Who cares if that picture is real? I don’t want to live in a world where I can’t contemplate the scenario. Someone had to go to the trouble of opening a Word file, typing the blurb, blowing up the font and finally sticking it with some tape to the window and taking a picture, rather than just calling animal control. I also love the idea of a whole building being held under siege by a goose. And how did relations get so bad between this building and this goose? And what is it about THAT door that makes the goose wait outside, ready to clamp down on your thigh with his beak or whack you in the stomach with his wing, but the other door, he’s all like, “Sure, whatever, go on through that one — just not THIS one, bro”?
Just like with the goose waiting outside ready to fight, so too are boxers waiting to fight one another in an increasingly packed and appealing fall/winter schedule, so we’ll review the latest news about them in Round And Round, our feature on fights in the works. And just like with the goose and the door, there are a lot of triggers and moving pieces that can have an impact on which fights will happen or won’t. Besides the men in the headline, we’ll look at fights involving Adonis Stevenson, Marco Huck, Carl Froch, Gabriel Campillo and others.
I can’t really understand why some folk didn’t react with pleasure to Miguel Cotto taking on Austin Trout Dec. 1, but I’m hopelessly in the bag for Cotto, so maybe that’s on me. What I see is an action fighter who never turns down a tough fight taking yet another, this time against a natural junior middleweight with a difficult southpaw style. The reactions I saw were 90 percent positive or so, too, so the outliers are those who don’t like the match-up for reasons I haven’t really seen explained. Trout is a high-risk/low-reward type, but he becomes high-reward by virtue of the fans responding positively to Cotto taking a difficult opponent. Why Trout? Let’s go down the list: Floyd Mayweather just beat Cotto; whatever Manny Pacquiao’s team says, Cotto never really was probably a sincere option, owing to different promoters and different preferred weights; Saul Alvarez might not be ready by December; James Kirkland’s in a promotional feud; Alfredo Angulo just got released from detention; Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan are fighting each other. Who’s that leave? Cornelius Bundrage might’ve made more sense; Carlos Molina has the same high-risk/low-reward dynamic, but mangified; and then there’s Trout. The usual suspects say that Trout’s belt helped him get the bout, absent any evidence, just because that’s what they believe and they ignore any evidence to the contrary, like Bundrage having a bigger name than Trout AND a belt. Maybe Golden Boy was steering Cotto toward another Al Haymon client. We haven’t been given an explanation, so I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions. But under the circumstances, the options were limited and Cotto made a good, hard choice, like he almost always does. I definitely would like to make it to Cotto-Trout at Madison Square Garden, Cotto’s rowdy home arena.
Cotto officially stepping aside clears things up for Pacquiao, at least a little. We know Cotto won’t be chosen, but we kind of already knew that. Pacquiao has been wishy-washy about the date of his next fight, and from what I can tell doesn’t even seem all that eager to settle the matter, feeding into my worry that his heart really isn’t in boxing anymore. Dec. 8 looks to be the most likely date, and Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez in welterweight rematches seem the only sensible choices, no matter how much some fans and writers are clamoring for “fresh” match-ups — you want Pacquiao to fight Mike Jones or something? Nah, I’m not nearly as enthused about Pacquiao fights as I used to be, but if he’s going to fight someone at all then rematches of two debatable results where the outcome could shift, especially given Pacquiao’s record of great fights with Marquez, work for me. The outside option is Mayweather, and reportedly Mayweather adviser Haymon reached out to Pacquiao’s camp, and reportedly Marquez thinks that’s what’s holding up the decision. I doubt there’s any substantial talk going on for that fight, though. But if Pac does go a different direction, then Bradley and Marquez would fight each other in November, which is a very nice scrap on its own.
I read it but didn’t believe it that Joan Guzman was somehow in talks with the Pacquiao camp, and also somehow in talks with Amir Khan’s camp, but he’s ending up with a fight against Khabib Allakhverdiev Dec. 15, who recently stopped Silence Mabuza and beat ol’ Nate Campbell. If the idea of his team was to get his name mentionedin the same sentence as Pacquiao and Khan, then Guzman succeeded.
Devon Alexander-Randall Bailey is being delayed due to a reported Bailey injury. The welterweight bout looks to move to the Oct. 20 tripleheader on Showtime, or to join the also-moved Abner Mares-Anselmo Moreno junior featherweight Showtime showdown. Alexander-Bailey moving means it won’t duel with the Sept. 8 HBO super middleweight bout between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson, and Mares-Moreno has been moved to Oct. 27 to avoid the much-anticipated Oct. 13 HBO doubleheader of Nonito Donaire-Toshiaki Nishioka (junior featherweight) and Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado (junior welterweight). HBO might have a dueling card on the new date, though. Welterweight Thomas Dulorme is strengthening his bid for Prospect of the Year if he goes through with a fight against Luis Carlos Abregu on Oct. 27, who hasn’t done much since his loss to Bradley two years ago but would be the best guy Dulorme had faced by about the length of a football field. Also on the card would be ballyhooed lightweight prospect Darley Perez.
Adonis Stevenson-Don George, an accursed sort of bout logisticcally but one worth repeatedly trying to make happen aesthetically, is now booked for Oct. 12 on Wealth TV, which is making big moves week after week to become a player in boxing. Stevenson-George would, for the second time in as many fight announcements, be the best fight the network had ever aired.
The Sept. 21 NBC Sports card has some deserving Gabriels on it, junior middleweight Gabriel Rosado and light heavyweight Gabriel Campillo. Their opponents don’t much impress me, but the Fight Night program has featured action bouts so far, so maybe I should trust the matchmaking. Rosado would face 38-year-old Charles Whitaker, who lost to Troy Rowland in 2004 but hasn’t lost since. Campillo’s opponent, Sergey Kovalev, is undefeated but untested, unless you count his stoppage of reliably difficult trial horse Darnell Boone, and has 16 knockouts in 18 wins, so he’s an unknown but potentially competitive quantity. Also on the card is welterweight Antwone Smith, who rose from “opponent” to “contender” status quickly and now risks venturing back into “opponent” status. He’ll face Ronald Cruz, last seen beating Prenice Brewer comprehensively on NBC Sports.
At last, super middleweigt Carl Froch has chosen his next opponent for a return to Great Britain Nov. 17, and it’s Yusaf Mack, who has flirted wtih contender status and has some ability but tends to fade stamina-wise against the top guys. Froch should have no trouble with him, but then, if anyone deserved a trouble-free fight it’s Froch and his ridiculous four-year run.
Increasingly fan-friendly cruiserweight Marco Huck is taking on a respectable opponent in Firat Arslan Nov. 11. Huck used to be in foul-laden fights, but these days he’s just in straight up slugfests.
Heavyweight Ruslan Chagaev said talk of him facing Tyson Fury is premature. I wish it wasn’t. I think Fury’s ready for a fight like that, if he’ll ever be.
Middleweight Marco Antonio Rubio is fighting Carlos Baldomir Sept. 8. Why’s Baldomir still fighting, exactly?
(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; Twitter; RingTV; Los Angeles Times; news releases)