There’s probably no better way to get over a wretched several months of big-time boxing (we’ll complain more later, but with one exception you have to go all the way back to July to find a main event on a major card that wasn’t unsatisfying) than to look ahead. It’s a mouthwash solution, though, that will only cover up the stink. It isn’t a good toothbrushing.
Besides the people in the headline, in this edition of Round and Round we’ll look at fights under discussion for Antonio DeMarco, Dmitry Pirog, Amir Khan and others.
Round And Round
It was just some crazy rumor that Floyd Mayweather was in talks with middleweight champion Sergio Martinez for a fight, according to Martinez’ team. It would have to be — Mayweather taking on Martinez (even coming off a lackluster Martinez showing) would be the bravest move of Mayweather’s career in nearly a decade, if not more. But Devon Alexander, after apparently flirting with signing on with Mayweather’s promotional company, is talking about wanting to fight Mayweather. And after all those friendly calls from Floyd to Devon about how great he was. Just kidding, not a problem — Devon should want to fight the best, so that’s a good thing, and he’s ranked #1 at welterweight for no good reason by the WBC where Floyd holds the belt. And in yet more unlikely Mayweather opponent news, junior welterweight Marcos Maidana has said he’d like a piece of Floyd. On the scale of willing Mayweather opponents, the list still reads Manny Pacquiao, Martinez, Khan… with Maidana a distantly desirable fight and Alexander nowhere near interesting until Alexander looks better than he has in recent fights.
Golden Boy Promotions wants to do a rematch double-header in early 2012 that involves Maidana, and it would be a doozy. They want Maidana-Erik Morales in a junior welterweight do-over of their Fight of the Year-caliber bout earlier this year, and a lightweight do-over of the recent excellent DeMarco-Jorge Linares clash. Both Maidana and Morales have said they’re willing, although they’ve also both said that before only for it not to come to fruition. DeMarco’s promoter Gary Shaw has been remarkably silent on what he wants to do with DeMarco next, and part of me suspects that they wouldn’t be enthused about a rematch based on how the early part of that fight went. Hope I’m wrong.
Showtime has some money to spend before 2011 ends, reportedly, so they’ve set aside a Dec. 31 date and numerous promoters are pitching their wares. One could be a double bill with light heavyweights Beibut Shumenov and Zsolt Erdei and junior featherweights Rico Ramos and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Another could feature Erdei in against Tavoris Cloud instead, with Cornelius Bundrage and Deandre Latimore duking it out at junior middleweight on the undercard. Yet another could feature middleweight Pirog against Daniel Geale (David Lemieux was also offered the Pirog fight, but it was turned down, and Lemieux and his acclaimed trainer Russ Anber, by the way, have split over his training habits, a disturbing condition for the knockout artist coming off his first loss); the undercard could feature junior middleweight Serhiy Dzinziruk against someone. Of the three cards, absent info on who Dzinziruk would be fighting, the best two-fight card is Rigondeaux-Ramos and Shumenov-Erdei (which would strangely be “a fight to end Goossen-Tutor’s lawsuit against Shumenov,” as good a title to fight for as any I’ve ever heard of). But Pirog-Geale is by far the best main event, so if Dzinziruk can be scrounged up a good opponent, that’s my vote.
Also interested in a fight with Shumenov is Nathan Cleverly, who is an ambitious lad — he’s discussed a possible fight with Chad Dawson, Cloud and Bernard Hopkins. I like the gumption.
Proving once more that the IBF is the best of a bad bunch of alphabet organizations, it has ordered a rematch of the controversial cruiserweight bout between Yoan Pablo Hernandez and Steve Cunningham. Hernandez didn’t deserve to win like he won, on a non-threatening cut that led to a technical decision; a rematch will give us all a chance at a real ending.
