Quick Jabs: Floyd Mayweather – Manny Pacquiao Getting Very Close; Victor Conte + Andre Ward = ?; Misunderstanding What “European” Is; More

You want to question whether somebody’s on performance-enhancing drugs? Evidently, plenty of people in boxing do, based on numerous unfounded allegations against the best boxer in the sport. But how’s this for eyebrow-raising material: Super middleweight Andre Ward and heavyweight Eddie Chambers are both clients of Victor Conte, the BALCO founder who claims he’s gone legit. Why would anybody trust this guy? Why would anybody want to risk their reputation by taking any supplements from this guy? It’s bad news to see Ward and Chambers, both fighters I like a good deal, rubbing shoulders with Conte. I’m not accusing anyone of anything. But I’ve talked a lot about at what point someone can be legitimately questioned, and “client of Conte” meets that threshold for me.

There is better and/or more entertaining news in boxing this week, news I’ve neglected a little by focusing so heavily on the fights in Philadelphia and Atlantic City I’ve been covering live. Besides the items in the headlines, we’ve got two big-name fighters deciding on their future in the sport; a variety of opponent options for Bernard Hopkins, Danny Green and Chad Dawson; a revision of a previous view; plus plenty more.

Quick Jabs

My immediate reaction, after lightweight Ali Funeka got ripped off by the judges who gave a draw to Joan Guzman last weekend, was that the IBF should order a rematch. I’d like to revise that, in light of the views others have expressed that are more convincing. Funeka shouldn’t have to fight Guzman again, as he clearly beat him. I’m not saying the IBF should make Funeka the interim champion, the way some have. But maybe he should be able to fight for the title again against the next available ranked contender, which would be somebody like Rolando Reyes. If I were in charge of the universe, the IBF belt wouldn’t matter at all, by the way, but I do have an interest in these organizations being fair as long as they exist…

A few other noteworthy details on Funeka-Guzman. According to Funeka’s promoter Gary Shaw, Guzman said at the news conference after that his corner and his promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, wanted the fight stopped after the 11th round. And Guzman gets some credit from me for, apparently, never saying he won the fight. Also, per Dan Rafael, the two judges who scored it a draw, Alan Davis and Benoit Roussel, scored every round the same. Uh. That looks weird. Shaw’s calls for Interpol to investigate don’t sound so outlandish now…

Despite what he said on his Twitter page, Jermain Taylor still hasn’t decided what he’s going to do vis-a-vis his ongoing participation in Showtime’s super middleweight tournament. He’s likely going to decide next week. And Roy Jones, Jr. is contemplating retirement himself. I’d like to see both men go. Taylor has been savagely, frighteningly knocked out in three of his last five fights, four of which he’s lost, and he ended up in the hospital with a concussion and short-term memory loss after the last one. That is EXACTLY the kind of person who shouldn’t be boxing for a living anymore. Jones, for his part, just can’t fight at a high level anymore without the risk of being badly knocked out himself, and while I’m less worried about his health than Taylor’s, I just don’t see what the point is for him to continue at age 41…

Middleweight Winky Wright’s fight next weekend in Puerto Rico against Grady Brewer has been canceled for lack of financial backing. I know, I know, everyone’s really sad that they won’t be able to see that fight, which looked like a terrible, terrible fight on paper, and I’m sure the people of PR are sad they won’t be able to see local hero (?) Wright in action. But that aside, I wish Wright could get his career on track. I’m not much of a fan, mind you, but I respect his abilities. He just keeps making completely idiotic decisions. I’ll take nearly two years off while I wait for fights against opponents who have no interest in fighting me! I’ll insist that my comeback fight be in Las Vegas even though the fight won’t sell there and it’ll deepen my reputation for not being an attraction! I’ll hold a pay-per-view fight in a strange location against an opponent nobody wants to see me fight!…

Speaking of idiotic decisions, the NBA Ron Artest is contemplating a boxing career. Or maybe he was just off his meds the day he said that…

