Quick Jabs: Manny Pacquiao Vs. Joshua Clottey Leftovers; Timothy Bradley To HBO; Top Rank Vs. Golden Boy (Again); Fernando Montiel Vs. Hozumi Hasegawa, Finally?; More

That a boxer’s on “Good Morning America,” even if it’s on a Saturday, is one of many signs that despite the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao setback, the American media is still clued into the fact that boxing can matter. Even if the buzz for Pacquiao’s welterweight fight with Joshua Clottey this evening has been muted among hardcore fans and even Pacquiao devotees in the Philippines, the fight’s gotten some mainstream pub — including from The New York Times, which ran its article later than the rest but still came around, and Sportscenter this morning, which revisited Pacquiao giving autographed gloves to the Boston Celtics. GMA doesn’t like Pacquiao’s singing, per the segment. But I didn’t know Pacquiao could do such a great Scottish accent. A man of many talents, is Manny.

But there’s more going on in the boxing world than Pacquiao-Clottey, even if I wasn’t able to get to it this week with the marathon coverage deal. There’s the stuff in the headline, plus fights in the works for Devon Alexander, the Klitschkos, and a variety of rematches. And more.

Quick Jabs

I guess a couple of these things are Pacquiaoish, so let’s get them out of the way first. One, the Top Rank/Golden Boy feud that really got bad years ago over Pacquiao and reignited because of Mayweather-Pacquioa keeps on deepening, this time because Top Rank boss Bob Arum believes MGM Grand is showing favoritism toward Golden Boy. March 13 was the date MGM Grand reserved first for Mayweather and Golden Boy, according to MGM Grand (click on BoxingScene link at your computer’s peril), but I don’t know the real story — one person’s word against the other, really. I will say I’ve warmed to the idea of Arum taking Pacquiao-Clottey to Cowboys Stadium, despite my criticisms of Texas’ boxing jurisdiction. Maxboxing’s Steve Kim pointed out recently there had been a series of bad decisions in Vegas recently, too, and once Texas kept nepotism-benefiting crap-ref Laurence Cole/Texas boxer-loving crap-judge Gale Van Hoy/glove-loading scumbag-welterweight Antonio Margarito away from the event, it got more palatable. The Texas trifecta — bad judges, bad referees, poor safety record — never emerged. Even better, you could apparently buy affordable tickets to the show. These are good things…

From July to December, Oscar De La Hoya wrote one to four blog entries per month for Ring magazine’s website, which he owns. But ever since he weighed in with insinuations that Pacquiao was on steroids — a matter in which he had a business interest, given that drug testing was a central issue in the Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations for which his promotional company, Golden Boy, expected to profit — De La Hoya hasn’t had another blog entry, despite the defenses the magazine issued of whether its owner, also a boxing promoter, should be getting such a prominent journalistic venue to advance his business interests. I hope this is the site realizing that this was an ethical problem that reflected poorly on the publication’s reputation, and not a temporary hiatus, and not just them getting gun shy about the lawsuit De La Hoya’s insinuations brought him. If so, I’m glad they corrected this…

Two other Ring-related items: I wasn’t aware, until this latest issue, that Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer may originally have leveled the steroid accusation against Pacquiao for which there is zero evidence. I’ve generally held Schaefer in somewhat high esteem, but that diminishes my opinion of him. And Doug Fischer, whom I count among one of the handful of best boxing writers and analysts of today, delivers another of his hilariously specific breakdowns of what will happen in a fight, this time Pacquiao-Clottey. “The challenger will also shake his head to let the superstar know he is unhurt,” Fischer writes at one point. I honestly like Fischer’s work, but this cracks me up; I can’t wait to read the next installment. “Shane Mosley will deliver a left hook while standing in the red corner that connects on Mayweather’s jaw, forcing him to stumble backward at a 45 degree angle, in turn prompting Joe Fredrickson seated in 5A to spit out his Bubblicious Gonzo Grape gum in surprise. Mayweather will wipe the sweat from his brow with his right glove, then take precisely two steps forward to…” etc. etc…

So Timothy Bradley’s headed over to HBO. The rising junior welterweight star was having trouble getting an opponent for this summer, and that’s been mentioned as to why he’s leaving Showtime, but I’m not sure that was the only factor factor. Yeah, a lot of the guys in the division where he’s #1 are fighting on HBO, but you’re telling me that if the money was right they wouldn’t go fight him on Showtime? I suppose this stands a better chance of making the money right, since HBO has more of it than Showtime. Whatever it takes. If you aren’t excited about the junior welterweight division, I’m not sure what part of your brain is missing, and Bradley being more likely to get a big fight in said division is straight-up good news, even if I feel bad for Showtime for developing Bradley so well only to lose him…

You know who’s still a junior welterweight? Ricky Hatton. I mean, technically. This week, he was going to anounce his comeback, then retire, then changed his mind, and in it all there was some discussion of making Hatton-Juan Manuel Marquez. I know Hatton’s a big enough name and popular enough fighter in our sport to warrant some coverage of whether he’s going to retire or not, but it was pretty funny watching several outlets post story after story about what Hatton was doing, and so credulously. Don’t have a headline saying “Hatton to announce he will continue his career” followed a couple later by “Hatton to retire” followed a couple later by “Hatton will keep boxing,” and in all of the stories act like the others never existed. It’s going to make you look like a freaking sucker…

And lastly on the junior welterweight front, Mayweather recently called Devon Alexander to let him know that when he retired, Mayweather would be passing the torch to Devon. Mayweather is selective with his praise of boxers, usually reserving it for people who fight a little like him. And maybe it’s slightly condescending for Mayweather to suggest he is in a position to pass a torch. But I do think it’s one more indicator that Alexander is a special talent — I was surprised by the number of writers who weren’t so impressed by Alexander’s showing against Juan Urango last weekend — what with Mayweather’s tastes being so discriminating.

