These two and their promoters just drive me up the wall. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. won’t go to jail for smacking around his baby mama until June, in what is a miscarriage of the whole idea that celebrities don’t deserve special treatment that we’d been sold on by the judge. Gross. But even though Manny Pacquiao COULD fight in May when Mayweather was going to be in jail, now his promoter says Pacquiao can’t fight until June because of cuts that don’t take SEVEN MONTHS to heal. Uncool. According to Bob Arum, Mayweather doesn’t do any business in Las Vegas, even though the gates say otherwise to such a large extent you have to wonder whether Arum really did go to Harvard. Goofy. This fight won’t happen, even if Arum says it can happen in November, until one side or the other is absolutely convinced that they’ve gotten so old that they’ll lose to some schlub, so why not lose to someone who can make you more money? And then, it’s only a “unlikely maybe” at best.
That leaves us with Pacquiao maybe fighting Juan Manuel Marquez again next, the fight I’m most interested in for him if not Mayweather, or he could fight Timothy Bradley (a distant second for me), or Lamont Peterson (a distant third), or Miguel Cotto (a remote-as-Pluto fourth). And Mayweather could be fighting Saul Alvarez, a fight that interests me not in the least, or Robert Guerrero, a fight that interests me less than not in the least. All this makes me want to take my ball and go home.
There are other fights that are actually in the works, so let’s talk about those. We’ve got the people in the headline, along with Denis Lebedev, Rico Ramos, Amir Khan and others.
Round And Round
But, first, yes, let’s talk about some more fights not happening. Might as well get the depressing part over with. Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez’ team made a big fuss about rebuffing the WBC and HBO over not getting a Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. fight, then rather immediately backtracked. It was a hissy fit without conviction. Martinez has an argument about being mistreated by the WBC, of course, since they’ve been promising him a shot at Chavez for forever, and they’re again saying it’ll be next, but whatever. Martinez should know better than anyone else how the WBC can mistreat someone, because he’s been getting it from them for years, but he keeps going back. You do it to yourself, Sergio, you do, and that’s what really hurts, is you do it to yourself, just you, you and no on else. As for HBO, he’s got no argument there. Martinez doesn’t exist without HBO, not in his present form. Yes, at times they’ve jerked him around, but they are still paying him out of proportion with what kind of live draw he is (because he does have a history of pretty good ratings, mind you) and he’s gotten paid well for two less-than-ideal opponents out of HBO in a row, and without HBO he doesn’t get paid much of anything to fight — maybe back in Argentina, but that’s it.
Amir Khan’s promoter Golden Boy has discussed the idea of a rematch between the junior welterweight and the man who first defeated him as a pro, Breidis Prescott, but now they’re thinking that a mandatory rematch with Peterson will be ordered due to the judicial interference of a “mystery man” identified as IBF official Mustafa Ameen. They also think that fight will be ruled a no contest, which strikes me as unjustified unless Ameen was determined to have actually rigged the cards. I prefer Peterson-Khan II over both Prescott-Khan II and Pacquiao-Peterson, which, just a guess, the latter is an idea Arum has only thrown out there to muck about with the plans of rival Golden Boy.
They’re actually interested in negotiating on both sides a rematch between would-be light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins. Or they say they are. I don’t see how this works out for either man, money-wise. If HBO wanted to throw a few hundred thou at it just to settle the score and put it on the undercard of some other fight, I wouldn’t complain. It’s not as if I’m not remotely curious what would have happened in that ugly, ugly fight before Dawson body-slammed Hopkins and Hopkins couldn’t continue. It’s only that I don’t think it’s worth much cash.
And they might finally actually be negotiating a rematch between featherweights Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez, for March. The reasoning, I think, is similar to the rule for Mayweather and Pacquiao above. Salido nearly lost his last fight to a schlub-level opponent, after fighting a couple of them post-Lopez victory, and now that he’s in danger of losing to that caliber of opponent, he might as well risk losing next against someone who makes him more cash.
A couple reschedulings: HBO will do the Erik Morales-Danny Garcia (junior welterweight)/James Kirkland-Carlos Molina (junior middleweight) fights on March 24, and Showtime will do the Rico Ramos-Guillermo Rigondeaux (junior featherweight) fight on Jan. 20. I like all those fights, fundamentally, and I like Ramos-Rigondeaux even more now that it won’t cost the network as much due to it being converted to a special ShoBox.
Kirland is one of the guys Alvarez is talking about fighting in the spring or summer if he doesn’t end up with Mayweather, and also Cotto. I like both those fights an awful lot. Alvarez-Kirkland and Alvarez-Cotto are both barnburners.
Cruiserweight Marco Huck has talked some talk about moving to heavyweight and now he’s walking the walk: He has signed to fight one of the best non-Klitschko heavies, Alexander Povetkin, on Feb. 25. We’ll see if Hasim Rahman gets in the way; he’s claimed to be owed a mandatory shot against Povetkin.
Two cruiserweights might square off, and it’ll be a rare change for Denis Lebedev if it happens: He won’t be fighting a 40-something! Guillermo Jones could be up for Lebedev in March or April. That’s a pretty fun little bout, too, by the way. It’ll be nice to watch the big-punching Lebedev go up against an opponent who can get around without a wheelchair, and one who has pretty decent power himself.
Lightweight Kevin Mitchell is talking up a fight with Ricky Burns, he’s talking it up a storm, and man would I like to see that one. It’d be huge across the pond, too, I bet. Sign up for it, Ricky!
Abner Mares, coming out of the Showtime bantamweight tourney, might owe Vusi Malinga a title shot. Weirdness, though: Mares’ boxing license is temporarily suspended until he undergoes some exams that I’m not sure why he hasn’t undergone yet, not to mention some potential lengthy suspensions related to a cut he suffered and a right hand injury. Mares-Malinga probably isn’t much of a fight because we’ve seen Malinga get marauded by Hozumi Hasegawa, not as big a puncher as Mares, probably. But if Showtime wants to shell out a tiny fee for that one I guess I wouldn’t go too crazy. It’s just not a fight that interests me. Mares interests me, though, overall.
Two top-10 caliber flyweights who have suffered setbacks in the last year or so — Luis Lazarte and Johnriel Casimero — look set to fight Feb. 10. I like fights like this, where two guys who have some credentials but are coming off noteworthy losses square off to rebuild themselves a little.
I couldn’t be happier that ESPN2 has made junior welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov a staple of its programming. I’d be happier if he was getting more of a live opponent than David Torres Jan. 27, though; Torres has gone 1-2-2 in his last five fights.
(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; RingTV; Grand Rapids Press; news releases)