Let’s start with an all-caps rant about junior bantamweight Nonito Donaire’s likely next opponent July 10 on Showtime, one of the following three men: Jose Lopez, Victor Zaleta or Hernan Marquez. Lopez and Marquez lost their most recent fights, and Zaleta’s not done anything. It’s good that Donaire won’t be on yet another Pinoy Power pay-per-view card, but:
IT’S INEXCUSABLE THAT ONE OF THE BEST RAW TALENTS IN THE SPORT, A PERSONABLE AND EXCITING FIGHTER WITH A LARGE FILIPINO FAN BASE, TOO, HASN’T FOUGHT ANYBODY BUT FRINGE CONTENDERS (AT BEST) FOR THREE GODDAM YEARS. INEXCUSABLE. DONAIRE HAS BEEN DREADFULLY MISHANDLED FOR FAR TOO LONG, AND DONAIRE, HIS MANAGEMENT AND HIS PROMOTER NEED TO GET OFF THEIR ASSES AND CHANGE THIS. ASAP.
OK. Since we already hit the Quick Jabs yesterday, it’s time to hit the fights in the works, except Donaire, which we covered just now.
Round And Round
So welterweight Manny Pacquiao has said he would agree to a 14-day cutoff for blood testing to make a fight with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., which was the cutoff Mayweather’s team set last time they negotiated for the fight. Last time he reportedly said this, his team retracted it, but not this time. So that sounds good. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mayweather moves the goalpost back again and insists on blood testing closer to the fight, since he got his way once and is largely winning this argument, but for now all the sides are sticking for the most part to not commenting on Mayweather-Pacquiao in public, as the egos got out of hand last time.
The three top junior welterweights all have fights in the works, so let’s hit them in order of 1-2-3. Timothy Bradley, having lost Marcos Maidana as an opponent for July 17, will go back to the original plan to fight Luis Carlos Abregu that day in a welterweight bout. On one level, I get it — give Bradley a showcase fight in his HBO debut, and hey, the guy has had a ridiculous schedule of late, so taking on a dangerous but limited banger isn’t too bad. But with so much potential competition in the division, Bradley-Abregu doesn’t much do it for me. But then, there’s kind of a trend here.
Devon Alexander wanted Bradley in August but Bradley’s team didn’t want that for reasons that one might classify as “goofy.” So instead, he’s looking at Andriy Kotlenik, better than what Bradley’s doing and moderately credible but still frustrating. Kotelnik reportedly wants a tune-up first, however, so it may not happen, and Breidis Prescott is in the mix, too, which doesn’t make much sense at all, really. Zab Judah, who at one point figured into the mix, says he’s doing a tune-up in July instead, and has turned down fights with basically everyone, often by asking for way too much money, which leads me to believe that Judah doesn’t understand how money works, as some summer tune-up doesn’t exactly offer much cash. There’s a theory out there that HBO doesn’t want to give Alexander a big fight like Bradley because he’s a Don King fighter, and HBO would rather keep King out of the mix, which would be harder to do if he had “the man” at 140. But if that’s the case they wouldn’t have given him a fight on HBO to start with, right?
Amir Khan is going to probably have his next fight this summer back in the U.K., which is fine, I guess, but it makes it harder for him to conquer America like he says he wants to. He keeps mentioning Maidana, but Maidana won’t be available this summer. There’s been talk of Michael Katsidis moving up from lightweight, but while Golden Boy Promotions said Katsidis hasn’t turned down the fight flat, Katsidis says he wants to face the winner of Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz II, which also happens this summer. If I sound impatient for the top men in the division to get it on, it’s because I am. It’s so frustrating. Just fight each other.
With the IBF deadline passed, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has moved on from negotiations with David Haye to negotiations with Alexander Povetkin, his IBF mandatory challenger. Who didn’t see this coming? Sometimes I say I’d prefer to have Haye as the heavyweight figurehead over Klitschko, but then he pulls junk like this and I want a woman to walk up to Haye and smack him really hard with her purse, just to humiliate him in the very specific way that getting hit with a purse provides. But they continue to negotiate behind the scenes, so I guess that’s good. Unless Haye’s doing it just to set the record for “most fights negotiated then pulled out of with a pair of boxing brothers.”
