Bring on the honeymoon: Boxing's All-Kardashian team
By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor
Ocala, FL (Sports Network) -
Really folks... I tried.
But no matter how many times I clicked from channel to channel in the Gulf- side hideaway of Cape Coral this week, the images coming back at me in 50-inch high-definition never changed.
Seems that the latest pop culture poster girl for talentless excess -- known these days as Kim Kardashian -- went and got herself hitched to a sparkly 6- foot-9 clothes horse who's made far less impact in seven NBA seasons than he'll make on tabloid newsstands for as long as the unlikely marriage lasts.
If they hadn't said his name was Kris Humphries, I never would have known it.
And after looking up his stats -- 52 combined starts with four teams, 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game -- I'm guessing all three fans of the New Jersey Nets could say the same thing.
Rarely has a fighter with such an insistent following amounted to comparatively less when matched with the true elites of the profession like Ricky Hatton.
All things considered, though, it's a pretty appropriate match for their skill sets.
If the toothy groom measured a head shorter, he'd be playing half-court at Bally's.
If the blushing bride had a lesser surname, she'd be doing three shows at Scores.
In fact, take away the Vera Wang dress and it's just another ceremony with a 50.75-percent chance to end in a courtroom within a decade.
And as I made the trek up I-75 back home, I thought about it in boxing terms.
So many times over the years, fighters have burst onto the scene with big talk, big accessories, big entourages or a big back story, only to wind up as footnotes to those with true substance.
For every Liz Taylor, it seems... there's a Kim Kardashian.
And for every Muhammad Ali... there's a Hector Camacho.
Read on for a few more candidates for the latter group -- the Hollywood Ringwalk of Shame, if you will:
Alvin Hayes -- 1981-2003: An obscurity to today's fan, Hayes was a trumped-up lightweight of Kronk Gym vintage in the early 1980s, knocking out foe after foe after entering the ring with an over-the-top style indicative of his nickname -- "Too Sweet." He met his substance match in future world champion Jimmy Paul on the Hearns-Duran undercard in Las Vegas in June 1984 and was dispatched in six rounds, then found himself stopped in eight by 6-7-2 punching bag Pedro Montero three months later in a would-be comeback fight in Detroit. A subsequent five-fight win streak ended with a six-round loss to one Vernon Buchanan in November 1986, leaving Hayes to fight just three more times -- once in 1993, twice in 2003 -- before his death in 2004.
Naseem Hamed -- 1992-2002: Having more style than substance doesn't mean no substance exists at all. Such is the case with the mercurial Hamed, who won European and WBC international belts before capturing the WBO world title at 126 pounds in 1995. Always good on the microphone and creative in the ring, the Sheffield, U.K.-born "Prince" fattened up with 15 subsequent title-fight wins -- all but two by knockout -- before a sound beating at the hands of Marco Antonio Barrera halted the run in 2001. The defeat essentially ended the novelty as well, leaving Hamed to fight just once more 13 months later before walking away for good as a 28-year-old.
Ricky Hatton-- 1997-2009: Unlike some others, the Manchester "Hitman" was never one to eschew firefights for track meets, but rarely has a fighter with such an insistent following -- the strains of "there's only onnnnnnnnne Ricky Hatton!" still ring in the ears of anyone attending his biggest events -- amounted to comparatively less when matched with the true elites of the profession. Had pre-fight fan chatting been the measure for the 2007 meeting with Floyd Mayweather Jr. or the 2009 match with Manny Pacquiao, the Brit wins in a walk. But when it came to skill vs. skill, he was far better off trading shots with guys on the Carlos Maussa, Juan Urango, Juan Lazcano level.
Hector Camacho -- 1980-2010: Though he's campaigned for the last decade as an AARP-eligible middleweight, the king of Puerto Rican "Macho" was a mere teenager at 127 pounds when he unveiled his trademark curl and flashy flurries. Limited speed-challenged foes like Bazooka Limon and Freddie Roach were putty in his hands on the way up, but when faced with legitimate bangers and tough guys like Julio Cesar Chavez, Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya, Camacho showed little desire for give and take while falling into full retreat mode en route to wide scorecard losses. None of his six losses have been by KO, but you'd be hard-pressed to consider it a badge of honor.
Paulie Malignaggi -- 2001-2011: The IBF and WBO 140-pound hardware on his mantel notwithstanding, there's little debate that the "Magic Man's" most memorable moments in the ring over the years have been for his fashion, not his fists. A career's worth of stylist-created coifs and trunks hit a new low when cornermen lopped off awful wannabe dreadlocks during a split defeat of Lovemore Ndou in May 2008, and his 11 rounds of non-violence against the aforementioned Hatton six months later affixed a "don't take me seriously" badge that four wins in six fights since have only barely been able to budge.
This week's title-fight schedule:
WBA welterweight title -- Donetsk, Ukraine
Viacheslav Senchenko (champion) vs. Marco Antonio Avendano (No. 13 contender)
Senchenko (31-0, 20 KO): Third title defense; Twenty-eight fights in Ukraine (28-0, 17 KO)
Avendano (30-7-1, 22 KO): First title fight; Last six victories by stoppage
Fitzbitz says: "Anonymous champion topples old-timer foe." Senchenko by decision
IBF junior flyweight title -- Guadalajara, MX
Ulises Solis (champion) vs. Jether Oliva (unranked)
Solis (33-2-3, 21 KO): First title defense, second reign; Held IBF title from 2006-09 (eight defenses)
Oliva (17-0-1, 11 KO): First title fight; First fight outside Philippines
Fitzbitz says: "Two-time champion takes road-tripping challenger to school." Solis by decision
WBO mini-flyweight title -- Guadalajara, MX
Raul Garcia (champion) vs. Moises Fuentes (unranked)
Garcia (30-1-1, 18 KO): Second title defense; Held IBF title from 2008-10 (four defenses)
Fuentes (13-1, 6 KO): First title fight; Never beaten a foe with more than six wins
Fitzbitz says: "Unaccomplished suitor in over his head with incumbent." Garcia in 9
Last week's picks: 1-0 Overall picks record: 329-108 (75.2 percent)
Lyle Fitzsimmons is a veteran sports columnist who's written professionally since 1988 and covered boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and posted online for clients in North America and Europe. Reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter.