Quick Jabs: Kelly Pavlik’s Unclosed Fist; Junior Welterweight Merry-Go-Round; Yodeller Fight!; More

All shall be revealed.

Quick Jabs

Here’s your complimentary “rest of the schedule” rundown, besides the last two blog entries where we ran down six different fights, as if those weren’t enough. Today, we got welterweight alphabet titlist Isaac Hlatshwayo defends his belt against someone named Dejan Zaveck. That should clear up who the real welterweight champion is! On the Vitali Klitschko-Kevin Johnson undercard Saturday, there’s another heavyweight fight of moderate note, between unproven Alexander Ustinov and Monte Barrett, who’s sinking below the level of “trial horse” but still is better than anyone Ustinov’s fought. Also Saturday, they’ve absolutely loaded up the undercard of the junior welterweight rematch between Juan Diaz and Paulie Malignaggi, 10 fights in all. They include everyone from Randall Bailey making his welterweight debut to junior welterweight prospect Hylon Williams. If you live in Chicago, you’d be stupid not to go to this event — lots of value for the dollar, plus a great main event. And if you’re an Oleg Maskaev fanatic — who isn’t? — you can watch his heavyweight fight against Nagy Aguilera on NESportsTV.com for a mere $15. (I’m assuming there’s like, zero overhead on that. No way they get a return on their investment on that otherwise. Which kind of proves we should have more fights on the Internet, if somebody thinks they can make a dime off webcasting a Maskaev fight, for crissakes.)….

There’s been a lot of jousting over the location for Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao. Everyone was headed to Dallas this week to see about Cowboy Stadium, before Golden Boy Promotions’ Richard Schaefer suddenly pulled out and said his side didn’t want the fight there. Weird. Then all a sudden GBP’s pals at Staples Center have some huge money offer on the table. Weird. But Pacquiao doesn’t want to fight in L.A. for some mysterious reason, so then Dallas is back on the map. So much weird. Steve Kim at Maxboxing makes a hell of a good argument for holding the fight anywhere but Vegas. I’m convinced, and as attractive as the Dallas offer looks like it was going to be — Kim reports the hell out of that — I’d prefer it be anywhere but Dallas more. Texas’ commission is so terrible, so hideous, that I do not trust their ability to handle routine fights, let alone one of the biggest fights ever. Can you imagine Gale Van Hoy judging this fight, and what a disaster it would be? So, anywhere but Dallas. Vegas isn’t such a good option either. I still like New Orleans. (P.S. Some of this info came from BoxingScene, but I won’t link to it. I just got a message when I clicked on one of their articles about something seeking “unauthorized access” to my computer. I can’t link to BoxingScene anymore. They said they had this fixed, and they evidently don’t. You’ll just have to take my word for the veracity of the information at reported here, or risk getting a virus when you go to see for yourself.)…

The extra-rigorous drug testing Pacquiao and Mayweather will undergo for this fight will, I’m guessing, in the end kill any notion Pacquiao is on steroids. But it will fuel the discussion until then, unfortunately. I have a co-worker who knows little of boxing but asks me about Mayweather-Pacquiao and is always saying, “Pacquiao, he’s a steroid freak, isn’t he?” That such a baseless accusation could make its way into the discussion ticks me off, but I’m going to stop obsessing about it. The storyline is cemented. It’s here to stay…

So middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik may never be able to close his injured fist all the way again, according to his manager, as a result of his lengthy staph infection. That sounds like quite an inhibition for a boxer. I’m not sure I believe it’s true. But it’s worth passing along…

The Hall of Fame for this year has been announced, and it’s a less-than-stellar class, minus non-boxers like Howard Cosell. I used to be lukewarm on the idea of Naseem Hamed making the class, but ESPN’s Dan Rafael has won me over. Maybe next time, but if he couldn’t make it in with this class, I don’t know when he would have…

So sucky middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. failed a drug test, having taken a diuretic known to cover up steroid use. My first reaction was, TAKE BETTER STEROIDS. How can someone so bad have been on performance enhancing drugs?…

Welterweight Miguel Cotto is facing a sexual harassment lawsuit that on the surface sounds more than a little ludicrous (Nip/Tuck is porn?) but let’s not forget that Cotto himself has said he never was a “perfect husband.” If it turns out to be real, we shouldn’t be surprised, is all I’m saying. The good news is Pacquiao invited him to his birthday party, just a few weeks after kicking his ass all over creation. This Pacquiao kid just tickles me pink…

Welterweight Delvin Rodriguez may protest his decision loss to Rafel Jackiewicz. Only nobody has any basis for doing so, other than “We think we won.” And maybe he deserved to. I just wish I understood why promoters file all these protests. It ain’t gonna change a thing. Is it a PR move? Just to get a little ink for their guy, keep him in the discussion? I can’t think of any other reason…

Heavyweight David Haye (who might hook up with top trainer Freddie Roach, per ESPN) is trash-talking the Klitschko brothers again in advance of Vitali’s fight this weekend against Kevin Johnson in Switzerland. He said: “The Klitschkos don’t care about being great fighters, whereas I do. They may be big in Switzerland, but so are yodellers, and nobody wants to watch them fight.” I say: Speak for yourself, David. I ABSOLUTELY want to watch some yodellers fight. Look at how they dress! That’s instant comedy. And when they took a body shot, would they go, “Yodel-ay-yodel-ay-yodel-ay-he-OOF?” Comedy, comedy, comedy.

