Quick Jabs: Paul Williams Moves On (Bernard Hopkins Has An Idea For Where To); Fight George Foreman III, Get A George Foreman Grill; The Rest Of The Weekend; More

Before we get into this edition of Quick Jabs, you all need to know I’m going on vacation soon for a week and a day so that I may pelt Spaniards in their faces with tomatoes. I’d like it if some of you took this opportunity to guest-blog while I’m away. Got an idea for a good blog entry? Want to do a post-fight write-up for next week’s FNF, Fight Night Club, Box Azteca or prizefighttv.com cards, or some other such event? Pitch me at tstarks2@gmail.com. I’ll have a couple ready-made blog entries that can run during the week, so the site won’t be completely barren if you don’t lend a hand, but I’d rather you populate it with your words, too.

Get in touch today (Friday) or tomorrow (Saturday), if you’re interested, please. Otherwise, I’ll be difficult to reach.

On to the business at hand. We got our subjects in the headline there to discuss; some Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez ephemera; the reward of being a fouling Concepcion; what’s next for Tomasz Adamek, Nonito Donaire, Fernando Montiel and others; plus a good deal more.

The Rest Of The Weekend

There’s just the one televised card this weekend, and we’ve already covered it.

Elsewhere Saturday, the biggest fight of the weekend pits light heavyweight alphabet strap-holder Karoly Balzsay against super middleweight challenger Robert Stieglitz, in Hungary. It has the makings of a decent fight, but unless you live in Eastern Europe, you’re not likely to be able to see it.

Also Saturday, featherweight Rafael Marquez and junior middleweight Deandre Latimore are taking fights against safe opponents, in Mexico and St. Louis respectively, so that they may preserve more lucrative options — Marquez, a fourth Israel Vazquez fight, and Latimore, a rematch against fellow St. Lunatic Cory Spinks.

The weirdest card of the weekend, also Saturday, features junior middleweight Grady Brewer, the winner of one of the seasons of “The Contender.” His opponent “retired” at the last minute, leaving him to find a replacement, successfully. What’s extra-weird is that the original opponent for the California fight, Anthony Thompson, allgedly asked for advance payment before he pulled out. That’s a dick move, if true. Brewer can’t catch a break.

Quick Jabs

ESPN has put together good clips of the best knockouts from FNF this season and of 2009’s overall highlights. I’ve included the latter below because while knockouts are fun, ESPN has blocked folk from embedding the pure knockout clip, and there are plenty of good KOs on the season highlights clip anyhow. (If you want to see the best knockouts clip by itself, go to espn.com/boxing and scroll through the options underneath “top stories.”) Three observations: 1. Junior middleweight prospect Erislandy Lara sure had a bunch of the best KOs, huh? 2. It’s been a pretty good season of FNF overall, I’d say. Last weekend was the clunker of all clunkers, but I feel like the quality of the week-to-week match-ups was better overall. Still, the lesson here is that television networks (ESPN2) shouldn’t make exclusive deals with promoters (Golden Boy) to air whatever the promoter wants to put on. 3. Since the season finale next Friday features two knockout artists squaring off, junior welterweights Randall Bailey and Juan Urango, and the year’s best FNF card overall, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to revise the clips soon.

A few tidbits for the Sept. 12 Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez fight, reportedly at 144 pounds: 1. On Aug. 24, Mayweather will return to do a little WWE business, if you care to catch him there — it remains one of Mayweather’s best traits, the way he gets attention outside traditional boxing fan bases, and I wish some other boxers would learn from him on this. 2. Because of that attention, Golden Boy Promotions’ Richard Schaefer is predicting Mayweather-Marquez will be the biggest pay-per-view of the year, which sounds far-fetched to me, but he swears by it and says the fight is getting all kinds of sponsorship deals as a result of Mayweather’s crossover abilities (although his claim that it might outdo Mayweather’s bout with Oscar De La Hoya, the biggest-selling pay-per-view ever, is beyond laughable). 3. Mayweather does have a charitable side. I believe it, and he deserves praise for it. But I’m not sure that his villainous public persona is entirely manufactured, as his right-hand man would have us believe. Some people who have covered him for a long time say he’s always been an asshole, and some of his legal scrapes, which I won’t rehash here, are more than a little disturbing. It’s quite possible — probable, even — that Mayweather is prone to wild swings back and forth between genuine good guy-ness and genuine asshole-ness. 4. The officials for the fight have already been named, so if you’re a betting man, you’re happy you know who’s going to do the judging this far out…

