Thursday, June 15, 2006

Three Great Fighters, Three Great Nights - Bradley, Lopez, Salcido To Kick Off Hot Summer

Thompson Boxing Promotions proudly announces its 2006 summer schedule that features some of the best young prospects of the sport. The first three events of the season will take place on June 23rd, July 14th and July 20th. On Friday, June 23, “Desert Storm” Timothy Ray Bradley Jr. will headline another installment of the popular “Path to Glory” series, live from the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, CA.Bradley (13-0, 7 KOs) will fight for the vacant WBC Youth Jr. Welterweight title against 19-year-old Pavel Miranda (9-0-1, 7 KOs) from Tijuana, Mexico.On Friday, July 14, Josesito Lopez, from Riverside, CA, will heat things up on Thompson’s Boxing second summer installment when he is featured as the main event at Omega Products International in Corona. Lopez (16-2, 9 KOs) will make his ring return after a controversial loss to Wes Ferguson on the undercard of the welterweight battle between Floyd Mayweather and Zab Judah in Las Vegas. Lopez will officially kick off the first of three summer nights of boxing under the stars that will also take place at Omega. (Other dates are Aug. 18 and Sept. 15)Six day later, on Thursday, July 20, top jr. featherweight prospect Dominic Salcido will headline a special night of boxing at the legendary Los Angeles Athletic Club in downtown LA.Salcido (8-0, 5 KOs) is currently recuperating from a right hand injury that took place on March 31 when he kayoed Odilon Rivera. Salcido expects to be fully recovered for his first main event ever. “We are approaching a busy and fruitful season,” said promoter Ken Thompson from his Orange County based office. “Bradley, Lopez and Salcido, will thrill fans in Ontario, Corona and Los Angeles, in an unprecedented schedule that will have three full events in only 28 days,” added Thompson. “Not only will we feature these young athletes, but we will showcase much more talent that boxing fans will not want to miss.”

Sen. Reid says boxing matches part of his official duties

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said it's his official duty to attend boxing matches in Nevada and that he did nothing wrong when he accepted complimentary ringside seats from a state agency that was lobbying him.
"I would be criticized if I didn't go," Reid told reporters Tuesday after addressing a veterans group in Las Vegas. "It's just like going to an Ohio State football game, an Arizona State football game — in Nevada, boxing is it. I have an obligation to make sure boxing is conducted properly not only in Nevada but around the country."
The Nevada Democrat was responding to an Associated Press story that detailed how the senator had accepted free tickets possibly valued at several thousand dollars from the Nevada Athletic Commission, the agency that regulates boxing in the state.
At the time, the agency was lobbying Reid to drop his support for the creation of a federal boxing commission that could have undermined the powerful Nevada agency's authority. Senate rules instruct senators and staff to "be wary" of accepting gifts that may be intended to influence official action.
Reid continues to support the creation of a federal boxing commission, according to his spokesman Jim Manley.
The Nevada Democrat said he has visited with members of the commission while at ringside. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and John Ensign, R-Nev., also attended boxing matches. Ensign accepted a free ticket but had recused himself from the proposed boxing legislation, his office said. McCain later paid for his ticket.
"Sen. McCain is from Arizona, I'm from Nevada. He's not supposed to get free tickets in the state of Nevada, the laws aren't set up that way. He came here to watch the fight, I came here to work for the state of Nevada and to watch the fight," Reid said.
Reid made his comments after addressing a group of veterans gathered at town hall meeting also attended by Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who was in town fundraising.
Dean called criticism of Reid's ethics "ridiculous" and repeated his attacks on Republicans.
"Harry Reid has proposed the toughest ethics legislation we've ever seen in the Senate. Democrats have proposed the same in the House and neither one passed because the Republicans don't want ethics legislation."
Nevada Republicans questioned Reid's ethics.
"Ethics is an issue with individuals; it is not a partisan issue," Nevada Republican Party Chairman Paul Adams said in a statement. "For Howard Dean to have any credibility on ethics, he must admit that Reid's behavior is part of the problem in Washington."
At the meeting attended by about 40 veterans, Dean and Reid criticized the Bush administration's handing of the war in Iraq and called Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson "incompetent."
Nicholson's agency recently lost personal information on about 26.5 million veterans when an employee's computer was stolen from his home. The deputy assistant secretary who supervised the VA data analyst who lost the information has said he would relinquish his post.
Reid called on the VA to conduct regular credit checks for all veterans to guard against fraud.
"It's the very least the federal government should do," he said.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Ultimate Fighting Becomes Huge Hit with Key Demo

