ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — If you’re Shane Mosley, the reputation hits just keep coming and coming. Are you Shane Mosley? Good, then you don’t have to worry about it as much. But while it’s only a mild surprise to learn that he tried to quit during his welterweight fight with Manny Pacquiao last month, given how little he tried to win at all, it also isn’t a great headline. You can argue that his attempt to quit is somewhat defensible, of course, and you can get mad at trainer Naazim Richardson for not respecting the wishes of his fighter. But: still not a great headline. You can catch out the rest of the above-excerpted episode of Fight Camp 360 Saturday night on Showtime, as a way of introducing the column for this weekend.
(By the way, on the trip up to Atlantic City with friend of the site David P. Greisman, we played an old Steven Wright comedy track that made apparent that brother Naazim may have stolen one of his most famous lines. In the bit, Wright is working at a natural organic health food store. A customer asks him, “If I melt dry ice, can I swim without getting wet?” ! Also, Wright’s answer to the customer is, “I don’t know, let me ask Tony.” ! Like Tony Margarito, the Mosley fight in which brother Naazim made the “swim without getting wet” remark? Crazy!)
- Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. vs. Sebastian Zbik, Saturday, HBO, Los Angeles. This is a fairly obvious attempt by HBO to try and restore ties with Top Rank Promotions and to try and get on board with the philosophy that they should get involved with fighters who do ratings, which Chavez does. Zbik is the opponent of choice because he has a middleweight strap and, while I haven’t seen much of him, he is an unexceptional fighter in any way based on what I’ve observed. He’s a European boxer-type with no power who is also surprisingly easy to hit, which is a bad combination. He’s probably still the best guy Chavez has faced, though. Zbik wants real middleweight champion Sergio Martinez if he wins; Chavez gets to say he has a belt with a victory, but I’m not thinking Top Rank steps him up much harder than this for a while even with a strap, because Chavez even with trainer Freddie Roach has been somewhat limited and is still encountering questions about his work ethic. And if the WBC throws a hard opponent at a Chavez with a strap, I’d be pleasantly surprised by Jose Sulaiman and gang. Anyway, it’s not a great main event unless you’re the kind of boxing fan who likes lackluster guys named after their famous dads, and I’m not trying to be harsh. This fight has virtually no appeal for me, is what I’m saying, and you’re better off checking out the Super Six showdown on Showtime. On the undercard, Mikey Garcia is a real nice featherweight prospect turning contender, but alas, a late replacement opponent has left him fighting Rafael Guzman, who’s never faced anyone of note and has a 1st round KO loss on his record to one of those no ones of note. I like Garcia — he’s a polished boxer-puncher with poise — but this should be an easy night at the office.
- Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson undercard, Saturday, Showtime, Atlantic City/Copenhagen Denmark. I’ll have much more on this after today’s weigh-in, but the part you, dear reader, will see on Showtime is the tape-delayed return of Dane Mikkel Kessler, who dropped out of the Super Six tournament of which Froch and Johnson are a part with either an injury or “an injury.” His opponent is the ultra-safe-seeming Mehdi Bouadla, and the only reason imaginable that this fight will be broadcast is because Showtime wants to set up Kessler-Lucian Bute, the second gentlemen being a chap with whom Showtime has signed a multi-fight deal. Kessler would have to look disastrously bad against Bouadla for Kessler-Bute not to go forward sometime in 2011.
- Yudel Jhonson vs. Jose Miguel Torres, Friday, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes/ESPN3, Tampa Fla. Jhonson is a good Cuban welterweight prospect and amongst the most crowd-pleasing of them, but this is a pretty unappealing Friday Night Fights main event because his opponent hasn’t fought in nearly two years and the last time he was on FNF had a very dirty fight with Joe Greene in a losing effort. FNF has been having a good year but this isn’t one of their best weekends.
- Leo Santa Cruz vs. Jose Lopez, Friday, TeleFutura, Indio Calif. “Acceptable Solo Boxeo Tecate” has of late been outnumbering “Scary mismatch Solo Boxeo Tecate,” and here’s another example of “acceptable.” Santa Cruz is an undefeated bantamweight prospect and Lopez delivered a memorable war with Marvin Sonsona a couple years back, so he could be a real test for Santa Cruz despite losing two in a row. Santa Cruz hasn’t faced anybody nearly in Lopez’ class. If I had a choice, I’d watch this card tonight over the FNF card, and that doesn’t happen very often.
- The Rest. Andrew Harrison had a preview of the British card for us this week… and Marco Antonio Rubio, coming off his big upset over middleweight prospect David Lemieux, takes a victory lap fight back in Mexico.