Based on the fight schedule, boxing is doing just fine
Posted: Friday October 28, 2005 2:42PM; Updated: Friday October 28, 2005 2:47PM
Oscar De La Hoya isn't the fighter he was, but he's always an intriguing character.
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While it is always fashionable to bemoan the state of boxing, I think a case can be made that the sport is doing pretty well right now -- and I say this despite the recent announcement that Sylvester Stallone is going to make a sixth Rocky. (Can't the Nevada commission or someone just step in and stop that one?)
Indeed, we are in the midst of what the old-time fight scribes would have termed a ferocious fistic fall. We have already seen, and to a greater or lesser extent enjoyed, the likes of Klitschko-Peter, Tarver-Jones III and the startling Castillo-Corrales rematch. Next week brings power-punching IBF super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy against Scott Pemberton in Reno, Nev., a bout that promises to be a slugfest.
Then, on the horizon are appearances by Winky Wright and Floyd Mayweather as well as Vitali Klitschko-Hasim Rahman on Nov. 12 (with thrilling young star Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on the undercard) and Jermain Taylor-Bernard Hopkins II on Dec. 3. And, now, to keep us musing over the winter, comes the announcement of Oscar De La Hoya's return to the ring, in a spring bout against Ricardo Mayorga.
This should be an intriguing fight, a matchup between a classic and "classy" boxer, who's not quite as good as he once was, and a free-swinging, bad-boy brawler who's not quite the puncher we once thought he was. Boxing writer Carlo Rotella characterizes the match as being "like a face-off between Katharine Hepburn and a streetwalker -- and not the young Kate, either." I told him that I'd still bet on Hepburn -- er, Oscar.
Outside the ropes
While looking ahead to those upcoming fights, I also had occasion this week to look backward, in a sense, at some former ring stars. On Wednesday evening I attended the annual F.I.S.T. Fights for New York dinner in New York City.
F.I.S.T., which stands for Fighters' Initiative for Support and Training, is a charitable organization that was founded in 1998 by former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney. The goal of F.I.S.T. is to help former fighters, amateurs and pros, adjust to life outside the ring by providing everything from medical care to help with housing and employment placement.