Quick Jabs: The Manny Pacquiao And Alex Ariza Show; Golden Boy’s Big 2012; More

It’s darn near time to clear our plates and gear up for the blitzkrieg of coverage that accompanies big fights, what with Floyd Mayweather, Jr./Miguel Cotto right around the corner. When it comes to other boxing stuff than Mayweather/Cotto, it’s mostly speak now or hold your peace until after ’round here.

Check out the above video of middleweight prospect Billy Joe Saunders blowing up Tony Hill over the weekend, for starters. Our Mark Ortega wrote a few months back that “Saunders could potentially be one of the biggest stories of 2012 if matched correctly,” and Hill didn’t figure to be such easy work from a matchmaking standpoint — one fight ago, Hill went to a majority decision loss against Kerry Hope, and Hope is the man who recently upset contender Grzegorz Proksa. Stoppages in the 1st round like that are sometime flukey, but when you’re on the delivering end, it’s never a bad thing.

Other things to consider, besides the headline, are some other Weekend Afterthoughts-style musings and a couple fights in the works. We’ll keep things brief. In return for our brevity, please consider liking our Facebook page if you haven’t yet.

Quick Jabs

Your Weekend Afterthoughts: A. I thought it was a worthy risk for Paulie Malignaggi to go over to the Ukraine and face Vyacheslav Senchenko on his home turf, and following his stoppage (!) victory, it seems that has proven true. Before, he didn’t really have any juice as a lackluster-looking welterweight, and now he’s beaten a legit top-10 one and could make an actually appealing opponent for Devon Alexander. B. I thought Ring was premature to promote Jhonny Gonzalez to #4 in the featherweight rankings, but he’s earned it now after taking care of business against Elio Rojas. Oh please someone make Gonzalez against Orlando Salido or Rafael Marquez. C. Mayweather thinks this edition of 24/7 is boring because he’s giving the producers a lot of good material and they’re not using it. I get the impression that the kind of thing Mayweather considers “good material” is crappy, non-entertaining stunts like last season’s fake phone call between Mayweather and 50 Cent using two stacks of money as telephones, or this season’s “Mayweather works the speed bag while on his cell” sequel. D. Wanna see another weekend KO? This one is courtesy the 108-pound, power-packed Roman Gonzalez.

We had a full-blown outrage on our hands over the University of Teas rejecting its El Paso as the location for the Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.-Andy Lee middleweight bout, and most of what we heard didn’t reflect very well upon the school. Bob Arum went as far as saying that it was “racist” for them to be worried about Mexican drug cartel violence spilling over the border. Of course, there was also a report that leaders of actual Mexican drug cartels who didn’t like each other would be attending. Some of this gets too close to a conflict of interest with my day job, but it’s good on the surface and for the time being that this all probably headed toward a resolution where things go back to the original venue, unless for some reason somebody is beheaded in the crowd mid-fight…

Strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza might’ve had the blessing of Manny Pacquiao to leave camp to help out with Chavez, but it sure does make him look bad. After every Pacquiao fight lately, Ariza says that Pacquiao looked bad because he didn’t adequately devote himself to Ariza’s program. How’s he supposed to devote himself to that program if you’re not there to administer it? And what does your absence signal to Pacquiao about how important your presence is at all? Ariza is becoming one of the more unlikable figures in the sport…

Mayweather says he has some kind of working relationship with super middleweight Andre Dirrell. I’m still eager to see how this all works out — Mayweather is with adviser Al Haymon, and Dirrell just dumped Haymon, but Mayweather has a promotional firm that isn’t a real promotional firm and this whole thing is still a little mysterious. Also, word is Mayweather might sign featherweight Celestino Caballero to his firm, which would seem to hurt the chances of Caballero getting the Mikey Garcia fight because Garcia is promoted by Top Rank and Top Rank hates Mayweather…

Golden Boy Promotions, meanwhile, which is the de facto promoter of Mayweather, is simply putting on a ton of shows this year and getting most of the TV dates, and recently announced yet another TV deal with Fox Deportes. Top Rank, the other top promotional company, just doesn’t seem to be doing quite as much as GBP this year, even without the TV dates; used to be that if one TV outlet turned them down, they’d find another or put on a bunch of independent pay-per-views. I wonder if that’s just a statistical anomaly through four months, or if TR is slowing down and GBP is taking over as #1 to Top Rank’s #2 as opposed to a tie for #1. I only throw it out there as fodder for debate, because I don’t have a strong opinion; it’s just a thought I’ve had of late….

This is barely a Round And Round, really, if we can do it in one paragraph. But: A. Super middleweight champ Andre Ward sounds like he’s down for a bout with new light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson. We’ll see if they can work it out. Per a Chris Mannix piece from not long ago, Ward has been working on some kind of deal with HBO, but Showtime has the right to match. This seems to give Ward’s current momentum-killing stasis a chance at prolongment. B. Heavyweight Seth Mitchell’s next fight could be against Michael Grant, so as Mitchell gets some experience against a giant-sized heavyweight. Mitchell’s gotten himself into a neat position: He’s good enough and fun enough (and in D.C. and likely Michigan, popular enough) that the kind of prospect-development fights he’s been having of late no longer are going to be attributable entirely to the Haymon influence. I’m actually interested in seeing Mitchell-Grant on HBO. C. We’ll have more on it later this week, but welterweight Jessie Vargas is getting a replacement opponent for crappy opponent Alfonso Gomez this weekend and it’s an even crappier replacement opponent, Steve Forbes. Yeah, the Mayweather/Cotto undercard is gonna blow. Sources for said Round and Round brief: Sports Illustrated, BoxingScene, news releases

One more video of a man who’s a dance phenom with some wisdom about shadowboxing.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.