Inside Sport - - INSIDE SOCCER - – Jeff Cen­ten­era

Poor, old boxing still able to cap­ti­vate the sport­ing au­di­ence, as the Jeff Horn-Manny Pac­quiao fight showed. And then just as able to con­fuse and alien­ate, as the aer­math of Horn-Pac­quiao proved. If you’re still watch­ing, the sweet sci­ence has a spot­light mo­ment com­ing up over the next month, one that spans all the con­tra­dic­tions and frus­tra­tions of mod­ern boxing.

2 With reser­va­tions, we have to start with Floyd May­weather vs Conor McGre­gor. The Au­gust 27 fight in Las Ve­gas is such a car­ni­val act, even judged against the low bar of boxing’s stan­dards of crass­ness. The match of the un­beaten May­weather and UFC star McGre­gor was seem­ingly willed into ex­is­tence by so­cial me­dia trolling, and we’re now com­pelled to watch, in the can’t-look-away fash­ion of a car crash. Why is this hap­pen­ing? May­weather stands to make some­where be­tween $100m to $300m on this fight, while ac­cord­ing to UFC boss Dana White, McGre­gor is look­ing at a $75m pay­day, which is five times more than any­thing he’s earned in the oc­tagon.

3 It re­ally is one of those ideas cooked up in a board­room some­where: stage an event, put to­gether the fan bases of boxing and UFC, col­lect prof­its. Thus, the pro­mo­tion of the fight

is the fight. This fact be­came abun­dantly clear dur­ing the four-city press tour in July, with McGre­gor in his finest, hype-man form. The Ir­ish­man var­i­ously ac­cused Floyd of hav­ing tax prob­lems, wear­ing a track­suit, lack­ing core strength and not be­ing able to read. Sadly, they might be the best shots McGre­gor lands, be­cause ...

4 It’s hard to see how this fight doesn’t turn into an anti-spec­ta­cle – it seems like the dream sce­nario is it turns into a real-life ver­sion of Rocky Bal­boa fight­ing Thun­der­lips. In­stead, May­weather will em­ploy his de­fen­sive mas­tery, which was able to take the air out of his con­test against an ex­cite­ment ma­chine such as Pac­quiao. An ex­pected cake­walk would take Floyd to 50-0, sur­pass­ing Rocky Mar­ciano’s his­toric un­blem­ished record. That no­tion makes boxing purists gag.

5 About the only hope for ac­tion is if McGre­gor is as bad as touted – May­weather might ac­tu­ally try to knock him out. South African boxer Chris van Heer­den caused a sen­sa­tion when he posted footage to Twišer of his spar­ring ses­sions with McGre­gor, tag­ging him with ease. Van Heer­den added the re­join­der: “I ain’t Floyd and I landed.”

6 If you only have so much money to spend on pay-per­view, don’t pay for Floyd and Conor and wait a month. The fight that boxing diehards have been wait­ing for hap­pens on Septem­ber 17, when Gen­nady Golovkin faces off against Canelo Al­varez. Not only is this a duel of qual­ity op­po­nents – the re­spec­tive styles of the pow­er­ful Golovkin and hus­tling Al­varez should com­bine to put on a great show.

7 It’s a gen­uine cu­rios­ity that Golovkin has not cut through to the sport­ing main­stream – he’s the most for­mi­da­ble knock­out artist since Mike Tyson. Part of it might be he’s from Kaza­khstan, part of it boxing’s lack of rel­e­vance these days. An­other con­vinc­ing rea­son is he’s had no defin­ing de­fi­fifin­ing op­po­nent to go against as he’s rung up his 37-0 (33 KOs!) record and the uni­fied unifi­fi­fied mid­dleweight ti­tle. An im­pres­sive vic­tory over Al­varez would go a long way to re­solv­ing that is­sue, al­though Golovkin sees this fight fi­fi­fight as some­thing of a vale­dic­tory – if he wins big, the 35-year-old might re­tire.

8 Al­varez is al­ready the dar­ling of Mex­ico, a sta­tus he ce­mented when he whipped Julio Ce­sar Chavez Jr, son of a pre­vi­ous Mex­i­can ring icon, last May. Canelo is also seek­ing his break­out mo­ment – most ca­sual fans re­mem­ber him best for los­ing to May­weather four years ago, a fight Al­varez was prob­a­bly too young to take on at the time. Now 27, he goes in as the un­der­dog against Golovkin, but has a de­cided edge in youth. And we know how that turned out in Bris­bane ...

9 A cou­ple more to keep up with the boxing hip­sters: Ter­ence Craw­ford, po­ten­tially the big op­po­nent out there for Jeff Horn, seeks to unify the ju­nior wel­ter belts against Julius In­dongo on Au­gust 20. And there’s Ro­man Gon­za­lez ver­sus Srisaket Sor Rungvi­sai on Septem­ber 10, a re­match of their March en­counter in which Gon­za­lez lost by de­ci­sion de­spite land­ing 157 more punches. In­ter­est­ing fact: one of the judges was our old friend Waleska Roldan, she of the 117-111 score for Pac-Horn (she had this fight even).

10 Okay, our last words on Pac-Horn: it was close, and close fights go ei­ther way; it’s time for Pac­quiao to bring his glo­ri­ous ca­reer to a close, and a se­ries against Jeff Horn is a weird way to do it; ma—ers are prop­erly se—led in the ring, though, so if they do have that re­match be­fore the end of the year, we’ll get to see if Horn can prove it twice ... or if he’s Manny’s next Tim Bradley.

Gen­nady Golovkin, in a fa­mil­iar po­si­tion. ˜™š›œ Canelo Al­varez on the ad­vance. žŸ¡¢£ ¡Ÿ¤œ Floyd, Conor and money.

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