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 Interesting FIGHTNEWS article on Lou Dibella...worth reading.

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PostSubject: Interesting FIGHTNEWS article on Lou Dibella...worth reading.   Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:22 pm

15
Oct
2009 Lou DiBella on Boxing

By Matt Richardson


Jeff Julian
Lou DiBella laughs when his past criticism of boxing is brought up. As a former television executive instrumental in the production of classic fights on HBO and as a current promoter of some of the sport’s top talent, DiBella, 49, has never shied from being a vocal critic of the sport he advocates for. He does, however, take exception to being labeled as such. “I’m a critic but my criticism comes from love,” DiBella explained to Fightnews in an exclusive interview last weekend. “I think what I do is try to be realistic about the sport and I believe if we’re not self-critical and we’re not self-aware and trying to make changes to disrupt the status quo to try to return ourselves to some of our old glory, then we’re going to continue to be more marginalized. But I’ve also been one of boxing’s biggest fans and have dedicated 20 years of my life to it.”

As the promoter of such names as Andre Berto, Glen Johnson, Paulie Malignaggi and Jermain Taylor, DiBella has a good finger on the pulse of the sport. He has been steadily working on making two big fights for the upcoming months: Berto versus welterweight champ Shane Mosley on January 30th and Malignaggi in a rematch with Juan Diaz for December 12th. “Berto and Mosley is not finalized yet but I am optimistic it will get done,” he said. “There are some issues that are outstanding between Team Berto and HBO that have to be worked out but I am optimistic on that. I won’t expound a little bit. It’s really just contractual stuff I have to work out. With respect to the Paulie-Diaz fight; we’ve been told that it’s basically a done deal. I’m waiting for a contract from Golden Boy that they told me I would receive today (Sunday) and I’m also waiting for confirmation that Juan and Willie (Savannah) signed on the dotted line. And the fight will either be in the Mandalay Bay in Vegas or Chicago.”

Just hours before heading to Berlin for Taylor’s first fight in the “Super Six,” DiBella broke down his fighter’s chances against rising middleweight title-holder Arthur Abraham. “It’s a very, very difficult fight when you go into Germany and fight a top-notch German guy,” said DiBella. “It’s a terrible disadvantage to be the visitor in Germany for a lot of reasons. And Arthur Abraham is one of the strongest guys in boxing. I think he proved that with his survival of the broken jaw and beating Miranda in that fight where he was so damaged. But with that being said, I think Jermain’s bigger, I think Jermain’s faster, I think Jermain’s stronger and more experienced. I also think Jermain is not going to be overwhelmed by the hostile and foreign crowd. He’s been there before. So, I like Jermain’s chances a great deal but I realize it’s a very, very difficult fight and I realize it’s in the lion’s den.”

DiBella does, however, feel his fighter has the tools to win the whole tournament. And he already foresees Taylor’s opponent in the finals. “I think Kessler is the favorite in the tournament,” he said. “I think if I had to pick a dark horse, it would be Dirrell based on his athletic ability. But the thing about this tournament is that anybody can win any fight. Froch and Dirrell is a hell of a match up. Taylor and Abraham is a hell of a match up. Ward and Kessler is a hell of a match up. And when they start getting into round two, they’re still all good match ups. I think very few of these guys are going to go through the tournament undefeated and I think it’s going to be very interesting as the round robin progresses.”

DiBella’s attention will not solely be focused on the “Super Six,” though. When he returns to the United States he has important fights lined up for Johnson (in a rematch of a controversial fight against Chad Dawson) and Carlos Quintana (against the always tough Joshua Clottey).

“I thought Johnson beat Dawson the first time,” DiBella said. “But Dawson is young and hungry and skilled and you never know when Glen’s going to get old in the ring but I give Glen a tremendous chance. Never underestimate ‘The Road Warrior’ and he’s going to try to put Chad through hell so I give Glen a great chance. I think he’s a very live underdog,” he said.

