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Next big fights coming up?


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Good question. Well, HBO has a few lined up, including a Holyfield vs Donaled fight. Theyre hyping the Morales Barrerra featherweight championship fight, too.


ESPN had an interestin article goin tho:


No new superstars to be found

By Tim Graham

Special to ESPN.com


All right. So where are they?


The boxing populous is tapping its foot, listening to make sure that wristwatch still works, peering off into the horizon for some sign -- anything -- to indicate help is on the way.


The timetables have been delayed for years, but never has the sport seemed so far behind schedule as it does today.


The next generation of boxing royalty is nowhere to be found. Superstar after superstar has gotten snuffed over the past year, and the reinforcements aren't coming.


Perhaps for the first time in the history of boxing, there is no discernable force waiting to emerge. Who possesses real star power potential? Jermain Taylor? Miguel Cotto? Ricky Hatton?


Sighs and shrugs all around.


Almost every major boxing moneymaker, except for aging Bernard Hopkins and unlikable Floyd Mayweather, has been humbled in the past year. The losses haven't only devastated individual careers, but they also have rendered crushing blows to an already hobbled sport.


Roy Jones Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya were dealt only the latest in a string of noteworthy defeats that included upset losses for Mike Tyson, Shane Mosley and Marco Antonio Barrera. It didn't help that undisputed heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis drifted into retirement.


These were fighters who made other people rich and helped boxing stay afloat the past decade.


None of these setbacks, unfortunately, created a new superstar who could buoy the sport. Each only modestly enhanced the victor's reputation. Glen Johnson didn't become a marquee attraction sending Jones into a near-coma. Danny Williams didn't gain Hall of Fame credentials putting Tyson on the seat of his trunks.


The possibility of a Jones-Tyson match had fans salivating a few months ago. How sexy does Williams-Johnson sound? About as lucrative as opening a Wienerschnitzel next to the Wailing Wall.


"This is an eternal sport. People will always box for other people's entertainment," said Lou DiBella, the promoter and former HBO Sports executive. "It's not going away. It's always been a cyclical sport, but I can't tell you when the cycle ends or begins.


"We are in as bad a place as we have been in my lifetime, when you start losing the Tysons and De La Hoyas and Roy Jonses in an environment where nobody's taking their place in the public consciousness."


There's no crackle, no hum. The dial tone is dead.


Even the second tier of boxing's elite has been rather decimated: Mark Johnson, Wladimir Klitschko, Juan Carlos Gomez, Zab Judah, Ricardo Mayorga and Evander Holyfield all have lost in the past 12 months. Vernon Forrest hasn't fought in a year and hasn't won in two. The last time Kostya Tszyu, Naseem Hamed and Felix Trinidad earned a paycheck, Paris Hilton was a virgin.


James Toney and Antonio Tarver were two fighters who seemed on the rise. Yet Toney has such borderline appeal his latest bout was broadcast on "The Best Damn Sports Show, Period." Tarver's stock, founded on his two fights with Jones, took a hit when Johnson, who had won five of his prior 13 bouts, dominated Jones, too.


Trinidad and Mayorga will try to build upon whatever remaining cache they have Saturday night in Madison Square Garden. The winner could enjoy the fruits of attrition and join Hopkins on boxing's A-list despite doing little of late to deserve such treatment.


"If Tito wins, he becomes a superhero," promoter Don King said. "If he loses, he becomes a super zero."


Trinidad will be making his first appearance after, as King put it, a "self-inflicted retirement" 2½ years ago. Hopkins annihilated Trinidad in September 2001. Trinidad fought once more, registering an easy TKO over Hassine Cherifi, and then sailed off to Puerto Rico, where boredom and the lure of easy money apparently got the better of him.


Mayorga has made a mess of his life since he recorded consecutive triumphs over Forrest and was the subject of a rare Sports Illustrated boxing feature. The chain-smoking Nicaraguan is facing rape charges back home and already has been a no-show for one of his court dates. He also has been accused of threatening a man with a pistol and punching him in the face, of assaulting his ex-wife, and of causing an auto accident by drag racing.


"This is the best time for any sport," King said. "Many people don't think so, but I look at it differently. We no longer have an icon such as Roy Jones Jr. and Oscar De La Hoya to deal with, but it gives everybody a chance to be an icon. So many guys, with merit and ability, can rise to fame, acclaim and affluence. We need a standard bearer.


"A void like this is where a true agronomist can thrive. The farmer cultivates the land, he plants the seeds, he waters it, weeds it and watches it grow."


Somebody apparently salted the earth.


“ We're in the process of the bottoming out right now. When you have Roy Jones sitting in a ring for 32 minutes, Oscar De La Hoya staring at the canvas and holding his side in pain, Mike Tyson sitting there with a blank look on his face with Danny Williams standing over him. ... These things certainly set up a backdrop for forcing change. ”

  — Ex-HBO Sports executive Lou DiBella


It's prime time for someone to pick up the torch, but no one is ready, a sad fact that's underscored by the lack of prospects despite being an Olympic year.


The U.S. Olympic team always has been the sport's primary feeder system, but the class of 2000 hasn't even developed. American boxers used to emerge from the Olympics ready-made for stardom. The last was De La Hoya in 1992. There was Jones, Riddick Bowe and Michael Carbajal (1988); Holyfield, Mark Breland, Pernell Whitaker and Meldrick Taylor (1984); Ray Leonard and the Spinks brothers (1976); George Foreman (1968); Joe Frazier (1964); and Cassius Clay (1960) to name a highly recognizable few.


DiBella signed six members of the 2000 U.S. Olympic class, but only Taylor has shown signs of panning out. Andre Ward managed to secure the lone American gold this summer, but his pro destiny is questionable. The team as a whole was considered one of the worst in national history.


