Quick Jabs: Shaved Bald And Smitten Boxing Writers; Zsolt Erdei Vs. Giacobbe Fragomeni; Did You Say MATTHEW Hatton?; More

I’m not usually interested in a boxer’s personal life until such point it affects what’s going on with him in the ring. Unless it’s funny. Or, unless in this case, it gives me a chance to run a picture of a very attractive woman with her bikini falling off. I’m taking the Paulie Malignaggi approach on this: “I think people will understand what I’m saying.”

Incidentally, the Paulie Malignaggi approach to what he actually was talking about, in context, is something I’d like to delve into a little in this edition of Quick Jabs, our round-up of all sorts of boxing news and stray tidbits. It includes what’s left of the weekend schedule outside of Mikkel Kessler-Andre Ward, already previewed; assorted promotional feuds; yet more dithering over Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather; and a fair amount more. All of it is awaiting you at the click of the words “read more.”

Quick Jabs

The weekend schedule has a fair amount on it. The biggest of the fights, I do believe, is Zsolt Erdei moving up to cruiserweight to battle Giacobbe Fragomeni in a clash of excellently-named men. Erdei’s fairly skilled and Fragomeni is a little limited, so I’d expect Erdei to enter as a player in the cruiserweight picture soon, although one wonders whether he’ll sit around and do nothing with his title belt the way he did at light heavyweight allthose years. That’s Saturday in Germany. The next biggest bout, it seems to me, is Edgar Sosa-Rodel Mayol, even if it’s a battle of little men at junior flyweight. Sosa’s talented and Mayol may have lost one fight and drawn in the other with Ivan Calderon, but his stock is up overall. Other bouts of note this weekend: a return to action for junior welterweight Marcos Maidana, lightweight Jorge Barrios, junior bantamweight Marvin Sonsona and junior flyweight Giovanni Segura, mostly against opposition not worthy of as much note; Moruti Mthalane-Julio Cesar Miranda for a vacant flyweight belt; and a Telemundo and PrizeFightTV.com card, the latter carrying a bout featuring Pacquiao sparring partner Shawn Porter, a junior middleweight…

I have a rant about how baseball reporters failed us in the whole steroid scandal, but the rant doesn’t involve me thinking baseball reporters should just candidly be saying “So-and-so is on steroids” or writing a column quoting people saying “Is so-and-so on steroids?” See, there should be some proof if you’re going to write that kind of thing. Or at least a credible allegation. Otherwise, it’s worse than a rumor, and suddenly it rises to the level of something people are discussing as though there might be truth to it. We’ve gotten to that point with Pacquiao. The only person who’d alleged that Pacquiao was on steroids was Floyd Mayweather, Sr., who’s not exactly a paragon of adherence to facts or even someone who comes off like he knows what he’s saying at any given time – and certainly is a partisan, as Pacquiao is a rival for his son. So Wallace Matthews, a reporter and analyst for whom I usually have only the greatest admiration and respect, quotes ONLY Mayweather, Sr. raising these “questions” about Pacquiao’s steroid use, allegations for which Mayweather has zero proof.  Malignaggi, in a separate article, raises the same allegation, but in a roundabout way, per my joke above. But this stuff is serious. It’s fundamentally unfair. If Matthews wants to investigate whether Pacquiao has some kind of shady connection to drug rings, he should feel free. But just saying, “People are talking about how Pacquiao might be on steroids,” and the only source he quotes is one lacking entirely in credibility, it’s sub-journalism. Pacquaio has passed every drug test he’s ever taken. Until he fails one or some whistleblower comes forward explaining how he DID do steroids and just evaded the tests, everyone needs to STFU…

Boxing in schools in Great Britain! (h/t Funky Badger)…

Versus has weird taste in what boxing it airs these days. Nothing against junior welterweight prospect Tim Coleman or his Dec. 3 opponent Mike Arnaoutis, for that matter, but it almost seems like a rabbit drawn out of a hat to air that card as opposed to something else…

I very much want to see ESPN’s Dan Rafael with a shaved head…

I don’t want to flog a dead horse, but I don’t think Lyle Fitzsimmons could have written a more unintentionally comical love letter to Mayweather if he tried…

Two promotional feuds, one resolved, one not: Junior lightweight Robert Guerrero now will officially be with Golden Boy Promotions, which settled a dispute with his old promoter Goossen Tutor. That’s good news for people who like good, young, exciting boxers (even if they’re inconsistent ones). Heavyweight Nicolay Valuev, though, is pointing fingers every which way over the selection of David Haye – the quick and nimble heavy to Valuev’s big and slow – as his recent opponent. Don King didn’t like the idea, apparently, but Sauerland did. Sauerland, though, said King approved Haye as an opponent. This strikes me as a bit of after-the-fact sour grapes from Valuev that he lost, really, because afterward he swore off smaller heavyweights…

Bantamweight Z Gorres keeps improving in the aftermath of collapsing following his last fight….