I told you all would be revealed.


Round And Round

Former junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton is to the point where he’s saying if he’s going to fight again, it’ll be only once. He wants it to be Juan Manuel Marquez or Oscar De La Hoya. It’s all just talk at this point. There are people who are convinced Oscar will come back to the ring, and there are people who doubt Hatton will fight only once (if he wins, especially). I’m just on-passing.

Lost in the aftermath of the middleweight classic put on by Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez is that Williams had a bad cut from a head butt that he fought through like it never even happened, which is just as rare a thing as you’ll see with a cut boxer. It took 36 stitches to seal the wound and a lesser cut over his other eye. Anyway, Williams wants to fight again in March or April, and his promoter is talking up a rematch with Martinez then. And he says it has to happen in 2010, one way or the other. I’m telling you: Williams stock as a boxer might have dipped for some after the difficult time he had with Martinez, but his guts ought to go up to yet another level.

There was some talk that Sakio Bika and Allan Green could fight to decide who would replace Jermain Taylor in Showtime’s super middleweight tournament. That sounds great.

I broke one of my own rules this week by posting a Tweet with junior lightweight Robert Guerrero saying he’d be fighting Chris John in 2010, then getting excited about that bout being added to a stacked 2010 lineup already. The rule is: Don’t believe a fight is happening until both sides say it is. Naturally, John’s team said the fight wasn’t happening, and that he’s staying at featherweight where a lot of the action is. Makes sense. Shame on me.

There’s all kinds of chatter about a few junior welterweights meeting up. Amir Khan and his desire to have a fight in America figures into a lot of the talk. He could fight Victor Ortiz; he wants to fight Hatton, who says he doesn’t want to do it and Khan promoter Frank Warren doesn’t like the fight, given the bad blood he has with Hatton, more than anything; he could fight Zab Judah, which would be a match-up of potential Pacquiao/Mayweather sparring partners. The fight that looks exceedingly unlikely is Khan facing his alphabet belt’s mandatory challenger, Marcos Maidana. Khan very well might drop the belt rather than face Maidana, which you could see coming a mile away due to Khan’s bad chin and Maidana’s big power, but it just strikes me as a little cowardly. I’d put my money on the latest, which is Khan-Ortiz in an HBO double-header March 6 with Devon Alexander-Maidana. Both are good fights, assuming Ortiz wins this weekend. Also, with Nate Campbell apparently hooking up with Golden Boy and separating himself from Don King, the nice fight with Kendall Holt is looking more likely.

Edwin Valero-Antonio DeMarco is getting closer for Feb. 6, it looks like. The idea of DeMarco, the mandatory challenger to Valero’s belt, beating Valero gets less far-fetched with every DeMarco win, but I still think it’s a very dangerous bout for the youngster. It would have to be in Mexico or Texas, and even Texas is doubtful because of Valero’s visa problems, and Showtime would pick it up.

Glen Johnson had talked about moving up to cruiserweight, but he might get a mandatory title shot at light heavyweight if he beats Yusaf Mack, which sounds like a pretty good little brawl to me. The winner would get Tavoris Cloud, and while I think Cloud may be too young and fresh for Johnson and too good for Mack, that’s another good brawl either way.

Junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo is looking at Ricardo Mayorga or Joel Julio next — been there, done that level of opponent, don’t want to see either — or Anthony Mundine. Angulo-Mundine is a fight I could get behind.

Britain’s Matthew Macklin wants a piece of Pavlik. It doesn’t sound all that feasible to me. I suppose it depends on whether Pavlik wants to keep fighting guys who are barely top-10 worthy or worse, or if he wants to stop milking his career and fight a more proven opponent.

There’s a whole little movement on the Internet that heavyweight Chris Arreola is somehow ducking James Toney. I don’t get it. I love Toney — he’s one of my all-time favorites — but anybody who thinks Toney isn’t shot, I don’t know what to tell ’em. I don’t think the fight would even be close.

Danny Williams-Sam Sexton at heavyweight may not be the kind of fight that changes the world, but it sounds like a pretty decent scrap on paper, and it’s in the works for Feb. 13.

(Round and Round sourcing: ESPN; BoxingScene; FightHype; The Independent; Fightnews)

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.