How’s this for a conspiracy theory? With Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign showing no signs of abating, and all manner of tigers and flies being caught in the net, a particular target of the crackdown is the gambling mecca of Macao, which had grown so fast it was bringing in SEVEN times as much as Vegas as of a year ago.
Zou Shiming’s tomato can era has officially ended. In beating Luis de la Rosa on points last weekend, Zou moved to 5-0 (with 1 KO), and he remains on track for a world title bid later this year (though promoter Bob Arum is already talking about his first title defense). Some world champions are clearly tougher than others, but you can’t stage manage a title fight in quite the same way as you can line up a pushover opponent. In other words, shit just got real. Here is this week’s Sports Talk column:
All promotion is about smoke and mirrors to some extent, and none more so than in boxing promotion. I’ve written before about the massaged truth behind exactly how many are actually watching boxing in China (rather than the “estimated” numbers, which are often then reported as fact).
Zou Shiming moved to 3-0 in his professional career with a one-sided points decision over Mexican Juan Tozcano in their six-round fight in Macau last weekend, but was it a convincing performance or just another tomato can victory? Again, it depends on who you believe. It’s telling, though, that six months into his China venture, Zou’s promoter Bob Arum has already conceded that the pay-per-view model won’t work (at least at the moment). That PPV model, of course, was the big reason why Arum tried to crack the China market in the first place.
Pac-Man, Zou Shiming have early start in Macau
Manny Pacquiao takes on Brandon Rios in Macau at around lunchtime on Sunday China time (to ensure a prime-time Saturday evening audience in the US). There was lots of talk from the Manny camp about how this one is for the Philippines given the recent typhoon, but that will all be forgotten when the bell goes. There was also a predictably entertaining build-up with trainers from each side getting into it in the gym – in other words, typical pre-bout stuff.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said he expects around 200 million homes in China to tune in to see the main event, which, as usual, is way, way beyond the realms of reality. Continue reading Weekly Wrap: Beckham, Pacquiao, Liverpool, Asian Cup & ATP
Below is my feature for That’s Beijing on Mike Tyson, who was recently in town to promote a cold/flu supplement that he will never use since, as he proudly announced, he has never had a cold. He was typically enthusiastic, despite admitting alcoholism just days before, and covered a range of topics – obesity, racing pigeons and 10-foot giants. Here’s an extract:
Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao was in Beijing this week, along with legendary boxing promoter Bob Arum, to promote his fight against Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios at the end of November in Macao. I had the chance to interview Manny and some of his camp. Here’s what I found out:
Lists like SportsPro magazine’s Most Marketable Athletes [full list below] are equal parts inspired and enraging. I love the fact that Brazilian Paralympian Alan Oliveira (no. 17) is included, combining his age, talent and good looks with the undoubted boost to Brazilian sport that the next World Cup and Olympics will bring, almost as much as I hate the selection of Seth Jones (39), who is largely unknown even within his own sport, and, at 18, may not even play a single NHL game in the next three years even if he later develops into an All-Star.
Even Homer Simpson knows statistics can be used to prove anything. That’s particularly true in China, where data is not known for being the most reliable. Whether it’s GDP figures, box office numbers or internal accounting, numbers in China are best taken with a sack or two of salt.