At one point a few days back Khan thought Pacquiao’s people were keeping him separate from his friend and sparring partner, and the reason was his sense that Pacquiao’s people thought Pacquiao-Khan could be in the offing. A couple days later, he was sparring with his friend and saying, “Never mind.” Khan’s just the kind of cat who’d wishful-think himself into that scenario — again, like the gumption that he’d be willing to fight the best of the best, even if it’s a pal.
Bad news about Tony Thompson-Eddie Chambers being off for Friday due to a Chambers injury, but the ShoBox card still has some good things going, and the heavyweight bout could be rescheduled for Dec. 17 for the Super Six finale undercard. Last I read it was unlikely to be televised, which is sad — I know some people don’t like the match-up, but I do. In other top-10-worthy heavyweight news, Robert Helenius could face Alexander Dimitrenko Dec. 3, or else another time depending on if there’s a purse bid. I like that fight a little, too. And in sub-top-10 heavyweight news, Oliver McCall and Mariusz Wach are ready to face off Nov. 5. I don’t mind fights like that much — the winner makes himself a legit opponent for a top-10 heavy, even though both are chasing a pipe dream in going after a Klitschko brother. Lastly in heavyweight news, Alexander Povetkin has settled on which old heavyweight he wants to fight next on Dec. 3, with Evander Holyfield and Hasim Rahman passed over in favor of Cedric Boswell, definitely the best of some bad options. And I’m not complaining — Povetkin is entitled for a lesser fight coming off the biggest win of his career, over Ruslan Chagaev.
The opponent hunt for a few Al Haymon clients to appear on HBO in heavyweight Seth Mitchell, featherweight Gary Russell, Jr. and junior lightweight Adrien Broner has gone very poorly. Mitchell has ended up with Timur Ibragimov by all accounts for Dec. 10, a good fight (again) for Mitchell’s development but not a real HBO-worthy one. Russell has gone from a possible bout with Luis Franco — which I could get behind — to a possible bout with Teon Kennedy, coming off a loss. Nothing against Kennedy but he’s not ideal coming off that loss; I don’t hold defeats against people too much, but the freshness of it and the widely-panned effort is not swell for an HBO opponent. And Broner could end up with Vicente Rodriguez, a totally unproven South American fighter who would be getting a totally undeserved title shot. Russell and Broner are booked for Nov. 26.
Dec. 10 has some other things going for it, among them Roy Jones foolishly returning once more to the ring against cruiserweight Max Alexander, who hasn’t won a bout since 2007, which compounds the ugly. Super middleweight Adonis Stevenson — still recovering from a shocking knockout loss to Darnell Boone — is taking on probably the best opponent of his career that same night: Aaron Pryor Jr.
Anthony Mundine thinks he’s being blackballed in America for his controversial remarks about 9/11, but the junior middleweight has never given anyone here much of a reason to care about him, and every time he’s talked about fighting in the United States, he’s often pulled back and taken on some schlub in Australia. I still wouldn’t be completely opposed to a ShoBox- or ESPN2-style bout between him and Austin Trout. It’s the right match-up for both men with something to prove.
It seems like featherweight Jhonny Gonzalez is constantly being scheduled to fight Roinet Caballero, but he’s on again to do it Dec. 3.
Minor TQBR favorites Ruslan Provodnikov and DeMarcus Corley are set to face off Dec. 5. Corley’s in a bad stretch to say the least — I’m back to wishing he’d retire. But the fight makes sense for Provodnikov staying busy with respectable names while he waits for what’s next.
Ivan Calderon’s return to strawweight in November against Raul Garcia lost the Garcia half of the return, so Omar Soto could step in instead. Meh.
There’s a cruiserweight prospect named Brad Pitt, out of Australia, and at least one account says he’s pretty good. He could be fighting Victor Oganov, the once-fearsome knockout artist who didn’t have much besides a big punch, but it’s still a step up for Pitt. It’s a fight to rival his acting namesake’s battle pitting Tyler Durden against Tyler Durden. (Someone else come up with a better joke. I didn’t have one in me, for some reason.)
(Round and Round: BoxingScene; ESPN; RingTV; various reporters on Twitter; news releases)