The bad news: It’s a light week on the boxing schedule again. The good news: I won’t be saying that again until damn near Christmas.
Seriously, give her a look. There’s not a bad week of boxing from Halloween until two weeks before Santa Claus arrives.
For now, we’re left with:
Pacquiao/Cotto 24/7, Saturday. OK, this isn’t a boxing match, but it’s boxing programming, and it’s the most exciting boxing-related thing happening on television this weekend. HBO kicks off its reality series/marketing tool meant to hype the Nov. 14 megafight between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, set to take place at 145 pounds. Pacquiao and Cotto are pretty low-key guys who don’t speak English as their first languages, so I’m not sure how much good material they themselves will provide. We’ve gotten to know Pacquiao and his team in two previous 24/7s, and that well seems pretty well tapped. Cotto we know less, although in one HBO half-hour preview show in advance of the Antonio Margarito fight, they tried to show us that he had a more playful personality with his friends than he shows in his stone-faced public demeanor. However, things could get interesting if more fistfights break out in the Pacquiao camp — there’s already reportedly been one where unpopular Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz got a beatdown — or if Cotto’s uncle and former trainer, Evangelista, shows up and throws another cement block through his Jaguar window, as he earlier this year. In other words: Just because this isn’t a televised boxing match, doesn’t mean we won’t get a fight.
Tomasz Adamek-Andrew Golota, Saturday, Poland. The New Zealand Fight of the Century, that’s old news. This right here is the Polish Fight of the Century. Adamek, the cruiserweight champion of the world, moves up to heavyweight for big money against fellow Pole Golota. Even though Golota is 41 and is coming off a 1st round loss to Ray muhfuhnin’ Austin, I don’t think the result here is altogether that clear. Golota’s quit job was the result of a fluky injury of what some thought was dubious authenticity (although I totally buy it having seen the pictures), not his usual emotional flameout. Adamek was a light heavyweight not so long ago, and while he’s the better boxer of the two, it’s not clear whether his power will carry up with him and if his fantastic beard will hold up to the bona fide heavyweight power Golota will throw at him if he’s a fraction of his old self. And we know Adamek likes to catch punches with his beard. Look for Adamek to weigh around 215, Golota 240-250. Adamek says he intends to return to cruiserweight, but the Klitschko Brothers are already talking him up as a real future opponent, and Adamek does have that wandering eye all cruiserweights do on heavyweight cash. All in all, though, it remains, for me, one of the biggest disappointments of 2009 that no television network was able or willing to make Adamek-Steve Cunningham II, Adamek-Glen Johnson or Adamek-Bernard Hopkins happen. Adamek’s borderline top-10 pound-for-pound material for me, and I can’t say “fighting an old, erratic heavyweight” is a dignified move for him, but then, money talks. I guess he’ll have lifetime bragging rights in Poland if he wins ‘er. (Wonder why no pay-per-view outlet has picked this up… It’s not like there’s an insubstantial rabid Polish-American boxing fan base or anything.)
ShoBox, Friday, Texas. Kind of a weird welterweight main event for this prospect-oriented show — one guy, Damian Frias, is 33, and the other, Freddy Hernandez, is 30. I’m sure the fact that Hernandez is promoted by Showtime favorite Gary Shaw has nothing to do with the fact that these prospects, such as they are, are featured. Look, Shaw’s got some fine talent, but, seriously, if he’s running out of young boxers to put on, why — fine, never mind. I’ll just hope it’s a good fight. Frias hasn’t fought much of anyone; Hernandez has, beating Jesus Soto-Karass but losing to Golden Johnson. On the undercard, junior bantamweight prospect Victor Fonseca takes on Al Seeger. Fonseca has beaten some decent fighters, while Seeger is coming of a tragic knockout win where his opponent died.
Broadway Boxing pay-per-view, Saturday, Puerto Rico. This card had a little more juice when it paired welterweight Kermit Cintron and junior middleweight Carlos Quintana in separate fights, but Joshua Clottey needed an opponent for Dec. 5 on HBO. Cintron said no, objecting over a combination of the money offered and his desire to fight in his native Puerto Rico; he would have had to drop this weekend’s fight to do the Dec. 5 gig. Quintana said yes, so Quintana pulled out of the card. Cintron’s opponent, Juliana Ramos, probably won’t put up too much resistance; he has a glossy knockout record of 12 in 15 wins, but he lost his last fight by knockout to quality young welterweight Mike Jones, and Jones is far less experienced than Cintron. A couple Puerto Rican prospects round out the card, which is available in the United States.
The rest. Exciting Jamie Moore takes on Ryan Rhodes Friday in England in a junior middleweight title eliminator for a shot at Sergio Martinez’ belt… Flyweight Pongsaklek Wonjongkam takes another fight Thursday while waiting for a shot at the winner of Daisuke Naito and Koki Kameda… Super middleweight Edison Miranda tries to get his career back on track Thursday against modest opposition… Oliver McCall-Lance Whitaker at heavyweight Friday? Really? What year is this?… On Saturday, junior bantamweight Tomas Rojas takes a risky fight against Evans Mbamba in advance of a good payday on Showtime against Vic Darchinyan Dec. 12; Rojas better not lose if he wants that TV money… Middleweights Anthony Mundine and Daniel Geale take separate fights Wednesday before a rematch early next year. The press conference yesterday got pretty funny. Mundine decided he wanted the fight at a different weight, pissing off his opponent, but Mundine’s reaction was to A. rip off his shirt and B. flaunt his lack of preparation: “I have not been training too hard and been eating too many chocolates and cakes so I said to my management that I wanted the fight to be 76kg and now he’s complaining about it. This is my show and if he wants to get paid he’s got to agree.” That’s got to be the most hilarious reaction to not making weight I’ve ever heard of.