Remember when the organizers of the Zab Judah (welterweight)/Joel Casamayor (junior welterweight) pay-per-view card claimed the fight did 100,000 buys, which meant either A. boxing fans are stupid, stupid people and these are the End Times of the sport or B. the organizers were lying? Per Rafael above, the fight sold a mere 1,000 buys via DirecTV and would be lucky to have done a combined 5,000 buys. That’s a markup of 20 times the original number! I have to applaud the balls there. And good for Rafael for sussing out the truth…

Dmitriy Salita apparently struggled to make the junior welterweight limit for his fight with Amir Khan. I don’t think that helps his chances…

It was quite humorous that light heavyweight Bernard Hopkins called Australia “Europe” after reviewing the tape of Danny Green knocking out Roy Jones, Jr. down under; I missed the quote because when it was relayed to us media types from ringside, the public relations person who relayed it said “Europe” then smiled and said “or Australia,” and it wasn’t clear to me if she was saying it or Hopkins did. Anyway, noteworthy: Hopkins isn’t the only boxer who thinks Australia is in Europe. From this spirited sparring session between Green and James Toney, observe that late in the clip Toney trash talks something like the following line: “European. Don’t like gettin’ hit”…

Lyle Fitzsimmons noticed that I called him a “sycophant!” Yay! You know, I don’t intend to be so annoying to people, but I manage somehow. (And I would say, Fitzsimmons seems to take it in stride pretty well.) Maybe I just don’t take things all that personally. When commenters insult me on this blog, or whatever, it doesn’t bother me. I just answer them and explain why I think they’re wrong. When Dan Goossen gets all irritated at me, I just continue asking questions…

If you didn’t see it, friend-of-the-site Carlos Acevedo has a pretty funny fictional write-up of what has been going down in the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao negotiations. Which leads us into Round and Round.

Round And Round

Again, not getting carried away on covering every wrinkle in the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao negotiations, but here’s what we know: Mayweather has agreed to the deal. (Good for him. I said I’d praise him when he signed to fight somebody legit, and how that he has, I couldn’t be happier.) It looks likely that it will be in March, not May or September, because of Pacquiao’s congressional run. (I personally agree with Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach that March is too soon, physically.) According to Yahoo’s Kevin Iole, it’ll be Mayweather-Pacquiao, rather than Pacquiao-Mayweather. (Not the way I see it, but I’ll honor it.) According to Iole and TheSweetScience’s Michael Woods, it’ll be at 147 pounds, but according to a piece on BoxingScene quoting Roach, that hasn’t been settled and Mayweather is asking for it to be at 154 pounds and with 10-ounce rather than 8-ounce gloves. (It should be at 147, not a pound more or less, and if Mayweather is asking for a weight advantage and glove advantage — especially after complaining that Oscar De La Hoya was a bitch for making him wear certain gloves — I’d be mightily disappointed in these “I want to be bigger than everyone I fight” antics.) Woods says the deal will be a 50-50 split, but BoxingScene had reported that Pacquiao was still asking for 60-40. (When was the last time Pacquiao’s promoter made a deal for Pacquiao and he didn’t try to squeeze himself out a little extra?) According to BoxingScene and Woods, the deal is agreed to on the Pacquiao end, too, and BoxingScene says the announcement will come Dec. 8. (I hope so.) I think that’s everything. I won’t believe the deal is done until it’s announced, and I won’t believe the deal is off until the boxers have signed to fight somebody else. Things do appear to be going well, FWIW.

Bernard Hopkins has a lot of options now. There’s a rematch with Jones still or a rematch with Felix Trinidad, both very unappealing fights, the latter especially disappointing if, as Boxingtalk reported, Trinidad’s camp reached out to Hopkins after his recent win. The following options are all intriguing: Paul Williams (assuming he wins this weekend, and only if it’s at 168); David Haye (at heavyweight, but that fight is probably late 2010 at the earliest, given that Haye must fight John Ruiz to keep his belt and Nicolay Valuev has a rematch clause); Chad Dawson (the best light heavyweight and the man I’d most like to see Hopkins fight to settle once and for all the king of the division); Tomasz Adamek (the cruiserweight champ would be my second choice); and Lucian Bute (the fight GBP wants for its fighters Hopkins and Bute, and somewhat interesting since Hopkins has never had a major fight at super middleweight).