The male 18-34 demographic is the Yeti of sports, an elusive, amorphous beast that marketers will go to great lengths to glimpse and then capture. There was an unlikely sighting April 15 in Anaheim as a capacity crowd of 17,000 fans -- most sufficiently old to vote, but insufficiently old to run for president -- packed the Arrowhead Pond for ... an Ultimate Fighting Championship event. The card, titled UFC 59: Reality Check, had the feel of a marriage (shotgun, to be sure) between a Vegas heavyweight fight and a Lollapalooza tour stop. Suffice it to say, the tattooed outnumbered the untattooed by a significant margin. "Maybe older people haven't even heard of UFC," says 27-year-old Andrei "the Pit Bull" Arlovski, a past heavyweight champ who was upset in Anaheim, felled by a series of punches from his 6-foot-8 opponent, Tim "the Maine-iac" Sylvia. "But people my age recognize me all the time."
The tableau in Anaheim was just the latest indication that however repugnant some may find it, UFC has entered the arena as a formidable sports property. The week before the fight, Spike TV's companion reality show, The Ultimate Fighter 3, drew record ratings for the network and, among the coveted 18-34 male demo, outdelivered the TNT NBA doubleheader and the USA Masters golf coverage that aired the same night. A Feb. 4 UFC card in Las Vegas sold out the MGM Grand and featured a celebrity row that included Charles Barkley, Cindy Crawford and, inevitably, Paris Hilton. That week, "UFC results" was the second most popular topic entered in the Yahoo! Search engine. The first was Super Bowl XL. Days after he defeated Arlovski, Sylvia threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers-Giants game. "It's a combination of the sport itself and personalities," says Dana White, UFC's 36-year-old president. "Young people see it on TV and they dig it. Boxing is your dad's sport. This is something way more exciting."
UFC is perhaps singularly well-suited to Generation Y, combining the brutality of video games with a rapid-fire pacing familiar to serial channel surfers. Unlike conventional boxing matches that routinely "go the distance," only to be determined by ringside judges, UFC fights tend to be swift and decisive, sometimes spanning no more than 30 seconds.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Marketing firm buys interest in Ali's name

Muhammad Ali, one of the world's most recognized people, has sold 80 percent of the marketing rights to his name and likeness to a firm for $50 million.
The 64-year-old former heavyweight champion, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, will retain a 20 percent interest in the business. The new venture will be operated by a company called G.O.A.T. LLC, an acronym for "The Greatest of All Time."
Ali and wife Lonnie are expected to work with CKX, Inc. to market his interests around the world. The deal includes trademarks owned by the boxing great.
"This relationship with CKX will help guarantee that, for generations to come, people of all nations will understand my beliefs and my purpose," Ali said in a statement issued Tuesday by the company. "I am honored to be able to partner with CKX as they continue to grow."
CKX has concentrated primarily on entertainment and holds the rights to the IDOLS television brand, which includes the show "American Idol." It also holds the rights to Elvis Presley's marketing, and has an interest in the operations of Graceland, Presley's Memphis, Tenn., home.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Las Vegas Boxing

Clicking on boxers highlighted name will connect you with his record

April 7, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsSouth Coast Hotel and CasinoJairo Ramirez vs. Russell Stoner JonesJoaquin Zamora vs. Cleiton ConceicaoDamian Norris vs TBACarlos Lopez vs. Alejandro PerezMichael Franco vs. Sergio HerediaJose Magillon vs. Hector ReynosaJoey Silva vs. TBA

April 8, 2006 Top RankFloyd Mayweather Jr. vs Zab JudahJorge Arce vs. Rosendo AlvarezJuan Diaz vs. Jose Miguel CottoThomas and Mack Center

April 8-9, 2006Golden Gloves Regional Tournament (Amateur)Orleans Hotel & Casino

April 22, 2006USA vs. London Show (Amateur)Location TBA

April 28, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsSouth Coast Hotel and Casino

May 4, 2006Contender SeriesJesse Feliciano vs. Alfonso GomezSergio Mora vs. Archak TermeliksetianAladdin Hotel and Casino

