You want fights in the works? We got fights in the works. Quick Jabs, not so much. It was a light week for boxing news developments to comment upon in that regular column, so here’s a mini-Quick Jabs before we get to what you came for:
- Ratings, gate for Antonio Tarver-Lateef Kayode. This thing goes to show how totally random, and sometimes seemingly unreelated, are vs. ticket sales vs. television ratings. The gate for Showtime’s June 2 Carson, Calif. card featuring the Tarver-Kayode cruiserweight fight as the headliner was atrocious, which makes sense considering the biggest-name fighters on the card weren’t from California but Florida, although there was surprisingly little griping from the usual suspects about that ill-advised location and embarrassingly low ticket sales. But then, for some reason — maybe just because people had heard of Tarver and middleweight veteran Winky Wright? — the card reportedly had a better peak rating than Victor Ortiz’ welterweight fight against Josesito Lopez, on Showtime last weekend. Ortiz has historically been near the top of the modern day second tier when it comes to television ratings (but did his reputation take a beating after the Floyd Mayweather fight?), and that card, unlike the Tarver-Kayode card, had action written all over it. I’ll keep saying it until somebody proves differently: There is no magic formula for a successful televised boxing event, just elements of successful events, and that means you’ll see counter-intuitive outcomes like this from time to time.
- Manny Pacquiao-Mayweather drug use lawsuit documents from outside parties. You might have read about USADA trying to quash an attempt by Pacquiao’s legal team to obtain Mayweather medical records and the open questions it raises. It must be said that Texas last year sought to quash an attempt by Mayweather to obtain Pacquiao’s medical records, too. I’ve seen both the USADA and the Texas motions. They cite almost the exact same legal rationale, namely that they can’t give over those records without the boxers’ consent without violating health privacy laws, but other similar rationales as well. All this is a way of saying that the USADA motion looks fishy in a vacuum, but rather routine in context. It’s also worth remembering that when it is said that USADA isn’t being transparent, VADA wouldn’t even share the results of its Lamont Peterson drug tests with the promoter of the Amir Khan junior welterweight rematch. These organizations, it seems to me, can only give out what information the test-ees allow, so if anyone wants to point a finger, it probably ought to be in the direction of the boxers.
Now, on to the fights in those there works, which include the men in the headline but also Miguel Cotto, Abner Mares and Randall Bailey, among others. Also, don’t forget to “like” our Facebook page for alerts about when we have new posts, plus assorted other exclusive content.
Round And Round
Pacquiao has decided only that he will fight next on Nov. 10, but there’s no word on which of the three rematch candidates he wants to face: Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez or Miguel Cotto. Money says Marquez or Cotto, I assume. Pride says Bradley or Marquez. My vote remains for Marquez.
Cotto himself is looking at a fight in December, but he’s got no opponent selected, either; there has been speculation he’d be a potential opponent in September for Canelo Alvarez, but that Demember date makes it seem a litle unlikely. If Pacquiao and Cotto did rematch, it would have to be worked out whether they’d fight at welterweight, where Pacquiao is more comfortable, or junior middleweight, where Cotto is more comfortable.
Alvarez still doesn’t have a junior middleweight opponent for Sept. 15, and after Austin Trout was in the lead for a while, the WBC rejected the idea and Trout raised the prospect of VADA testing, an interesting decision given the friction between Alvarez’ promoter Golden Boy and VADA. Anyway, Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer now says Trout won’t get the fight, and that it won’t be on Showtime. Maybe Schaefer is just trying to keep this “Alvarez will fight on CBS” meme going, and maybe he’s awaiting the winner of this weekend’s Cornelius Bundrage-Cory Spinks rematch. Too bad Erislandy Lara isn’t in the mix for an Alvarez fight, cuz that’s a good one, but I “get” why Golden Boy doesn’t want to put one of its vulnerable “A” fighters in with an especially talented “B” or even “C” fighter in their stable, marketability-wise.
Don’t get your hopes too high that the talk of a supersexy flyweight showdown between Hernan Marquez and Brian Viloria will happen on the undercard of the Sept. 15 pay-per-view headlined by middleweight champ Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. There’s talk it could slide into the weeks after that. It’s too bad, because Martinez-Chavez paired with Marquez-Viloria contends with last weekend’s Showtime card for the best two-fight sequence of 2012.
Randall Bailey and Devon Alexander are reportedly booked to fight one another on Sept. 8 on Showtime. I like he fight. Alexander is still trying to establish himself as a proper welterweight, and Bailey is semi-hot after delivering the potential Knockout of the Year in his best career win, over Mike Jones. If Alexander wins this one, he’s got welter credentials; his only win right now at 147 is over a longtime junior welter, Marcos Maidana. If Baiely wins this one, well, that’s just plain awesome.
Heavyweight action, or inaction: Tomasz Adamek will return Sept. 8, but Eddie Chambers’ arm injury makes a rematch impossible, alas — and no opponent has been selected yet, but the talk is of the fight occuring during the day to accommodate Polish television, so it’ll be interesting to see how that affects the gate in Newark; and Hasim Rahman has an injury and can’t fight Alexander Povetkin next month, which I’m sure tears you all up inside.
Abner Mares also is out of his upcoming fight due to an injury, but it’s not clear if the bout for August with Christian Esquivel will be rescheduled. Mares-Esquivel didn’t thrill me — I’d like to see Mares fight a junior featherweight if he’s going to campaign in that division, rather than taking two consecutive blown up bantamweights — so I’m not too upset about the loss of this fight. As for the highly desirable Mares match with Nonito Donaire, both warring promoters (Top Rank for Donaire, Golden Boy for Mares) say they can make the fight happen, but I doubt it, and Top Rank is already insisting the fight be on HBO, as opposed to Showtime where Mares has fought, so while he’s saying “yes” he’s also throwing up potential conditions that could lead to “no.” Golden Boy’s Schaefer says Mares is free to fight on HBO, for whatever that’s worth.
Kelly Pavlik keeps saying he wants super middleweight Carl Froch. I like him aiming high, but it wasn’t so long ago he was maybe gonna fight Adonis Stevenson but everybody’s avoiding that guy but Sakio Bika, it looks like. [UPDATE: Bika’s out of the running, according to Stevenson’s promoter.]
Pablo Cesar Cano is finally due back on TV after his eye-opening turn against Erik Morales, with a July 21 date on Fox Deportes. He’ll face hard-hitting Johan Perez — who stopped former prospect Kenny Galarza last year — in a junior welterweight match-up that is pretty good on paper.
Cruiserweight Ola Afolabi is lining up a September fight with Jean Marc Mormeck, a cruiserweight turned heavyweight who never should’ve done that and won’t be better off at cruiserweight for going up in weight and struggling and then getting plastered. I can live with Afolabi taking a fight like this right after his latest tough outing against Marco Huck, though.
(Round And Round sources: ESPN, BoxingScene)