A Postcard from Hainan
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (Dec 24, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
By the time
you read this, I should be home suffering the early effects of jet lag from my
recent trip to China. As I'm typing this, I'm at the Hainan Noble Yacht Club (in
room 1206) overlooking my beachside view in the city of Haikou (in the province
of Hainan, the southernmost tip of the People's Republic). I was here to call a
series of fight cards at the Hainan International Convention and Exhibition
Center featuring the likes of the talented Ik Yang, Lei Tian, Li Lishan, Zhang
Junlong and Jerwin Ancajas (who actually looked like a legitimate prospect from
the Philippines). A five-round donnybrook between Ma Yaming and Albert Alcoy (won
by Yaming) also featured one of the most action-packed rounds of the year (in
the fourth stanza) between the two.
Hey, it's a gig and I can't complain about a job
that takes me to places like Macau, China and, of course, Newark. As I've said
before, it beats working for a living.
That said, there is a downside to being out here.
This country still has the Great Fire Wall, meaning that watching anything
Americanized - save for an NBA highlight show - is impossible and you don't get
much in terms of western culture. It also means you won’t be able to log on to
Wikipedia, Facebook, Google - all of which I can handle. However, not having
access to Twitter had me sweating it out like Pookie in “New Jack City” when he
tried to get off the hard stuff (it's also an interesting dynamic being an Asian-American
in China. Every time you engage with someone there, they automatically assume you
know their language. I want to say to them, “I may look like you guys but I'm
really not.” It’s awkward to go through this particular social exercise as they
speak Chinese to you while you try to explain to them in English that you have
no idea what they're talking about. Other than our TV crew, which included my
broadcast partner, Steve Munisteri, officials such as Tony Weeks, Benji Estevez
and John Stewart, not many others in this province seemed to speak any English.
And maybe it's just me but the Chinese food in the U.S. of A is a lot more
palatable than in China. The best meal the television crew had out here was the
late night run to McDonald's on Saturday night. Never has two Big Macs and a
McFlurry tasted so good).
But back to the subject at hand. The fact I
couldn't tweet for about a week was great news for the Twitter servers, terrible
news for me (and, of course, my followers). I can't lie. I love the art of
tweeting, whether it's giving out opinions (most of them unsolicited), breaking
a few stories, engaging with the public or just blocking people. Bad enough
every TV station in my hotel is Chinese (I notice a lot of medieval dramas are
televised with plenty of Kung fu fighting), it's exacerbated by the fact that I
have no idea what's going on in the Twitterverse regarding the “Sweet Science.”
So as I wind up this week out here (and dreading
my 20-hour travel back west), here are a few random thoughts on what is brewing
in the boxing world...
everyone breathlessly reported/speculated that a fight between Floyd Mayweather
and Saul Alvarez was close last week (because of “Canelo's” Facebook page), all
indications are that “The Ghost,” Robert Guerrero will be getting “Money” on
May 4th. Just my opinion, I think Alvarez is part of Golden Boy's
exodus to Showtime and I can't see Mayweather at that network just yet (if
ever). Also, I think HBO (over) paid for Guerrero's bout with Andre Berto on
Thanksgiving weekend as part of a larger agreement that would see the winner
face Mayweather on that network. I'm not saying Mayweather-Alvarez won't
happen; I just never felt it was going to take place next.
- It looks
more and more like the rematch between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado will take
occur in mid-March at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. I remember asking Bob
Arum on press row in the immediate aftermath of their first encounter at the
Home Depot Center back in October if “Bam Bam” had graduated to bigger venues.
I think this answers the question. By the way, if you have any problems with
this rematch, then you probably are habitually unhappy or need to find another
sport to follow. These guys are like peanut butter and jelly; they just go
- So who
will WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner face next on February 16th?
Hopefully not Richard Abril. The guy is a negative spoiler and why subject HBO
subscribers to that? Let's hope “The Problem” eventually faces Ricky Burns in
the near future.
- So why
did HBO end up with Bernard Hopkins versus Tavoris Cloud? It's very simple;
B-Hop, for as unappealing as his tactics might be to many of you, does very
good ratings on this network. And being a programmer, stuff like that matters.
- OK, I
can't say that I'm necessarily all that excited about a possible match-up
between Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin (which the WBA is trying to
enforce) but I do think “Sasha” is a higher grade of opposition than what either
Klitschko has faced recently (and yeah, I know that's not saying much).
White has gone the Leonard Tose route and lost it. Early last week, he blasted
Arum for matching Manny Pacquiao against Juan Manuel Marquez and actually
staging a real fight that held public interest instead of a rematch with Tim
Bradley. The nerve of Arum, putting on a fight that not only did solid business
but had nominees for “Fight,” “Round” and “KO of the Year” But seriously,
wasn't “Delusional” Dana the guy that some of the misguided in boxing believed we
needed to run this sport? (“BOXING NEEDS DANA WHITE!” screamed the savants).
This was always illogical given that UFC is basically a monopoly and boxing is
still very much a free enterprise with true competition. White shows that
absolute power absolutely can make a person bat-sh*t crazy.
Put this in
the “Life Isn't Fair” category: Andre Berto gets busted for PEDs and basically
serves several months on suspension, then earns a career-high payday in his
very next bout versus Robert Guerrero. Meanwhile, Lamont Peterson will serve a
full year and his purse bids for this IBF junior welterweight title get nothing
but the minimum (first, against Zab Judah and now Kendall Holt). But some of
this is self-inflicted as there were opportunities for Peterson and his crew to
stage title defenses on other cards but they balked, believing they could do it
themselves in D.C. I think they will finally come to their senses. I also think
they will eschew facing Holt for $37,500 and challenge Tim Bradley in late
March on HBO. Hey, sometimes a title is worth a lot; sometimes it's worth just
the bare minimum.
- Amir Khan
inking a deal with Showtime is further proof the network is more “Golden” than
ever going into 2013. Look at their last dozen or so cards and what they have
lined up in the upcoming year and you don't have to be a part of Dionne
Warwick's Psychic Network to see where this is going. But say what you will
about Khan; he usually brings us compelling TV. He is boxing's high-wire act,
whose one mistake in a fight could lead to his fatal downfall. There is
something enthralling about a guy who works without a safety net. Khan should
be an honorary member of the Wallenda family and I love the possibility of him
facing Josesito Lopez next.
objections to a potential rematch between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler? It certainly
beats Froch facing Lucian Bute so soon after thrashing him so thoroughly; doesn't
it? I always thought the first meeting between Froch and Kessler could've gone
either way (I gave the slight nod to Kessler) but I really think Froch has the
decided advantage this time around in the U.K.
According to sources, the CBS telecast featuring
Leo Santa Cruz averaged just under 1.8 million viewers on December 15th...Here
are the gate numbers for the Khan-Carlos Molina shows later that night at the
Sports Arena: Gross ticket sales - $203,455, Total tickets sold - 2,836...
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