Sometimes, you will never really know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory. Usually that has a lot to do with someone in particular, for afterall, its hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember.
So… Remember MMA badass turned screen hottie Gina Carano was getting her ass kicked by that chick who seems like she’s from another planet? You know, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino?
Of course you do.
It was summer 2009 to be exact when Gina last fought which was against Cyborg, who at the time (and to some still is) was regarded as the unquestioned biggest female bully on the planet. No one wanted to face this monster – but Gina did.
Right around that same time, Manny Pacquiao was looking like a monster of a different kind, fresh off of damn near killing the Floyd Mayweather Sr. trained Ricky Hatton. His son, Floyd Mayweather Jr., was making a “comeback” to one up Pacquiao by challenging Juan Manuel Marquez, which started a crescendo of chatter around the globe.
Meanwhile, a few cool movies and 5 years later, Gina Carano will “comeback” to MMA and challenge UFC bantamweight champion and reigning biggest female badass on the planet, Ronda Rousey, a hottie in her own right (not that it matters, but f*ck it it does).
The thing about it is, there’s something to be respected there. If Gina does indeed fight Ronda in a proposal that’s reportedly on the table for December of this year, she will more than likely lose (though I’ll be rooting for her).
But who gives a sh*t? In a 5 year span separated from competitive fighting, she will have challenged the two most lethal women on the planet with no stipulations and at their unquestioned best.
Know why? Because she’s a badass and she fights back, not talk back.
There is no favorable catchweight that Floyd subjected Juan to of 144lb and then a buyout of 600K to brush aside the fact that he came in at 146lbs. Let’s throw away the fact that the then piss drinking Juan Manuel had never been beyond 135lbs before in his life and was a counterpuncher.
So when Floyd says recently that he “doesn’t know who he is” in a derisive reference to Ronda Rousey, whom Dana White pegged to beat his ass in a street fight, what he’s really trying to say is that he doesn’t know who he is.
Because Gina and Ronda do, and I’ll say Pacquiao does too. They take the road less traveled or the ones most avoid in pursuit of the grandest prize. They do not contrive fights or try to stack decks. They want you to fight in gloves that you used to beat fighters who are supposed to be of a lower caliber than you.
It took nothing but the understanding that commercially and personally fighting Cyborg was the right thing to do for Carano – win or lose – for the sport and the public. Both notions which have been foreign to “Money”, who gave us more excuses than a lying ass senator as to why he wouldn’t face Pacquiao, even though it is the most demanded event in “sports history”, not just boxing.
PPV was always designed to pit two very rare talents against each other due to an obvious demand from a public. It was never intended to turn into what it has, which is a mechanism to fleece a public because it can – not because it should. Recently the fight viewing public, weary of being extorted in their living rooms, have raised the middle finger at their flatscreens as ads have demanded they pay for bullsh*t match-ups.
Cotto vs. Martinez should have been a regular HBO bout just like Gennady “GGG” Golovkin vs. Daniel Geale is tonight. There is no way in hell that Mayweather vs. Guerrero should have been a PPV bout no more than Pacquiao vs. Algieri should be. Canelo vs. Lara is the latest example of what toxic waste smells like after you make a fateful decision to press “buy” on your remote control.
But if two very popular women can get it right for the love of their sport, than so too can the men in this sport. The UFC and MMA in general, consistently pits the best fighters against each other because they don’t understand anything other than that. Its made them immensely successful and put boxing on notice.
Mayweather says he’ll have a “surprise” for us in May (assuming he survives Maidana this time), with many hinting heavily that this FINALLY means a bout with Pacquiao. But he actually stood on a podium after his farce with Victor Ortiz in September 2011 and told us all “Pacquiao- you’re next!”
So who cares?
If they do in fact fight in May 2015, Floyd will be a 38 years old and Manny will be 36. That’s not ancient, but its not the relatively young 32 for Carano, or the absolute prime age of 27 for Rousey. Pacquiao vs. Mayweather in 2015 will be like one big giant bowl of cereal served with expired milk. I not only don’t know if I can swallow that- but I don’t know if I can stomach it either.
Not sure if you should either.
WOMEN’S BOXING SHOULD LEARN FROM MMA
A friend of mine, publicist Amy Green, put me in contact with Malissa Smith (author of the excellent “A History Of Women’s Boxing”) not too long ago before the release of her book on women “who punch” as she put it.
Through subsequent phone conversations with her about women in boxing, we discussed everything from their earliest origins in the 1700’s right up to their ultimate inclusion in the 2012 Olympic Games. The quest for respect has been an arduous one, but it continues never-the-less, as she detailed the many plights and horror stories women have had to fight through just to fight for a living – and a meager one at that to this day here in America.
Then something dawned on me. Not just that I had actually bumped into Smith at the world famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn where I had gone to interview and watch Heather Hardy train, but that something was really really wrong with how these women are portrayed and marketed.
The woman who fights in MMA isn’t tied to a history as historically rich as her boxing counterpart is in the states, but she garners more opportunity and support.
Hardy, who was not long ago featured in a New York Times piece and recently fought on the HBO undercard of then WBO super lightweight champ Ruslan Provodnikov’s shocking loss to New Yorker Chris Algieri , would seemed poised for stardom in women’s boxing by almost any measure.
Longtime promoter Lou DiBella undoubtedly feels the same way, signing her to a contract last year while looking for ways to maximize her potential.
Here’s an idea: Look at what MMA does and build on it.
Nothing works better than when you have a protagonist and an antagonist, and not too far away from Heather is one resident badass in Rhode Island’s Shelly Vincent. They are not only contrasting and compelling personalities that would resonate with the the public, but they can actually fight.
With the right amount of pomp or circumstances to cast attention on them – while throwing in they genuinely can’t stand each other, and now we’ve got something women’s boxing actually needs…
Make a damn reality show, get magazines involved, put them at same events in promotional gear and videotape some friction. SOMETHING. I mean, Laila Ali aint walking through the door anytime soon, but the one that’s cracked needs to be kicked in or it’ll close.
If you could find stars on trees in obvious places then everyone would. Someone else Amy mentioned to me, a good looking fighter by the name of Jen Hamann, won her pro debut in impressive fashion the other day. She’s a total diamond almost out of the rough, but gems only work wonders if light is shined on them. Hers is an almost Eminem-like journey within the sport that I found very intriguing. Someone just might like a story like hers before its written, for she’s a badass just waiting to happen.
Its been said that its a man’s world, but according to everything I think I know, its under a woman’s supervision. As it relates to boxing, men may get all of the attention – but that doesn’t mean they should get all the intentions.
As Anne Frank would say: “No one has ever become poor by giving.”