HUBBARD’S CUPBOARD – 25.8.17
By Alan Hubbard
OK, I’ll admit it. Much against my better judgement I’ve been sucker-punched into coughing the best part of a score for the PPV of that mega-bunfight in Las Vegas this weekend. Strictly for professional reasons, you’ll understand.
Not that I’ll be watching it live as Floyd Mayweather jnr and Conor McGregor go about conducting their hideously over-hyped cross-over contest. No, that can wait until after breakfast on Sunday morning as I’m pretty sure I know the result already. Don’t you?’
It is not so much a fight, more a foregone conclusion. A mismatch mix-match.
Instead I’ll be setting my alarm for the early hours of Sunday morning to witness a real fight on BoxNation between one of my all-time favourite box-fighters, Miguel Cotto, in what might be his penultimate ring appearance in going for his sixth world title against the aggressive Japanese slugger Yoshihiro Kamegai.
I love Cotto. For me he is one of those pros who are the very backbone of boxing, a fighters’ fighter who never lets anyone down, least of all himself.
A punch trader of the highest order and the man who Mayweather himself has described as “the toughest guy I ever fought.”
At 36 the poker-faced Puerto Rican seems to have been around forever (actually it is just over 16 years) and his 45-fight record through a clutch of weight divisions is studded with star names he has either beaten or have given one hell of a fight, from Mosley to Alvarez via Pacquiao and Mayweather.
Cotto v Kamegai, from the StubHub Center in Carson, California, is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO world super-welterweight championship. It is likely to be a fast and fiery encounter.
Kamegai is one of the highest-action fighters in the sport having engaged in a fight of the year candidate against Jesus “Renuente” Soto Karass in 2016 and taking champions and contenders including Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, Alfonso Gomez and Johan “El Terrible” Perez into deep water.
Cotto is expected to retire at the end of the year. But there are so many opportunities for big fights for a boxer of his quality that it is difficult to see him walking away.
But just in case he does, this is a great opportunity to appreciate his tenacity, elegant footwork and intelligent counter-punching.
The legitimacy of this contest is in stark contrast to the vaudeville show featuring esteemed former champion Mayweather and MMA brawler McGregor.
In so grossly over-selling this farce the pair have proved themselves the greatest illusionists Las Vegas has seen since the much-lamented Siegfried and Roy made white tigers disappear mid-air.
Strange things do happen in boxing – and this is supposedly strictly under Queensberry Rules – but the only way I can see the mouthy Irishman winning is if, at 40, and two years into retirement, Mayweather has totally lost it. Or that there is some sort of contrived controversy to facilitate an even more lucrative rematch than the estimated $400 million they are likely to be sharing.
Otherwise it should be a cakewalk along The Strip for the Money Man.
‘This pair have proved themselves the greatest illusionists Las Vegas has seen since the much-lamented Siegfried and Roy made white tigers disappear mid-air’
All he really needs to do to make it a record-busting 50-0 is backfoot it behind the jab for as long as he wishes or until McGregor runs out of gas and ambition in trying to nail the most elusive practitioner modern boxing has known and is saved from total humiliation by the intervention of Nevada State-appointed referee Robert Byrd. The 74-year-old former Highway Patrolman is well known for keeping his distance and letting the fighters get on with it, which should add to the fun.
“Slim to none, and Slim just left town” was how Muhammad Ali used to describe the chances of some of his prospective opponents.
McGregor must fall into that category.
Surely even on his worst night Mayweather could still beat this heavily tattooed tyro brawler with the proverbial one hand tied behind his back in a genuine fist fight.
In his 49 bouts the best in the hurt game have struggled to lay a glove on Mayweather, let alone a novice like McGregor.
I tend to agree with the editor of Boxing News when says what is occurring at the T-Mobile Arena is barely boxing “but more an insanity-inducing circus.”
But whether we like it or not, this is an event that has generated so much global fascination and media coverage that it cannot be ignored.
Both fighters and their camps have been candid in admitting the contest is all about the cash. However, their conduct in the build-up and the language they have used to boost their mega pay day has been absolutely nauseating.
Thankfully It’s nearly all been said and now it will soon be done. So let’s hope from now on what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Most pros – and punters who are true boxing fans – recognise this manufactured mayhem for what it is, a parody of pugilism.
Ricky Hatton, who has felt the full force of Mayweather at his best, sums it up perfectly: “I can’t take it seriously. Mayweather is a boxer of the highest order, so for another man from a different sport to fight him? It’s just ridiculous to me.
“I wouldn’t buy it on pay-per-view – but I would be interested in the result. To me, I know who is going to win already, so there’s no point in watching it.”
Well, I will watch it, but my priority viewing this weekend will focus on the far more watchable Miguel Cotto, the ultimate warrior who has always treated his sport with respect and served it with distinction.
Coverage of Cotto-Kamegai begins at 1.30am on Sunday morning, live and exclusive on BoxNation