The biggest boxing card of the weekend is the one that isn’t happening. Three cheers for the sport of boxing in August…
- Not-Kelly Pavlik vs. Darryl Cunningham, Not-Saturday, Not-Showtime, Not-Youngstown Ohio. Either Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik doesn’t have interest in boxing anymore, or he’s still on the sauce, or he’s just flat crazy for some other reason. The former middleweight champ has effectively killed what was left of his career by pulling out of this tune-up fight over some psychedelic delusion related to an upcoming bout with Lucian Bute that, delusion A.: Mikkel Kessler was going to get $3.5 million to fight Bute. If he did — and the figure is hardly credible — it was because Denmark through some kind of absurd TV money at him, not because it was a figure Showtime could or would offer a different Bute opponent. Last I checked, Youngstown TV couldn’t throw that kind of money at their boy the way Denmark could at theirs; and delusion B.: He deserved anything like that kind of cash, given the state of his career. It sounds like he got a pretty favorable deal, more than a mil and a nice split, and he’ll be lucky to get anything at all ever again. He’s now pulled out of five fights since 2009 and fought four times over the same span. Who’s going to want to book this guy, knowing he might not show up? And the more he talks, the stranger he sounds. Why did he just find out a week ago — if what he claims is true — that he was getting paid $50,000 for the Cunningham fight? Doesn’t that sound like the kind of question you should ask well in advance of signing a fight, i.e., “Say, how much am I getting paid for this?” The man is just loony tunes for one reason or the other. I hope he gets some help. I really do. I was as big a Pavlik fan as you’ll find. I fear the absolute worst lately for where he’s going. And, by the way, if there’s any justice in the world, Cunningham will land a big fight soon. Other than thinking Pavlik was scared of him, Cunningham came off real well in various interviews like this one with our Corey Erdman, like Cunningham was eager to prove himself and confident he could. Now he won’t even get the chance.
- Tim Coleman vs. Vernon Paris, Friday, ESPN2 etc., Santa Ynez Calif. Coleman has recently taken on the look of a fighter who’s peaking, even if I’ve found some of his career choices odd. Rather than fighting Lamont Peterson or Victor Cayo in a junior welterweight title eliminator, he’s fighting Paris the week after Peterson-Cayo on Friday Night Fights. Paris is thought of as talented, but he had trouble with Emmanuel Augustus not so long ago — which, since lots of people have had trouble with Augustus, wouldn’t be so worrisome if not for the fact that Augustus is well over the hill these days and because of some of the chinks Paris showed per our Gautham Nagesh’s ringside account. In other words, Coleman should pull this one out. The undercard offers a good co-feature: Featherweight Art Hovhannisyan, fresh off his big nasty knockout of prospect Archie Ray Marquez, takes on Cristobal Cruz, a journeyman-made-good who hasn’t fought since Orlando Salido ended his hot streak last summer.
- The Rest. On Thursday, flyweight champ Pongsaklek Wonjongkam is listed as fighting “TBA,” which, if you know Thailand boxing regulators, you also know that doesn’t mean anything nice. But Pong is at last on Oct. 14 going to take on a live body, Edgar Sosa, who himself has had trouble taking on live bodies… On Friday, Leonardo Zappavigna squares off against Ameth Diaz in a lightweight title eliminator to face Miguel Vazquez, who already has outboxed the shit out of Zappavigna. Diaz, in turn, lost by 1st round knockout to Ji Hoon Kim, while Kim lost by 1st round knockout to Zappavigna and yeah, by the way, Kim also got the shit outboxed out of him by Vazquez. So neither of these guys will deserve a shot at Vazquez, no matter who wins.