Grady Brewer says middleweight Winky Wright “can expect a war” when they fight Dec. 11. If you’ve seen Brewer fight, you know very well that if Wright comes in expecting that, his expectations will be dashed upon the rocks.

Round And Round

If you’ve followed things this week with Pacquiao-Mayweather negotiations,  you know there’s going to be a lot of topsy-turvy, dick-swinging, he said-she said b.s. for about forever. I’m going to do my best to ignore most of it, honestly. I think I’ll get caught up in it too much, worried that the latest posturing is a sign of doomsday around the corner, when almost all of it is going to be bluster. One thing I’ll note on the positive side: Ring magazine’s decision to rank Pacquiao #1 at welterweight to Mayweather’s #3 means the two men might fight for what would be a record-shattering fifth lineal championship at welterweight. At first, I disagreed with the decision, thinking it maybe a tad too convenient. But there’s a good argument for having Pacquiao at #1, actually. Of course, Shane Mosley could throw this all for a loop by beating Andre Berto Jan. 30 and perhaps unseating Pacquiao for the #1 spot. Still, it’s intriguing.

I will talk about each man’s other plans, even if they, too, are mere posturing. According to FightHype, Mayweather is looking to do a tune-up fight in the United Kingdom on the thinking that it’ll take a while to get the fight finalized, perhaps against Carlos Quintana, Dimitriy Salita or – get this – Matthew Hatton. Salita may be coming off a Dec. 5 loss by the time Mayweather would get to him, and RICKY Hatton would have been laughable enough. But his brother? That’s as bad a mismatch as I could even dream up. Mayweather also says he’ll target Mosley if the fight can’t get made.

Pacquiao’s team is saying he’ll target Marquez for a third fight if the Mayweather bout can’t be made. Besides the other dismal aspects of this – this version of Marquez has no chance against this version of Pacquiao, and not even Pacquiao thinks anybody would care to see Pacquiao-Marquez III – there’s the strange insistence of Freddie Roach that the fight would have to be at 145. That is beyond absurd, and almost equally chickenshit to the chickenshit move Mayweather pulled fighting Marquez at welterweight. In fact, Roach needs to get off his whole obsession with 145. I got it for the Miguel Cotto fight, as nobody was sure how Pacquiao would hold up to a naturally bigger man. But under no circumstances should Pacquiao-Mayweather happen at anything other than the full welterweight limit. This kind of thing has gone beyond gamesmanship and straight into lame.

Marquez and Hatton (Ricky) are in real discussions for a meeting, but it’s a long ways away and Marquez would rather have the Pacquiao fight anyway. I get that. I still say Marquez-Hatton at junior welterweight is an appropriate match-up of well-worn but still-good fighters.

And little brother Hatton might fight Lovemore Ndou in a rematch, this time in Ndou’s Australia rather than Hatton’s U.K. That is, if he’s not eager to get atomized by Mayweather.

Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez IV is all but done at featherweight now, tentatively for Feb. 27 at the Staples Center. I say it every time, but I really don’t like these guys fighting each other again. I like them too much to see one or the other get badly hurt.

For a guy coming off what was roundly derided as a boring performance, Haye sure has a lot of suitors. Bernard Hopkins wants him, should he beat Roy Jones in March. David Tua’s team has played some footsie with Haye’s. Oscar De La Hoya, the boss at Golden Boy Promotions, is talking up how Chris Arreola ought to get a shot at Haye. That’s on top of call-outs from cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek and Odlanier Solis; the rematch clause with Valuev; and the Klitschko brothers remain open to fighting Haye. Tell you what, I’ll throw my hat in the ring. Haye, why you hiding from me? Come out and play.

Cotto, coming off his loss, reportedly may consider Jose Luis Castillo next summer for his comeback. Castillo has no chance but he’s about right for a bounceback opponent for Cotto. I do hate to see Castillo’s career turn into one where he’s basically cannon fodder. Up that alley, on Dec. 5, there are a pair of fights featuring quality young fighters against guys who probably shouldn’t keep fighting. On the Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez (middleweight) undercard, Quintana will fight Jesse Feliciano, who hasn’t fought since April 2008 and lost his last two fights by knockout. Considering Feliciano’s main skill was to absorb ridiculous amounts of punishment to make life hell on his opponent, maybe he should have stayed idle. Owen Beck went from a pretty promising heavyweight to a guy who looked terrible getting knocked out by Valuev in three rounds, but he’s on a four-fight winning streak against men with lopsidedly bad records (his opponents came in with a total of 1 win in at least their last 24 fights – I couldn’t make that up) and somehow that puts him in line for a fight with a top flight heavyweight like Alexander Povetkin. Boxing’s ugly sometimes.

(Round And Round sources: Ring; ESPN; BoxingScene; news releases; Fightnews; FightHype; New Zealand Herald)

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.