The coolest boxing-related thing I read all week was lightweight Michael Katisidis’ statement about his recently deceased brother Stathi. Not only was it touching, but it featured the good news that his sibling’s death wouldn’t affect his upcoming bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, one of the most anticipated bouts of 2010. Because it’s so cool, I’m just going to reprint it here.
I have lost my closest friend, my inspiration in life, my one and only brother. This is something I could never imagine, but for some reason I feel his life is not a loss. My brother is me! We live our lives through each other. We dedicate our triumphs to one another and share the challenges we face in life. What does someone do when they lose the one person in their life like this? They are devastated right? Allow me to share with you Stathi’s thoughts and what he wants. If you can believe me, I feel you will all be somewhat enlightened to hear what I have say.
The fight will go on! I will do this for Stathi, my family and myself. The moment I walked in for a grueling sparing session after hearing the news of his death earlier that day, my trainer Brendon Smith shook my hand and said to me “you are about to take the bravest step of your life.” We nodded, smiled and went to work. I worked as I have never done before. He is with me and will be all the way. I am happy about this.
I have never experienced anything like I felt that day. Stathi is inside me! We will fight this fight together. I know this is what he wants.
I would like to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers for my brother, my family and myself. God bless.
People grieve in such different ways. That’s some pretty riveting stuff. I’m a huge Marquez fan and a less-huge Katsidis fan, but it’ll be harder to have a rooting interest for Marquez in this fight now. I’ll still have it, I’ll just feel strange about it. Katisidis is a fun and talented fighter, and a fascinating, dare I say it inspirational, human being.
Now, to other fights in the works.
Round And Round
A featherweight bout between Chris John and YURIORKIS GAMBOA! is right around the corner, assuming John doesn’t get injured again. The holdup had been that John owed Fernando Saucedo a fight, which is now escheduled for December. John-GAMBOA! could then happen in the spring. I obviously like GAMBOA!’s chances against John, but John is an excellent boxer and even at his age, he’ll be the most talented person GAMBOA! has ever faced.
After/if Manny Pacquiao gets past Antonio Margarito, the plan is to move back down to welterweight. I say “if” only because, while I’m suspicious it’s all for hype purposes, the volume of concerned quotes coming out of the Pacquiao camp about him being more focused on Congress than boxing is rather high right now. The welterweight options, according to Pac’s team, are Shane Mosley, Andre Berto, Juan Manuel Marquez and the winner of Devon Alexander-Timothy Bradley. Wait, I thought Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said that Marquez needed to prove himself at welterweight before he could sell a Marquez fight? What happened to that?
As for Margarito, if he wins, Sergio Martinez — who I think made a brief appearance in Pacquiao/Margarito 24/7, which I wrote about quickly here — wants him some Margarito rematch. I don’t know how good Margarito would have to look against Pacquiao for me to give Margarito any hope whatsoever against Martinez.
Mosley’s next options, according to his promoter, are Berto, Miguel Cotto or Saul Alvarez. Of those, I’d prefer Mosley-Cotto II. If anything. I’d rather Cotto fight, say, Alfredo Angulo, so Mosley’s really low on my priority list.
Paul Williams said he’ll move to welterweight again for Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather. That won’t happen. Too bad. #1, #2, #3 — that’s Pac, Floyd, and P-Will, on the list of best fighters in the world.
Kelly Pavlik is also making plans for his next fight. Besides a super middleweight bout against Lucian Bute, he’d also look at the winner of Williams-Martinez II, which still have some cache, especially if Pavlik can figure out a way to stay at middleweight safely.
The IBF tournament idea to face heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko is really in rough shape. One of the only fights left that had a chance was Eddie Chambers-Jean Marc Mormeck, but Mormeck is apparently locked in with Hasim Rahman. The IBF will keep searching, but if Chambers ends up against some crappy opponent then gets another shot at Klitschko after that shellacking, ugh.
Top-10 junior flyweights Luis Lazarte and Ulises Solis are headed toward a Dec. 18 bout. I’m really interested to see if Solis can keep climbing back into things. He was a pound-for-pound top 20 guy before the loss to Brian Viloria, and if Solis can beat Lazarte, tell me you wouldn’t love to see Solis try to tackle division king Giovanni Segura.
Light heavyweight Tavoris Cloud won’t be fighting either Otis Griffin or Yusaf Mack in December, with Griffin reportedly turning the fight down so he can become Cloud’s mandatory opponent, where he’ll get paid more and Mack turning it down for reasons that were not reported. Too bad. I like the idea of the woefully inactive Cloud staying busy; I’ll be rooting for him to find a qualified opponent.
Welterweight Dmitriy Salita is doing his own climbing back, and his next opponent, Mike Anchondo — recently KO’d by Freddy Hernandez — is the right kind of opponent for him to work back into things. Tough, but not much else left these days, and too small for welter.
So much for the Monte Barrett retirement. After his draw with heavyweight David Tua, the plan is to rematch in 2011, with them taking separate bouts on the same card in the meantime.
Rustico Torrecampo is back! The man who once knocked out Pacquiao is making a return to the ring. Since some people think that the only standard of pound-for-pound excellence is whether one person beat another, Torrecampo remains a better pound-for-pound fighter than Pacquiao. So naturally Pacquiao needs to avenge this loss.
(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; news releases)