Quick Jabs: Jones-Trinidad Weigh-In Drama, De La Hoya In A Tune-Up And Robber Barron Networks Turned Consumer-Friendly

When it don’t fit nowhere else, I shoehorn it into this here “Quick Jabs”:

  • The holdup on Bernard Hopkins-Joe Calzaghe — a compelling meeting of two of the top-10 best boxers still lacin’ ’em up — is that Golden Boy Promotions is trying to convert it from a pay-per-view fight to a regular HBO fight. Well, now. That’s something. I mean it: That’s really something. If it starts a trend, it goes from “praise-worthy” to “completely, unabashedly awesome.” But wait, THAT’S NOT ALL! They’d also move the date from April 12 to April 19. You know what that means? On April 19, we’d have a highly meaningful light heavyweight (175 lbs.) showdown, coming one weekend after — instead of at the same time as — a separate highly meaningful April 12 light heavyweight showdown between young gun Chad Dawson and dangerous vet Glen Johnson that is to air on Showtime. In one fell swoop, then, poor boxing fans would get a salve for their long-suffering wallets AND not have to choose between two really good fights. The other good part about the swoop? It would expand the number of viewers who see both fights, thereby possibly generating momentum for the winners of both fights to meet. I like all of the possible match-ups from there: Hopkins-Dawson (ultimate craft vs. ultimate talent!); Hopkins-Johnson (rematch!); Calzaghe-Dawson (speed vs. speed!); and Calzaghe-Johnson (record-breaking punch counts!). All of those are better than Calzaghe or Hopkins fighting Roy Jones or Felix Trinidad. That’s looking too far ahead, but the possibilities are all there. This week may have shown boxing hasn’t learned all of the lessons of a stellar 2007, but if this comes through, it’s a course correction for sure.
  • Showtime, meanwhile, continues to rebound from a dismal 2007: It’s picking up David Haye-Enzo Maccarinelli on March 8, an all-British superfight for cruiserweight (200 lbs.) supremacy that virtually promises to be a slugfest. And so, one of the best fights of early 2008 is suddenly available in America. Will it pay off for Showtime? No clue. Calzaghe-Mikkel Kessler did historically bad business for HBO last year, partly because both were overseas fighters who’d received little attention in the U.S. But Showtime is doing right by the hardcore fans, so kudos to them.
  • There was a bit of drama Friday over at the weigh-in for tonight’s Jones-Trinidad meeting. Trinidad, apparently, was the one who had trouble making the 170-pound limit. And he looked a little doughy by comparison to Jones. That’s a turnabout, isn’t it? Everyone thought Jones would be the one squeezing down to 170, but the Trinidad team said he had to squeeze down from 200 lbs. If I had placed a bet on Trinidad before today — and I gave some thought to it, given the payout for Trinidad winning and the real chance that Jones’ chin would fail him yet again — I’d have wished I didn’t. Bad sign for Trinidad. Way to sham up the fight that was already dubiously shammed-up, man. But neither of them have to worry about their own money, because they’re both making an outrageous amount of cash for fighting each other. Honestly, I’ve said all the good and bad I can and will say about this fight, but $15 million for Trinidad and $8.5 million for Jones, plus a bonus for ppv buys? Unbelievable. (Jones tried to make a stink about getting to use the gloves he wanted because Trinidad was over weight on his first try — he got it the second go-round — but by my reading, it’s all sound and fury, signifying nothing.)
  • From the Department of Speaking Too Soon come yet more intriguing fights in the works in the last week, week and a half. The biggest-name one to add to the list? Oscar De La Hoya’s looking at a tune-up fight in May before his rematch with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Possible names, all of whom would move up from the 140-pound division to about 150 to fight “The Golden Boy”: Paulie Malignaggi, the light-hitting but talented showman who looked rusty in his last fight; Steve Forbes, ex- of “The Contender” TV show; and Dmitriy Salita, a rare orthodox Jewish fighter popular in New York. All three, I expect, would be lambs to the slaughter, but it looks to be on HBO, not HBO pay-per-view, so I’d watch. The most compelling fight to add to the list? Discussions between Joel Julio and James Kirkland. HBO’s said to be interested in the fight for April or May. These two junior middleweight prospects (154 lbs.) are both on the cusp of contending for a title, but the main thing is that both are pure dynamite. I bet they’d put the new Rambo movie to shame if they fought. No way that one would go the distance. For similar “fight of the year” potential, but with an element of “granite chin” not found in Julio/Kirkland, look to the undercard of Manny Pacquiao/Juan Manuel Marquez in March, when super middleweights (168 lbs.) Librado Andrade and Sakio Bika are expected to throw down. That Bika and Andrade got hurt in their last respective fights was major news, because before, they’d each taken so much punishment so routinely that the only conceivable possibility was that they were Terminators from the future. (Sticking with the 80s movie revival theme.) Both throw unbelievably crazy-ass punches, too. While cuz Bernard is getting ready for his attempt to conquer Britain, Demetrius Hopkins is planning to make Junior Witter his equivalent to B-Hop’s Calzaghe March 22. A nice fight for two top-10 140-pounders, that. Speaking of: Talks are underway for an injustice to be rectified in a rematch between Kendall Holt and Ricardo Torres. The first time they fought a hometown Colombian referee and beer-throwing Colombian crowd led to a premature stoppage in the Colombian Torres’ favor. The rematch is tentatively on the April undercard of Miguel Cotto-Alfonso Gomez, which is noteworthy because Torres’ nearly snuffed Cotto’s stardom a few years back in an amazing fight, in the process helping Cotto become the star he is today. And lastly, middleweights (160 lbs.) Arthur Abraham and Giovanni Lorenzo would fight in Germany in the spring (I thought Abraham wanted to come to America? He should) while a personal favorite of mine, 112-pounder Nonito Donaire, would fight Hussein Hussein in Dubai in March.
  • ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael says Michel Trabant is the toughest test of welterweight (147 lbs.) prospect-turning-contender Andre Berto’s career. Not by my reading, obviously. I don’t know much about Trabant, though, so who am I to say?

(Sources: Hopkins/Calzaghe, Julio/Kirkland, Hopkins/Witter, Andrade/Bika, Donaire/Hussein Abraham/Lorenzo, Berto/Trabant, ESPN.com; De La Hoya news, ESPN.com; Torres/Holt, BoxingScene.com; Jones/Trinidad weigh-in, BoxingTalk.com and my own eyes)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.