Looking at all the news this week, it’s all pretty much either about the junior welterweight mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton, or it’s gossip about fights in the works. So we’ll keep this once-promised Quick Jabs column as an all-Round And Round column, with a tiny bit on the rest of the most important weekend fights. The dudes in the picture there are in one of them.
I hit some of the few Quick Jabbish items on Twitter — the controversy over the TIME “Most Influential” poll that jobbed Pacquiao, the bad advice super middleweight Jermain Taylor got from his corner last weekend, the TMZ piece on disgraced welterweight Antonio Margarito suing California over the hand wrap business — so if you want to catch up on those tidbits, go to www.twitter.com/tqbr.
The Rest Of The Weekend
On Showtime tonight, Carlos Abregu, the welterweight prospect last seen struggling mightily with David Estrada, is taking a step backwards to fight Irving Garcia. (In the photo, Abregu is on the left.) It’s probably a wise step backwards. There’s no shame in getting static from Estrada — he’s a tough fighter — but most of the best have been able to overcome him. Abregu can be a fun boxer, but he faded in that fight and he needs more seasoning before moving back up another level. Another fun-but-only-OK prospect, Marvin Quintero, is taking on what looks to me like a stiffer challenge than the last, against fast but light-hitting Wes Ferguson. Ferguson was last seen getting pasted by Edner Cherry on the Floyd Mayweather, Jr.- Hatton undercard, and between him and fellow “Mayweather Promotions” product Said Ouali, I’m gathering that Mayweather Promotions is very interested in getting a foothold in the lucrative “ShoBox B-side” market. Gary Russell, Jr. fights in a four-round off-television featherweight bout of which Showtime will broadcast highlights.
In other broadcast action this weekend, exciting and talented lightweight Urbana Antillon and welterweight “Contender” grad Alfonso Gomez, rebounding from that beating at the hands of Miguel Cotto last year, fight on Azteca America tonight. And you can catch some untelevised Pacquiao-Hatton undercard fights Saturday via ESPN 360 featuring a prospect I’m very high on, junior featherweight Abner Mares, and a prospect others are very high on, junior welterweight Mike Alvarado.
Round And Round
Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez started the week as off, but as the week moved on, it slowly moved more and more toward a deal for a July 18 pay-per-view. Details are sketchy, and the last official word at midweek was that it was not “done,” according to Golden Boy boss Richard Schaefer. They’ll fight at somewhere below 145 lbs., according to one report, but that’s all I can find out. We already talked about this fight plenty in our Open Thread. I kind of hate it, kind of understand it.
Welterweight Shane Mosley still is holding out hope that he will get the winner of Pacquiao-Hatton. I don’t see how. Marquez, Mayweather and Cotto all offer more money to the winner of that fight.
After walking away from cruiserweight king Tomasz Adamek, Bernard Hopkins is now targeting Carl Froch at super middleweight. ESPN’s Dan Rafael is skeptical, given Hopkins’ somewhat absurd money demands in recent discussions. I share that skepticism. B-Hop also said that he is interested in a Felix Trinidad rematch, but that contrary to reports, he wasn’t seeking it out. Trinidad, for his part, is now wavering, despite having a whopping $15 million on the table. Obviously, Hopkins-Froch is the more interesting fight, if it can be made. But Froch, having been rebuffed by the retired Joe Calzaghe, is turning his attention to Mikkel Kessler. If Kessler can manage to extract himself from his ever-growing series of eye-rolling fights, Kessler-Froch is fine by me, even if I have serious trouble imagining how Froch wins. We’re talking about two of the best fighters in a very deep division and I wouldn’t mind seeing it.
Two junior featherweight stars, Juan Manuel Lopez and Israel Vazquez, are making their next plans. Lopez wants to fight Antonio Escalante in July. So far so good. It’s a viable stay-busy fight while he awaits the availability of his next prospective opponent, and Escalante, an exciting fighter on a hot streak, deserves a payday. The aforementioned next prospective opponent would be, well, Vazquez. In September. I have my reservations about that one. First, Vazquez’ own plans call for him to return at featherweight around then, against Lopez or Steve Luevano. That means he’d have no tune-up fights, apparently. He needs one. We need to see if he has anything left after his surgeries and long layoffs. Jumping right into any tough fight, let alone one with Lopez — who looked so good early last year that I thought he was the class of junior featherweight even WITH Vazquez and his rival Rafael Marquez roaming the division — sounds very dangerous to me. I’m not utterly convinced, as some are, that Vazquez and Marquez are shot. But I’m skeptical that they aren’t damaged goods in some way. Let’s see them prove they can fight ANYONE before we see them fight the biggest and the best.
