Quick Jabs/Round And Round, Featuring The Light Weekend Boxing Schedule, Andre Berto Vs. Victor Ortiz And More

Mainly, this is a column about fights in the works (Round and Round) rather than about various news tidbits and fleeting thoughts (Quick Jabs). Therefore, it is established that the Quick Jabs shall be dispensed with first, and with haste. Like so:

  • The weekend schedule is a bit light. Corey’s done a great job of highlighting tonight’s Friday Night Fights on ESPN2. Both key matches, featuring middleweight Peter Manfredo, Jr. and super middleweight Edwin Rodgriguez, look like good-to-decent scraps on paper; Daniel Edouard usually brings it, and Aaron Pryor, Jr.’s height gives Rodriguez a new strategic obstacle to navigate, and isn’t exactly boring. Also tonight, junior middleweight Erislandy Lara headlines TeleFutura’s Solo Boxeo, against Delray Raines, known if anything for getting knocked out lately by Ron Hearns and David Lemieux. Not really a good match-up for Lara, who should be moving forward at this point rather than backward. The only other real fight card of note involves junior lightweight prospect Adrien Broner staying busy in an off-television card Saturday. Broner might be on HBO soon, but I really only mention him because I recently learned of the colloquial use of the word “broner.”
  • Ticket sales are lagging for Timothy Bradley-Devon Alexander, according to this inadequately-sourced item. If true, surprise! You put two junior welterweights in an economically depressed region where neither of them have a built-in following and ticket sales aren’t great. As long as the big site fee works out, I guess it works out.
  • A reporter taunts the people he covers on Twitter and a news outlet removes a video once it becomes controversial. Welcome to boxing journalism! This kind of stuff happens almost every week. No, seriously. Both of those things have happened prior to this week, too.
  • Pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and bantamweight talent Nonito Donaire don’t like each other. Maybe. The Philippines ain’t big enough for the two of them, I guess. Or maybe not.

It is established that Round and Round shall be dispensed with second. Like so:

Round And Round

It’s really interesting to see how people react to stuff on Twitter, where the loudest voices hold excessive sway over the conversation, compared to forums that are unbiased by such things. Case in point: The proposed catchweight (143, 144) fight between Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz. On paper, my view is that it’s a good match-up — Berto is a smallish welter, Ortiz a biggish junior welter, and both have been in entertaining outings more often than not. I’d like to see it, but with two caveats: 1. HBO is reportedly “lowballing” the fight according to anonymous sources, and it SHOULD lowball the fight, despite recent Ortiz bouts doing mysteriously decent ratings, because neither of these guys have earned the right to earn much money yet; and 2. It doesn’t exactly sound like HBO is living up to its promise to only air Berto in fights against only top challenges — it’s a reasonable challenge, but it’s not Berto stepping up like he should, and if he wants to keep fighting junior welterweights, he should just move to the division already. On Twitter, the response to Berto-Ortiz was pretty negative. Yet in the Bad Left Hook comments section here, most everyone wanted the fight. What does that tell you?

Junior welterweight Amir Khan is having trouble finalizing his March opponent, with Lamont Peterson dropping out — according to Golden Boy, he wanted too much cash. In the running: Paul McCloskey, Breidis Prescott, Lucas Matthysse, Robert Guerrero and John Murray, unless of course Murray and Jorge Linares tussle on the undercard. I can live with any of those guys — again, for a small price, if HBO is involved as planned — but I think the best challenge would come from Matthysse and the most interesting story would come from Prescott, who knocked out Khan back in 2008.

Two of the tantalizing boxers on the outskirts of the featherweight top 10, Hozumi Hasegawa and Jhonny Gonzalez, are signed up to fight, although no date has been chosen yet. LIKE. Both those dudes are real fighters, man — Gonzalez is hungry for a challenge, and Hasegawa is taking on increasingly daring challenges himself despite a knockout loss last year. Sure, a purse bid had something to do with it, but a good fight between good fighters is all I can ask for.

I really hope featherweight YURIORKIS GAMBOA! doesn’t end up fighting Jason Litzau in March on HBO. Litzau was one of last year’s best stories, given his upset of Celestino Caballero, but Litzau fought the fight of his life, Caballero was sluggish and at 130 especially, he’s more a volume puncher than a hard hitter. None of those conditions will exist for Gamboa-Litzau. As friend of the site willfrank remarked, even a non-exclamation point version of Gamboa — say, a comma version — poses a very real risk to the health of Litzau. That cockle-warming underdog-made-good story gets real ugly real fast if so. Far better is talk of Gamboa fighting Jorge Solis, who’d amount to the best opponent he’d ever climbed into the ring with as a pro. Both bouts would be at 130, apparently.

On Gamboa’s undercard, featherweight Miguel Angel Garcia might meet Matt Remillard in a tantalizing prospect vs. prospect match-up between skilled, fun fighters. Don’t count on it, though: Johnathan Victor Barros is also in the picture for Garcia, and that’s a less risky bout for him, and I couldn’t begrudge Garcia that caliber of opponent right now at this phase of his career. Also in the featherweight prospect vs. prospect department, Jorge Diaz is looking at Teon Kennedy or Robert Marroquin for his next fight in a spring Top Rank Live appearance. Go for it, Diaz. All of these guys: Don’t be afraid to try to take out another prospect. It won’t be the end of your career if you lose, assuredly, and the potential reward is high.

Zab Judah is all signed up to fight Kaiser Mabuza in March. Rumor had it that Mabuza might walk away since the money wasn’t what he wanted for a junior welterweight title bout, after his promoter didn’t get the purse bid in under strange circumstances. Mabuza has the right attitude, saying he’s about the glory not the money. I’d modify that slightly. If you get the glory, then the money comes too. Why not try to beat Judah and get both? Whatever his motive, glad the fight is a go.

Word is that Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr.’s junior featherweight bout with Jorge Arce might appear on the May undercard of Pacquiao-Shane Mosley. Weird. I thought that would be an independent pay-per-view. Vazquez-Arce interests me modestly, since both men are good TV, although the longer Arce fights the more uncomfortable I get, given the endless list of wars he taught me.

Junior middleweight Saul Alvarez said he wants Miguel Cotto or Mosley in 2011. I like one of those but I don’t see how either happen. Alvarez-Cotto is a really nice-sounding fight, but Golden Boy promotes Alvarez, and Top Rank promotes Cotto; Top Rank has been explicit about not wanting to promote fights with Golden Boy. Golden Boy also has bad blood with Mosley, who might be in tatters by the time Alvarez could get him anyway.

For all the people he could fight, junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura is talking about Julio Cesar Miranda. Huh? I guess it’s cuz he has a flyweight belt, but so what?

If only heavyweight Oliver McCall wasn’t encountering some legal trouble related to marijuana allegations, the road would be clear for McCall-Fres Oquendo II.

(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; Fanhouse; RingTV)

About Tim Starks

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