May 6,2006Golden Boy PromotionsOscar DeLaHoya vs. Ricardo MayorgaMGM Grand

May 12, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsOrleans Hotel and Casino

May 22, 2006Doc Broadus Sports & Entertainment"Rampage in Las Vegas"Amateur Boxing - Las Vegas vs. HawaiiItalian-American Social Club2333 E Sahara Ave

June 2. 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsOrleans Hotel and Casino

June 3, 2006Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis CastilloThomas and Mack Center

June 17, 2006Gary Shaw Productions-DiBella EntertainmentJermain Taylor vs. Ronald "Winky" WrightMGM Grand Garden Arena

June 23, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsOrleans Hotel and Casino

June 24, 2006Main Events and HBOCalvin Brock vs. Timor IbragimovCaesar's Palace

July 14, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsSouth Coast Hotel and Casino

August 4, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsSouth Coast Hotel and Casino

August 18, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsOrleans Hotel and Casino

September 1, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsOrleans Hotel and Casino

September16, 2006Top Rank - WynnLV-Caesar's Palace - HarrahsManny Pacquiao vs. Erik MoralesSam Boyd Silver Bowl

September 22, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsSouth Coast Hotel and Casino

October 13, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsOrleans Hotel and Casino

November 3, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsSouth Coast Hotel and Casino

December 1, 2006Guilty Boxing Friday Night FightsSouth Coast Hotel and Casino



A little chilly, but otherwise a nice night for boxing by the Colorado river as a modest but enthusiastic crowd filled a little outdoor area in the Edgewater’s parking lot and enjoyed the sweet science in Laughlin. The main event featured Las Vegas’ Steven Luevano (130), coming off his first defeat, a competitive 10 round decision loss to Martin Honorio in November. Tonight he was matched with tough Jorge Martinez (131 ½) of Escondido, CA in a scheduled 10. The first half of the fight was conducted at a distance, which worked to the taller, longer, southpaw Luevano’s tremendous advantage. For some reason Martinez was content to box from the outside, from where he ate a steady diet of knuckle sandwiches, including a straight left in the 1st that dropped him, and another straight left that dropped him at the end of the 3rd. But Martinez is one of these single-minded fighters who just keep coming, like a monster in a B-movie. In the second half of the fight, Martinez let his hands go when he got inside, and did some good damage to the body. When it looked early on in the fight that Martinez would not last more than a few rounds, he made a fight of it in the second half, and finished the 10th still coming forward. But with the two early knockdowns, Luevano’s lead was insurmountable. Scores after 10 were 97-91, 96-92, and a head-scratching 100-88, all for Steven Luevano. scored 96-92 for Luevano, who notches his 30th win against 1 defeat with 14 Kos. The hard-headed Jorge Martinez is now 12-5-2, 1KO.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Everybody Loves a Champion