Contrary to what his promoter Bob Arum wants, lightweight knockout artist Edwin Valero isn’t all that interested in fighting Breidis Prescott on a July 25 pay-per-view. The thinking is that Valero’s beyond that. He’s right. I was interested in the fight because of both dudes’ gaudy knockout ratios, but Valero would have to be the favorite in that fight by a long distance. Who does Valero want instead? A. Joel Casamayor, which was one of my suggestions for him, just to see if he could handle a slick boxer, or B. Humberto Soto, which sounds like as much fun as a boxing match gets. If Valero doesn’t get his way, I won’t be too disappointed, but if he does, I’ll be thrilled.
Since HBO and Showtime have both stupidly turned down Adamek against light heavyweight Glen Johnson — just a terrible business decision, I think, even if there were budget considerations — and since Versus apparently has stopped picking up fights like this (and any fights at all), Adamek has turned his attention elsewhere. The possibilities for a July 10 bout include cheaper options for Showtime, Matt Godfrey and Shaun George. Those aren’t atrocious fights or anything, but Adamek deserves better, and the fans deserve better. We’ve got a true action star here in Adamek, and a very high-quality fighter, and a huge fan draw, by the way, so we need to see him testing himself against a higher level of competition. And Johnson deserves a big payday — he’s an excellent and exciting fighter himself. This is sad, disheartening stuff here.
Reportedly, Gerry Penalosa has been offered a fight with the winner of the bantamweight fight between Fernando Montiel and Eric Morel. There have been a lot of people dismissing this fight, including Pacquiao. But let’s assume Penalosa recovers from the beating he took from Lopez. I have no indicators that he’s seriously harmed from that, unlike the effect of the beatings Vazquez and Marquez dished out on one another. There are voices saying, “Montiel would rip Penalosa apart.” Really? Has anyone noticed how wildly inconsistent he is? I know he’s talented, and I think he’s closing in on pound-for-pound top 20 status, but he hasn’t shown me much at bantamweight yet. So as much as I’d be perfectly fine with Penalosa retiring now, HBO wouldn’t stop reminding us that he loved boxing more than his “wife and life.” Until I see signs of Penalosa deteriorating, I won’t campaign for him to conclude his career. The beating he took from Lopez, he would have taken 10 years ago. The size difference and talent difference was just that wide. I didn’t see slippage.
As much as we’re all interested in Ivan Calderon-Brian Viloria, I’m assuming, we’ll have to wait a while. Calderon will fight on the undercard against a top-ranked junior flyweight, Rodel Mayol, on the June 13 undercard of Cotto-Joshua Clottey. Apparently, the concern was that Viloria wouldn’t be ready yet, coming off his win over Ulises Solis not long ago. I think Calderon has often not taken the stiffest challenges, but I can’t blame him here for wanting to get back in the ring and especially in front of a rabid Puerto Rican crowd at Madison Square Garden. Under the circumstances, Mayol may be a heavy underdog, but it’s not a bad fight.
Word is that super middleweights Lucian Bute and Allan Green are negotiating successfully for a fight in the next few months. I think that’s a competi
tive fight if the talented but mercurial Green is properly motivated. I don’t know why Bute isn’t doing the rematch with Librado Andrade yet, though. And Green also says he wants a piece of Froch and, for some reason, Paul Williams. Froch-Green is a good fight, but Williams-Green, while mildly interesting, just doesn’t really make that much sense to me. What does Green bring to the table for Williams? Nothin’.
After a close loss, junior middleweight Deandre Latimore is pursuing a rematch against Cory Spinks. I can’t imagine either could find a fight that would make them more money, and it wasn’t a bad scrap the first time around. Why not do it again?
Happy birthday to me! Super middleweight Jean Pascal would move up light heavyweight to challenge Adrian Diaconu on June 19, my birthday, for an all-Canada scrap. Good fight, and a good present to Canada, as much as anything else.
Since the WBC decided to screw Timothy Bradley out of his junior welterweight belt for no good reason, Devon Alexander will fight Junior Witter at some future juncture for the vacant strap. Have I mentioned before how much I think the sanctioning organizations suck? At least Alexander-Witter is a decent fight. Actually, it’s almost identical to Bradley-Witter — young unproven speedster with moderate power against proven veteran.
Danny Green won a fight recently then called out Anthony Mundine. Green is a light heavyweight. Mundine is a middleweight these days. If they can work around that, it would be one of many endless Australian rematches I don’t understand or care about. I’m pretty sure this would be Mundine-Green XXXVI.
(Sourcing: FightNews; Sky Sports; ESPN; GMA; BoxingScene; news releases)