How long has it been since we last went Round and Round? Judging by the long list of fights in the works below, too long. Too, too long.
Besides the men in the headline, we have the latest on Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, plus what’s next for Juan Carlos Burgos, Antwone Smith, Marco Huck, Erislandy Lara and a bunch of other boxers. Disclaimer: I rarely can attest to the actual in-the-worksness of some of these fights, so don’t be disappointed when I tell you Pacquiao-Mayweather is… not so much.
Round And Round
Here we go again: Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye, creeping up on a deal — even with, reportedly, signed contracts, with July 2 the date. There are some significant holes in some of the details; for instance, they don’t apparently have a site picked yet, which in the past has been a problem. They don’t have a U.S. network picked — reportedly, it could be HBO, could be Showtime, could be an independent pay-per-view. Also, there’s a chance that if Wlad is injured, big bro Vitali steps in to replace him. Also, there’s a chance that Haye just mysteriously up and pulls out, because that’s his track record with the brothers Klitschko. I hope he doesn’t. Really, I could like Haye so, so much. His quip that all he needs for this fight is a ref who can count to 10… it’s hilarious, it’s bold, and I’m not going to hold it against him later if he gets knocked out thoroughly, because I’d rather see Haye man-up and lose than keep up the “I’m gonna kill you gonna maim you gonna beat you and never mind I’m out of here” routine.
There was a brief blip in the Pacquioa-Mayweatheriverse when Mayweather’s uncle Jeff said there were talks to have the welterweight fight right in Nelson Mandela’s front yard (not kidding, basically) and that it was gonna happen, for real this time. Then the promoters said no, not happening. Except when Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said that the second Don King signs May, the fight will happen. And then, I hadn’t noticed it until a commenter pointed it out, but last month Zab Judah said that Floyd had told him he was “finished.” As with Klitschko-Haye, don’t get your hopes up on this bout happening until the opening bell rings.
Somehow, Nonito Donaire-Anselmo Moreno is very much looking like the reality for May 28 on HBO. I guess Moreno couldn’t sign with Golden Boy Promotions fast enough for Top Rank to use that as a reason not to make the fight. And for real, it’s a good fight. And every boxing fan in their right mind wants to see Donaire back on HBO as soon as possible. Moreno’s a tricky vet and the current #2 man at bantam; depending on how things go in the Showtime bantam finale in April, this fight could still be for the legitimate, lineal Ring magazine championship.
Middleweight champ Sergio Martinez has a fight this weekend but is already dreaming about his next move, with the winner of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.-Sebastian Zbik on his mind while he waits for a maybe-fight with Miguel Cotto. I give Martinez-Chavez about a 0% chance of happening, because no way Top Rank cashes Chavez out that way, and I don’t blame them, really. Martinez-Zbik could happen, though, if Chavez loses. You should know that WBC prez Jose Suliaman, which just gifted Saul Alvarez a junior middleweight belt so as to suck up percentages of his big purses, thinks we could get Alvarez-Chavez in 2014, which would be a marination job for the ages. Maxboxing’s Steve Kim raised an interesting point about what Alvarez getting the belt means — that is, that his competition level could step up by necessity, what with a bunch of quality 154-pounders ranked by the WBC. Kim also suggested the WBC would protect him as long as it could, and I suspect that’s the most likely outcome. If they found a way to leap over all those 154-pound dudes who are actually good and proven to make way for Alvarez-Matthew Hatton, I’m sure they’ll find some other exceptions in there rules for Saul. As for Hatton, he’ll move back to welter, and Golden Boy says he’ll be in line for a title shot there, and that HBO is interested in him. I’d like to see him do something more significant at welter before that happens, but maybe Hatton’s gutty showing was enough for HBO to return interest, or maybe they just owe GBP some more dates.
This Round and Round is super long, to say the least, so we need something to break it up and make it interesting. Usually I would insert some hot chick but I can’t think of any right now. So here’s some Roy Jones porn:
There’s a little bit of confusion about which Pinoy Julio Cesar Miranda will face next in defense of his flyweight strap: Brian Viloria or Richie Mepranum. Six of one, half dozen of the other. Viloria hasn’t been impressive much lately and Miranda has already knocked out Mepranum.
ESPN2 just keeps loading up its schedule with nice little fights, with a welterweight clash between Joel Julio and Antwone Smith due up May 20. Julio and Smith have lost recently but both are entertaining and should make a good fight with one another, and the winner is poised for a revival.
The Celestino Caballero-Juan Carlos Burgos featherweight bout could go down in May. Caballero looked like crap in his last fight, but he does that sometimes; the issue here is whether it was because of that pattern or because of the move up in weight, or because he’s aging now and has lost it. If Caballero has something left, Caballero-Burgos is a helluva nice fight.
On the Devon Alexander-Lucas Matthysse undercard on HBO this summer, we could get a junior middleweight bout between Cornelius Bundrage and Erislandy Lara. A year or two ago, I would have turned that fight down on the spot; Bundrage was in boring, hugging awkwardfests and Lara needs an aggressive opponent to look good. But with Lara gunning for the KO a bit more lately — and getting it because his opposition was so poor, granted — and with Bundrage also getting more entertaining of late, it’s now a bout that has appeal beyond it being a match-up of two of the better junior middles.
Not that anyone is mourning it much, I’m guessing, but the middleweight bout between Winky Wright and Matthew Macklin originally scheduled for the April 9 pay-per-view headlined by Erik Morales-Marcos Maidana that got canceled helped kill some more of what little appeal that card had. Yeah, Wright historically isn’t very fun, but he’s not as boring as he used to be, and at least it was a meaningful fight in the division to make up for such a horrid headliner. So, thanks, Winky, for getting injured.
If Haye fights Klitschko and the winner were to move up to “super” champion or whatever idiotic designation the outfit that sanctions his belt deems him, Alexander Povetkin would be in line to fight for whatever “regular” title remained. That would most likely put him in against Jean-Marc Mormeck in June. That fight doesn’t do anything for me but it would be the first singificant opponent for Povetkin for years, and not even THAT significant, since all Mormeck has done is struggle at heavyweight since moving up from cruiser.
Junior lightweight Roman Martinez could be facing fellow Puerto Rican Luis Cruz on April 16 in a bout that’s been discussed before, or if that doesn’t work out, Bernabe Concepcion on May 6. The main thing is I’d like to see it, since Martinez is can’t-miss TV.
Another fringe-y heavyweight bout: Robert Helenius vs. Sam Peter April 2. Okey doke.
A fringe-y light heavyweight super middleweight bout: Robert Stieglitz-Dmitri Sartison April 9. Okey doke. One division up: Yusaf Mack won his eliminator this weekend over Otis Griffin, so he’s next in line for Tavoris Cloud, who should slaughter him.
There’s no Joshua Cottey-Calvin Green this weekend on the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga undercard, and I’m sure we’re all very, very sad about this news. I’m going to try and soldier ahead through this “dregs” section of Round and Round.
Cruiserweight Marco Huck is wasting time fighting Giacobbe Fragomeni on April 2. Frag was fun for a while but he’s done as a legit contender and should’ve stayed retired, probably.
Eric Morel-Martin Castillo, the rematch, at bantam, April 1, Solo Boxeo. Castillo should be even more retired than Frag.
Former cruiserweight Enzo Maccarinelli plans to return at 175, but he’ll get knocked out there savagely, too, because that’s what Enzo Mac does exclusively now. Should’ve stayed retired.
Roy Jones could be fighting Denis Lebedev June 4. On the “should’ve stayed retired” continuum, Jones is nearly off the chart.
(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; Irish Times; GMA; Maxboxing)