First, a highly anticipated superfight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather is called off because the two sides could not bridge a 10-day gap on drug testing.
Not money, which would have been at least fathomable. Not the selection of judges, which would have been believable.
Drug testing. Incredible.
Then Top Rank, Pacquiao's promoter, insults the boxing public by matching Pacquiao against Joshua Clottey, a once-upon-a-time welterweight contender who is coming off a loss to Miguel Cotto. The same Cotto who Pacquiao, quite literally, wiped the canvas with in November.
That was followed by Golden Boy Promotions, in a completely unrelated but equally stomach-churning move, announcing that Bernard Hopkins would go ahead with a planned fight against Roy Jones Jr. This after the fight was initially -- and rightfully -- scuttled when Jones was beaten post-to-post by Danny Green (I know, look him up) in a 1st-round knockout in December.
(Memo to HBO and Showtime -- don't offer up a penny for that one.)
In less than a month, two fighters and two promotion companies had wiped out improbable momentum boxing had built at the end of 2009.
But just as suddenly, the sport has a chance to grab it back.
Sometime in the next few days Golden Boy will announce a May fight between Mayweather and Shane Mosley. It's a matchup that became possible when Andre Berto, his personal life rocked by the recent earthquake in his native Haiti, withdrew from his scheduled Jan. 30 bout with Mosley. On Monday, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told SI.com that he planned to work around the clock to hammer out a deal, one that will likely include blood testing (Mosley says he will agree to it, and Schaefer believes it's good for the sport) and a split that will guarantee Mayweather the bigger payday. Mosley won't bicker over the details (he's been positioning himself for this fight for more than a year) and Mayweather will jump at the chance to give a look-at-me-I'm-fighting-a-top-welterweight speech in front of a bank of cameras.
And boxing will suddenly be shocked back to life.
The boxing-is-dying column is one that has become a mainstay in the archives of most national scribes. Oftentimes, they are filled with hyperbole. However in recent weeks, they have been laced with more facts. The collapse of Paquiao-Mayweather, which was getting as much or more mainstream coverage than any NBA or MLB playoff game, cast a spotlight on the sports recent failures.
Kelly Pavlik, once the darling of the middleweight division, had become an afterthought following a string of injuries.
Antonio Margarito loaded his gloves.
The heavyweight division had a potential big fight. Unfortunately, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko's mom has forbidden them from fighting each other.
The 2010 schedule was littered with mismatches and yawners. Now, it has a date that will have everyone circling their calendars.
Mosley-Mayweather doesn't have the same cache as Paquiao-Mayweather. It won't determine the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and it won't break any Pay Per View records. But it's a legitimate showdown between two elite fighters who fight at the same weight and have contrasting styles. Mosley will press the action and take the fight to Mayweather. And Mayweather will counterpunch and look to score big with flurries.
The result will be entertaining.
Certainly one fight cannot restore the momentum that was lost. And the sport still needs Pacquiao-Mayweather to happen. But for the first time in weeks, boxing has some excitement.
Its foot can start to heal.