Round And Round, Including What’s Next For Tavoris Cloud, Brandon Rios, Tony Thompson And Others

Happy Halloween, everyone. They can make a “sexy ____ costume” out of everything. There’s your sexy boxer costume. But did you know you could be a sexy watermelon? If not, you do now. (h/t girlfriend of the site Jenna)

In this spoooooooky edition of Round and Round, besides what’s in the headlines, we also explore what’s up with or not up with Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather and Antonio DeMarco and Robert Helenius and a regular “Monster Mash” of boxers, not all of whom, I can promise, are sexy.

(Because I rarely post posts so quickly back to back, make sure you don’t skip over Weekend Afterthoughts just below this one, written earlier today, when things were decidedly less spoooooooky.)

Round And Round

Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said this past week that a welterweight superfight with Mayweather would never happen. I’m inclined to agree. Mayweather’s making too much money taking lesser risks than Pacquiao. But I don’t think it’s Pacquiao’s right hand in particular that’s the reason, as Arum alleged. It’s just generally that he’s a lot, lot better than anyone else Mayweather has ever fought and he can do two less risky fights for the same money he can make for that one. Nothing about Mayweather suggests to me that he cares more about anything other than filling up that hole in his soul with cash, so screw “legacy.”

Meanwhile, Pacquiao and his team have talked about potential opponents on his ledger after Juan Manuel Marquez: Floyd (they still say they’re interested); Sergio Martinez at 150 pounds; Timothy Bradley; Victor Ortiz; Amir Khan; and Mike Jones. Floyd — we’ve already discussed. Martinez — Arum shot that one down right quick, no matter what Pacquiao or his trainer Freddie Roach said about being willing. Khan — interesting, it seems like every other week we hear Khan is or isn’t a potential Pacquiao opponent. Bradley — I feel like this is gonna happen in 2012, despite what Arum keeps saying about how it might not. Jones — at some juncture, probably more later than sooner, this could be a decent bout. Ortiz — let him rehab himself some after that Mayweather loss and then I could maybe be up for it.

The new trainer of YURIORKIS GAMBOA!, Emanuel Steward, is talking up a fight with lightweight Brandon Rios. Rios is reportedly interested. He should be. Yes, Gamboa is a sensation, but he’s also a featherweight, and not a particuarly big featherweight, whereas Rios is a huge lightweight. I can’t say I wouldn’t watch, because I would be curious how it would unfold. But I don’t think I’d like how it would go for my boy Gamboa. Richard Abril, meanwhile, wants Rios, too. I’m surprised at people wanting Rios. Maybe they think he’s going to be easy to outbox, but nobody’s found it easy yet. Juan Manuel Lopez, meanwhile, still says he wants Gamboa, but would settle for Jhonny Gonzalez first. That would be a shootout and a half.

If Erik Morales does come back to lightweight for a bit, Antonio DeMarco would welcome a shot at him. I have other fights I’d rather see involving both men (Morales-Marcos Maidana II, DeMarco-Jorge Linares II) but DeMarco-Morales wouldn’t be anything but a kickass fight.

That Dec. 31 Showtime card that everyone was competing to get their fighters on likely has settled on a double-bill of Tavoris Cloud vs. Zsolt Erdei (light heavyweight) and Rico Ramos vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux (junior featherweight). I dig it. Cloud can’t be in a bad fight, and Erdei’s last three have been better than he’s known for as he’s become a bit older and more stationary. The winner would be a worthy opponent for the winner of Chad Dawson-Jean Pascal II. Ramos-Rigondeaux has mixed chances of being entertaining, because both men alternate between awesome and boring, but it’s a significant bout between two nice talents with a shot at something sensational happening.

Heavyweight Robert Helenius might not get Alexander Dimitrenko this year after all, as Dimitrenko might be dealing with an injury, but if not he’ll take on Kevin Johnson. The only thing I like about that fight is that Helenius might KO Johnson, and Helenius needs to keep fighting quality fighters (and Johnson can fight; he just chose not to against Vitali Klitschko) to get seasoning for a potential run at the Klitschko brothers. Also, with his fight against Eddie Chambers having fallen through, Tony Thompson is now due to be the mandatory challenger to one of Wladimir’s belts. Good for him. And Wlad-Thompson II is more credible than just about any other challenger I can think of for Wlad right now. Lastly, there have reportedly been revived talks of Vitali-David Haye in March, mere weeks after Haye “retired.” I simply don’t care for Haye enough to root for seeing him in any fight with the Klitschkos, but competitively speaking he might still be the best option for Vitali at this time.

It doesn’t have a television home or date yet, but promoter Lou DiBella said the plan is indeed to make a welterweight fight between his guys Andre Berto and Randall Bailey. Bailey’s taken step-aside money in the recent past, so it wasn’t clear if he’d do it again while Berto was exploring a variety of options. Because Berto’s only in high-action bouts lately and Bailey might be the biggest single-punch KO artist in boxing right now, this one is worthy of televising, even if Bailey has a history of crumbling against talents on the level of Berto. It might not be my first choice for Berto, I would want to watch this on any network that would televise it, just not at an absurd rate of pay for Berto.

The Mikkel Kessler vs. Robert Stieglitz super middleweight fight that fell through for this weekend will likely happen in March or April. It’s not the worst fight ever, but I suspect that Kessler’s en route to a Chris John-style return to his home country for big-money bouts against lesser opponents, and therefore I fear this is the beginning of that trend.

Around the bantamweight/junior featherweight vicinity: Jorge Arce will be required by year’s end to face Sod Looknongyangtoy, and after that the winner of Fernando Montiel vs. Jonathan Oquendo will be in line. Since I keep talking about who I don’t want Arce to fight, might as well rank some possibilities that I do like, in order: Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. in a rematch; Rafael Marquez; Montiel. One division down, AJ Banal could square off against Cristian Mijares for a shot at a belt that will inevitably be vacated by Nonito Donaire. It’s an evenly matched bout between fighters on the comeback trail.

Young middleweight Grzegorz Proksa burst onto the scene this month with a blowout of top-5 middleweight Sebastian Sylvester, isn’t screwing around: His next opponent, albeit one who could come to him via his EBU belt mandatory, is likely to be Sebastian Zbik. Proksa wants to rid Germany of every Sebastian he can find, I guess. But it’s not a joke fight. Proksa, if he beats Zbik, could very soon be the man everyone’s clamoring to see fight middleweight king Sergio Martinez.

Action involving Canadia: Canadia’s middleweight prospect David Lemieux will try to rebound from his first loss against fellow Canadia-based fighter Joachim Alcine Dec. 10. Lemieux beats Alcine all day, but until I hear better things about his work habits, I will doubt he goes far.  Also in December, on the 2nd, super middleweight Anthony Dirrell will be fighting on Showtime against Renan St Juste of Canadia, who, despite a loss not so long ago to Marcus Upshaw, would be far and away the best opponent of Dirrell’s career.

(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; RingTV; ESPN; various reporters on Twitter)

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.