A pint of a man who fights like a lion, Pacquiao has been called the Filipino people's champion, the national fist, the pride of the Asian race, the single unifying force in Philippines today, etcetera, etcetera.
On Sunday morning, millions of Filipinos stayed home, eyes and ears glued to TV. Thousand others trooped to mall theatres that aired the live coverage of the encounter.
For a day at least, life was peace and bliss for the typically fractious Filipinos. Local TV posted record ratings. The fight drew over 5 million TV households, the highest in all the Philippines TV history. The police reported zero crime rates. Traffic was clear and smooth in the usually congested streets of Manila. Rebels and soldiers put their weapons to rest to watch the fight. Mutinous troops suspended alleged and real plots to mount coups. Rival politicians abstained from vile and venomous prose.
It was, simply, a day for watching The Pacman fight and nothing else besides. The ironies that mark his life are so stark that he is a compelling story. A former bakery boy, Pacquiao, 27, stands to earn about $4 million from the fight, as well as shares from pay-per-view revenues of the Home Box-Office channel. Born in crushing poverty in the backwaters of General Santos City in war-torn Mindanao island, he now harkens Filipinos to unite and live in peace. The chief of staff of the Armed Forces has even proposed to bring Pacquiao to visit soldiers in the frontlines, ostensibly to talk them out of hatching coup plots.
Indeed, more than his enthronement as a celebrity, the fascinating story about this real-life Cinderella Man is his phenomenal rise in influence and affluence. He has become top broker of peace for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. And more than the kitty he will be bringing home from winning his boxing matches, Pacquiao will possibly earn much more as commercial model and endorser of all sorts of products and services.
Everybody loves a champion, man, woman, child, the rich, the poor and all others in between. And there lies what could well turn into the folly that is Pacquiao. More than everybody, politicians and traders love a champion, a winner. The most cock-eyed of the lot know a fantastic sell when they see one. With reason, they know and see Pacquiao as a winner. And there lies what could well be the tragedy of the victor that is Pacquiao.
Filipinos have elevated him to the hall of heroes but to men of commerce and politics, Pacquiao is no more than a poster boy, a product endorser, a mouthpiece, perhaps even a clown. On Sunday at the ring, for instance, The Pacman wore boxers that flaunted the names and logos of all the companies with which he had clinched commercial endorsement contracts two months earlier, or before he could punch his first at Morales in Las Vegas.
On the butt of his white boxers, Pacquiao wore the name of a firm selling car batteries. On his left and right thighs, on the front and back, he brandished the red-yellow-orange flame of a clothing company's logo, the flag of an airline, and all over, the patches of a line of athletic socks, an energy drink, instant coffee, and a Telco's pre-paid card service.
A patch bought its doubtful place of honour on the boxer's shorts for as much as 1.5 million pesos, or about $29,000. One newspaper estimated that the shorts he wore to victory had already earned for Pacquiao no less than 5 million pesos, or about $96,000. In gist, the boxer sold his boxers like he was pitching billboard space to advertisers. One advertiser recounted in jest that it was the boxer himself who offered to emblazon his boxers with product logos and patches. "He even told us that the best buy was the space at the back of his shorts, not in front," according to one advertiser who wanted but could not afford to buy space.
Business, apart from boxing, has occupied The Pacman in recent years. He has launched his own MP (Manny Pacquiao) line of clothing. Apart from building a handsome house for his wife and kids and mother, Pacquiao has opened a retail store and bought a farm for raising fighting cocks. Additionally, he has signed up with a local network to do duties on-cam as host of his weekly sports program, "Manny Pacquiao, Sports Idol."
By all indications, The Pacman is making hay while the sun shines bright on his career. For this, and all his efforts to keep and expand his wealth, he deserves neither rebuke nor ill will. An athlete savours glory and fame and wealth for just the brief fleeting period of their youth.
If he gets into all these deals eyes wide open, well and good. If he does so to make money, well and good for him. But if he does only always with just an eye for money, or only to please politicians and traders, Filipinos should stop ascribing Pacquiao with super hero qualities, and assigning him roles bigger than a boxer could perform. Pacquiao lives and does not qualify as yet to be a hero. Pacquiao continues to live it up as well, and does not qualify as yet to be installed as national symbol. At the very least, too, Pacquiao must stop pretending to be more than what he is. He should quit donning the vest of a vassal of truth, peace, unity, and reconciliation because in fact he is simply a great boxer, a huge celebrity, and a sure-fire product endorser for now, period.