Danny Green has a lot of options now, too, coming off his upset win over Jones. Some have been discussed in the press, and some are mere conjecture. The good options: Hopkins (as the spoiler of Jones-Hopkins II, he deserves it, but Hopkins probably won’t want to go to Europe, I mean, Australia); Dawson (Dawson’s team wants it at 175, but Green claims he has “bigger fish to fry”) a rematch with Anthony Mundine (a very appealing fight in Australia and overall, really, but Green keeps moving up in weight — he’s a cruiserweight now — and Mundine keeps moving down, with his next fight at junior middleweight); and Adamek (two power-punchers, one the champ of the division, both wildly popular in their homelands — gimme). The bad options: The main names Green’s people have brought up, namely old, shot heavyweights like Evander Holyfield, James Toney and Mike Tyson. Reprehensible, and somehow Green’s people think this would help his “legacy.” Neutral option: A stay-busy/reward-the-fans in Perth-style fight. He shouldn’t have to fight a killer right away, agreed, nor is there anything wrong with giving some love to hometown fans, agreed, but he might want to strike while the iron is hot.

Promoter Gary Shaw has at long last set aside his grudge against Nonito Donaire long enough to begin lobbying for a rematch between Donaire and his charge Vic Darchinyan. He’s petitioning one of the sanctioning bodies to make Donaire-Darchinyan II for a vacant junior bantamweight belt. I really do still like this fight as one of the best that can be made for either man.

Miguel Cotto is talking about two more fights in 2010 then retirement, likely first against Jose Luis Castillo and then a title fight at 154 against Yuri Foreman. I’m fine with that plan. Cotto’s nearing the end of his career as far as I’m concerned, and someone who’s had such a grueling schedule for his career is entitled to a schedule like that — which is not to say Foreman wouldn’t be a potentially difficult opponent, only that he’s not a killer like, say, a Mosley rematch.

Edgar Sosa says he might go straight to a flyweight title challenge against Koki Kameda after recovering from his recent injuries, which he’s entitled to by whatever sanctioning organization gave him that right. I don’t feel like looking up which organization right now. Kameda has business elsewhere first, fighting Pongsaklek Wonjongkam for the legitimate, lineal Ring title at 112. But Kameda-Sosa sounds pretty good to me.

The “who’s going to fight Fernando Montiel next” question has been answered in Z Gorres’ tragic absence. It will apparently be the winner of the bantamweight bout between Eric Morel and Gerry Penalosa. Cool by me.

Wright, lacking an opponent now as he does, wants either Felix Sturm or middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik next. I like both fights, although Wright-Sturm might be a tad boring. Sturm wants Pavlik himself, and there’s serious discussion about him hiring Freddie Roach. Interesting stuff.

After removing Joshua Clottey from its schedule in the Williams-Pavlik-Sergio Martinez mix-up, and after completely ignoring welterweight prospect Mike Jones, HBO is now talking about about matching the two in 2010. Mighty fascinating move for both men, really.

The first two months of the 2010 Friday Night Fights schedule has a few nice scraps lined up: Roman Karmazin and Dionisio Miranda in a middleweight elimination bout; Jesse Brinkley-Curtis Stevens in what I would think would be a nice action fight between two super middleweights who haven’t quite broken through; and Fernando Beltran, Jr. in a featherweight fight against Tomas Villa that means almost nothing but that has “slugfest” written all over it. Those are the highlights for me, but there’s some other good stuff on the agenda, too.

What the hell is rejuvenated heavyweight David Tua thinking in wanting to fight worn down heavyweight Bruce Seldon in Atlantic City Feb. 7? There is nobody who likes that fight. His next scheduled fight, in March against Friday Ahunanya, is more legit, and he’d fight in Hawaii in May against somebody or the other with the goal of becoming mandatory challenger to some heavyweight belt. Seldon, though? Really?

(Round and Round sources: ESPN; BoxingScene; Boxingtalk; TheSweetScience; Yahoo! Sports; Sydney Morning Herald; 8CountNews; ONE Sport/Newstalk ZB)

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.