We’re definitely going to Round And Round it up in this piece, but my travels this week have made it difficult for me to blog generally and so there have been a few post-Quick Jabs developments in requirement of expansion. Most of them involve recent fights.
- We know now from a couple places (including, according to friend of the site nazarioz, Argentian newspapers) that middleweight champ Sergio Martinez had a number of injuries going into the Darren Barker fight. This doesn’t seem to be post-fight excuse-making, as I’d heard it said prior to the fight that Martinez had some bumps, but only from one place. It does go a ways toward explaining his performance being a touch less impressive than usual, and maybe it points to his age catching up to him, too.
- There’s also a weird unsourced attack in the first link above on unnamed promoters accusing them of making illegal overtures at Martinez. As described, it could only be a couple promoters — Top Rank or Golden Boy — and only one of them has been saying out loud how poorly promoted Martinez is. I don’t understand this need by Thomas Hauser to be so damn cryptic all the time about such serious matters. P.S. According to a source I won’t name, there’s a publication that would like to get a hold of Martinez’ photos for ESPN The Magazine’s body issue. I won’t say who it is, but the publication’s name rhymes with “Grayswirl.”
- My theory about Barker deliberately playing it safe with Martinez proved to be about half true; subsequently, he’s come to regret how overcautious he was. Perhaps there was a middle ground between avoiding powerful counters and getting more aggressive. I still don’t think Barker was good enough to beat Martinez, even if he’d fought better.
- Martinez expects Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. to vacate his title rather than face him. I expect that the WBC will give him forever and a day to not fight Martinez but also keep his belt. Choose your sides wisely on whose expectations you think are more realistic.
- Last couple times I took it as a sign of low pay-per-view sales that there was a big delay in announcing the figures, I was proved wrong. Nonetheless, it’s been a surprising amount of time between Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz and us getting the figures, and you gotta wonder why. Some have heard low figures, as in less than a million. Others have heard 1.3 million-plus, which is totally a good figure if not a great one.
- Up for the Hall of Fame for the first time this year: Thomas Hearns, Mark Johnson and Dariusz Michalczewski. Hearns is easy. The other two are borderline. Not that I have a vote. I’ve never applied for membership to the Boxing Writers Association of America and don’t have much interest in it, although if I did it would be for Hall of Fame voting. That’s kinda sweet. Anyway, vote well, BWAA members. I don’t think I would get too mad at you about Mark and Dariusz getting in, but I think I’d reluctantly vote “no” on both.
- Could the developing HBO2 series on up-and-coming boxers appear on TNT or TBS rather than HBO2? It could, says Dan Rafael. That would be a welcome development, albeit still one of those half-measures that have boxing lagging far behind the UFC when it comes to mainstream exposure among combat sports.
- Our boy Andrew Harrison had a piece in the Derry Journal! If I can track down a link, I will.
OK. Round And Round time. Fights in the works for people in the headline, plus Kelly Pavlik and Saul Alvarez and Yordanis Despaigne and more.
Round And Round
Alvarez’ dance card is getting full. First up will be Kermit Cintron in November, by all accounts. Cintron isn’t what he used to be, but he’s still a top-10 caliber junior middleweight who can bang some, if not as much as he used to be able to. It’s a good fight for the 21-year-old to begin to test how he can withstand a bigger puncher. It’s a good thing, too, because his next mandatory opponent due to challenge for his alphabet belt could be the winner of Alfredo Angulo-James Kirkland, and there is a legit banger, there.
Welterweight Andre Berto has a dance card filling up quickly, too. Next is likely still Randall Bailey to kill that mandatory. After that, he could be facing Kell Brook, coming off the win this weekend that has put him the world map in a big way. Oh, and the winner of Mike Jones-Sebastian Lujan is in line after that, from a mandatory challenge standpoint. Berto-Bailey is an OK fight; Berto-Brook or Berto-Jones/Lujan are both pretty damn good.
