(Photo: Fight Camp 360, Showtime)
That’s quite a “scratch” on Andre Ward’s eye, Carl Froch. it’s the kind that would make the average boxer realize why a fight might need to be postponed to Dec. 17, per a news release, which is when the finale of Showtime’s super middleweight tournament has been rescheduled. It’s especially the kind of thing the average boxer might realize if an injury led him to postpone a fight, too. Whatever the Froch silliness and frustrations about delays, good news: The Super Six tourney will come to a close not long after the original Oct. 29 date, and it won’t be competing with any other major cards on that date.
As the headline suggests, there is some bad news to be had with various fights in the works. But I wrote that headline earlier today, before news surfaced that maybe Pawel Wolak will be doing what we want him to do. So there’s good news, too, maybe. Some names on the list in this edition of Round and Round: Victor Ortiz, Saul Alvarez, James Kirkland, Joshua Clottey, Vic Darchinyan and others.
Round And Round
Let’s start with the el stupidos, the two unreformed junior middleweights Vanes Martirosyan and Serhiy Dzinziruk. Vanes was saying he turned down the Alfredo Angulo fight because he won’t fight for peanuts, but he’s now scheduled to fight Richard Guttierez on Oct. 29 in a fight that can’t make him a fraction of what he would’ve made against Angulo — and by the way, he won’t respond to questions from reporters about how much that was. Then, after accepting that fight, he got back on Twitter and barked some about how he wanted to fight Angulo and Angulo was running from him, which on a day of embarrassing remarks from boxers, saw him narrowly coming in second place. Meanwhile, Dzinziruk turned down a fight on HBO against Erislandy Lara even though his promoter had been threatening legal action against the network if Dzinziruk didn’t get his guaranteed date, since he was ordered to defend his belt against Lukas Konecny. Well, he got himself injured and now is likely to be stripped of the belt. An injury could’ve happened if he’d taken the Lara fight, sure. But with the way things turned out, he was going to end up belt-less either way, and at least one of those options meant more money.
But the third junior middleweight in the headline? He might have come around. Pawel Wolak was angling for a fight with Cornelius Bundrage rather than the rematch everyone wants with Delvin Rodriguez, and instead of getting Bundrage, was gonna end up on the untelevised undercard of Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto II’s HBO pay-per-view. Now, though, word is that Rodriguez-Wolak II will go down on that undercard. As much as I’m reluctant about Margarito, take a look at how this card is shaping up: A., A main event that is a rematch of a Fight of the Year-style bout; B. Wolak-Rodriguez II, a rematch of the clubhouse leader for 2011 Fight of the Year; C. Mike Jones vs. Sebastian Lujan at welterweight, which figures to be like Jones’ two close, hard-fought bouts with Jesus Soto Karass on steroids; and D., Lightweight Brandon Rios, who’s been in a couple different Fight of the Year-style bouts in 2011 already, going up against (maybe) John Molina in what would be a real brawl. Now, it might not work out that way. Rodriguez-Wolak II is not a fully done deal according to any reports. Rios has balked at Molina (while Dannie Williams, a prospect who beat Rios once in the amateurs, is also lobbying for the fight, which would be less intriguing). But if that card comes together, it’s pure action from top to bottom.
You may notice that Rico Ramos-Guillermo Rigondeaux at junior featherweight is no longer on the card. That’s because Ramos’ promoter Dan Goossen asked for a purse bid, since Ramos isn’t happy with the money and there was some kind of miscommunication between Goossen and Rigondeaux’ promoter, Top Rank. Some fans hate that fight; I’m mildly intrigued by it. But I don’t see that fight making very much money unless it’s on the Margarito-Cotto II undercard, so I’m not sure what Goossen’s thinking there — depending on the size of the bid, he could take a loss.
Meanwhile, going head to head with Margarito-Cotto II on Showtime Dec. 3 is the bantamweight tournament finale and a pretty good undercard in its own right: Anselmo Moreno vs. Darchinyan, in a match-up of the other top bantamweights not named Abner Mares, Joseph Agbeko and Nonito Donaire. Basically, there could be a fuck lot of good boxing happening in one night. I’m kind of in awe, even as I am disgusted by the role of the IBF in this and by Showtime and HBO — as well as Top Rank and Golden Boy — once more not being able to avoid direct competition. A sidebar to this is that Top Rank has had a falling out with Showtime, with Top Rank’s Bob Arum alleging that Showtime is upset about Manny Pacquiao returning to HBO’s clutches and violating pledges from past dealings not to counter-program (or something — you make sense of it, because I can’t), and Showtime’s Ken Hershman hasn’t said much in response other than to just kind of shake his head. Amid all this, Rios isn’t going to be on Showtime Dec. 10 as originally planned, making Rios the most exciting fighter I can think of off the top of my head to have options reportedly passed on by both HBO and Showtime (with HBO having been said to pass on a Rios option previously).