The WBA can’t decide whether to make Nicolay Valuev-David Haye for their heavyweight title belt, as John Ruiz remains a barrier, since he says he’s owed a mandatory shot and his team has threatened to sue if he doesn’t get it. Who would be surprised if Valuev-Haye got canceled? And who would feel sorry for Haye, who stuck it to both Klitschko brothers this year by pulling out of fights with each?…

Junior featherweight Juan Manuel Lopez has re-signed for three years with Top Rank. You have to hand it to Top Rank for locking down several of its best fighters to long-term contracts in 2009 — Lopez, Kelly Pavlik and Miguel Cotto — despite some bumps in the road with each…
Junior bantamweight Nonito Donaire and his team have come forward with any number of allegations against weekend opponent Rafael Concepcion. Among them: Concepcion used gloves with less padding, although not illegally; he never intended to make weight, which is why he came in 4 1/2 pounds over; he stepped on Donaire’s feet and head butted intentionally (I can’t find a link to that allegation, but they said it). I’m inclined to believe most if not all of it is true, despite protests from Concepcion’s camp about how weight-drained Concepcion was. Nobody thought he looked weight-drained except Concepcion’s camp. Concepcion, I warned beforehand, was going to fight dirty. Based on his track record of abusing the rules, does anyone think it was a coincidence that he came in heavy? I agree with those who have suggested Concepcion should have suffered a greater penalty for not making weight, since it was apparent he was probably trying to game the system by accepting a small cash penalty in anticipation of increasing his ability to win and moving on to bigger paychecks. But you have to write that stuff in the contract when you can, if there are no regulations for severe penalties in place. Likewise with the gloves used — why was there no agreement on 8 ounce vs. 10 ounce gloves, and on what brand? Also, I kind of think every major fighter should avoid Concepcion, not only for their own safety, but out of principle that the guy doesn’t behave like a pro…
So whaddya know. I’ve been encouraging this webcast-fights thing constantly, but I’ve also noted that several recent such cards have gone head-to-head with bigger shows on HBO or Showtime. Wouldn’t next weekend be the weekend I’m out of town AND a w
ebcast card is on, and not against major competition? Middleweight Fernando Guerrero, junior middleweight Shawn Porter and heavyweight Chazz Witherspoon will be on the prizefighttv.com card. I swear it, y’all — I would buy this card for $5 if I was in America. You should give it a try… 
I wonder why middleweight prospect Matt Korobov has departed from trainer Dan Birmingham and moved over to Robert Garcia. Garcia’s a hot trainer all a sudden for the number he’s done on junior flyweight Brian Viloria, among others, but Korobov and Birmingham seemed liked a good team. Also, Donaire said he’s open to working with Freddie Roach after his promoter Bob Arum criticized his performance, but I doubt it’ll happen; Donaire says he wants full attention from his trainer, and he won’t get that from Roach. And in other coaching news, Enzo Calaghe said his “nightmare year” almost led him to retire. It was a pretty bad year, wasn’t it? I don’t have a good sense of how good a trainer Calzaghe is; his son was obviously very talented, but some of his less talented guys haven’t done as well, and I’m not sure if it’s because of Calzaghe’s training or their abilities…
Everyone wants a piece of Chinese boxing. It’s a huge potential market, of course, but with China trying to take advantage of all the medals available for boxing in the Olympics, there also is going to be some talent in the pipeline. Promoter Dino Duva, somehow, has gotten a leg up on the competition by establishing early roots in the country. Good for him…
There’s a clip of the Shaq-Oscar De La Hoya fight out there, so I pass it along to you here. It’s an exhibition for the ABC reality series “Shaq Vs.,” and it doesn’t tell us much. Shaq is one funny mofo, though. He’s taken to calling himself “Manny Shaquiao,” among other humorous information available in this piece.
Round And Round

With middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik unable or unwilling to fight Oct. 3 against Paul Williams, Williams’ team say they want to fight again this year without him. Unless it’s a ploy to force HBO and Pavlik’s hand (no pun intended) — and I don’t think it is — it’s sad but understandable. They want to keep Williams busy, which more fighters should do, and he’s only fought once this year after fighting five times last year, so I don’t blame them for wanting to get another fight in. Bernard Hopkins has offered his services at 170 pounds, and I’m intrigued. Williams’ peeps insist he can fight as high as super middleweight, and I buy it as a possibility, since he hurt the iron-chinned Winky Wright a few times out as a middleweight in his last fight. Another option is Sergei Dzinziruk, the junior middleweight Williams was looking to fight before Pavlik talks were revived. If I had a vote, it’d be Shane Mosley at welterweight.

