The carousel of fights going round and round is moderately skeletal, but there are some noteworthy developments. Among them are the items in the headline and what’s on deck for Librado Andrade, Tony Thompson, Sakio Bika and the possibility of the worst fight that mankind could possibly accomplish.
Finally, at long last, Nonito Donaire-Vic Darchinyan II is just about done. Word is that Top Rank, Donaire’s promoter, and Gary Shaw Productions, Darchinyan’s promoter, have a deal. All that we’re waiting on is Darchinyan to agree to the bout for August, and it’s for real. Showtime would air the fight.
There are way too many accounts of whether the cruiserweight title showdown between Steve Cunningham and Matt Godfrey for next weekend is on or off. First, it seemed to be saved, despite a feud between Don King and ESPN. Then, Godfrey’s team was insisting it wouldn’t take the fight anymore because he’d quit training for a few days. Look, I know boxers are finely-tuned machines and all that, but Godfrey is turning down a payday, television exposure and a title shot over losing a couple days of training? John Scully, whose been working with Godfrey, insists on BoxingScene’s bulletin board there’s more to it than that, but hasn’t said what it is. Based on what we know now, though, I think Godfrey should shut up and take the fight.
If junior middleweight Yuri Foreman makes it past Miguel Cotto in June, says Top Rank boss Bob Arum, next up could be Joshua Clottey. I know I turned the corner on Foreman after his last fight, as far as not thinking he was as boring as his reputation, but Foreman isn’t exactly an action star. He still basically circles and jabs more than anything. Can you imagine how a fight with Clottey, who basically just walks forward with his gloves up, would look? Would it be the worst fight forever and ever?
Junior welterweight Devon Alexander may not fight Zab Judah in June after all. Judah apparently has some dispute with a former promoter. Count me surprised. Anyway, that means Alexander may instead fight Paul Spadafora, whose comeback by all accounts has been legit. Whatever gets Alexander on my TV works for me, with a late 2010 showdown with Timothy Bradley about as good a fight as can be made in boxing right now.
Top Rank is talking about doing two nice fights on its May 8 “Latin Fury” undercard, after you set aside the unfortunate fact that disgraced welterweight Antonio Margarito might fight on that card. One is a junior lightweight fight against Jorge Solis and Mario Santiago. The other is Brandon Rios-Urbano Antillon at lightweight. Rios-Antillon in particular shapes up as a real slugfest. Too bad I won’t buy it if Margarito’s on it.
Sakio Bika and Jesse Brinkley are set to meet, likely by this summer, for the right to fight for Lucian Bute’s super middleweight title belt. Bika strikes me as too relentless for Brinkley, but then, Brinkley put on the fight of his lifetime in his last fight out where he was the underdog as well. Maybe he can outfox Bika, since Bika’s been outfoxed before.
The second fight of super middleweight Eric Lucas’ comeback will be against Librado Andrade May 28, which sounds like a tough way to go to me. I didn’t see much of Lucas the first time around, but everyone expects this would be a nice scrap between two gritty guys, so if Lucas wants it, well, he’s 38 — I suppose there’s no point messing about. And maybe it’s a good time to catch Andrade, coming off his first KO loss.
Top-10 heavyweight Tony Thompson, returning successfully from an injury to beat Chazz Witherspoon by KO last time out, may next meet Jason Estrada, who gave Tomasz Adamek a tough go of it in his last fight before losing a decision. It would be on ESPN2 April 16, another quality fight in the strong 2010 Friday Night Fights campaign. (According to ESPN, other upcoming FNF cards, all pretty decent: “Julio Diaz facing Herman Ngoudjo in a May 14 junior welterweight contest in Rancho Mirage, Calif.; and a May 21 card in Laredo, Texas, featuring lightweight Ji-Hoon Kim against Ameth Diaz and junior welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov against Frankie Figueroa.”)
Junior flyweight Hekkie Budler, ranked #10 by Ring magazine, won a controversial decision over Juanito Rubillar in February, and so the IBO has ordered a rematch by July. If there’s one thing sanctioning organizations are good for, it’s forcing titleholders to do what they should naturally want to do — grant rematches when there’s some question about their victory.
Middleweight prospect Fernando Guerrero will take on Michael Walker April 16 on ShoBox. Walker usually provides stern tests, and recently lost to one of Guerrero’s amateur peers, Daniel Jacobs — so it should be an interesting test of how the two stack up against one another as pros.
Jean Marc Mormeck’s testing of the waters at heavyweight continues against Fres Oquendo, historically a tough out if you’re not the super-elite of the division. Considering Mormeck reportedly struggled last time out against Vinny Maddalone, don’t be surprised if Oquendo finally pulls off the upset, although it might be hard to do in Mormeck’s homeland of France.
(Sources: ESPN; BoxingScene; Fightnews; 411mania)