Quick Jabs: Bernard Hopkins On “Made,” Johnny Tapia On “Celebrity Rehab;” HBO Seeks A Younger Audience For Manny Pacquiao – Ricky Hatton; Irish Promoter Fights Irish Fighters; More

Other items in this edition of Quick Jabs, in addition to what’s in the headline: David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko threaten to shove fists into unusual orifices; strangely, Tomasz Adamek-Glen Johnson can’t find a home; and, to get us started, a speedy look at other weekend fights:

Other Weekend Action

Commenter SeanBS is probably hitting the live, free (!) Memphis show that’ll air on ESPN2′s Friday Night Fights this evening. I love that the show is free. What better way to generate future paying boxing fans, right? SeanBS, you’ll owe us a report on what it was like to go to a free gig.

If you missed the last open thread, check it out for discussions of things like what Oscar De La Hoya is going to announce April 14; but I’ll just reprint here what I wrote there about the main event on FNF, a bout between junior welterweights Randall Bailey and Francisco Figueroa.

Bailey’s one-handed, but it’s a one hand that really knocks fools out. He’s got 34 KOs in 38 wins. At his age, I’m not sure he is what he once was; his last fight was against a badly faded DeMarcus Corley, and he didn’t knock him out. But in 2007, he gave Herman Ngoudjo — a perfectly decent junior welterweight with youth and durability on his side — all he could handle.

Figueroa’s kind of had a weird career — he’s popular in New York, but got a late start and at 30 is still almost completely untested. A lot of people think he lost his last fight against Augustus “The Drunken Master,” but then, Augustus has probably beaten a lot of fighters on the way up whether the scorecards said that or not. He’s pretty fast, but he’s not all that technically sound, strangely.

It’s a boxer-puncher matchup, basically, and I tend to like those. If it were free, I’d go even if I didn’t.

As for the rest of the weekend’s televised/Internet showings, there’s a gofightlive.tv broadcast tonight; a Telemundo show tonight; and an Azteca show tomorrow night.  BLH says we can maybe catch a heavyweight fight overseas between Alexander Povetkin and Jason Estrada Saturday here at approximately 5:10 p.m., and I’m taking their word for it, because I can’t find confirmation of it elsewhere. Povetkin’s one of the more watchable heavyweights, and Estrada, though talented, isn’t. However, if you felt like skipping the heavyweights after the last couple weeks of televised offerings, who could blame you?

Quicker Jabs

Now that the glee of finally getting a meaningful heavyweight fight this June, between Haye and Klitschko, has worn off, the thing that stands out is that contract. Klitschko’s team kept acting like Haye was being a bad-faith negotiator, but looking at what the Klitschko team wrote into the contract, all I can say is that it’s a total pussy move on their part. TWO options, one for a rematch with Wladimir and the other for a fight with Vitali? That means that Haye, as WF mentioned the other day, is going to have to run the table, which won’t be easy. I’m not saying the idea of Haye-Klitschko, Haye-Klitschko, Haye-Klitschko is such a bad thing, but it sounds to me like the Klitschkos aren’t very confident about beating Haye. If you were looking for reasons to like the Klitshckos — and I admit, I want to like them — they just keep finding new ways to annoy. The trash-talking between both sides has been pretty humorous, thankfully, although it’s trended toward sticking fists into weird places. Wladimir: “I will be pleased to shut his big mouth with my big fist. None of the opponents I have had were as provocative as David Haye, so I am glad to shut his mouth by putting my fist in his mouth.” Haye rebuttal: “He doesn’t realise how good I am. I am going to rip that Klitschko jab up and shove it up his ass.” Any thoughts on the winner of that spitting match? Maybe I’ll do my first ever poll…

There hasn’t been as much noise as I might expect from the revelations about the test results for disgraced welterweight Antonio Margarito’s loaded gloves, but there are a few notable points. One, promoter Bob Arum’s silence, which I took as a probable sign of confirmation of guilt, is reportedly related more to legal advice, as the team plans to file an appeal arguing that the sentence should be reduced to six months since there’s no evidence Margarito knew his gloves were loaded. Good luck on that one. It probably does help somewhat that Freddie Roach, a very respected figure in boxing, has agreed to train Margarito and also is pressing for a six-month suspension, which boggles the mind. Roach’s initial reaction was to argue Margarito should be banned for life, and to accuse Margarito of using loaded gloves against one of his fighters in sparring. Now, because Margarito came to Roach on “the verge of tears,” all is forgiven? At least, it isn’t for Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera, who initially defended Margarito but now is arguing he should be not fight in any country while his license is revoked…

Yesterday, I mentioned some of the good moves Showtime was making to appeal to the social networking set, and HBO, too, finally seems like it’s making a really game effort to attract younger fans. They’ve had a few things — a little Facebook here, a little reality television there — but it hasn’t had the air of a concentrated effort. It’s overdue, and essential if they want to keep making money off boxing, but some of the moves are very nice moves and deserve praise. They’re hitting college campuses and taking other steps to bring in a young audience for the May 2 pay-per-view fight between pound-for-pound Manny Pacquiao and junior welterweight champion, they’ve got a Twitter feed, etc. I’m not suggesting they should ignore the older audience, by the way. I’m just saying it’s very good to have an influx of new viewers who can help the sport grow over time…

