Round And Round, Featuring What’s Next For Bernard Hopkins, Miguel Cotto, Jo Jo Dan And Others

Not that this happens much in boxing. We have some statisticians, sure, and they get made fun of as reductive. But we rarely have people coming up with new formulae. Maybe I’ll get on it. Ineptly. I suck at math. (via, h/t friend of the site JenFu)

On this beautifully hot Memorial Day, let’s go Round and Round on some fights in the works. Also in this column, besides the headline: Sergio Martinez, Fernando Montiel, Pawel Wolak, Michael Katsidis and others.

Round And Round

Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson looks like a go for the fall after a brief period where Hopkins’ promoter, Golden Boy, was trying to find so-called “loopholes” to avoid the fight. Even though some will think of it as “boring,” I’m interested in it because the quick and skilled Dawson figures as exactly the wrong kind of opponent for B-Hop to maintain his light heavyweight championship; on the other side, I wonder if Hopkins’ smarts can get to Dawson, who’s in mid-transition with a new trainer, Manny Steward, who’s trying to overhaul Dawson’s style and sounded uncomfortable with the notion of facing Hopkins next. One slight worry: For the first time I ever noticed, Hopkins on Friday Night Fights sounded like he had a touch of a slur. At 46, he’s avoided much damage in his career, but he did take some heavy shots from Jean Pascal in his two fights. Gabriel Montoya on Twitter thought he detected same. Did anyone else think this?

Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. has said he’s willing to face middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in the fall if he gets past Sebastian Zbik this coming weekend. It’s great that he says that, and I don’t doubt that he wants it. I have a 100% degree of certainty that his promoter, Top Rank, won’t let Chavez get near Martinez, and I can’t say I totally blame them.

Junior welterweight Amir Khan is still hunting for an opponent for July, and maybe someone needs to tell his team it’s almost June. He and Zab Judah keep barking back and forth, with Judah first saying he wanted 50-50 of the American money and that Khan could keep all the U.K. money, which sounds pretty fair to me. But Khan’s team knows they have the leverage with HBO, and probably are more interested in keeping things in house with Golden Boy’s Robert Guerrero. So Judah offered a 55-45 split if the fight is Atlantic City. I prefer Khan-Judah to Khan-Guerrero, but I bet we get Khan-Guerrero even if Judah keeps sweetening his offer.

The Showtime bantamweight tournament finale between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares is a go for Aug. 13. Good. I’ve been looking forward to this one.

Antonio Margarito had surgery that apparently helped his eye problem, and now a junior middleweight rematch with Miguel Cotto could be back on. As always, I have no interest in Margarito getting another boxing paycheck, but it’s probably the biggest-money bout out there for either of them that’s also competitive.

Both Fernando Montiel and Rafael Marquez are gunning for a shot at junior featherweight Toshiaki Nishioka, I’m guessing because he has a belt and they view him as vulnerable. I’d be interested in either fight, but I’m more of a Marquez fan so I hope he gets it.

The silly roulette involving junior welterweights Tim Coleman, Victor Cayo and Lamont Peterson has once more stopped spinning, this time with Cayo and Peterson set to fight on July 23. I expect ESPN2 will pick up the bout, which is a good one between good 140-pounders where the winner could put himself in business for a bigger fight.
Brian Vera-Andy Lee II is apparently in talks for October, and since the first fight was so good and since Lee and Vera have both been in other nice bouts of late, I’m eager to see these two middleweights square off again. Potential Vera opponent Peter Manfredo is also talking about taking on Nobu Ishida.

Pawel Wolak vs. Delvin Rodriguez is another bout where both guys are always in good bouts and figure to be good against each other. It’ll go down July 15 between the two junior middleweights.

Heavyweights Robert Helenius and Siarhei Liakhovich could meet next in July, either on the 1st or the 15th. Liakhovich is with Main Events, which has shown a knack of late not only for promoting fights in New Jersey that are centered mostly on heavyweight Tomasz Adamek, but also seems to have a secondary specialty in taking veteran fighters whom some have written off and putting  them in position to get another big fight (Judah, Joel Julio and now Liakhovich).
Flyweight champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam is finally taking a step up from fighting opponents in his last three bouts with fewer than four fights — seriously, is Thailand just some kind of boxing murder factory? — and will be facing Takuya Kogawa July 1. Kogawa hasn’t faced anyone with whom I’m familiar, but at least he’s had 17 bouts. Wonjongkam’s championship reign has been terribly undistinguished.

Junior lightweight Ricky Burns hasn’t done much with the momentum his career picked up with a Fight of the Year-worthy win over Rocky Martinez last year, but he will be facing Nicky Cook July 16. Cook lost to Martinez in 2009 and has only fought once since, but maybe this bout will be a bit of a hit in the Ireland/England area.

Welterweight Jo Jo Dan wants a piece of the aforementioned Julio. I like that bout. Both men could use a marquee win. Julio wants Victor Ortiz, and the winner of Julio-Dan would make a credible opponent for him.

Lightweight Juan Diaz will make his return to the ring on ESPN2 against David Torres, after which he’ll become a promotional free agent. I’m not totally crazy about Diaz continuing on. I am a fan of his, and I don’t see him beating any of the current top lightweights. With his style, he’s gonna get beat up even in wins, and I do think the more damage he takes the less likely he does his lawyer/politician thing, which is a cool story I’d like to see come to fruitiion.

Lightweight Michael Katsidis is looking for an opponent in his return to Australian soil after Miguel Vazquez turned him down. Graham Earl is volunteering his services for a rematch of their epic war, but Earl has looked a good deal worse for wear since then and I’m not eager for it. I guess as an interim kind of bout, should it be sell-able in Australia, it doesn’t bother me a ton; I have no information that Earl’s health is particularly endangered.

With middleweight David Lemieux looking to return in July from his first career loss, our Corey Erdman recently Tweeted that promoter Lou DiBella is trying to get Joachim Alcine in the mix. Alcine is coming off a 1st round knockout loss, so I assume that means Lemieux should be able to bounce back with a fair amount of ease against an opponent who has a name north of the border.

Nathan Cleverly, who keeps calling out Hopkins — admirable, if unlikely — also has been called out by professional knockout victim Enzo Maccarinelli. Thankfully, promoter Frank Warren has poured some cold water on the idea, noting that Enzo Mac would need to pass some tests showing he was healthy. Even if he does pass tests, it still worries me — Enzo Mac is really probably only one more KO loss away from not being able to pass future tests.

(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene, ESPN, Maxboxing, TQBR staff, news releases)

About Tim Starks

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