There’s not much Quick Jabbing material this week, other than:
This interview with Virgil Hunter, the trainer of super middleweight Andre Ward (paired at right), who’s fast become one of my favorite interviews in the sport;
A worthy Lou DiBella rant against the sanctioning organization that stripped his promotional charge, Sergio Martinez, of his middleweight belt;
Some extended trash talk between junior welterweights Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander at BoxingScene, although they really should just fight one another;
And the fact that Roy Jones, Jr. will be back in the broadcast booth at HBO for one night only this weekend while Emmanuel Steward works the corner for Miguel Cotto’s junior middleweight fight against Yuri Foreman — but don’t get any ideas, because word is that Lennox Lewis won’t be replaced.
So let’s instead talk about fights in the works, AKA Round And Round. There’s lots of it.
Round And Round
As is the case nearly every week, we start off with maneuvering for a couple of the biggest fights that can be made but that keep not getting made. HBO’s Larry Merchant said he has “exclusive” information that points to the imminence of the welterweight showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Also, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said he’d received a major offer from Qatar — “way bigger” than Jerry Jones’ offer of $25 million to host the fight in Cowboys Stadium — to put on the fight in the United States, presumably thinking that the live gate would recoup that investment. Also, Arum said he was offered his own camel. Wacky. Also, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s team said they have offered a 50-50 revenue split to David Haye, and doesn’t want any options on future fights, but Haye’s team hasn’t responded. Haye’s team hasn’t confirmed or denied the offer, but day by day, Haye looks more and more like a fraud.
That Joe Calzaghe comeback against light heavyweight rival Bernard Hopkins isn’t gonna happen. Calzaghe had left just a crack of an opening to a comeback, but he shut it down this week, saying he’d hit the gym and didn’t have the fire. Fantastic. Nobody really wanted Calzaghe-Hopkins except Hopkins and Golden Boy Promotions.
ESPN’s Dan Rafael reports that HBO’s ticked off at Arum for a bait and switch for a July 24 doubleheader. Featherweight Yuriokis Gamboa had moved on from Celestino Caballero to Elio Rojas for that date, but as it happens Rojas is in some feud with promoter Don King, so now Gamboa may instead be fighting Jorge Solis or Orlando Salido. On the other end of the doubleheader, it’s gone from Humberto Soto defending his lightweight belt against Anthony Peterson to Peterson instead fighting Brandon Rios. I understand HBO wanting more info from Top Rank on the show Arum’s putting on; shame on them, especially as it pertains to Gamboa. But it’s weeks-old news that Soto was thinking of moving to 140, so I don’t know why this was a surprise to HBO this week.
Bantamweight Yonnhy Perez won’t be rematching Abner Mares next; instead, he’ll be rematching Joseph Agbeko, because that’s what the IBF wants. Either rematch works for me. Both were Fight of the Year contenders the first time around, Mares this year and Agbeko last.
Junior featherweight Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. has said he wants to fight Jorge Arce, Fernando Montiel, Caballero, any of them. Caballero — whose name rarely passes the lips of professional boxers — heard that and wants some Vazquez. Let’d do this thing.
The ever-shifting undercard for July’s pay-per-view lightweight rematch between Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz just got another intriguing option: Jorge Linares-Rocky Juarez at junior lightweight. If Linares beat Juarez, for all of Juarez’ struggles, it would prove he’s ready to step back in against a top opponent and see if he can fulfill his pound-for-pound potential.
Bantamweight Fernando Montiel might fight Rafael Concepcion on July 19 on Fox Sports Net/Fox Sports en Espanol’s Top Rank Live show. It’s a high-caliber event for Top Rank Live, but I’d be happier if Concepcion had to sit on the sidelines a little longer for his overweight antics against Nonito Donaire. Also, it may not be a title defense, since Concepcion isn’t ranked highly by the WBC or WBO, if you follow such things.
Junior welterweight Amir Khan is still searching for his July 31 opponent, with the leaders still being Joel Casayamor and Michael Katsidis, but Golden Boy is indulging the idea of John Murray, too, in what would be a pretty big all-Brit fight. P.S. Welterweight Andre Berto is talking about moving down to the division. I think it’s a good idea, actually. Berto’s a muscle-bound but short-armed, stout welter — he’d be better-suited in that regard to the junior welterweight division, and there are some interesting fights for him in that loaded division.
Danny Green-Paul Briggs is a go for a cruiserweight all-Aussie fight July 21. Briggs hasn’t fought since 2007 or else I might be kinda interested in this one. Briggs is a brawler and Green is a puncher. Even if Briggs is rusty, it should be good as long as it lasts.
Brian Viloria no longer can make junior flyweight, says his crew, so he’ll move to flyweight July 10 to fight Omar Soto. Probably a decent testing-the-waters fight, although Viloria had fought at flyweight a bit before and not looked as impressive.
When Alfredo Angulo returns July 17 on the undercard of Bradley-Luis Carlos Abregu, his opponent will be Joachim Alcine, the former titlist who was victimized by Daniel Santos in a KO of the Year candidate in 2008. I don’t think that’s a step up from Angulo’s last win, over Joel Julio, but it’s in the ballpark.
On June 19, on the untelevised Ward-Allan Green undercard, heavyweight Tony Thompson fights Friday Ahunanya, who got dominated in his last fight by David Tua. Thompson is staying busy, basically.
Fernando Guerrero’s July 16 ShoBox opponent might be Ishe Smith, a big jump in competition and a gauge of where he stands compared to fellow middleweight prospect Daniel Jacobs.
Heavyweight Tyson Fury is going to do a rematch June 25 with John McDermott, who controversially lost a decision to the U.K. prospect last year. Good on Fury to get back in there with a fellow who gave him some trouble.
That Cory Spinks-Cornelius Bundrage junior middleweight fight has been postponed again, due to a convergence of events in the ‘Lou June 12. This undesirable fight has encountered more trouble than it’s worth.
Also on the June 19 Ward-Green undercard, junior welterweight Kendall Holt makes his return against the self-destructively-determined human punching bag Jesse Feliciano. Holt might sign with DiBella after Top Rank cut him loose. Don’t blame Top Rank. Holt has come up short too often and it’s a fair question whether he’s been sufficiently devoted to the sport.
On July 10, Saul Alvarez is on course to fight Luciano Cuello — who gave Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. trouble last year at — at 150 lbs. Speaking of Chavez, Fernando Beltran is talking about wanting to get him in with the winner of Cotto-Foreman if he beats John Duddy. I’d pick either man to beat Chavez handily, but it may be just talk anyway.
Erik Morales is injured so his junior welterweight fight with Vicente Escobedo is moving from July 17 to August or September, and Escobedo may be out. But don’t worry, there’s news yet for you fans of badly over-the-hill action stars! Heavyweight Evander Holyfield might fight comebacking Brian Nielsen next.
(Round and Round sources: ESPN; BoxingScene; Fightnews; The Boxing Truth; news releases)