Boxing: Morilla’s Spit Bucket – Rigo is Back, and Much More

Guillermo Rigondeaux
Apr 13 2013 New York NY USA Guillermo Rigondeaux celebrates his 12 round unanimous decision win over Nonito Donaire not shown at Radio City Music Hall Ed Mulholland USA TODAY Sports

The Spit Bucket is your weekly source of random thoughts and comments about the manly art of defense, from the perspective of our resident boxing writer Diego Morilla. You can follow him on Twitter at @MorillaBoxing.

Rigo is back, and on HBO

Being a great fighter and making entertaining fights are two completely different things, and the examples are too many to mention.

Lately, talented junior featherweight champ Guillermo Rigondeaux has been named as a prime example of this adage, but nevertheless he has been given another chance to prove his mettle on HBO despite his widely criticized job in his victory against one of the company’s house fighters in Nonito Donaire back in April. On Saturday, Rigondeaux will be in Atlantic City to face former titlist Joseph Agbeko, of Ghana, in a fight that is so much about Rigo’s redemption as a marketable fighter as it is a defense of his two 122 lb titles.

An explicit promise has been made by his promoter to bring on a new, more aggressive Rigondeaux, one of the most talented fighters ever to emerge from the Cuban national team, and a very complicated southpaw who makes great use of his range to keep the distance and avoids at all costs the toe-to-toe style that puts (and keeps) fans in front of TV sets.

It will be interesting to see what Rigo can do to turn this scrap into a more fan-friendly affair. His foe, at least, is the right candidate for this, as he has been in more than one interesting scrap with guys like Abner Mares, Yonnhy Perez and Vic Darchinyan, to name a few. Now, after demonstrating that he knows how to win convincingly, Rigo is out to demonstrate that he can also be explosive in the ring, and it would be interesting to see what type of performance he can produce under the renewed pressure from fans, network execs and press alike.

The curse of Suzie Q

Last week, one of boxing’s longest unbeaten streaks ended after more than 18 years when Paul Spadafora lost his interim title bid against Johan Perez in front of his loyal fans, in another attempt to keep his 0 against a beatable fighter under the protective cloud of his hometown environment. Spadafora (48-1-1, 19 KOs) fell one fight short of reaching Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 unbeaten record, and this week it was the turn of Indonesia’s Chris John, who had his fight in Australia against South Africa’s Simpiwe Vetyeka (26-2, 16 KO), stopped by his corner after six rounds, putting his personal mark at  48-1-3 (22 KO) and ending one of boxing’s longest title reigns ever at 10 years (if you count his interim title) in what would have been John’s 19th defense of his belt.

It would appear that now that the “curse of the Bambino” (the one that kept the Boston Red Sox from winning a World series for over 86 years) has now mutated into what I will call “the curse of Suzie Q” (yep, another neologism for you, courtesy of XN Sports and yours truly) in honor of the name Rocky Marciano gave to his devastating left hook. It would be interesting to see who will be the first world champ to reach the mythical 50-0 milestone (other than the slightly-tarnished 51-0-1 by the legendary Ricardo Lopez) and break this curse that I am now, dear reader, officially unleashing upon the boxing world.

Wonder how Floyd Mayweather (currently at 45-0 with 26 KOs) feels about this.

Fast Rios are better than slow Floyds

One of the most revered maxims of the business world is that “fast nickels are better than slow dimes”.

If that’s the case, maybe Bob Arum and Manny Pacquiao have found a new formula to strike rich in the world of boxing.

Manny Pacquiao’s Chinese affair against Brandon Rios on Nov. 23 in Macau was a proof for that. Because even though the fight did a little over 475,000 pay-per-view in the US units and generated a measly (compared to Pacquiao’s previous fights) $30 million in revenue, the fact that Pacquiao paid as little as 1 percent in taxes in China (compared to about 35 percent he pays when he fights in the US) surely made a difference for the Filipino congressman, who also pockets a percentage of the Chinese pay-per-view.

Sure enough, the local TV revenue pales in comparison with the numbers produced in the U.S., and it is clear that two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming gets the lion’s share of that profit. But a small percentage of a lot of money is still a lot of money, and Pacquiao may be better off diversifying his market appeal rather than just simply continue fighting in the U.S. just to try to keep his name on people’s mind and build his case for a fight against Floyd Mayweather that may never end up happening after all.

For now, this is just a thought (and it’s my personal thought, which only adds an extra dimension of irrelevance to it). But I am sure that the Pacquiao camp is already working on this math, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Manny doing at least half of the few remaining bouts in his career in the Far East, in an effort to get the kind of money that they may never get from a fight against Mayweather that seems more and more unlikely to happen.

The Money Team strikes back

Not to be outdone, Floyd Mayweather Jr. showed that he too has a good business head on his shoulders when his stable of fighters went 4-0 on Friday night, opening yet another future revenue stream for the man who calls himself simply “Money.”

In the main event a boxing card at the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Wash., Mayweather Promotions’ J’Leon Love (16-0, 9 KO), won by TKO in 6 rounds against LaJuan Simon (23-5-2, 12 KO), capping a night of victories for The Money Team in which all the house fighters had their hands raised at the end of the night.

In the undercard, Badou Jack (16-0-1, 11 KO), scored a TKO 6 over Mexico’s Rogelio Moreno (31-5, 25 KO); Mickey Bey (19-1-1, 10 KO) stopped Venezuela’s Carlos Cardenas (20-7-1, 13 KO) in the third round, and Chris Pearson (13-0, 10 KO) made his ShoBox debut with an impressive TKO 1 over previously unbeaten Asacio Ferreira (14-1-1, 12 KO).

It would be interesting to match Mayweather Promotions’ collective record against Manny Pacquiao’s stable of fighters and see who gets the most victories and the most money.

After all, this could be the next best (or the only) thing we will ever get from their all-crack-and-no-eggs rivalry, should the fight between them fail to happen.

Mandatory madness

For years, people have asked the Klitschko brothers to make an effort to find the best possible opponents with the most recognizable names to defend their titles and make the best possible fights. And now, that search is over.

No, seriously. It’s over.

Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko was ordered on Wednesday to next face Alex Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KO), 34, of Australia, in a mandatory title defense, and if he agrees to make a deal, he would be defending his WBO belt against a fighter who has spent almost his entire career fighting at home against cherry-picked opponents, and whose only claim to fame is to have beaten a respectable mandatory contender in Denis Boytsov back in November in Germany.

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