Round And Round, Featuring The Juan Manuel Lopez Vs. Rafael Marquez Bad News, Plus What’s Next For Jean Pascal, Andre Berto And Others

“Prehistoric terror bird jabbed like boxer,” reads the headline describing the newly-discovered killing methods of the creature above. Circle, stick and move has worked for that long, at least: 60 million years. Some pro boxer, some day, must take the nickname “Prehistoric Terror Bird.” If I could, I would, and I’d combine it with a Cuban name, like Yurtimethy “Prehistoric Terror Bird” Starkeaux.

And in a likewise circular motion, the carousel of fights in the works spins round and round and round and round…

Round And Round

Juan Manuel Lopez-Rafael Marquez is at least postponed, maybe off altogether, after Marquez injured his thumb. Its removal from the September schedule — along with the widely anticipated delay of the super middleweight bout between Andre Ward and Andre Dirrell — puts a crimp in what was an otherwise upward-swinging stretch of boxing in the eighth and ninth months of 2010. If it were up to me, featherweight Celestino Caballero would step right in. We’ll hear excuses about how Caballero’s too tall to train for in four weeks, but the best attitude any boxer could take in this situation is to say, “Screw it, I’m afraid of no one.” As it is, Lopez’ team has done everything they can to keep him away from Caballero. HBO, to its credit, apparently continues to press for a Caballero-Yuriorkis Gamboa fight, but I bet that one never happens, either. Top Rank wants nothing to do with the guy, and will probably do everything it can to avoid matching its fighters Lopez and Gamboa with him.

Golden Boy keeps trying to make a Manny Pacquiao trilogy bout happen for Juan Manuel Marquez, but I don’t see how that one happens, either. It’s no longer that Top Rank is less than thrilled about giving Pacquiao to the guy who nearly beat him twice, as I think they expect Pacquiao would win. It’s not — as Top Rank says — that they think they can’t sell the fight because Pacquiao is a welterweight and Marquez doesn’t have a win at welterweight yet. Almost everyone would rather see Pacquiao-Marquez III than Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito, even under those circumstances. It’s that Top Rank is interested in keeping everything in the family these days. That, plus Marquez’ contract demands for a third Pacquiao bout had been beyond absurd — 50-50 split, and a drug testing regime that Pacquiao scoffed at when offered by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a far more lucrative bout.

Multiple news outlets have reported that Timothy Bradley-Devon Alexander is almost entirely done for January on HBO to settle the top man at junior welterweight. Except, all of them mention that the location isn’t settled. That doesn’t seem like a small matter to me.

The opponent new lineal light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal has said he wants most is Bernard Hopkins, which, in one way, is too bad, because there are three guys that I’d far rather see him fight: Chad Dawson, Lucian Bute and Tavoris Cloud, in that order. It is, nonetheless, not a flat out terrible option; old man Hopkins hasn’t looked great lately, but he’s still a legit fighter at this point and he’s got a name.

Welterweight Andre Berto is apparently dead set on fighting a blown-up junior welterweight, or his team is, or both. First there was talk of Andriy Kotelnik, then it was Marcos Maidana before Maidana said “no.” When Selcuk Aydin came due as his belt’s mandatory challenger, Berto’s side reportedly turned it down. Now, I’m not saying Berto-Aydin thrills me, and HBO isn’t interested in it, but Aydin at least offers some money in his home country of Turkey, and at least he’s a welterweight. Berto’s team also reportedly isn’t interested in another welterweight HBO is, Mike Jones, which would be a good fight. The other option is for Berto to deepen the pockets of fan-hatred toward him by fighting a 140-pounder or sit around and wait for a bigger name to become available. The thing is, I think Berto shouldn’t be at welter — his height and short arms make him look more like a junior welterweight, but if you’re going to be a junior welterweight, go be a junior welterweight. I’ve been more patient about Berto than many, because I like his talent (such as it is) and he usually makes good fights, but he’s become maddening.

Another fighter spinning his wheels a bit is lightweight/junior lightweight Jorge Linares, who in October will fight Jesus Chavez at 133 pounds. That fight has little appeal, obviously, since Chavez is well past his prime and maybe fully shot, but maybe the thinking is that Linares isn’t all the way “back” after a career-best win over Rocky Juarez, and is still on the recovery trail confidence-wise from his knockout loss last year…?

There’s a two-fight card in the works for October in Panama: Cruiserweight Guillermo Jones will end a two-year hiatus (wait, really? why? what?) to fight the #1 challenger to his alphabet belt, Valery Brudov. Also, top-10 flyweights Luis Concepcion and Denkaosan Kaovichit would square off.

Bantamweight Fernando Montiel might fight Alexander Munoz next instead of Cristian Mijares, which isn’t a major downgrade even though Munoz once lost to Mijares. Can we just get to Montiel-Nonito Donaire already?

With Juanma-Rafa off for Sept. 18, Golden Boy’s much-maligned pay-per-view card becomes the major option for boxing that weekend. One of the undercard fights is getting a slight upgrade: Featherweight Antonio Escalante steps in for Miguel Roman — the man he beat earlier this year in a Fight of the Year candidate — to take on Daniel Ponce De Leon, and it becomes a title eliminator. Juanma and Rafa both have company in their desire to avoid Caballero, by the way — Escalante had shied away from a Caballero fight himself.

Roy Jones gets sadder by the day. The former great is looking to continue his fighting career, likely in a cruiserweight bout against Danny Santiago in October.

(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; Maxboxing; FanHouse)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.