Heavyweights do what? Well, champ Wladimir Klitschko does a Jean Marc Mormeck fight Dec. 10. And I don’t think anyone believes that fight is competitive, or near it. But Klitschko is one of those guys who fights the best pretty much all the time and likes to fight more frequently than some, and some in-between fights are going to stink because of it. Klitschko-Mormeck stinks. But it’s a fight that can sell in Europe a little, and I can’t blame Klitschko for taking a gimme like that here and there. In other crappy heavyweight fights, Alexander Povetkin and Evander Holyfield are reportedly due to fight the very next week. And David Haye is still being a prima donna, only this time it’s less cute because we all dislike him more for his wussy performance against Wlad; his team says he “possibly” could retire next week if he doesn’t get an offer from Wlad’s brother Vitali. Hollow threat if there ever was one, the kind in which Haye specializes.
Brandon Rios has settled on an opponent for his final lightweight appearance on the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III undercard next month, and it’s John Murray. It’s a strange choice, considering Kevin Mitchell — who recently beat Murray — was considered a frontrunner for the gig. It should be a fun but one-sided fight, like Rios-Urbano Antillon only perhaps even shorter. The other frontrunner, Roman Martinez, has decided to stay put at junior lightweight and is campaigning to be Adrien Broner’s opponent for the Alvarez undercard. I’d dig that one. (Also potentially on the undercard: featherweight Gary Russell, Jr. vs Luis Franco. I know Franco went life and death with Russell’s last opponent whom Russell had an easy time with, but that was about match-ups. Russell’s the superior talent compared to Franco, but I think that’s an HBO-worthy fight, unlike Russell’s last appearance.)
Amir Khan has Lamont Peterson to get by in December, but his first fight at 147 could be against Matthew Hatton. It’s the right kind of breaking-in fight for Khan at the weight. I get that Brook would be better, but if I was with Khan, I’d take Hatton over Brook for my welterweight debut, too. (Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer — in addition to other things said at the recent Khan-Peterson press conference, as covered by our Gautham Nagesh here — recently made the absurd claim that Khan might have the best chin in boxing. Promoters make enough absurd claims that I overlook a lot of them, but that one was a doozy.)
Up — or down? — a similar alley, Top Rank’s Bob Arum said in typical Arum fashion that he doesn’t care what people say about him matching junior welterweight Timothy Bradley with Joel Casamayor, a fight no one at all wants to see. I wonder how many times Arum has to flatly declare how much he doesn’t care about what fans want before fans stop kissing his ass like he’s so wonderful. I personally see him as good at many things, but far from the hero he’s made out to be by some. Anyway, he says he tried to make a Bradley fight with Marcos Maidana and Maidana turned it down, and I don’t doubt that he made a call, but there’s no chance that he offered the kind of money for an undercard fight that would make Bradley-Maidana feasible.
Next up for cruiserweight Yoan Pablo Hernandez is likely Troy Ross, a mandatory challenger, a good fight for sure. And as sympathetic as I am to Steve Cunningham for what happened in the Hernandez fight, it’s hard to forget while he’s complaining everywhere all of the time that he went on Twitter in June to criticize fans who thought Lucas Matthysse got robbed against Devon Alexander. He said that fans needed to stop bitching, since “wut the judges scored only thing that matters.” That tune sure changed!
Another tune that has changed is that of former middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik. He says he’ll return for short money, or at least that’s what his manager Cameron Dunkin says he says. I’ll believe it when it happens.
Don King is kinda running out of boxers, but he does like to throw Ricardo Mayorga at everyone. He’s throwing him at his own Cornelius Bundrage as a potential opponent, apparently. I’m lukewarm on whether I care to see that fight on television outside of like an ESPN2. In that same junior middleweight division, Austin Trout could be on ShoBox soon. There’s a guy who needs some television exposure.
February is the tentative date for the Yordanis Despaigne-Edison Miranda light heavyweight rematch. ESPN2 would pick that up. It’d be a great early season booking for the network.
On the aforementioned Khan-Peterson undercard, heavyweight Seth Mitchell could face Chazz Witherspoon, a better opponent than some of the others Mitchell has been rumored to face on HBo, although still not quite an HBO-worthy opponent. On the untelevised undercard could be lightweight Anthony Peterson, brother of Lamont, and I’m all for it. Yeah, he punked out in his last fight against Rios, but I’m in favor of him getting a second chance. He’s been an entertaining boxer in the past.
Rafael Marquez is campaigning for a Toshiaki Nishioka rematch because he thinks he got robbed. In all of boxing, are there sorer losers than the Marquez boys?
(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; RingTV; assorted; boxers and writers on Twitter; news releases)