduled to hit the ground running here starting May 7 as he revs up for 12-round world welterweight title tussle against unbeaten Palm Springs, California resident Timothy Ray Bradley Jr. on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao’s training at the Wild Card gym on Vine Street here will culminate after five weeks. Team Pacquiao will motor to the glitzy gambling capital of the world six days before the fight sanctioned by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and supervised by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The 33-year old lefty from Gen. Santos City will be facing several heavier sparring partners, including Russians Ruslan Provodnikov and Ruslan Nugaeve, tapped by trainer Freddie Roach to engage Pacquiao in a no holds barred sparring sessions that romped off in Baguio City last month.
Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), 28, the youngest fighter to face Pacquiao (54-3, 38 KOs) in a world title showdown since then 29-year-old Miguel Angel Cotto, sent notice he was ready for the big league when he dismantled the feared Cuban former world titlist Joel Casamayor in the 8th round on Nov. 12, 2011 underneath the Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez trilogy also at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Nicknamed “The Desert Storm” and stands five feet and six inches like the Filipino buzzsaw, the black orthodox fighter won every round against Casamayor before referee Vic Drakulich pulled the plug at 2:59 of the eighth round to retain his WBO junior welterweight tiara.
Final punch statistics obtained from the CompuBox showed Bradely, an orthodox, connected 192 of the 480 punches thrown against Casamayor’s 41 of the 290 punches thrown.
Bradley uncorked 346 power punches and connected 177 against Casamayor’s 33 of the total 136 thrown. A point had been deducted from Casamayor in the fourth canto for excessive holding.
Bradley’s rumble versus Pacquiao will be his second outing under the Top Rank, Inc. since he signed the promotional contract with the gigantic outfit managed by Bob Arum last year following an eye-popping 10th round technical decision win over Devon Alexander on January 29, 2011.
Bradley is a seven-year professional fighter and has defended the WBO junior welterweight belt three times. He was also a two-time WBC super welterweight crown holder. As amateur, he won gold medals in the 2001 National PAL Championships (147 pounds) and the 2001 Under-19 National Championships (147 pounds).
While Bradley made heads turn in putting away Casamayor, main eventer Pacquiao was hardly impressive in subduing 37-year-old Marquez nicknamed “Dinamita” (52-6-1, 39 KOs).
Of the 578 total punches thrown, Pacquiao connected 176 against Marquez’s 138 of the 436 punches thrown.
The congressman from Sarangani Province in Mindanao, connected 117 of the 274 punches thrown against Marquez’s 100 of the 254 punches thrown. Pacquiao landed an average of 14 of the 49 punches thrown per round against Marquez’s 11 of the 36 punches thrown per round.
Unlike Pacquiao’s previous opponents in the welterweight division, Bradley has good skills and movements and is physically strong. Manager Cameron Dunkin described his ward as “always in top condition and has great stamina and recuperative ability.”
Bradley is also a sharp, accurate puncher, a good body puncher, and is versatile in the ring, added Dunkin. He can pressure his opponent or box, move and counterpunch and is experienced against very good opposition, aside from his strong amateur background.
By Alex P. Vidal
LOS ANGELES, California — Press freedom is a key element of the freedom of expression, which is a foundation for other universal human rights. This was the emphasis made by the United States through the Department of Justice in celebration of the World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
During the World Press Freedom Day and every day, the United States State Department, in a “diplomacy in action” statement, declared it was honoring and supporting media freedom at home and abroad.
In 2011, the United States hosted the international World Press Freedom Day activities in Washington, D.C. This year, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations Esther Brimmer is leading the U.S. delegation to a World Press Freedom conference in Tunisia, May 2-6; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathy Fitzpatrick of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor will also attend
As a part of its “Free the Press” campaign, the Department of State has documented on http://www.HumanRights.gov emblematic cases of journalists living and working under threat and duress because of their efforts to exercise the freedom of expression.
“We call on all governments to protect the universal human right to freedom of expression,” the statement said emphasizing that “advancing media freedom is a regular part of U.S. diplomatic work.”
It added further: “We advocate for freedom of expression and raise media freedom issues, including specific cases, in bilateral discussions with other governments and in multilateral bodies, including but not limited to the UN Human Rights Council, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organization of American States. At the OSCE, for example, the United States has been a leading voice for freedom of expression and the defense of journalists, and championed a Ministerial Declaration to support fundamental freedoms in the Digital Age.”
The Department of State said it reports on the state of media freedom around the world—and threats to journalists—through the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. USAID’s Media Sustainability Index measures the media environment in countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Eurasia.
With support from Congress, the Department of State and USAID said they fund foreign assistance and exchange programs that support a free press and Internet freedom.