Boxing 2014: The Movers and Shakers (Part 2)
Milan Ordoñez on Dec 31, 2014 04:32 PM
Photo credit: Floyd Mayweather Official Facebook fan page
For this edition, we continue the rundown of the significant affairs of the past year in the world of boxing, which helped mold the sport into its current state.
5) Top Rank and Golden Boy make amends
Boxing promotion mammoths Top Rank Promotions headed by veteran Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions have finally set egos aside and decided to get back in business.
For a few years, both companies have engaged in a long-standing “cold war”, hindering each of their fighters the chance to share a ring together, and ultimately limiting themselves within their own backyard.
It wasn’t until May when De La Hoya offered his hand of peace to Arum to hopefully end all the silliness. As elite-level businessmen, both finally understood that joining forces was the shortest path to massive success.
“Top Rank is a major player in the boxing industry and Golden Boy is the player in the boxing industry. So why not get the two powerhouses together and make the fights that the fans want to see?" De La Hoya reportedly told Bob Arum during their conversation.
2015 will see the full swing of this reignited partnership. Two of boxing key forces teaming up again can only mean greater things and more interesting match-ups... hopefully.
4) Nonito Donaire gets a taste of his first knockout loss
Fighters like Nonito Donaire are always guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Short, yet fundamentally sound in terms of boxing IQ with a money shot of a left hook. What’s not to love?
The world did see and enjoy “The Filipino Flash’s” undefeated reign at the flyweight, super flyweight, bantamweight, and super bantamweight divisions for 11 consecutive years. He was the new face of Filipino boxing in the sport’s grandest stage, and was at one time touted to be the predecessor of the great Manny Pacquiao.
He did come across his stumbling block in April 2013, in the form of Cuban amateur megastar Guillermo Rigondeaux, wherein he was outclassed, outworked, outpunched. After riding a wave of success for more than a decade, the rug was suddenly swept under him, and he was back to the drawing board.
Donaire found redemption in his rematch against Vic Darchinyan seven months after, and against South African Simpiwe Vetyeka in May, where he also won his fifth division world title at bantamweight.
But just when Donaire fans were beginning to enjoy this second wind of triumph, it was once again derailed with a highly-disappointing knockout loss to hard-hitting Jamaican Nicholas Walters in October. Despite the Filipino’s resilience and refusal to go down, the “Axe Man’s” size and power was simply too much for him to handle.
According to Donaire, retirement is still far away from his mind, despite this career-questioning setback. Pundits are calling for him to go back down to super bantamweight and take a refresher fight at a smaller stage, probably in his home country of the Philippines.
Whatever the future may hold for Nonito Donaire, what he has accomplished in boxing is a legacy that is respectable enough, and that alone is already an achievement in itself.
3) Donnie Nietes surpasses ‘Flash’ Elorde
When Filipino boxing is mentioned, Manny Pacquiao is the palpable name that automatically comes up. His superstardom rightfully eclipses those who also warrant a good amount of recognition, particularly within the local circuit.
Donnie Nietes has been making waves in the country and in some parts of Asia as today’s top dog in the light flyweight division. His talent unbeknownst to many, “Ahas” is the number one 108-pounder in the world, holding both the WBO and The Ring Magazine titles.
Nietes’ struggles in boxing were trademark Filipino in nature. As a former janitor of the ALA Boxing Gym in Cebu, trainers saw him fit to be one of the replacement sparring partners, and being given a chance to show what he is made of, Nietes did not disappoint. Eventually, he taken in as one of its talents.
Since his professional debut in 2003, Nietes barreled through the opposition en route to his world titles, racking up a record of 34-1-4, with 20 victories by knockout. His most recent bout in November against Mexico’s Carlos Velarde not only kept his title, but he also surpassed the record of the late great Gabriel “Flash” Elorde by being the longest reigning Filipino world champion for a total of seven years and three months.
Next up for Donnie Nietes: conquering the world stage. At the rate he is going, this, definitely, is not an impossible feat to achieve.
2) The renaissance of Vintage Manny
For the past several years, boxing fans have been clamoring to have the “old Manny Pacquiao” back in the fold. Much to their chagrin, they instead saw an ‘old Manny’, a fighter headed towards being a shadow of his former self. After lackluster fights in 2011 and throughout the end of 2012 where he suffered his emphatic knockout loss to old rival Juan Manuel Marquez, fans began to question the eight-division world champion.
Pacquiao did bounce back in his lone 2013 fight with Brandon Rios, and redeemed his WBO welterweight title from Timothy Bradley in April. But he did get back to his “vintage” self in November, when he faced former undefeated 140-pound titlist, Chris Algieri.
A shutout unanimous decision victory, with six knockdowns in the process, Manny Pacquiao did show the world that night why he is a legend whose presence is still of high significance in the sport.
1) Floyd Mayweather turns the tables, calls out Manny Pacquiao
Since the entire negotiation process for the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao dream match began in 2009, it had rendered zero results. Most of the blame was placed on Mayweather, who had repeatedly demanded for random drug tests, unjustified purse cuts and other petty requirements.
In an unpredicted turn of the tides, “Money May” finally broke out of routine and this time, played the aggressor role.
“We want the fight. We are ready,” Mayweather told Steven Farhood of Showtime Sports. “Let's make it happen. May 2nd. Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao. Let's do it."
Proving that his words were no fluke, he restated this said challenge, noting, “Paquiao is his main focus.”
"No one knows who Amir Khan is except people who are involved in boxing,” said the undefeated fighter in a follow-up interview. “My focus is Manny Pacquiao. Let's make it happen."
Mayweather’s sudden assertiveness was a delight to hear for fans, as many believe that this is what finally pushes the go button. But as boxing history dictates, no deal is final until both dotted lines have been signed, especially in a kind of deal like Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.