Gregg Popovich, you fashionable rogue you. The San Antonio Spurs coach is a trendsetter in interview stylings, at least, if nothing else. Like the men said, junior middleweight Arturo Trujillo made short work of Anthony Watson in his pro debut this weekend, then made short work of his post-fight chat with NBC Sports broadcaster Chris Mannix. This is a man who gets to the point in all his dealings.
Not really my bag. In this edition of Round And Round, we'll talk about the men in the headline, Nonito Donaire, Bernard Hopkins, David Haye, Andre Ward and a great many others. It's been a while since we've sized up all the fights in the works, so settle in. Or, as always, feel free to consume a la carte.
Round And Round
Junior featherweight Nonito Donaire wants a rematch with champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, and I want one too. Not that I want to fight Rigo myself, just that I could be down for Donaire-Rigo II. I honestly think Donaire could win if he could re-find his focus, make proper use of a trainer and have a proper training camp, not that I'd count on it. Rigo might fight Vic Darchinyan in the fall instead, a respectable match-up that I suspect would make Darchinyan look foolish all the same. And Darchinyan wants a Donaire sequal of his own, probably the best match-up of any of these. Donaire-Juan Manuel Lopez isn't a fight that can be sold after Saturday, because a loss is one thing, but a loss where people are throwing around the word "shot" is another.
Bernard Hopkins-Karo Murat is postponed because Murat is reportedly having visa issues, and I can't imagine anyone's too sad about it. Sergey Kovalev is pining for his shot at Hopkins' light heavyweight belt. He'll probably have to wait until after Hopkins-Murat, I'd imagine.
Top heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko's bout with Alexander Povetkin is back on for October after a drug testing dispute was resolved under terms that were not disclosed. We could do this the rest of our lives. "Klitschko-Povetkin next." "Klitschko-Povetkin in trouble." "Klitschko-Povetkin off." "Klitschko-Povetkin next."
David Haye-Tyson Fury could be up in the fall, and while it's a mismatch on paper in the ring, it's a total riot in the trash-talking department. This bout could be big because it's two popular U.K. heavyweights and Haye and Fury will say so many things about each other that are just WRONG. If it doesn't happen, Fury is pining for a shot at Tony Thompson should he again beat David Price.
Lineal light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson is offering lineal super middleweight champion Andre Ward a two-fight deal — one bout apiece at 175 and 168 and Canada and 'Merica. I like the idea, especially because I like the idea of Ward leaving the country for once to fight outside of his comfort zone, but I bet you Ward, who loves his control, will be having none of it.
Miguel Cotto might fight Cornelius Bundrage in the fall for reasons no one save Cotto can understand. Fellow junior middleweight Gabriel Rosado wants a piece of Cotto, too, in what would be a better fight. Rosado also would love to get in there with Erislandy Lara or Austin Trout, which makes me like Rosado more, because those are the kind of opponents who can make you look bad and don't carry a ton of economic gain for your troubles.
Welterweight Victor Ortiz's name is being thrown around for two fights in his return to the ring, Robert Guerrero and Shane Mosley. The text message exchange that circulated between Ortiz and Guerrero has become an instant classic of the "Ortiz says something funny like a doofus-y surfer guy" genre for him referring to Guerrero as "broham" in an apparently unironic fashion. Ortiz is too entertaining inside and outside the ring to have gotten some of that hate he got for a while. The Mosley fight is probably the wiser choice because Ortiz will have been out of the ring for a year and is coming off two consecutive losses, while Guerrero is a mean sumbitch who will be hoping to take out his frustration from the Floyd Mayweather loss on whomever's next.
Everyone wants to fight super middleweight Carl Froch, the king of the U.K. scene these days. Remember when Froch never got any love back home? Feels like so long ago. Nathan Cleverly wants some Froch (and some Kovalev). George Groves, too. If Froch doesn't rematch Ward or Mikkel Kessler next, Groves might be the next best choice, because it's been a while since Froch beat an up-and-comer.
Abner Mares has three options for his next outing: Jayson Velez, Jhonny Gonzalez and Robinson Castellanos. All three do it for me. Velez has been impressive against admittedly bad competition; Gonzalez has a defensible loss to Daniel Ponce De Leon in his recent history, and De Leon gave Mares some business; and Castellanos is coming off a win over Celestino Caballero. Mares is hoping for a spot on the Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez undercard in September. Mares against any of those three would be worth putting on it.
