(SportsNetwork.com) - It's sure been a rough stretch for the keyboard warriors.
First, Timothy Bradley eschews the very fighting style that got him into their good graces seven months ago and elects to (gasp!) use clear advantages in hand and foot speed to make a potentially compelling slugfest into a far less titillating 12-round clinic over frustrated plodder Juan Manuel Marquez.
"Desert Storm," my eye.
Then, seven days later, one of the guys to whom the toughies point as an example of all that's worthwhile in a boxing ring -- Mike Alvarado -- gets his senses handed to him over the back half of a brawl with Ruslan Provodnikov, and (gasp!) surrenders on his stool between rounds 10 and 11 rather than prolonging the carnage for six more brain-rattling minutes.
And you call yourself a fighter, Alvarado? Pshaw.
In explaining his lumpy-faced sacrilege afterward, the now-twice-beaten Denver wannabe was clearly in violation of the tough guy bylaws when he said, "It was not worth taking more punishment because the damage could be permanent. It was just not my night."
"Permanent damage." "Just not my night." Doesn't he know that nothing beyond a sissy-boy would consider abandoning a fight short of a flat-lining EKG? Isn't he aware that permanent disfigurement or debilitating brain injury aren't just long-term conditions for which there are neither cures nor fanfare, but they're also badges of honor for the "I have an apartment in my Mom's basement" set?
For crying out loud, what is this guy, Victor Ortiz?
Oh sure, Alvarado tried to weasel his way back into the macho men's club by insisting he has "a lot of heart" and that he's "not a quitter," but we all know better, right? One day a guy takes a powder because he's more concerned with long-term health than short-term triumph, and the next thing you know he's begging out of a fight with a broken jaw.
It's enough to make a knuckle-dragger take up tennis.
Meanwhile, in the same last couple of weeks, it's gotten a lot better to be Bradley.
Not only did the WBO welterweight champ add some much-needed credibility to an ill-gotten reign with the defeat of Marquez, but he also ensured that his near-term dance card will remain full regardless of with whom he's promotionally aligned going forward.
Assuming he maintains the status quo as a member of Bob Arum's posse at Top Rank, Bradley could conceivably choose from a pair of past nemeses for the second defense of his crown -- either the suddenly red-hot Provodnikov, or the soon-to-be-resurrected Manny Pacquiao.
Of course, the chance does exist that Pacquiao's return to prominence will be sidetracked by Brandon Rios next month -- adding "Bam Bam" to the mix -- but I equate that to roughly the same probability that I'll hit for $400 million the next time I stroll to the drug store to buy a lottery ticket.
In other words, it sure would be interesting, but I'll hold off on buying the yacht.
Meanwhile, if Bradley tests the promotional waters sans Arum, he conveniently opens the door to showdowns with the remaining mainstream welterweight champs -- WBA claimant Adrien Broner, IBF holder Devon Alexander and the granddaddy of them all, WBC kingpin Floyd Mayweather Jr. -- all of whom either work directly with Golden Boy, or have an active snit with Top Rank.
Not a bad deal for a guy whose only clear win at 147 a year ago was Luis Abregu.
This week's title-fight schedule: