Antonio Margarito feels like he should still have the WBO welterweight championship around his waist.
But after he dropped the belt to Paul Williams in Carson, Calif., on July 14, Margarito laid blame for the loss in many places, including judges Tom Miller, Marty Sammon and David Mendoza and Williams promoter Dan Goossen.
But three months later, after having sat in front of the television a few times, he has discovered a new culprit: Himself. He still believes he did enough to win, but admits he didn't do enough to close the show.
"Sometimes you get too overconfident in the ring and it was a good lesson for me," said Margarito, who before the Williams fight had been pushed as the most feared man in boxing. "When I saw fight later, I could understand the people who thought Williams won. During the fight itself, I was very confident I was doing enough to win.
"But watching the tape, I could see why people gave Williams the early rounds. He wasn't getting to me, but he was throwing a lot and I could see why people thought he was winning. Knowing what I know now, I would have come out harder in the 12th looking for the knockout. I almost had him out in the 11th, but I thought I was ahead and I didn't do enough to finish him in the 12th and that was my fault. I'll never do that again."
Instead of taking on a big-money fight against WBA welterweight champion Miguel Cotto, the loss to Williams has dropped Margarito down the card. He'll now be facing veteran Golden Johnson on the undercard of Cotto's Nov. 10 title defense against Shane Mosley in New York.
And though he says bravely that he thinks he can land a bout against one of the division's four big names – Mosley, Cotto, Oscar De La Hoya or Floyd Mayweather Jr. – with a win, the reality is that a lot of things have to go his way for him to get close to any of those guys any time soon.
But he misses the feeling of being a champion and is determined to win a belt back soon.
"I was a champion for a long time and I believe I'll be a champion again," Margarito said. "But now, it's obvious. I have to win every fight. I can still be important in this division, but I have to win and I have to go out and make good fights."
Top Rank's Bob Arum promoted Mayweather for most of the pound-for-pound top fighter's career until a nasty split in late 2005 severed their relationship.
But Arum still doesn't expect Mayweather to have much difficulty defeating Ricky Hatton when the two meet on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
Arum was talking about matching Cotto, whom he promotes, with De La Hoya sometime next year. Arum said De La Hoya told him he'd like to arrange a fight with Hatton should Hatton defeat Mayweather, but that he would consider Cotto if Mayweather won.
And Arum made it clear that he doesn't believe Hatton is going to be stepping into the ring with the Golden Boy any time soon.
"(A Hatton win is) as unlikely as the sun not coming up tomorrow," Arum said.
A MONEY MAKER
Arum is funding a Dec. 1 pay-per-view show from Albuquerque, N.M., that features Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the main event against Ray Sanchez.
And though the card is going against a free card on Showtime that features two of the sport's bigger names, Vernon Forrest and Antonio Tarver, Arum is convinced he'll turn a profit.
He's expecting a large paid gate in the heavily Hispanic community of Albuquerque, N.M., where Chavez' father, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., is still revered. He has landed a bounty of money for rights fees in Mexican and he expects to make other foreign television distribution deals.
"Virtually, if not actually, I make a profit from the first dollar of the first pay-per-view," Arum said. "If we do 20,000 homes, which we should easily do, I'll make a big payday. If I 50,000 homes, it's a Christmas for me."
Arum said the Showtime card, which features Forrest vs. Michele Piccirillo for the WBC super welterweight title and Tarver vs. Danny Green for a minor light heavyweight belt, won't affect his card at all.
And because Showtime is delayed on the West Coast, Arum said boxing fans can watch his show live and then tune in to the tape delay broadcast of the Showtime card.
"That card has absolutely no appeal for the fan who is going to be attracted to our card," Arum said. "And let's be honest: Who gives a shit about Tarver against some Australian guy nobody has heard of. And Forrest is fighting a guy I literally thought retired three or four years ago. It will have zero impact."
Showtime's ShoBox series will reach a milestone on Nov. 2 when it celebrates the 100th broadcast in its six-year series.
The series was designed as a way to showcase up-and-coming young fighters in competitive fights, eschewing the prospect vs. tomato can bouts that once were a staple on premium cable.
Among the fighters who appeared on Showtime are Hatton, WBC-WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, former IBF super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy, WBC lightweight champion David Diaz and IBF featherweight champion Robert Guerrero.
The 100th telecast will feature a heavyweight match between unbeaten Eddie Chambers (29-0, 16 KOs) against veteran Calvin Brock (31-1, 23 KOs). The winner of that fight will then meet the winner of Saturday's fight in Germany between Chris Byrd and Alexander Povetkin for the right to become the mandatory challenger to IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko.
NOT THE SAME
When Joe Calzaghe (43-0, 32 KOs) meets Mikkel Kessler (39-0, 29 KOs) for the WBC-WBA-WBO super middleweight belts on Nov. 3 in Cardiff, Wales, a fight that will be broadcast live on HBO, it won't be the first time he's fought in a 168-pound unification bout against an opponent with a perfect record.
He blew out Lacy when they met on March 4, 2006. Lacy was 21-0 with 17 knockouts going into that fight, but Calzaghe won every minute of every round.
But though he predicts victory over Kessler, he says he believes Kessler is a superior opponent to Lacy.
"I would say Kessler's a better fighter than Lacy," Calzaghe said. "Lacy is more one-dimensional and predictable. Obviously, Kessler is more a thinking fighter, he's taller. I think he's a better fighter than Lacy but I'm more confident in this fight. I'm more relaxed in the buildup to this fight than I was in Lacy fight.
"I had problems going into the Lacy fight with injuries and so on. It affected me slightly, but with this fight, everything has gone smoothly. I've been in great shape. I'm at peace and I'm looking forward to it. It's still my time."