Mike Alvarado isn't apparently behind in his rehab schedule after all, the reason we were given by Top Rank's Bob Arum for why he wasn't chosen for Manny Pacquiao's next opponent. There are talks of Alvarado facing fellow junior welterweight Zab Judah in the fall around the same time Pacquiao will be facing Brandon Rios. Alvarado-Judah is pleasant enough; what worries me is that it could rob Lamont Peterson of an opponent in September if he's going to be on the Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse undercard, which could drag the fight of my very biased choice that the card be hosted by Washington, D.C.
Rocky Martinez said even before Mikey Garcia stomped Lopez Saturday that he'd be ready to face Garcia next. It really make the most since for Garcia, since he probably isn't staying at featherweight like he says he might, and since Martinez is a tough guy who poses a threat with that and his possible size advantage as a long-time junior lightweight. Do it, Mikey.
Let's talk about the olds. Acelino Freitas is talking about a rematch with Jorge Barrios, with whom he turned in a classic round of boxing in their 11th. I can't imagine what weight it would be at. Barrios last fought at lightweight, Freitas at junior middleweight. After Freitas' last showing when he came out of retirement to beat a bigger man, I'm loath to poo-poo the fight, or seeming implausibility of a weight gap. Erik Morales and Humberto Soto, meanwhile, are trash talking each other for a bout down in Mexico in what would be Morales' final fight, maybe. It's a good enough bout on paper at 140 or 147. What it doesn't do is ensure Morales walks away from his career with a win. I guess that kind of risky bout would be a fitting end to Morales' career nonetheless.
Orlando Salido. Orlando Cruz. The Orlandos have been ordered by one of the sanctioning organizations to fight for their vacant belt. Please have the bout in Orlando, Fla. Orlando Cubed, they can call it.
Jorge Linares wants a rematch with Antonio DeMarco still. For the love of God, somebody make this happen. Their first meeting at lightweight was terrific, and DeMarco's coming off a loss, so both guys have something to prove. A lightweight bout nobody wants to see, though, is Miguel Vazquez vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa. Call Gamboa out all you want, Vazquez. That fight will get killed by the public if it's ever made. One more lightweight bout: Richard Abril is seeking a meet-up with Ricky Burns. Burns has better things to do, and that comes from someone who doesn't dislike Abril as much as most.
Left at the altar by Tomasz Adamek for a heavyweight title eliminator, Kubrat Pulev will instead likely face Ruslan Chagaev. Chagaev has enough left that we'd learn something about Pulev in that bout, I expect. Adamek, who said he had a better fight lined up than Pulev even though everyone knew he didn't, proved he didn't by picking Tony Grano for his next fight. And I like Grano just fine, it's just that, you know, proof. Both of these bouts would be in August.
The fightin' Kameda Klan is about to get awfully busy with tough opponents in the very near future. Bantamweight Koki has a mandatory challenger in Juan Carlos Payano; junior bantamweight Daiki has been ordered to face Rodrigo Guerrero for a vacant belt; and bantamweight Tomoki has signed to fight Paulus Ambunda in August.
Robert Stieglitz isn't going to rematch Arthur Abraham next. Instead, he'll be fighting the Kyoto Protocol in July, which makes you wonder what he has against efforts to curtail climate change. Ah, turns out I misread that — he'll fight Yuzo Kiyota, somebody nobody has heard of. I guess Stieglitz wants to take an easy one before considering a trilogy with his German super middleweight rival. And so does Abraham. No lie, he's lining up to face someone whose first name is "Willbeforce," last name Shihepo. It'll be in August.
Cruiserweights Rakhim Chakhkiev and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk are signed up for the world championship of how many consonants one can put in a row in one's name. They'll also fight. Twice, at least, starting next weekend. Maybe a third time, if they split things. That is a long-term commitment to facing the same guy a lot of times.
Somehow, after such a thrilling showing against Timothy Bradley, junior welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov is the odd man out for a big fight in a loaded division. He's been left on the sidelines to talk about how he'd beat up Mayweather. This pisses me off. Somebody fight Provodnikov, already. If you're the kind of fighter who cares about delivering action to your fans, Provodnikov is the way to go. Alvarado, forget about Judah and go get some Provodnikov.
(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; Fightnews)