Playing Fact or Fiction with the Top Rumors in Boxing

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2013

Playing Fact or Fiction with the Top Rumors in Boxing

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    Would boxing be the same without the constant and incessant rumor-mongering?

    No way. In fact, the sport is downright driven by its myriad of he-said, she-saids. Floyd Mayweather will fight Canelo Alvarez. Juan Manuel Marquez is afraid of Floyd Mayweather. The heavyweight division is as bad as it’s ever been.

    That’s boxing.

    There is no shortage of these trifling but titillating trivialities, and they serve their purpose. After all, what else would keep fight fans preoccupied as they wait the sometimes excruciatingly long weeks until the next big Saturday night throwdown?

    With that in mind, let’s have a look at the latest and greatest boxing rumors. Are they fact or fiction? 

Floyd Mayweather Will Fight Canelo Alvarez

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    There seems to be a growing consensus that Floyd Mayweather’s next fight should be against junior middleweight title holder Canelo Alvarez. Ask your friends on Twitter. They’ll tell you.

    Heck, according to Chris Mannix, Showtime Sports' head honcho Stephen Espinoza believes everyone involved wants the fight to happen: "Everybody involved, from Mayweather, to Canelo, to Golden Boy, to Showtime want Canelo-Mayweather in September."

    Unfortunately, history has shown Mayweather does not always take the fight most people want to see. Look no further than the 2010-2011 Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao debacle as evidence of that.

    Still, negotiations between the two sides have reportedly begun, which is good news for fight fans in the long run.

    Moreover, unlike in the Pacquiao shenanigans, both sides are promoted under the Golden Boy banner and its television partner, Showtime.

    The fight is virtually assured to happen. The only question is how soon. Will Mayweather jump at the chance to face his toughest competition at the most challenging weight? Or will he bide his time against subpar welterweight competition until he’s out of other options?

    Verdict: Fact

The Mayweather-Alvarez Fight Will Happen This September

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    Mayweather is undefeated for two reasons.

    First, he’s hardworking and immensely talented. There is simply no fighter in the sport today who combines those two elements quite like Mayweather.

    Second, he’s incredibly smart, both inside the ring and out. Mayweather knows how to play the odds and manage risks.

    That isn’t to say he doesn’t take on tough fights. One does not defeat as many Hall of Fame-caliber opponents as he has without taking on tough customers. Rather, this pristine record-conscious fighter knows when to make a fight against a tough fighter, and when to let it sit for awhile.

    No doubt, he’ll pass on Alvarez as an opponent this September. Canelo is simply too physically large for Mayweather to take the risk against just yet. 

    The fight will happen, but look for Alvarez to continue building his brand against the likes of Miguel Cotto this September while Mayweather continues his welterweight domination by taking on either Amir Khan or someone like Devon Alexander.

    Verdict: Fiction

Juan Manuel Marquez Is Afraid of Floyd Mayweather

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    When the hulking Juan Manuel Marquez starched longtime nemesis Manny Pacquiao last December, he left onlookers stunned.

    How’d he do it?!

    All three of their previous encounters had been close, touch-and-go affairs. All three ended as fiercely contested decisions. But in this one, Marquez appeared bigger, faster and stronger than ever before, and he crushed Pacquiao like no one had done before.

    It only stands to reason Marquez would want to avenge his 2009 decision loss to Floyd Mayweather then, right? After all, Marquez essentially jumped two full weight classes that night after Mayweather didn’t bother making the 144-pound catchweight. Now, he is a full-fledged and absurdly powerful welterweight.

    But apparently, Marquez saw enough that night to stay as far away from Mayweather as possible. Talking to Ryan Burton of BoxingScene.com, Marquez admitted Mayweather was just too much for the Mexican to handle: "I don't want to fight him again because everyone saw what happened in 2009 and I think it's better if he goes his way and I go mine."

    So it looks like Marquez is indeed afraid of Floyd Mayweather. Can you blame him?

    Verdict: Fact

Juan Manuel Marquez Won’t Fight Manny for a 5th Time

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    While it’s certainly true Juan Manuel Marquez has made seemingly dumb business moves before (e.g., skipping a lucrative 2011 potential showdown with fellow Mexican legend Erik Morales), one has to believe he’ll end up fighting Manny Pacquiao a fifth time before his career winds to a close.

    The two fighters were rumored to be in line for a showdown as soon as Pacquiao was willing to trade leather again, but contractual talks of Marquez wanting an even split derailed the bout before it could really get going.

    Instead, Marquez appears to be moving forward with a September 14 showdown with Timothy Bradley, and Pacquiao has signed the dotted line to take on tough guy Brandon Rios in Macau.

    Make no mistake, though. These men’s legacies are tied forever together and they know it. While Marquez can take solace in nabbing his lone win by devastating KO, he remains 1-2-1 against the Filipino superstar, and he’ll want another chance to even the score before he retires.

    Besides, the money will be there for him when he wants it, and both sides will have tremendous financial incentive to make it their next move.  

    Verdict: Fiction

Heavyweight Division Is as Bad as It’s Ever Been

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    It’s absolutely true that the heavyweight division is as bad as it’s ever been. However, it should also be noted that it’s not nearly as bad as people make it out to be. Here’s why.

    First, there are two historically significant heavyweights fighting in it. Both Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko will be remembered as dominant champions who compare quite favorably to any other heavyweights in history.

    Despite being sidelined for almost four years by injury, Vitali Klitschko has proven to be one the most dominant forces the division has ever seen. Both his losses are suspect by nature. In 2000, a shoulder injury stopped him against Chris Byrd. In 2003, Lennox Lewis stopped Klitschko on cuts.

    In both the outings, Klitschko was well up on the scorecards.

    Meanwhile, little brother Wladimir has avoided injury most of his career and become one of the longest reigning heavyweight champions in history. Moreover, his 60-3 record puts him in rare company among the pantheon of heavyweight greats.

    Next, the heavyweight division has been historically great perhaps twice in its 121-year Marquess de Queensbury existence.  Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman led the pack in the 1970s to carry the age into prominence, while Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis did the same for the 1990s.

    Otherwise, the heavyweight division of today is fairly comparable. Jack Dempsey defended his heavyweight crown just five times during his seven-year reign, and much of Joe Louis’ 25 title defenses were done against what the boxing press dubbed the “Bum-of-the-Month Club.”

    Verdict: Fact (but no worse than many other eras)