By Umar ben-Ivan Lee (Photo by Paul Gallegos)
School was in session this past Saturday. Erik Morales was the pupil and
Zahir Raheem was his disciplinarian. The befuddled Morales couldn’t figure out why Raheem didn’t want to stand in the middle of the ring and play the game “I hit you and now you hit me.”
For his part Raheem picked and chose his shots and got in and out and
refused to go Caveman on Morales and fight his fight. The lesson for boxing fans is simple; a slick boxer, with some power and a good chin will almost always beat a limited brawler (can anyone say Mayweather-Gatti or Whitaker-Chavez?).
From the day this fight was signed I already knew what the outcome would be and I couldn’t figure out why Top Rank would even want the fight. There were other more attractive options for Morales such as someone along the lines of Julio Diaz or Jorge Barrios that would have made better fights for the Tijuana slugger. They would have fought his fight and more than likely Morales would have knocked them out.
Now boxing fans will be asked by top Rank to pay their hard-earned money to see Manny Pacquiao fight the loser of Morales-Raheem on PPV; go figure? I thought the point was that the winners would fight but this is boxing and nothing ever seems to make sense.
Now the victorious Raheem, who is promoted by Bob Arums Top Rank, is in the situation of being an African-American in an organization that caters to Latinos. This victory should have put Raheem in a position for some big fights after beating a pound-for-pound elite. Instead of this, Bob Arum is talking about putting him on the undercard of Morales-Pacquiao against Almazbek "Kid Diamond" Raiymkulov. Unlike Raheem, Kid Diamond is a fighter that Bob Arum is really trying to push and this will be another fight in which Top Rank will cross their fingers and hope for Raheem to lose.
The logical course for Raheem would be to fight the winner of Corrales-Castillo II. With his win over Morales Raheem is now the biggest name in the lightweight division next to the two and a matchup between him and either Corrales or Castillo would be extremely entertaining. If for whatever reason that fight could not be made Raheem could fight the loser of the bout, to solidify a number two position in the division, or take on belt holders Juan Diaz or Jorge Barrios.
Then of course there is another option, a very attractive option, and that is a bout between Raheem and Marco Antonio Barrera and that is a bout that I doubt Golden Boy promotions would want to touch, but it would be a fans treat.
After doing his work in the ring Raheem must now face the difficulties of the business of boxing. Because of his style fighters will avoid him, and because he does not have the package to produce a mass fan base or a sweetheart deal with HBO, he may be fighting his toughest fights in the year to come with Top Rank.
Umar ben-Ivan Lee may be contacted at [email protected]