So I’m not covering the Nov. 16 Andre Ward-Edwin Rodriguez fight about 400 miles from the Bay Area in Ontario, Calif. But I am covering the Nov. 9 Nonito Donaire-Vic Darchinyan fight about 2,400 miles from the Bay Area in Corpus Christi, Texas.
And you’re thinking, “What’s up with that?” After all, the Ward fight is the less predictable of the two, and that would be the case even if Ward hadn’t been idle more than a year since his resounding victory over Chad Dawson.
Rodriguez (24-0, 14 knockouts) is a lanky, well-schooled boxer with some pop. He somewhat resembles the fighter many fans perceived Ward to be when Andre was still better-known for his 2004 Olympic gold medal than his pro achievements.
The Donaire-Darchinyan rematch shapes up as an easy unanimous decision victory for Donaire and not a reprise of their rousing first meeting, in which Donaire scored a shocking fifth-round knockout over the then-flyweight champion.
But the bottom line is that I’d rather be in Corpus Christi, where my four years long ago at the local daily newspaper, the Caller-Times, improved my journalism career trajectory quite a lot and where I met my wife. I am way overdue to revisit the Sparkling City By the Sea, and I’m overdue to cover a Donaire fight; he has fought five times since I covered his New York bout with Omar Narvaez in 2011.
It’s all breaking right. I can be spared from my copy editing duties at the San Francisco Chronicle that week and I was able to persuade the Chronicle to run my advance and fight-night stories, which will beat anything else the Sporting Green will have access to from that fight. I’ll get paid for the two stories I write but am on my own for travel expenses. Still, I’ll get much better accommodations at the fight venue representing the Chronicle than I would otherwise.Although I’ve barely met promoter Bob Arum, I’m well-connected to the Top Rank publicity team.
The following weekend, I cannot be spared from the desk, the Chronicle can get good Ward coverage without my help, and I’m not eager to cover a fight in Ontario, anyway. Although I have a good relationship with promoter Dan Goossen, I miss the presence of publicist Marylyn Aceves, who has moved over to Golden Boy Promotions. Ward plans to move over to Top Rank and things are not hunky-dory between Goossen and his superstar.
And by the way, Ward barely knows who I am. Donaire knows me.
These variable might matter less if Ward were fighting Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. or recent Dawson conqueror Adonis Stevenson, each of whom has a bout Saturday, with Stevenson’s opponent, Tavoris Cloud, providing a barometer for formadibility.
But that’s not the scenario at hand this fall.
With Donaire coming off his first loss in a dozen years and fighting a revenge-bent opponent with a puncher’s chance, it’s an important moment in the career of the “Filipino Flash.” I gotta be there.