Big Fights Coming in February

During the month of January, we witnessed some great boxing match-ups as well as a few intriguing outcomes. O’Neil Bell became the undisputed cruiserweight champion when he knocked out Jean Marc Mormeck in the 10th round. In the same evening, Carlos Baldomir pulled off a stunning upset by defeating the undisputed welterweight champion, Zab Judah, by unanimous decision, earning the WBC title. Then last weekend, Manny Pacquiao defended his WBA international title, handing Eric Morales the first knockout loss of his professional career. With the month of January coming to an end, February looks to be even more exciting and action-packed.
On February 4th, in El Paso, Texas, Jose Luis Castillo (53-7-1, 47 KO’s) was scheduled to take on Diego Corrales in a rubber match for the WBC/WBO lightweight championship. It was unfortunate that Diego Corrales suffered an injury, forcing him to pull out the bout, but Rolando Reyes (26-3-2, 16 KO’s) is stepping in for Corrales and will take on Castillo. After coming off a close split decision win over Ivan Cabrera last October, Reyes would love to make a statement by defeating Jose Luis Castillo.
Then on February 18th, a triple championship card will be taking place inside the Aladdin Casino located in Las Vegas, Nevada. The WBO strawweight champion, Ivan Calderon (24-0, 5 KO’s), defends his title against former WBC champ Isaac Bustos (24-7-3, 13 KO’s). Also, Brian Viloria (18-0, 12 KO’s) defends his WBC junior flyweight title against Jose Antonio Aguirre (33-4-1, 20 KO’s). Finally, Antonio Margarito (32-4, 23 KO’s) defends his WBO welterweight title in the main event against Manuel Gomez (28-10-2, 19 KO’s).
Less than a week later, on February 24th, former light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson (43-10-2, 29 KO’s) takes on Richard Hall (27-5, 25 KO’s) for the vacant IBA light heavyweight championship at the Seminole Hard Rock Arena in Hollywood, Florida. Also on the card, heavyweights David Tua (44-3-1, 38 KO’s) and Timor Ibragimov (20-0-1, 12 KO’s) are scheduled for separate bouts.
The next evening, at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, Shane Mosley (41-4, 35 KO’s) will finally meet Fernando Vargas (26-2, 22 KO’s) in a WBA super welterweight eliminator. On the undercard, Jhonny Gonzalez (31-4, 27 KO’s) will make the first defense of his WBO bantamweight title against Mark Johnson (44-4, 28 KO’s). Also, heavyweight prospect Calvin Brock (27-0, 21 KO’s) will take on Zuri Lawrence (20-10-4, 0 KO’s) in a ten round bout.
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Shannon Briggs (45-4-1, 39 KO’s) continues his quest back to the championship picture when he takes on Chris Koval (23-2, 18 KO’s) for the vacant USBA and NABA heavyweight titles.
In London, England, Matt Skelton (18-0, 17 KO’s) will face Danny Williams (34-4, 28 KO’s) for the British championship and the Commonwealth championship. The winner of this bout is rumored to possibly get a title-shot at the current WBA heavyweight champion Nicolay Valuev.
Finishing off the month, on February 27th in Osaka, Japan, Masamori Tokuyama (31-3-1, 8 KO’s) will defend his WBC super flyweight title against Jose Navarro (23-1, 11 KO’s). With nine successful defenses during the last six years, Tokuyama is looking to make his tenth successful defense. However, the 24 year-old American, Navarro, is hungry for a title and could be ready to make an impact.
We’re only one month into the New Year and world titles are already changing hands rapidly. Will titles continue changing hands? How many new faces will there be by the end of this year? As we go into the month of February, perhaps the upsets will continue and we will witness more new champions emerge onto the boxing scene.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Pacquiao-Morales II almost did not push through

IT will be exactly two weeks from now when Manny Pacquiao climbs the ring opposite Erik Morales in a blockbuster rematch expected to usher a series of big bouts for the new year. But unknown to many, the return bout between two of the biggest stars in the super-featherweight division almost didn't push through after Morales failed to keep his own end of the bargain during a big promotional fight which Bob Arum's Top Rank presented at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California on September 10. Pacquiao's American manager, Shelly Finkel, and promoter Gary Shaw were both having second thoughts back then about the possibility of the Filipino ring sensation fighting again the Mexican three-time world champion shortly following Morales' stunning decision loss to Olympian Zahir Raheem. "Shelly and I had a discussionthat night," admitted Shaw before a teleconference held in California to promote the highly-anticipated rematch set January 21 (January 22 Manila time) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. "It was up in the air at that moment," said Finkel. The fight card, which also included Pacquiao taking on Mexican Hector Velasquez in a non-title bout, was meant as tune up matches for the two hard-hitting fighters leading to their expected rematch after engaging in a toe-to-toe slugfest at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas March 19 of last year which Morales won by a unanimous but close decision. Unlike Morales, the Filipino southpaw posted a convincing victory over Velasquez whom he knocked out in the sixth round. For a while, Finkel and Shaw tinkered of fighting instead Juan Marco Antonio Barrera or Juan Manuel Marquez. "We would have looked at the regular guys, whether it be you know, a rematch with Barrera, a rematch with Marquez or whoever," said Finkel. In the end, Pacquiao's handlers decided Morales was still the best choice. "It happened too quick. But we felt it was the best thing for Manny to avenge the loss and then hopefully, he does that and we can go on to a third match or a Barrera fight or whoever else," Finkel said. The decision of the Morales camp to agree to the rematch made it easier for Finkel and Shaw to sign the dotted line. "We just thought that they (Morales) may not want it and that they may want to take an easier fight. So we were looking at other options," said Finkel. "But they wanted it and we wanted it." Now the stage is set for one of the year's biggest fights, the second installment of what was voted by the World Boxing Council (WBC) as the Most Dramatic Fight of 2005. Despite Morales coming off a lackluster performance, Shaw believes the rematch still has the making of an epic. "For sure it would have been better if Morales won (over Raheem)," said Shaw. "But I don't think it will affect the Pay-Per-View because the first fight was so great that I think the fans know they are going to get the same fight right back again. Obviously, we hope with a different result." The first Pacquiao-Morales fight drew a record audience of 375,000 household on PPV.

Arum Lines Up Top Fights for 2006

Bob Arum is not the giddy type. But the chairman of the board of Top Rank Inc. on Tuesday seemed downright thrilled at what he will be providing boxing fans during the upcoming year.It begins Jan. 21, when Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao square off in a rematch at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Then Feb. 4, Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo will meet in a third fight, a lightweight championship rubber match that will take place in El Paso, Texas.Antonio Margarito will defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight belt against Manuel Gomez on Feb. 18 at the Aladdin in Las Vegas and Miguel Cotto will defend his WBO junior welterweight belt against Raul Balbi on March 4 in Puerto Rico.It gets better. Hasim Rahman will make a defense of his WBC heavyweight championship against James "Lights Out" Toney on March 18 in Atlantic City. And, perhaps biggest of all, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will challenge welterweight champion Zab Judah for one of his three titles - the World Boxing Council belt - on April 8 at Thomas & Mack Center.That's just the terrific beginning."Every two weeks we have a fight through the beginning of April," Arum said. "We're going to take a look at who comes out victorious, and we'll start planning fights for May. We have some great fights we're going to do this year."If they are both successful, we are thinking of matching Cotto and Castillo (both of whom are promoted by Arum) and then have the winner fight Mayweather if Mayweather beats Judah, in the fall. We are also looking for some big fights with Morales. If Morales beats Pacquiao, we would be looking for a rematch with Zahir Raheem and also maybe a fight with Jaun Manuel Marquez."Of the Top Rank fights already set, there is no question that the Rahman-Toney and Mayweather-Judah matchups are the most outstanding. Arum recently re-signed Mayweather to a two-year contract, and Arum said Tuesday he is hopeful that a victory over Judah will help Mayweather become the marketable commodity the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world should be."I think this fight with Judah will do that," Arum said. "Judah is very competitive with him and it will be a really interesting match; it will be high visibility."And I think it's clear that, unlike the (Arturo) Gatti fight, where Floyd was the B side, he's going to be the A side in this matchup."Mayweather is 35-0 with 24 knockouts. He is 14-0 in world title fights and has won championships in the super featherweight, lightweight and super lightweight divisions. Despite Mayweather's incredible talent, he has not been able to capture the public's imagination like other greats of past and present. The reasons are a matter of opinion, but the bottom line is, Mayweather is only 28 and his story has not yet been completely written."It's not too late; we still have a number of years to go," Arum said. "He's really right up there with the great fighters (Arum has promoted). He's right up there with Sugar Ray Leonard, with Marvin Hagler. With Alexis Arguello. He's one of the best."He has incredibly fast reflexes and is probably the smartest of all the fighters since Muhammad Ali."Switching gears to Toney-Rahman, we seem to have a heavyweight title fight with some bite. Vitali Klitschko-Rahman, which was to take place last month, would have been a somewhat high-profile fight, but now that Klitschko has retired, this seems to be the next best thing.That's why Arum went for it. He had already won a purse bid for Rahman-Klitschko, and after that bout was canceled because of a knee injury sustained by Klitschko, Arum went on record as saying how much he liked working with Rahman, who won his freedom from Don King in bankruptcy court before signing a 3-year contract with Arum.The WBC already had crowned interim champion Rahman as permanent champion, and it ordered negotiations begin for Rahman-Toney. Fifteeen minutes before a purse bid was to take place, Arum offered Toney and his co-promoters, Dan Goossen and King, $2.8 million, to allow him to promote the fight."They accepted a sum of money for themselves and Toney and we were off to the races," Arum said. "In other words, we bought them out."Goossen confirmed the dynamics of the deal, and added that he and King will retain rights to Toney after the fight with Rahman, regardless of who wins.Before we get to Toney-Rahman and Judah-Mayweather, however, there will be some business to take care of in El Paso - Castillo-Corrales III. To say this rivalry has been filled with controversy, would be an understatement.Corrales spitting out his mouthpiece after each of two knockdowns he suffered in the 10th round undoubtedly helped him recover enough to stop Castillo in the 10th in one of the greatest fights in history last May.And there is no question that Castillo not sweating out the last 3 1/2 pounds to make 135 helped him retain some added strength before he knocked out Corrales in the fourth round in the rematch last October. Castillo didn't win Corrales' WBO and WBC belts because he failed to make weight, but he probably didn't care after registering the spectacular knockout.Those two fights were in Las Vegas, where most of today's bigger fights are held. So, why El Paso for the third one?"Well, we've got so much in Las Vegas, we have to take some of these matches to other places," Arum said. "I mean, there's a limit to what Vegas can draw. And we don't want all big-time boxing to exclusively come out of Vegas. I have Morales-Pacquiao in Vegas, I have Margarito-(Gomez) in Vegas, I have Mayweather Jr.-(Judah) in Vegas."So, you gotta spread it around. Now, El Paso has done extremely well with Hispanic-type fights. I'll have a sold-out crown at the Don Haskins Center. So, it was a natural."(Taylor-Wright) Goossen promotes Sam Soliman, who recently did well in going the distance in a loss against Winky Wright, who is the mandatory challenger to the WBA and WBC middleweight belts held by Jermain Taylor, who also is WBO champion.Goossen on Tuesday said, "I am working on a fight for Sam Soliman to fight Jermain Taylor."Gary Shaw, who promotes Wright, scoffed at that notion when contacted by telephone Tuesday."I just talked to an Arkansas sports writer and he said Lou DiBella told him he wants Winky next," Shaw said.DiBella promotes Taylor, of Little Rock, Ark. He said he indeed told an Arkansas reporter he would like to make Taylor's next fight against Wright, but he still isn't certain it can be made to everyone's satisfaction.DiBella said that preliminary talks have begun with Goossen for a fight against Soliman. DiBella also said he has made a formal offer to representatives of Felix Sturm, the former WBO champion. A fight with either, as well as one with Howard Eastman, could be an alternative to Taylor-Wright, which has been ordered by the WBC.DiBella said that since the fight is slated for regular HBO, there is not enough money to satisfy Wright, or Taylor, for that matter. He said Wright would have to be satisfied with a 60-40 split of a medium-size purse."We're going to try and make the fight in Little Rock," DiBella said of Taylor-Wright. "Gary and I talked and frankly, it's a matter of dollars and cents."DiBella noted that he has no intention of allowing Taylor to be stripped of his WBC belt. A fight with anyone other than Wright would come only if Wright turned it down.

