I’ve not been shy about my feelings regarding Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III, but something good might have come of that contract that was signed by Marquez Tuesday and that Pacquiao will sign soon — along the way, yesterday, promoter Bob Arum said this to The Los Angeles Times’ Lance Pugmire:
Arum said he met Monday in Los Angeles with Marquez’s promoter Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions “on various issues,” and “they [Golden Boy] released their objections … we have to adjust certain things. I’m not permitted to go into details.”
Top Rank and Golden Boy have been locked in a bitter rivalry over a two-year span during which the companies haven’t staged a fight together.
Arum said Monday’s meeting ended “in a burst of goodwill, with handshakes,” and added he expects the promoters to renew working together in the future.
If this isn’t empty talk — and Pugmire told me on Twitter when I asked him that Arum wasn’t being sarcastic — then this could be the best news boxing has had in a good long while. As we’ve discussed previously in the first link above, this feud between Top Rank and Golden Boy is the biggest short-term problem holding back boxing, and repairing the rift could arguably do more for boxing than things like whether the sport is on network television.
It opens up a whole universe of potential fights if it gets fixed, but for now nothing is on the table. What kind of fights are in the works is the subject of Round and Round, of course, and what we do discuss here is the subjects in the headline, as well as what’s next for Vic Darchinyan, Paul Williams, Amir Khan, Juan Manuel Lopez and others.
Round And Round
Despite the rumors about Floyd Mayweather fighting Victor Ortiz in a welterweight bout in September, both sides now say that it isn’t true. Until further notice, no matter how often Mayweather says stuff on the Internet about how he had picked out his wardrobe for a Pacquiao fight or whatever rumors are floating around or any of it, it’s safe to assume he won’t be fighting anyone. I won’t bother analyzing this bout — it would be a waste of breath.
Junior welterweights Amir Khan and Zab Judah are having a trash-talking war, the highlight of which is Judah saying that Khan must’ve bumped his “monkey fucking head.” Robert Guerrero also wants Khan on his July 23 HBO date. If Khan isn’t facing Bradley, I like both these fights a decent amount, but probably prefer Judah because I always enjoy a speed vs. speed matchup, and those two dudes are fast. If Guerrero doesn’t get the date, he could fight Humberto Soto, which is a fight I think would be really good, since both men are hard-headed boxer-punchers.
It looks like Orlando Salido-Juan Manuel Lopez II will go down in mid-August on Showtime, without Salido taking an interim bout. Obviously it’s a rematch of a very good fight, but it’s more interesting because you have to wonder whether a peak Lopez — he got too fat before the Salido bout — will handle Salido any better, since tough-nosed brawlers have now a couple times given the popular featherweight hell.
I don’t have a problem with Paul Williams taking on Nobu Ishida, since Williams is recovering from a shocking KO and Ishida just delivered one. But it’s a very weak HBO main event July 9. It would be better as a supporting undercard bout. And I’m scared what the purse might be. Williams deserves to be back on HBO, don’t get me wrong, but he does need to pay his dues a little bit to get back to the level he was. Also, if Williams is going to return to junior middleweight, he’d be better off not having a fight at the goofy weight of 155 pounds. As for why HBO would accept Ishida for Williams but reject Ishida for Sergio Martinez — the man who knocked out Williams — well, it’s pretty simple, really. Ishida, one-shot wonder or not, projects as a more competitive opponent for someone recovering from a knockout than someone who is the pound-for-pound #2 man in the world and the middleweight champion and the 2010 Fighter of the Year. Martinez, by the way, is due back on HBO in October, but his opponent is still unknown. Daniel Geale really seems to want him, which is an interesting bout, and if Sebastian Zbik beats Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. he’d be both game and a more acceptable opponent than he once was.
With a Lopez rematch off the table for now, Rafael Marquez could be facing Toshiaki Nishioka in October after an interim bout. I’m intrigued by this one, too, and think Marquez deserves another meaningful fight based on his showing in the first bout against Lopez.
Erik Morales-Marcos Maidana II probably won’t be happening. Reportedly, Maidana wants too much money. The report I read was not extremely well-sourced, but if it’s true that Maidana is pricing himself out of a rematch with old man Morales, maybe Maidana’s gotten sick of being such a legitimate big tough guy in the junior welterweight division.
There’s been talk since Vic Darchinyan once more revived his career with a win over bantamweight Yonnhy Perez of rematches with Jorge Arce (who recently revived his own career with a win over junior featherweight Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr.) or old nemesis Nonito Donaire. I’d like either. Darchinyan-Arce I was one-sided for Darchinyan and Donaire-Darchinyan I was one-sided for Donaire, but with Arce a bit on the upswing paired with Darchinyan’s power being uncertain at a higher weight, and with Donaire and Darchinyan still having some bad blood paired with both men making entertaining fights, it doesn’t bother me much that I think we’d get replays.
James Kirkland might fight Ricardo Mayorga at junior middleweight in the next couple months on the undercard of the Showtime bantamweight tournament finale between Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko. Given Kirkland’s troubles with taking punches lately, this is kind of an insane idea, but I admire the pluck. The best news is that Kirkland has reportedly reunited with trainer Ann Wolfe. Maybe she can help him get his career back on track.
The June 25 undercard supporting HBO headliner Devon Alexander-Lucas Matthysse (junior welterweight) is pretty rad. It’s vintage Don King. The televised tripleheader features Tavoris Cloud-Yusaf Mack (light heavyweight) and Bermane Stiverne-Ray Austin (heavyweight), which we’ve already discussed. But King has also added Guillermo Jones-Ryan Coyne (cruiserweight) and Cornelius Bundrage-Sechew Powell (junior middleweight), which, hell, I’d almost prefer those two bouts to be televised over Cloud-Mack and Stivern-Austin.
Kermit Cintron’s Top Rank debut could come against Carlos Molina on July 9 on Showtime. It’s a legit fight. I know people hate Cintron, but I still think he can make some noise at junior middleweight, and Molina is on a nice hot streak.
Andre Berto is probably making his return on HBO against Jan Zaveck, either in August or in October. Berto-Zaveck is a decent enough fight among welterweight contenders, but this one’s mystifying. HBO’s priority should be Ortiz-Berto II, and while I think some of talk about Berto is overstated, I’m not sure what Berto has done to deserve another HBO bout with another semi-contender. At least the August bout would be paired with a middleweight fight between Peter Manfredo, Jr. and Brian Vera, which is quite a slugfest in the making.
The undercard for Carl Froch-Glen Johnson for Showtime’s super middleweight tournament semis has three “names” on it, but the competition is questionable or is likely to be. Zsolt Erdei would take on Byron Mitchell at light heavyweight; Mitchell is, alas, toast. Then Allan Green would move up to light heavyweight for a bout with Dhafir Smith, who beat a shot Jeff Lacy, which is at least an angle if not much of an accomplishment; but Green is recovering from two straight losses and is debuting in a new division, so this makes a little sense compared to Erdei beating up on Mitchell. Super middleweight Edison Miranda is in against TBA.
In the kind of crossroads bouts that ESPN2 specializes in, an old Joel Casamayor and semi-prospect Jorge Teron (coming off a high profile loss to Brandon Rios a while back) would meet in July. The bout would be at junior welterweight.
Ultra-hot junior welterweight prospect Thomas Dulorme is looking to fight DeMarcus Corley on June 10. Dulorme would be taking on by far his toughest opponent, even with Corley on a slide. I don’t like the way TQBR minor favorite Corley has performed in his last couple fights, but if he’s to get back into the mix, he’ll have to take tough bouts like this.
(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; FightHype; Maxboxing; The L.A. Times)