A lack of mainstream television exposure is at the root of boxing's problem. Network television made stars of Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns, Alexis Arguello and Ray Mancini. NBC has tried to rekindle boxing interest on free TV, but the impact has been minimal.


Basic cable has severely reduced boxing shows over the years. Many fighters got their start on USA's "Tuesday Night Fights," but that was canceled in the mid-1990s so the network could concentrate more on pro wrestling. ESPN has pulled back its boxing commitment, further decreasing the options for young pugs trying to make a name for themselves in a dastardly business.


Instead, NBC and Fox are throwing fistfuls of money at boxing "reality" shows. Fox is airing "The Next Great Champ," an unwatchable series anchored by De La Hoya that will give the winner a WBO title shot. NBC will present "The Contender" later this fall. "The Contender" should be better than its Fox ripoff -- Sylvester Stallone and "Survivor" creator Mark Burnett are behind it -- but it's a shame the sweet science has been reduced to the level of "Who Wants to Marry My Dog?"


"These networks are willing to spend millions to create a false reality for boxing," DiBella said, "but they're ignoring the sport as it exists. That's a big problem. It's not a matter of charismatic, talented kids won't pop up. It's that no one is there to display them. Fighters need a platform. Fighters need to be developed."


It has been a rough 12 months for boxing's premier TV network, HBO. Lewis, one of its keystones, created a magnificent void in the heavyweight division when he retired in February. Most of its remaining top clients are tarnished: Jones, De La Hoya, Mosley, Forrest, Barrera. The network created an ad campaign trumpeting the Klitschko brothers' quest for world dominance before Wladimir embarrassed himself in a loss to Lamon Brewster.


Even HBO's developmental projects were wiped out. It hoped heavyweight curiosity Joe Mesi would make some noise, but he was knocked down four times in his last two HBO appearances and sustained career-threatening brain damage against blown-up cruiserweight Vassiliy Jirov. Perennial contender Monte Barrett derailed heavyweight heir apparent Dominick Guinn.


Too few promoters, meanwhile, are interested in nurturing the sport back to recovery. For elderly patriarchs Bob Arum and King, making money right now seems more important than investing in the future.


Arum makes his living promoting shows on Latin TV networks. It turns a nice profit for his company, but fighters who don't speak English have minimal crossover appeal. Not many fight fans in Des Moines watch Telemundo.


King's modus operandi has always been signing fighters and then cramming them down our throats until they become recognizable more on bluster than on merit.


Neither method will develop a savior.


"Change can't happen until we bottom out," DiBella said. "We're in the process of the bottoming out right now. When you have Roy Jones sitting in a ring for 32 minutes, Oscar De La Hoya staring at the canvas and holding his side in pain, Mike Tyson sitting there with a blank look on his face with Danny Williams standing over him. ... these things certainly set up a backdrop for forcing change."


It better be worth the wait.

(Tim Graham covers boxing for The Buffalo News and is a contributor to ESPN.com)


So yeah, Don King's optimistic. :D

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I wonder why it's like that in boxing. Why when a person is 24-0 they're the greatest fighter in the world, but when they go 24-1 it becomes a huge disappointment and ruins their career. I mean, 1 or two losses is tough, but damn, I just don't get how they turn against fighters like that. Now I understand being hard on someone like Roy Jones who lost 2 in a row and should've won both. That guy needs some serious time off to train and decide on a weight level.


I mean, I doubt we'll ever see someone like Julio Cesar Chavez again that held an unbeaten record of 90 fights. But even he had 5 losses. Shit happens! Plus, competition keeps getting better, even older fighters like Hopkins are training better and fighting harder, so the game is different now than when JCC started.


And the big names seem to be eating shit and not concentrating. Do you remember Mike Tyson when he started? Do you remember his 11 second knock out record fight? When he was young and cared about the sport and wasn't distracted, this guy could kill anybody in the ring. Now look at him. Needless to say, the competiton's not scared of him anymore either.

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You make some good points, but like you said about Tyson: he scared people back then. I think real boxers like Holyfield, who could take it, and give it right back to him - exposed him for being a brawler, not as much a boxer.

Same could kinda be true of Roy: he had record time knockouts, and even feared he killed one of his first opponents, supposedly. He had greats like Foreman running around saying he "moved like a lightweight, hit like a heavyweight", and was being called pound-for-pound boxing's finest. He let that get to his head, spent more time in booths than a ring, and now he's been humbled.


The media builds em up and tears em down, as far as $/fan interest, but me, im happy it happened, and im waitin to see him step his game up now. Youre right, 2 losses aint shit, tho he shouldntve lost either one. Every fighter, down to Ali, had their losses & upsets....its what they do now that makes them great, i think.

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I guess it just upsets me how 1 defeat turns a fighter into a chump. Losses happen, you shouldn't give up on your heroes or favorite fighters unless they act like real shmucks or start performing horribly on a regular basis.


When JCC had his first decision put against him, breaking his 90 win streak, he came back 4 months later and beat the same guy who beat him and took back the title. It can happen.

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I'm with you, thats what im sayin. You can even look at Ali, he got pummed the first time by Smokin' Joe Fraizer, then newcomer Foreman took away his chance at a rematch, for a while. The media didnt seem to think much of Ali at the time, as i recall, and im sure a lotta bandwagon-jumpers went in that direction.


I'm not interested in the undefeated Rocky Marciano types, i honestly like to see a fighter lose here & there; again, its the only way you really see what theyre made of. If they stay down - leave the sport, go make a few records - well, good for them. But if they get back in the gym, study how they lost (in Jones' case, that last guy just stayed on the inside of him and kept him moving, he'd obvioulsy studied Roy's style, i thought), then he has a chance at actually getting better.

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