Taylor-Wright Fight Appears Unlikely

The much-discussed middleweight title fight between Jermain Taylor and Winky Wright is on shaky ground after negotiations appeared to have broken down Monday.
Lou DiBella, Taylor's promoter, made an offer last week that would have paid Wright about $3 million for a live fight on HBO. Taylor would have received around $4 million.
On Monday, Wright's team asked for a 50-50 split, and DiBella responded by saying the fight probably won't happen.
"We are not going to be bullied by Winky Wright's people," DiBella said.
Taylor (25-0) beat Bernard Hopkins in July to win the middleweight championship, then beat him again last month. After that first title defense, Taylor's team said it wanted his next fight to be in his home state of Arkansas - he's fought before at North Little Rock's Alltel Arena.
But the WBC ordered Taylor to make his next defense against Wright (50-3). Had DiBella's offer from last week been accepted, the fight would have probably been held in Memphis, Tenn.
If the two sides don't reach an agreement by Jan. 30, a purse offer could be held in which other promoters would have the chance to bid for the fight. But DiBella has said Taylor's team would risk losing the WBC belt, rather than accept an unfair deal.
Taylor, of Little Rock, gave up his IBF title when he fought the rematch against Hopkins instead of a mandatory IBF defense.
"We're not going to be treated unfairly due to a ratings organization's mandatory," DiBella said. "There's a chance we still might go to purse bid. We still have to figure that out. But in terms of negotiations, the negotiations have ended."
Wright's promoter, Gary Shaw, said he believes DiBella is serious when he says there will be no more negotiations.
"All he did was hurt Jermain Taylor," Shaw said. "He didn't hurt me, he didn't hurt Winky. He hurt boxing and he hurt Jermain because this is an important fight for boxing, an important fight for HBO, at a time when boxing's hurting for real good matches."