Round And Round, Featuring What’s Next For Ricky Hatton, Andre Ward, Robert Guerrero And Others

Here I was, all prepared to make fun of fussy U.K. heavyweight David Haye for saying he wouldn’t fight Vitali Klitschko in the Ukraine because he’d heard the country was racist. “But David,” I was going to say, “Men of all color can agree that Ukrainian women are pretty hot, right? Even the ones with saucers for eyes?” Then I did a little research, and, yeah, sounds like the Ukraine has a bit of a reputation. It goes to show: Just because a crackpot says something doesn’t make that thing crackpot.

So maybe Vitali-Haye, a fight once made then abandoned, ought not happen in the Ukraine. But I’d still like it to happen. Same as I’d like some of the other fights under discussion in this edition of Round And Round to happen, like ones involving the men in the headline but also Sergio Martinez, Juan Carlos Burgos and others. Although, sadly, we are losing one really nice fight from the ledger due to an injury, to be discussed in a moment.

Round And Round

Doctors said middleweight champ Sergio Martinez might not need knee surgery after all. That’s good news, because a prolonged absence by Martinez isn’t helpful for anyone. Meanwhile, his promoter Lou DiBella is dismissing the idea of Gennady Golovkin, whom he said would make no money for Martinez. I get it, since Martinez is aiming at the money-making likes of a rematch with Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., or Floyd Mayweather, or Miguel Cotto, or somebody like that. I also get why Chavez’s promoter Bob Arum kept Chavez away from Martinez for so long, for similar reasons — the risk/reward ratio was not favorable. I’m actually more interested in Martinez-Golovkin now than I was Martinez-Chavez for a long time; I didn’t think the fight would be competitive between Sergio and Julio until recently, but I think Martinez-Golovkin is more competitive on paper than Sergio-Julio wasn’t for so long. I suppose there’s some level of double standard here to DiBella spending forever lobbying for Martinez-Chavez when Martinez wasn’t worth the risk to Chavez, and now he’s rejecting the idea of Golovkin with the shoe on the other foot. But as much as people ding DiBella as a promoter, he did end up getting his guy the big fight with the aid, in part, of that lobbying campaign. Golovkin’s promoter K2, if they decide Martinez is their target, might be wise to adopt that strategy. For now, I’m fine with Martinez focusing on Chavez II, or Mayweather, or Cotto, or Saul Alvarez, because those are all good fights on the merits and from the standpoint of a big event, but I also would love it if Golovkin could build himself into a force that Martinez can’t ignore because he’s beating all the other top middleweights while Martinez is otherwise occupied.

Timothy Bradley and Robert Guerrero have been jawing at each other, and there was some talk of a rematch clause being a hold up, and then there was a refutation of the notion that a rematch clause was even on the table. It’s a fight I’d like to see somewhat, and Bradley is without an opponent Dec. 15. But now Bradley’s team is talking instead about Andre Berto, which is another decent fight on paper, although Berto’s recent failed drug test does give his career an unpleasant odor going forward that makes me a little less interested in him. Bradley has also flirted with Kell Brook, who turned the fight down, and a Lamont Peterson rematch, even though Peterson himself had a run-in with the drug testing authorities. Maybe Bradley’s problem with Guerrero is that he hasn’t recently failed a drug test. If you can avoid thinking about those failed drug tests, it does go to show that there are some good fights at welterweight below the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao level. Making them actually happen is, apparently, another thing entirely.

One of the highlights of the fall schedule, a featherweight clash between Orlando Salido and Mikey Garcia scheduled for Nov. 10, has unfortunately been postponed because Salido is said to have slammed his finger in a car door. No kidding. HBO is reportedly interested in going forward with a Garcia bout. Is Yuriorkis Gamboa available yet? His most recent promoter of record, 50 Cent, is said to be shutting down his promotional effort, perhaps so he can focus on his campaign against onanism.

Ricky Hatton has selected his comeback opponent, and he’s riskier than Michael Katsidis: Vyacheslav Senchenko, a former top-10 welterweight. The idea would be to set up an alphabet title clash with Paulie Malignaggi, who took Senchenko’s belt and whom Hatton beat a few years ago, and who has been lobbying for a Hatton rematch ever since. Neither guy is liable to HURT Hatton, as neither are huge punchers, so I’m feeling better about this comeback in the sense that he’s taking on opponents who can beat him but aren’t liable to do much permanent damage.

After Hatton and Haye, a third British star, junior welterweight Amir Khan, is also looking at his next fight, too, and it could be a rematch with Paul McCloskey in December. McCloskey lost to DeMarcus Corley this year before losing to Khan in 2011, but the first Khan fight ended early due to a cut, and Khan needs to take something of a “get well” fight after a knockout loss to Danny Garcia, so this one makes a measure of sense.

Coming off a huge win on HBO, super middleweight champ Andre Ward is sounding like someone who’s going to struggle to find a viable opponent next. He’s mentioned Kelly Pavlik, which is a name worth mentioning from Ward’s standpoint as it’s a rare “name” in boxing overall, but few would take seriously the notion of Ward-Pavlik because it would probably be even more one-sided than most Ward fights. Ward is also talking about moving up to light heavyweight. Since his last win is over light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson, it’s not like there’s an obvious name for him there, either — Tavoris Cloud at least hits hard and is bigger than Ward…? (Cloud is bitter about the Jean Pascal fight falling apart, still. He’s saying that Pascal never was injured, and was instead partying in Miami. He said some similar stuff on Twitter a while back, but it’s odd that Cloud is still fixating on that.)

Hold on to your hats, folks, because Rocky Martinez vs. Juan Carlos Burgos could be in store next for the junior lightweight division. There’s no word on timing but an alphabet sanctioning outfit might mandate it. Martinez-Burgos has action written all over it. Let’s have the winner face Miguel Beltran, Jr., yeah, since Beltran put on such a sterling brawl with Martinez one fight ago?

Remember when Kendall Holt bailed on a junior welterweight fight against Josesito Lopez because he didn’t want to fight outside, and Lopez then got the call to fight Victor Ortiz, and won, and then got another payday against Canelo Alvarez, and said before he lost that fight that he should send Holt a Christmas card thanking him for “punking out?” Holt didn’t like it. Said he wants to fight Lopez. And, hey, if Lopez is moving back down to 140 pounds, I don’t see why that’s not a viable fight. I guess it all just depends on whether Lopez wants to risk Holt storming out of his dressing room because he SAID NO GREEN M&M’S!

(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; Sports Illustrated; BBC)

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.