Round And Round, Featuring What’s Next For Lucian Bute, Anselmo Moreno, Nonito Donaire And Others

Pandering is bad for the soul. But don’t count the attractive woman to your right as pandering. Hear me out! Since the last Round And Round column, light heavyweight Edison Miranda issued a trash-talking news release demanding a rematch with Yordanis Despaigne. One of the insults was giving him a “best actress” Oscar for pretending to be hurt by the alleged low blows that led to Miranda’s disqualification. The other: “I think all those shots on the belt line were hurting his belly button piercing.”

So you see, that lady there, she has a belly button piercing. That’s what this is about. It ties in, I swear. And by the way, I hope Despaigne-Miranda II comes off. Like most of that woman’s clothes have.

(Pay no attention to Friday’s image of Megan Fox. That wasn’t pandering, either. Nor will it be when I run any of the photos of any of the women linked here in future blog entries.)

Other boxers, besides those in the headline, mentioned in this column about fights in the works: Jean Pascal; Jorge Arce; Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.; Giovani Segura; and several more.

Round And Round

Super middleweight Lucian Bute just can’t get his opponent figured out for Nov. 5. Old sparring mate Glen Johnson has said he’s willing, but Johnson’s team claims they’ve sent him an offer “significantly more than a million dollars less than the $1.35 million offer made to first potential opponent, Kelly Pavlik.” There’s no universe where a Johnson fight is worth as much as a fight with even a diminished Pavlik, but that does seem low, and it creates the appearance that Bute is looking for an easier fight, knowing how things went in sparring with Johnson. Then there was the whole flirtation with a catchweight fight vs. Tavoris Cloud, later knocked down as not an option. Cloud himself remains in a light heavyweight shuffling deck of cards where every other day, Jean Pascal and Beibut Shumenov and Zsolt Erdei are all reported to be fighting someone different from the deck. [UPDATED: Bute-Johnson is reportedly very, very close now. Bute’s Twitter account — if it’s real — said the fight was done. Another account had Johnson’s promoter saying it was “95%” done.]

Nonito Donaire’s next opponent — never mind his opponent two fights from now, already discussed in Weekend Afterthoughts — isn’t likely to be much of an opponent at all. The options are rather grotesque, with the best of them, Omar Narvaez, hurt a little bit by the idea that Narvaez would have to move up to bantamweight. Juan Mercedes, Sebastian Gauthier, Christian Esquivel, Tshifhiwa Munyai, Silence Mabuza and Alexander Munoz are the others in the running; of them, only Esquivel cracks Ring’s divisional top 10, where he’s the #10 man at bantam. Cristian Mijares is trying to make a run at Donaire, and I guess he’s not a totally terrible option, as a top-10 junior bantamweight he has fought respectably at full bantamweight. Unfortunately, it would also mean Raul Martinez would be left in the cold again after previously having to postpone and reschedule his Mijares clash. But come late October or November (the date keeps shifting around) Donaire is likely to be in pretty easy. Certainly, Donaire’s talent level dictates that a lot of fights will be easy, but this fall we’re probably not even going to be in the ballpark of “most credible challenger available.”

Then there are some other stray fights where Donaire might get involved. One is against Jorge Arce at junior featherweight. Of course, Arce-Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. II is in a never-ending pattern of being on hold or being in the works. Meanwhile, Donaire’s also looking at the winner of Toshiaki Nishioka-Rafael Marquez. But Fernando Montiel is interested in the winner of that fight, too.

Lou DiBella, promoter of middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, has contradicted himself up a storm about his boxer fighting at a higher weight. At first he said guys like Manny Pacquiao are handpicking opponents when they move up a division, and that Martinez wouldn’t do that. But in the same interview with our old pal Mike C, DiBella said Martinez would move up to super middleweight for the right opponent, like Carl Froch. I know promoters are liars and screwy and stuff, but this is especially screwy material.

Besides Michael Katsidis, as previously discussed in Weekend Afterthoughts, Amir Khan will be closely watching the junior welterweight fight between Erik Morales and Lucas Matthysse. He says that’s his preferred bout for December, not Lamont Peterson or the winner of Robert Guerrero-Marcos Maidana. Glad that is semi-settled. I was getting sick of Khan’s opponent roulette. The title eliminator between Ajose Olusegun and Ali Chebah that lacks purpose after Morales-Matthysse was magically made into a title bout will go on nonetheless: It’ll be on ShoBox Sept. 30, unless it’s rescheduled like it already has been.

I think it’s too early for Demetrius Andrade to face someone like Grady Brewer, a massive step-up in class for the 2008 U.S. Olympian voted “most likely to succeed” but whose development has been glacial or worse. But I can appreciate the balls the junior middleweight is showing this very weekend on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. More to say on this later in the week.

There’s still no TV outlet for the good bout between U.S. heavyweights Tony Thompson and Eddie Chambers, but one option is to place it in Atlantic City the night before Showtime’s Super Six tournament finale, on Oct. 28. I think it would make a fine addition to that undercard, something that had been discussed, but apparently the sanctioning organization gave promoter Dan Goossen some static. Figures.

It’s gonna happen after much hand-wringing, this middleweight fight between Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. and Ron Hearns, even though just a few days ago Hearns’ promoter DiBella was saying they didn’t have a contract. It’ll go head to head Sept. 17 with the Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz, which is kind of a dumb move that stands to hurt everyone, particularly in Mexico, since Chavez’ chief rival for Mexican affection Saul Alvarez is on the Mayweather-Ortiz undercard.

In the world of pay-per-view undercards, there are some things moving and some not. For the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson undercard, Anselmo Moreno-Eric Morel at bantamweight is being replaced by Paulie Malignaggi-Orlando Lora at welterweight. I know folk were of the mind Moreno-Morel was going to be boring, but it was at least significant, which isn’t something you can say for Malignaggi-Lora. Moreno reportedly wanted $250,000 for the Morel fight, which prompted the delay in Moreno-Morel as a bout for that particular undercard. For someone who just isn’t that interesting or much of an attraction outside his homeland, Moreno sure is fussy. For the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III undercard, the one fight in the works is a welterweight bout between Mike Jones and Sebastian Lujan, a fight I like, but that may also be too expensive. Money’s so stupid. Always getting in the way of fights I want.

Here’s another ShoBox fight that could be coming up: Lateef Kayode vs. Ryan Coyne at cruiserweight Sept. 9. I say, sure, why not? They’re haggling over money, by the way. And you know what I think about money.

Strawweight Donnie Nietes is gonna move up a division and fight Ramon Garcia in September or October, depending on what day of the week the story comes out. And the thin strawweight division is about to get even thinner.

Before, junior flyweight champion Giovani Segura was calling out Julio Cesar Miranda relentlessly as an opponent he wanted to face one division north. Then, Miranda went and fought Brian Viloria, and Segura was going to fight the winner. Then Viloria won. Now, Viloria apparently isn’t available for a while, so Segura might fight Miranda next anyway. Never before have I seen an elite fighter so desire a fight with a second-tier fighter. At this point, I can only conclude that Miranda insulted Segura’s sister.

(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene, ESPN, RingTV, 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.