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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Along The Beltway: Pacquiao, Cotto value straps

Ricardo Lois, our LA Examiner, is the latest but he certainly won’t be the last.

Lois, whose cynicism often makes me look like Mary Poppins, opines that he could care less than a fig whether Miguel Angel Cotto’s WBO welterweight title belt is on the line when the Puerto Rican faces Pinoy Idol Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 14.

I don’t care that Lois doesn’t care but he should care, we all should care, that the Alphabet belts matter to the fighters themselves.

As I just reported, Bob Arum has twice told WBO president Francisco “Paco" Valcarcel that Pacman wants to contest Cotto’s title in their bout. As I also reported, it’s Cotto who is balking and saying through his attorney that it should be a non title match.

The obvious move here is Cotto asking Uncle Bob to sprinkle more “sugar” into his pockets and perhaps to get Arum to pick up the three percent sanctioning fee the WBO extracts from both boxers.

See how useful a world title belt can be? You can use it like a debit or credit card and that's the play Cotto is running right now as Arum fusses and fumes.

Btw, our Houston Examiner Marvelous Marv Dumon, the only guy around who knows both Enron and Edwin Valero intimately, sees real value in the unprecedented fistic feat and says it like so:

"First, the boxing community will be able to witness if Manny Pacquiao can continue to thrive and succeed in his heretofore impossible journey. Starting out at a mere 106 lb., the "Pacman" is vying for Cotto's welterweight belt. For Manny, that represents an astonishing 7th title in his 7th weight class. Among the all-time greats who have ever laced on the boxing gloves, no one in the entire history of the sport has ever attained such a feat (Oscar de la Hoya is the only other fighter to win 6 titles in 6 weight classes). Not Muhammad Ali. Not Rocky Marciano. Not Roberto Duran. Not Jack Dempsey."

I can't say the seventh weight class is a big deal in a boxing world which used to from flyweight at 112 pounds on up to seven other classes including heavyweight. In today's more the merrier world, there are world champs at 106, 108, 112 and 115 pounds before you even get to bantamweight.

But I do see why fighters appreciate their straps.

I am not sitting in some ivory tower pontificating on the importance of the belts, either. I write from experience as a manager or co-manager of Terrible Terry Norris, Orlin Norris, Shannon Briggs and Robert Garcia.

I can tell you that all four of them, to varying degrees, considered their championship belts as valuable commodities near and dear to their heats.

I remember, in particular, going to an informal Christmas time gathering in New Jersey a couple of years ago. Briggs had invited me and his wife, his two sons, a mother in law and other relatives were exchanging some holiday cheer.

The living room looked like the storage room for a factory that makes championship belts. Everyone wanted to pose with Briggs and his belts and the mood was festive.

I’m telling you you can joke about how cheap some of these trinkets look or how you might find one inside a crackerjack box but to the men and nowdays women who put in blood, sweat and tears to fight for them, they are meaningful.

I understand Lois’ point and can appreciate his sentiment. He’s not like the hypocritical TV networks who trash the belts and the organizations systematically but then have their cameraperson go in for a tight shot of someone like Roy Jones festooned with four or five belts strapped on his body.

If the organizations and the belts are meaningless, they why publicize their hardware?

Riddle me that , H(o)BOes?

So call them silly straps signifying nothing as Lois does from the complete safety of his computer keyboard.

But be careful expressing that view around a fighter.

You might get away with saying a boxer’s mother wears army boots.

But knocking those precious belts might get you knocked out.

Those may be real fighting words to those with cauliflower ears.

(Meanwhile, I hope I don't agitate, placate or discombobulate our DC Boxing Examiner, Gary "Digital" Williams by using "Along The Beltway in the above headline. That is, as Cleveland Burgess would put it, "on the real side and bottom line.")

Source: http://www.examiner.com/x-5699-NY-Boxing-Examiner~y2009m7d22-Along-the-beltway-Pacquiao-Cotto-value-those-straps

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