It’s great that Miguel Cotto-Yuri Foreman will be on regular HBO, rather than pay-per-view. I doubt many boxing fans were relishing the idea of forking over $50 for that junior middleweight fight. It’s not that I was pissed at Arum over this one, because apparently HBO wasn’t originally all that interested, so he should do what he thinks he needs to do, but he and the network made it happen, so kudos to them. (That’s two items praising Arum, however roundabout, in one blog entry!) And while I have my doubts as well that Humberto Soto-Anthony Peterson at lightweight will land on the undercard, I didn’t believe Arum would really deliver Yankee Stadium for the fight, either. So for a while, I think I might try believing what Arum says before instantly discounting it…

I’m sorry I didn’t give you all a preview of the weekend’s other boxing cards. Scott did hit you with something of a preview of the Fox Sports card that aired last night, but here’s a breakdown of the results, and you can read about the decent ESPN Deportes card that also aired Friday here. As for today, I’d try to find the Marco Huck-Adam Richards cruiserweight fight however you can (Perhaps ARD.de?) that airs at 5 p.m., because it should be good. And while I doubt anyone much will be watching anything tonight other than Pacquiao-Clottey, the WBC is airing another card this evening, if you want to check that out. If they keep this trend up, I might just not spit all over the WBC so often. It’s like, opposite day or something…

Before we move on to fights in the works, it’s briefly worth revisiting a fight from last weekend, when welterweight Saul Alvarez put a nice-looking knockout on Brian Camechis. I like Alvarez as a prospect — I’m not sure bout his speed, but he’s smart and has power.

Round And Round

The on-again/off-again bantamweight bout between Fernando Montiel-Hozumi Hasegawa now looks more “on” than ever after Montiel said he’s agreed to the money for the fight April 30. I really like this fight. These are both borderline pound-for-pound guys who haven’t fought the best competition in the world lately, and fighting each other definitely is a high-risk, high-reward proposition. Furthermore, they match up as good boxers with power, so I expect it to be an exciting, high-level match-up. And I like that Montiel is willing to go to Japan for the bout, as well as seemingly defying his promoter Top Rank, who wanted him to instead fight a lesser opponent in Eric Morel. We’ll see if Top Rank still doesn’t get in the way of this fight, but for now it looks promising.

The aforementioned Alexander looks to either fight Zab Judah or, according to one report, the winner of Marcos Maidana-Victor Cayo in July on HBO. The Maidana-Cayo option was news to team Alexander, according to a follow-up report, and they’d want some nice cash to do Amir Khan’s “dirty work” by disposing of Maidana, the mandatory challenger to Khan’s belt. I’d count on Alexander-Judah.

Khan’s fight with Paulie Malignaggi is official for May 15 on HBO, complete with press tours and the like underway. I think it’s the right fight for both men. Bradley’s debut on HBO will come against welterweight Luis Carlos Abregu June 26. I don’t know what Bradley will be like at 147, but it’s a reasonable fight. I wish I understood why Bradley was going so long between fights, though.

Heavyweight Vitali Klitschko is taking on an absolute joke of an opponent in Albert Sosnowski May 29, who was defeated and nearly knocked out not that long ago by 0-KO journeyman Zuri Lawrence. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me that much. Vitali’s strength of schedule has been quite awesome since his comeback. I wish he was fighting somebody better, and it’s too bad he couldn’t get a Nicolay Valuev or Odlanier Solis or the like in the ring, but I’m guessing the Ukraine-Poland match-up will draw in Europe and it’s a safe fight should Vitali not want to risk losing out on a David Haye bout later in the year.

The division’s champ, Wladimir Klitschko, might be rematching with Samuel Peter after Peter won a title eliminator Friday; if not, Peter will be rematching with Eddie Chambers in the event Chambers upsets Klitschko. I can’t say either rematch does much for me, but there aren’t a lot of fights in the division involving a Klitschko that would do much for me, and Chambers-Peter I didn’t seem to warrant a do-over.

Another rematch: The WBC has ordered a sequel to Rodel Mayol-Omar Nino for Mayol’s junior flyweight belt, which is just by my view because of the peculiar ending to the first fight, when Mayol ended up unconscious due to a punch that came after the referee tried to halt the action.

On April 2, hard-luck welterweights Delvin Rodriguez and Mike Arnaoutis will fight on Friday Night Fights. Rodriguez has been on the bad end of a couple close decisions, while Arnaoutis got robbed in December. And you know, it stacks up as a pretty good fight.

Talented welterweight prospect Mike Jones will fight Hector Munoz on the undercard of the Kelly Pavlik-Sergio Martinez middleweight fight April 17. It’s a bit of a step down from Jones’ last opponent, Henry Bruseles, by my reading. Meanwhile, talented junior middleweight prospect Erislandy Lara will fight Danny Perez April 2. This strikes me as a lateral move for Lara after beating Grady Brewer, which I think is wise, given that Lara experienced his first spot of anything like trouble against Grady.

Lastly, on the local D.C. scene, it looks like we’ll get two rematches of cards from last weekend: junior middleweights Chase Shields vs. Jimmy Lange II, according to Boxing Along The Beltway; and junior welterweights Ikem Orji vs. Andrew Farmer II, according to Farmer’s father/trainer Scott. Lange and Farmer were both upset in the losses over the weekend, and I like that both of them want to get right back in there with their conquerors who dealt them some punishment. It’s brave stuff, and each are to be commended.

(Sources: TQBR; ESPN; BoxingScene; Fightnews; Boxing Along The Beltway)

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.