There’s still a lot of commotion about what might be next for Ortiz and his recent foe Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Ortiz wants a rematch, naturally, because that’ll be his biggest paycheck, but Mayweather has alternated between saying 1. Yes, he can have one; 2. No, he can’t; and 3. He only can if he beats Andre Berto again. What are the chances of us getting Ortiz-Berto II? Berto and his promoter Lou DiBella are insanely demanding drug tests, which Ortiz took for Mayweather, but the real hold-up on Ortiz’ end is that Berto’s IBF welterweight belt means that Ortiz cannot re-weigh more than 10 pounds the next day and that’d be pretty hard for him to do. Looking pretty far down the line, Robert Guerrero is fantasizing aloud about a fight with Mayweather or Pacquiao, but he still hasn’t fought above lightweight and I’d want to see him at junior welter and welter for a little bit before I could get on board with that. I can see it for 2013, though.
Berto, he is being quite demanding overall, not just for Ortiz. He’s got no interest in fighting Devon Alexander. He’s got no interest in a welterweight tournament that Golden Boy is proposing. As I type this, it’s amazing between all these egos and vendettas and hidden motives that any fight gets made, ever.
The undercard for Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III doesn’t stack up as nicely as for Margarito-Cotto II, but it doesn’t sound like it’s gonna be half bad. One of the ideas is to match junior welterweight Mike Alvarado against Breidis Prescott, who was in a close enough loss against Paul McCloskey that he doesn’t take much of a hit to whatever stock he had. Another is to put junior lightweight Luis Cruz against Juan Carlos Burgos, a big featherweight who would move up for the fight. It’s a start — two competitive and possibly exciting fights, albeit a touch lesser in significance and action potential than some of the Margarito-Cotto II bouts. Let’s see how it pans out.
The quibbling over weight, not money or anything like that, figures to be the biggest impediment to an early-2012 match-up between mega-popular Mexican boxers Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. Alvarez’ team wants a 156-pound limit. It could live with 157. Chavez’ team wants 160. It could live with 158. Thing is, if Chavez agreed to any kind of catchweight, who’s to say he’d even successfully be able to get down that low, given what a blimp he becomes between fights. I’d had hopes that this one could work out, but now I’m not so sure.
There’s still talk of that rematch double-header that’s been scratched a couple times going down in February: Juan Manuel Lopez-Orlando Salido II at featherweight, and Jorge Arce-Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. II at junior featherweight. Salido, though, is talking about yet another fight in December, and Arce is maybe gonna do something with Jhonny Gonzalez, so who knows. JuanMa recently said he’d be down to fight Nonito Donaire in 2012, so maybe he’s not in such a hurry to move to junior lightweight. And Donaire said he expects to face the winner of this weekend’s junior featherweight clash between Toshiaki Nishioka and Rafael Marquez, so we’re looking at late 2012, obviously.
Everyone keeps saying that Angulo-Kirkland is basically done for Nov. 5. But “basically done” in boxing doesn’t mean what it does everywhere else. It could be joined up by a middleweight clash between Peter Quillin and Craig McEwan, although Quillin has also been mentioned for a fight with Sam Soliman, of all people. I think Quillin’s a lot better than McEwan (and a lot lot better than Soliman), but McEwan puts the kind of pressure on that would give trouble to the “not-as-good-as-he-should-be” version of the inconsistent Quillin.
When he’s not in Twitter wars with Tavoris Cloud, light heavyweight Jean Pascal is doing things like (or, at any rate, his promoter is doing things like) saying that he has been promised by HBO the winner of Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson. That seems a promise too far for the network. If Hopkins beats Dawson, I’m not interested in a THIRD fight between Hopkins and Pascal. Pascal-Dawson II, I would like to see, though.
Joshua Clottey recently reemerged to tell our old friend Mike Coppinger that he was moving up to junior middleweight and wanted to fight Alvarez or get a rematch with Cotto. I’d be down for Cotto-Clottey II, for sure. And with more seasoning, maybe Alvarez would be ready for a pro like Clottey. But even though he was trying to clear the air, Clottey still came off in the interview to me like he wants more money for stuff than he deserves, as a total non-draw.
Deandre Latimore was in the same “calling everyone out/in talks with everyone about some fight or the other” camp as Dzinziruk, Wolak, Martirosyan and others, and he chose the “turn down a fight” route, saying he has no interest in a third fight with Sechew Powell, even if it’s a title eliminator. So much jibber jabber, so little activity for some of these yappers.
We end where we began: Ward, who didn’t have to fight ol’ friend Andre Dirrell during the Super Six because Andre dropped out, might have to fight Anthony Dirrell if he beats Froch and wants to keep one of his alphabet belts, since Andre’s brother could be in line for said belt. That closes this edition of Round and Round. Readying the director’s clap board and… CUT.
(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; RingTV; ESPN; BBC; Maxboxing; various reporters on Twitter; news releases)