There aren't any match-ups on the calendar quite as epic as the protagonist and antagonist of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! — nor the artwork that piece above (via, h/t) is based upon, the cover for Muhammad Ali Vs. Superman — but there are some awfully good ones. The men in the headline are involved, as are Adrien Broner, Mikey Garcia, Mike Alvarado, Seth Mitchell, Carl Froch and others.
Round And Round
We'd touched earlier on the whole drug testing snafu with Juan Manuel Marquez-Timothy Bradley for their October HBO pay-per-view welterweight clash, but only from the perspective of Bradley. From Dan Rafael's chat, it sounds like Top Rank believes the contract allows the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, (the two Bradley says his contract calls for) OR — and that's a big OR — an agency of their choosing to handle the testing. That's a pretty substantial difference of opinion over the contract, if so. Since Top Rank usually has its contract house in order, that casts doubt on Bradley's complaints, although nobody knows for sure what the contract says except those who have seen it. If Top Rank is right and Bradley is wrong, then Bradley pulling out of the fight as he has threatened would indeed be bad for his career.
Weight-shifting Adrien Broner has said he plans to beat up welterweight Marcos Maidana and junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse in succession. To be honest, I'm not sure he makes it past Maidana. But I sure would like to see him try to conquer that duo.
John Molina wants to be next in line for lightweight sensation-in-training Omar Figueroa. I would watch the fuck out of that. Molina is a dramatic knockout waiting to happen one way or another, while Figueroa is a perpetual motion machine.
That long salivated over junior welterweight slobberknocker between Mike Alvarado and Ruslan Provodnikov is now done for October. It would be paired with the long salivated over return of Legendary Nights for Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward and the Marquez-Bradley replay, which is a mighty fine night of boxing. On another weekend in October on HBO, we'd get Miguel Cotto-Delvin Rodriguez and Wladimir Klitschko-Alexander Povetkin, which makes October the month of The Revenge Of HBO against Showtime's strong run of late.
One of the alphabet belt gang members has ordered Roman Martinez to face Mikey Garcia. It's a good fight if it comes off at junior lightweight. I assume it would air on HBO when and if it is signed.
Carl Froch has enlisted for a big U.K. clash against George Groves. Groves, as Froch has said, probably isn't ready yet, but Groves has arrived as a top 10 super middleweight contender and it should do gangbuster business over in Great Britain. Not sure if HBO would buy it; it wasn't on their reported list of acceptable bouts from a while back.
Devon Alexander and Amir Khan are squabbling over the location of their welterweight meeting this year, which was to air on Showtime, and it's rocky right now whether the fight will happen, but if I had to guess it will anyway.
Light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson is due to fight Tavoris Cloud in a swell match-up of bruising punchers on HBO in September. Cloud might've looked like crap against Bernard Hopkins, but that's what B-Hop does to people, most especially against crude sluggers like Cloud. Cloud matches up better against Stevenson, whose chin is untested against big-hitting 175-pounders.
A couple good heavyweight bouts are in the works. Tony Thompson will face Kubrat Pulev Aug. 24, which is awfully soon considering the bout was just signed last week. Whatever, I love Thompson going after all the young heavies, even if I don't like the idea of him facing Klitschko again if he wins. The other good one is Seth Mitchell-Chris Arreola in September, via Showtime, which is pretty bold matchmaking again from the Mitchell camp. They took on Johnathon Banks after Banks knocked Mitchell out, and now they're going after an ultra-sturdy, big-punching heavy?
After a big rematch stoppage of Carson Jones, welterweight Kell Brook is turning his attention in October to Vyacheslav Senchenko, last seen sending Ricky Hatton into re-retirement. It has caught some flack here and there, not sure why. I think it's about right for Brook next.
Demetrius Andrade's junior middleweight step-up fight against Vanes Martirosyan would be paired in September on HBO with the return of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. Probably a good pairing — Andrade-Martirosyan is a worthwhile bout but might not be terribly exciting, while Chavez usually is.
Giovani Segura is fighting on a small PPV against young flyweight Jonathan Gonzalez. If he wins this one, he ought to be back in the mix.
Gary Russell, Jr. is just screwing with everyone now. He's signed to face Juan Ruiz next weekend, loser of nine of his last 10 and unvictorious since 2008. How he can justify his competition getting WORSE rather than better, I can't understand — it's a thumb in the eye of the fans for a featherweight of his talents to be doing this, and there's nobody left I know of who's anything but disgusted by him right now. Maybe there are a couple people who grudgingly admire the cojones of such wanton disdain for professional behavior, I guess. If Showtime keeps propping this kid up when he keeps fighting this level of competition, it would be a real dark mark on this whole Golden Boy/Al Haymon/Showtime alliance that has otherwise been working pretty well in 2013.
(Round And Round sources: RingTV, ESPN, BoxingScene, Maxboxing, Guardian)