“As for Quintana versus Clottey, It’s a very interesting clash of styles,” DiBella reasoned. “Quintana is much more of a pure boxer and Clottey’s more of a straight ahead sort of brawler. Quintana has shown that he can be knocked out and Clottey, basically, you can hit him in the head with a bat and probably not knock him out. But as Quintana proved against Paul Williams, he’s capable of fighting a perfect fight and as Clottey’s proven too many times, he has a tendency just to fall short. So I think it’s a very good, crossroads defining fight for two guys who are still up in the top 7 or 8 welterweights in the world.”

Speaking of welterweights, DiBella said he was impressed by the million pay-per-view buys former welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather secured in his comeback fight last month against Juan Manuel Marquez. According to DiBella, the numbers don’t lie. “It proves that Floyd’s a star,” he said. “It doesn’t prove the sport’s back. It proves the sport can still be an attraction but we need stars and we need personality. Floyd’s an entertainer. He made himself an entertainer. This is what people don’t understand about why Allen Iverson is popular. Why? He’s got charisma. He’s an entertainer. He understands entertainment. Floyd did a million buys because Floyd’s willing to go on WWF, ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ ‘Men’s Health’ magazine…and he’s out there. It proves that Floyd’s an urban superstar. It proves that a fighter can transcend boxing. That million buys was all about Floyd. That wasn’t a fight. It had nothing to do with Marquez.”

“It had to do with the fact that Floyd was coming back and that Floyd has established himself in some non-traditional pay-per-view markets,” DiBella continued. “The urban segment of pay-per-view hasn’t been as strong, as least since the days of Tyson, it hasn’t been as strong as it showed itself the night that Floyd just fought. And I think that’s a reflection of the fact that Floyd has become a crossover star, an urban star and a celebrity and entertainer. So props to him.”

And how big would a “Money” Mayweather – Manny Pacquiao clash be? “I think it’s fairly enormous,” DiBella said without hesitation. “I think it’s very, very big. But don’t be surprised if it doesn’t get there because anyone who’s discounting Cotto isn’t paying attention. He’s got a very good chance, particularly from a punchers perspective.”

So could a mega fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao halt, albeit even temporarily, the criticism HBO has recently encountered over the quality of their product? DiBella, for his part, wasn’t biting at the bit to criticize his former employer.

“I still think that HBO is an integral force in boxing world wide and one of the most important checkbooks in the sport,” he said. “So I support making the best fights. I support making their lives easier. I believe that the promoters, the managers and the fighters have to take responsibility for our own sport to a much greater extent. Other than that, I have nothing to comment on HBO.”

Really? Nothing at all? “I think that the past is the past,” he said. “I’ll quote the words of the great Don Henley. He said don’t look back, you can never look back.”

So, for DiBella, what happened in the past is over. While not quite eternally optimistic, DiBella does feel that with the right elements, right fights and right fighters, boxing overall and his company in particular can improve. “I think that was a great weekend for me two weeks ago with some my prospects going 6 and 0. I think (super middleweight) Marcus Johnson and (middleweight) Edwin Rodriguez, two of the young guys; I think they are going to be super. And I think Antwone Smith is already, at 22 years old, one of the best welterweights in the world. I thought Allen Green performed well against a very difficult fighter to fight,” DiBella said.

“So I think that was a good weekend,” he said. “And I think I’ve got some good stuff ahead. I think my company is situated well to end the year strongly and have a strong 2010.”

So could the vocal critic be optimistic? Sure sounds like it. Just don’t tell him we said so.
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PostSubject: Re: Interesting FIGHTNEWS article on Lou Dibella...worth reading.   Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:33 pm

What a great article to read because it covers so many areas of the sport. I would have loved to be sittin with Lou at a local tavern hearin all of this stuff!

Pacman Loses to Cotto in Nov.
Pacman still fights Floyd next year (early summer)
Cotto fights Mosley again next summer or Berto (doubt it)
Cotto fights floyd in winter next year!
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Interesting FIGHTNEWS article on Lou Dibella...worth reading.
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