No one who visits this site and contends with the Pacmaniacs should be surprised that Pacquiao has been doing really well in the Time “100 Most Influential” poll. Say what you will about the Pacfans, but they are a devoted lot. Last report, Pacquiao was at 7th out of about 200. Oh, and if you haven’t enjoyed the war of words between Roach and Hatton trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr., here’s a funny exchange:

Irish Ropes has had feuds with middleweight John Duddy, and now they’re having a feud with middleweight Andy Lee. I’m not saying who’s right or wrong here, but it strikes me as a bad promotional strategy for an Irish boxing promoter to publicly attack popular Irish fighters, that’s all. You can read the latest screed here

The video game Fight Night Round 4, which I’m eagerly anticipating, has a release date: June 30…

In my wrap-up of last week’s Shobox card, there were two things I failed to note. One, despite my criticism of junior middleweight Ron Hearns in his knockout loss to Harry Joe Yorgey, it must be said that the fight was very enjoyable, with one round where both men went down. For that, I thank the. Two, super middleweight Andre Dirrell’s knockout of subpar opposition that night should not have been televised, but the holding pattern made sense from the standpoint of finally getting a shot at a meaningful bout. Dirrell is in line for a mandatory title shot title shot as the #1 contender to WBA titlist Karoly Balzsay…

One day, an athlete is going to handle his money right, and then we won’t have to repeatedly read stories like the latest about former boxing great Tommy Hearns (father of Ron) owing a jillion dollars in back taxes. It really breaks my heart, because I want these guys to have long, prosperous lives for the punishment they take to entertain us, but all I can do is argue that if you’re a promising young athlete, hire a reputable financial manager, OK?…

Two boxers are getting ready to hit reality television, one in a good way and one in a bad way. On Saturday at 2 p.m., Bernard Hopkins will appear on MTV’s “Made” to help a youngster transform into a pugilist. Meanwhile, as part of a court order for violating his probation, troubled former boxer Johnny Tapia will be required to appear on “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.” As with all things Tapia, this, too, is sad. In other “boxers in the mainstream media spotlight” news, here’s Joe Frazier on MSNBC to help promote the upcoming “Thrilla in Manila” documentary (h/t Kevin):

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Round and Round

Now, Arum says Pacquiao is likely to face Floyd Mayweather, Jr. after the Hatton fight. I can’t keep track of that guy’s flip-flops. Pacquiao, for his part, says he’s been told by a member of the Mayweather team that Pacquiao is coming back. One person Mayweather won’t be fighting is Roy Jones, Jr., although he did get an April Fool’s prank call about that very subject from the Mayweather crew.

It’s slightly shocking to me that there’s not much interest in the broadcast of Tomasz Adamek-Glen Johnson for Adamek’s cruiserweight championship. Showtime is mildly interested, reportedly. Is there any way that fight would suck? I’d be really curious whether Johnson’s terrific chin at light heavyweight would hold up against Adamek, who was a light heavyweight not long ago but really seems to have grown into the weight. It’s an essential component of his pressuring style, and the idea of a fight where someone pressures Adamek sounds like a really good fight. Incidentally, if you didn’t see this, Jonathan Banks took a $200,000 pay cut from a previously scheduled fight against Enzo Maccarinelli to get knocked out by Adamek in Adamek’s last fight. With the way Banks and Maccarinelli fought in their last bouts, is there any question Banks would have been the knockerouter as opposed to the knockoutee? Emmanuel Steward has really mishandled Banks’ recent moves.

Anthony Mundine is making racket about how HBO wants him to fight middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik. I have no idea if he’s just talking out of his ass, but I’d prefer him over Pavlik’s tentatively-scheduled summer pay-per-view opponent, Sergio Mora.

Amir Khan-David Diaz at lightweight makes a lot more sense for Khan at this point than some of the other opponents under discussion for Khan. And Diaz is one of the really good guys in boxing, so I’d like to see him get another nice paycheck if he’s healthy enough to keep fighting after the Pacquiao shellacking.

Super middleweight Peter Manfredo apparently plans to continue his career; Walid Smichet, last seen nearly upsetting the Duddy apple cart, says he’ll fight the former “Contender” star on April 18.

Two last tidbits — entertaining light heavyweight Adrian Diaconu has had all kinds of bad luck, but at least he’s getting to stay busy on the Timothy Bradley-Kendall Holt (junior welterweight) undercard. And speaking of Irish fighters, rebounding junior middleweight James Moore, last seen trying to fight Yuri Foreman and coming up with a loss, makes his return May 8 on a small Ring Promotions card in Franklin Square, New York that features a lot of younger fighters. No word on whether his opponent will be Irish Ropes.

(Sources: ESPN; BoxingTalk; FightHype; BoxingScene; Los Angeles Times; The Sweet Science; Bad Left Hook; news releases; Fightnews; Maxboxing; Detroit News; GMA news; Twitter)

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.