Sergiy Dzinziruk figures into a number of potential fights in the junior middleweight picture now, but it doesn’t sound like anyone’s all that eager to get it on with him. Dzinziruk’s team says Paul Williams turned down a fight because he wants to move to welterweight, which contradicts a report last week that Williams had given up the 147-pound dream. Then there’s the fact that the WBO has ordered Dzinziruk-Alfredo Angulo, which is the kind of fight Angulo’s team hasn’t been too enthused about, what with Dzinziruk being a skilled boxer to Angulo’s flat-footed banger. I actually think that fight might be competitive, because Dzinziruk isn’t much of a mover, and Angulo might be able to outwork him. Dzinziruk’s team has also talked about Kermit Cintron.
HBO remains interested in Lucian Bute-Kelly Pavlik, probably reasoning that Pavlik can blame the loss of his middleweight championship on having difficulty making weight, and Bute is a super middle. I still reckon Bute is all wrong for Pavlik, but I’d like to see it, because I think it would be a good fight and it’s better than some of the other options in the division for Bute. Light heavyweight Bernard Hopkins remains in the running for a Bute fight, while Roy Jones Jr.’s people recently contacted Pavlik’s people, so consider that it’s Bute-Pavlik or Bute-oldguy/Pavlik-oldguy and it gets even better.
Heavyweight Tomasz Adamek is clearly looking to stay busy, as is his commendable wont, with talk of him fighting Evander Holyfield or Michael Grant later this summer (hey, the 1990s are making a comeback! I knew they would). They’re both “names,” I guess, and Grant once beat Adamek39;s Polish countryman Andrew Golota, so maybe either fight would fill up the Prudential Center in Newark. Neither fight interests me in the slightest, though.
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, who wants to move up to featherweight, has mentioned Steve Luevano as a target. Not a bad fight for either dude. I’d watch.
The increasingly thin junior lightweight division has a couple decent fight options being talked about out there: Rocky Martinez says he wants Jorge Solis, who’s established himself as a legit 130-pounder, and I’d watch that one, too. Meanwhile, Mzonke Fana and Cassius Baloyi might rematch in August for the belt vacated by Robert Guerrero, and the first fight was close, so it’s valid.
There are a pair of excellent ShoBox cards in the works. One, July 9, is headlined by the already-discussed Mike Jones-Irving Garcia fight, and on the undercard would be Antwone Smith against someone. The idea would be to set up a welterweight prospect showdown between Jones and Smith, which absolutely is the kind of fight I’d love to see. The other ShoBox doubleheader, on June 25, would lead off with exciting middleweight prospect Fernando Guerrero stepping up in competition against Alex Bunema or Derrick Findley. The more Guerrero the better, basically. The undercard fight would be nearly as interesting: It would feature a prospect-vs-prospect match-up between Lanard Lane, a junior welterweight I really like, and Mike Dallas Jr., who’s got some talent.
I wish I understood what was up with Danny Green. I know Antonio Tarver has jerked him around a bit, and I know some other Yanks have turned him down, but Green gives lip service to wanting to fight in the United States and Tarver says he still wants that bout. Instead, he’s trying to set up a cruiserweight bout with popular but loses-against-anyone-very-good heavyweight Shane Cameron. I’ve completely run out of Flight of the Conchords/Aussie vs. Kiwi quips, and while I’m guessing that fight would do good business Down Underish, Green left me wanting more with his performance against Jones, and instead it’s Green-Cameron?
July 17, coming to a Germany near you, is Khoren Gevor-Sebastian Zbik for some belt or the other. I don’t have anything to say about this one, really, but they’re both top-10 middleweights so I felt I had to mention it.
There’s something of an unrequited love triangle going on with three welterweights of Mexican heritage. Jose Luis Castillo has deluded himself into thinking he was out of shape against Alfonso Gomez and that’s why he lost, rather than beign shot, so he wants a rematch. Gomez is like nuh-uh, I want Saul Alvarez. Alvarez has better things to do.
(Round and Round sources: ESPN; BoxingScene; Fightnews; news releases)