Mr. Mosley continues to be rumored for a Dec. 5 date, possibly against Joshua Clottey but also possibly against Andre Berto. I thought the Berto talks were dead for now over insufficient funds to please both fighters, but maybe the Pavlik-Williams postponement/cancellation opens up some cash? Mosley also says, by the way, he’d fight Williams if Williams becomes available. And Dan Rafael of ESPN reported this week that Kermit Cintron overpriced himself for a Mosley fight. So that’s the Mosley sitch. Incidentally, I wish every fighter was willing to take on comers the way Mosley is — it isn’t 100 percent constant, but it is awfully persistent. Mosley’s steroid use, even if he says it was accidental, prevents me from being a massive Mosley fan, but boy is he a fight fan’s fighter.
Donaire looks very much like he’ll end up with Jorge Arce in December for Pinoy Power 3, which is a decent bout. But this comes at the same time that Vic Darchinyan’s team — as opposed to just Vic himself — is finally talking about the Donaire rematch. I don’t suppose it’s one or the other. Maybe Donaire can go Arce-Darchinyan-Fernando Montiel. If he did that, whew, what a resume he’d have. Pinoy Power 3 might feature a rematch of the featherweight Steve Luevano-Bernabe Concepcion fight, which I initially said I was fine with but in retrospect actually would be something of an injustice. Luevano says, and I agree with him, that Concepcion shouldn’t have his disqualifying foul from the first bout rewarded with another shot at his alphabet title belt. But Luevano says he’ll do it if the money’s right.
There’s yet more evidence that cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek will move up to heavyweight to fight Andrew Golota in October, a massive fight in Poland but something of a circus sideshow as boxing matches go. Kinda disappointing. There’s a press conference scheduled for Tuesday where it might come up, apparently.
On Dec. 11 or 12, light heavyweight Jean Pascal is in line to have a rematch with Adrian Diaconu in a repeat of one of the best bouts of 2009 so far. Sounds good to me. The Canadian promoter of both men hopes Versus or Showtime pick it up, and I share their dreams. In other rematch news, Ulises Solis wants to get another shot at Viloria, and considering that was a very nice scrap too, I’d be down. In both these cases, the winner of the first fight — Pacal, Viloria — won cleanly. They’d have to be favorites to win in rematches, but it’s not like either bout was uncompetitive.
Vazquez of Vazquez-Marquez fame plans to return Oct. 10 against somebody or the other. A nice, soft opponent makes sense to test whether Vazquez’ injuries are behind him.
The oft-rescheduled Montiel-Eric Morel fight isn’t going to happen Sept. 12 on the Latin Fury card. Montiel’s fighting someone named Jerome Arnould, who’s hardly qualified. Montiel has fought in a series of bouts where his victory was never in doubt. It’d really be nice to see Montiel just forget about Morel if it means he keeps taking crap fights like this one while he waits.
Roy Jones-Danny Green looks very much a go for November, presumably at cruiserweight, and likely in Sydney. I’m sure you care. Still, Jones is at least moving up the ladder in terms of competition. HBO has reportedly sent signals to Jones that he won’t be back on the network no matter what he does, so Jones is doing everything he can to wring money out of everyone he can, and he’s doing better than I’d expect. Still, it would be nice if he used some of that savvy, as well as the promotional savvy he’s shown with his company Square Ring, to put on better cards; I haven’t met many people who thought last weekend’s pay-per-view was very good, top-to-bottom (and it wasn’t on paper, anyway).
Heavyweight prospect George Foreman III is having a tough time finding opponents, so his latest opponent had to be bought off with one of his pop’s grills before he’d take the fight. I could care less about Foreman III until he shows even an iota of anything — which may be years away, given his lack of an amateur background — but I’m a sucker for a good promotional gimmick. I’ll gladly play along even if I know it’s just a gimmick. Thus, this mention of Foreman III when otherwise he wouldn’t get one from me.

(Round And Round sourcing: Boxingtalk; ESPN; Manila Bulletin; BoxingScene; Fightnews; news releases)

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.