That right there is Mahir Oral, who’s fighting top middleweight Arthur Abraham on a fight to be broadcast on tape delay from Germany via Showtime. Besides the more compelling junior welterweight Victor Ortiz-Marcos Maidana bout on HBO, it’s the top freeish weekend broadcast. There’s also the pay-per-view headlined by junior featherweight Juan Manuel Lopez, whose opponent Olivier Lontchi, as mentioned just below, may moonwalk to the ring in honor of the king of pop. Between Oral’s lion fist (I can’t tell if it’s a tattoo; if it is, it’s very recent, since most of his photos don’t feature such artwork, nor have I seen any news coverage of him getting a tattoo) and Lontchi’s maybe-moonwalk, I have to hand it to the B-side of both of those fights for having some reason to grab the spotlight, if only for a moment.
There are a few other weekend bouts of note, as mentioned in the headline there, and some interesting fights in the works besides those in the headline featuring the likes of Paul Williams. We’ll hit those and plenty of other boxing going-ons in this edition of Quick Jabs.
I don’t see Oral giving Abraham much of a fight, unless Abraham’s weight-drained again, and he looks OK from the pictures I’ve seen. The official line on Oral’s career is that he was a good amateur who’s been mismanaged, and it’s true that he and Abraham once did some sparring early on. But the deficit in pro experience is going to hurt him, and his knockout record against mediocre opposition isn’t promising. It still should be a big fight in Germany, since both fighters are based there and it’s got the Armenian (Abraham) vs. Turk (Oral) angle. I wish Abraham-Kelly Pavlik was in the cards, but all hope for that bout seems to be lost as not even Pavlik is talking about it anymore, and Abraham says he’s done at middleweight after this. Hopefully at super middleweight Abraham will fight someone a little more legit than Oral, and since there are more opportunities in that division, I expect he will. My hope is that since it starts at 9 p.m., Showtime gets straight to it without much set-up so we can all catch the entire HBO show at 10 p.m.
Friend of the site Chris, who hails from Canada, says via Twitter that fellow Canadian Lontchi “can crack and likes to get in there and scrap. It doesn’t bode well. Give him credit, though,” for facing Lopez. That I do. Anyone who fights Lopez at 122 is brave or suicidal. I’d be surprised if Lontchi lasts more than a couple rounds, which is why, despite my earlier declaration that I’d pay $40 to watch Lontchi moonwalk to defeat, I won’t be buying this card. There’s a sentiment that Bob Arum did the right thing to keep Lopez busy while he awaits a more lucrative fight at featherweight with Rafael Marquez or Israel Vazquez, which is true to a certain extent. But it sticks in my craw a little that Lopez hasn’t faced his biggest threat at junior feather, Celestino Caballero. The rest of the card is basically junk after a series of pullouts, with Yuri Foreman-Cornelius Bundrage (junior middleweight) sure to be a contender for worst fight of the year, although Vanes Martirosyan-Andrey Tsurkan (also junior middleweight) might be a good slugfest. (Not that I was looking forward to Pavlik-Sergio Mora, by the way, but the admission of all sides that no staph infection ever threatened Pavlik’s health enough to warrant his pullout is a little annoying. I guess it’s fine if Bob Arum wants to lie like that since he’s pretty upfront about his tendency to lie, but it does bother me for him to do it so frequently and so flagrantly and still be viewed with the reverence he is in some quarters.)
On the Friday Night Fights card, fave prospect Daniel Jacobs stays on the same plane of competition he’s been at all year, against George Walton. Also on the card is heavyweight prospect Deontay Wilder. As usual, there’s a Telemundo card I don’t much care about tonight, too.
In other action featuring top-10 types off U.S. television, the blessed (talent-wise)/cursed (luck-wise) junior lightweight Jorge Linares returns, as do flyweight Omar Narvaez, junior featherweight Steve Molitor (rebounding from his first loss) and middleweight Sebastian Sylvester.
Pavlik recently had a nice venting session about all the rumors he has to deal with. He comes off as a little grumpy, but can you blame him? I hope he doesn’t get too pissed at Youngstown, though. Funny thing about any town is how quickly you can go from local hero to figure of mockery. Just ask Jermain Taylor or Cory Spinks, both of whom have had up-and-down relationships with their heartland homes…
Yes, once again, Evander Holyfield is having troubles holding on to his house. Just makes me shake my head…
Like I’ve said before, I know Vic Darchinyan doesn’t write all his own trash talk lines, but the stuff’s at least in his spirit. Here’s a golden one for his July 11 bout with bantamweight Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko: “I will transform ‘King Kong’ Agbeko from champion to chimpion on July 11. I am Tarzan to his Cheetah.” Who cares how many jungle metaphors he just mixed, it’s amusing…
Speaking of good quotesmiths, Nate Campbell has always been a good one and Timothy Bradley is turning into a good one, so they had a couple nice quips for their Aug. 1 junior welterweight bout, per a news release: “On Aug. 1, I am going to be making me some Campbell’s soup,” Bradley said, and I can’t recall a time someone else has used that line. Campbell: “I have a lot of respect for Tm. He’s a nice guy with a real good family. He keeps his shoes tied. He wears his pants above his waist. He is going to fight his fight on Aug. 1, but he has never fought anybody like me, and there is nothing he can show me that I haven’t already seen.” Both guys are going to be respectful, I’m guessing, but that isn’t going to stop the quotes…
Upset-minded welterweight Antwone Smith has signed with DiBella Entertainment, according to a DBE news release. Good to see that. The guy has earned the chance to prove he’s something more than an “opponent,” and signing with a big-time promoter will give him that chance…
The Senate has approved a resolution pardoning Jack Johnson. Still required: House approval and President Obama’s signature, but that third and final step doesn’t appear to be much of a worry…
My friends at MVN tell me the problem with sign-ins for the comments section has been fixed. So, give her a try, if you want…
I’ll be buying Fight Night Round 4 today or tomorrow and will provide a review by the end of the weekend.
Round And Round
If you didn’t see in the Twitter feed, the postponed Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez bout has been rescheduled for September 19, timing things to Mexican Independence Day with hopes that the Mexican fans come out for their homie. It sounds like the fight needed the help. Shane Mosley keeps trampling his company Golden Boy Promotions’ official line, saying that the fight had only sold 2,300 tickets. Likewise, Steve Kim recently reported that the $15 million Mayweather was supposedly “guaranteed” wasn’t guaranteed at all — it was contingent upon how well the event did, and with tickets selling the way they were, Mayweather stood to be fighting for next to nothing. That does add yet more suspicion to the official story that Mayweather injured his rib and that’s the only reason for the postponement.
Thankfully, Manny Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach has backed off this “fight needs to be at 143 pounds” junk for a Miguel Cotto match-up, saying 145 is fine with him. That should just about do the trick to clear the way for the fight to happen in November.
Paul Williams wants to fight Mosley at welterweight, but if that falls through, he wants to fight Sergei Dzindziruk at junior middleweight. HBO, though, wants Williams to fight Joshua Clottey or Kermit Cintron instead. Can’t say I blame them — Dzindziruk is a total unknown in the U.S., good or no.
Edwin Valero-Joel Casamayor may be approved for a lightweight bout in Las Vegas, owing to some recent rules changes on brain bleeds in Nevada, according to Bob Arum. There’s a possibility — I’m guessing a slight one — that it could be on the Mayweather-Marquez undercard.
For that August pay-per-view, junior bantamweight Nonito Donaire ONCE AGAIN has flipped opponents, this time back to Rafael Concepcion. Not the best opponent they’ve discussed for him. Possibly, Ivan Calderon-Rodel Mayol II at junior flyweight will be on the undercard. That helps matters.
Vitali Klitschko and Nicolay Valuev both said they were down for a heavyweight fight, but then Klitschko’s
team said no, we’re looking at David Haye or Chris Arreola instead, actually. Any of those three fights remain among the best options for Vitali, though, in my opinion.
Edgar Sosa says he doesn’t care about fighting Calderon or Brian Viloria, the two biggest-money junior flyweights out there. His reasoning is he has a belt and that’s all that matters. Lame. I guess, though, if you are drawing all kinds of fans fighting mandatories, you don’t need the extra dough. Just wish he’d have a little professional pride.
Hey, somebody of note might fight super middleweight Sakio Bika! There’s been some talk of Anthony Mundine taking him on. Good for Mundine if he takes that fight.
Daud Yordan wants fellow Indonesian featherweight Chris John. How’s this for weirdness: John finally comes over to the U.S. to prove himself, and suddenly one of his most viable opponents is right in his back yard, after the way Yordan proved himself on HBO in his last fight. I wouldn’t object to John-Yordan, but it’s my hope that once John recovers from whatever blood problems he’s having, he’ll reschedule that Rocky Juarez rematch, or turn his attention to some of the other fighters in the thick featherweight division before he heads back home to fight Yordan.
Dark horse Fight of the Year candidate Randall Bailey-Juan Urango may have a home on Versus, which would air the junior welterweight fight.
That attractive on-again/off-again Shaun George-Chris Henry light heavyweight fight is now officially on, in Philly July 10 on ESPN2.
(Sources for Round And Round: News releases; Fightnews; ESPN; BoxingScene; Maxboxing; Reuters)