Friday, November 19, 2010

Bernard Hopkins Speaks, Thinks. In That Order, with the Second Portion Being Optional.

Everybody's favorite cantankerous forty-something champ says that Pacquiao has been ducking African-American fighters. His reasoning? African-American fighters --by whom he means "black fighters from the streets or the inner cities", he said, and not transplanted Africans like Clottey-- are slick in a way that other fighters aren't.

That is rather ridiculous. Pacquiao's spent most of his career beneath 130 pounds, where there were not any significant African-American fighters. He clearly fought the best in each division, but those guys were typically Mexican (Morales, Barrera, JM Márquez, et cetera). The best African-American fighter at those weights was, I don't know, maybe Erik Aiken? He won a title, but he was basically a cut above a club fighter. Pacquiao was ducking him like I'm ducking my future as a sanitation worker. Then there was Zahir Raheem and Nate Campbell at 135. Raheem brought no money to the table, and Pacquiao was a superstar at that point. But it's not like Raheem was a guy where people were saying, He has what it takes to beat Pacquiao, and were clamoring for the fight. Raheem's slick, but he lost to Rocky Juárez and Ali Funeka, so we're not talking about a world-beater. And Campbell, well, that would probably would have been a better fight at 135 than the David Diaz fight. Of course, Campbell, who's been knocked out twice by Robbie Peden, isn't particularly slick, and his style would have almost certainly led him to a one-sided beatdown from Manny. In any event, not fighting Campbell didn't amount to a duck.

Now at 140-147, I'd love to see Manny take on Tim Bradley or Devon Alexander, either of whom would pose a legitimate challenge. But since neither brings much cash to the table at this point, it's hard to blame Pacquiao for looking elsewhere. A fighter can be labeled a ducker if he's turning down legitimate paydays to avoid a fighter (i.e. Mayweather vs. Margarito back in the day, Haye versus the Klitschkos now), but not if he can make far more fighting someone else. In any event, Arum says that Manny could face the winner of Alexander-Bradley next year, so Hopkins will have his wish fulfilled. Of course, the African-American everyone wants to see in the ring with Pacquiao is Mayweather, but that hasn't happened because of Floyd, not Manny. Pacquiao-Mosley and Pacquiao-Judah, the only other potential fights with African-Americans, would be mismatches.

This is the third time I know of that Hopkins has stuck race into boxing analysis where it didn't really belong (Pavlik was missing a certain slickness he needed to learn from black fighters, and then Hopkins was going to defeat Calzaghe because he'd never lose to a "white boy", though in the event he did just that). It's annoying. Although we'll cut Bernard some slack, because his grandpa Johns has put together a hell of an institution over there in Baltimore.

No comments: