The good old Scrambler ride. Circles within circles. Since boxing is now divided up between networks and promoters who aren't likely to collaborate in a long, long time, it's a more apt metaphor for boxing's fights in the works than the carousel or merry-go-round metaphor we usually use around these parts.
In this edition of Round And Round, besides the men in the headline, we'll talk about fights in the works for David Price, Andre Berto, Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Gennady Golovkin and others.
Round And Round
The plan is still for featherweight Mikey Garcia to head an HBO tripleheader sometime in June or July, but it's not clear if it'll be against Juan Manuel Lopez (yes!) or Orlando Cruz (meh). The talk is that the undercard could feature Evgeny Gradovich defending his featherweight strap against mandatory challenger Mauricio Munoz, and a meeting of heavyweight prospects Andy Ruiz and Joe Hanks. Nothing against Gradovich, who deserves to graduate to HBO after a big win on ESPN2, but those two undercard bouts sound like the realization of some fears about what HBO relying on Top Rank almost exclusively could mean for the network, i.e. some lesser bouts that wouldn't otherwise be televised.
Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. is getting annoyed at middleweight champ Sergio Martinez talking too much and making demands of him for a potential rematch — like Chavez, twice busted with banned substances in his system, needing to take advanced drug testing — so he's now looking at super middleweight champ Andre Ward or middleweight contender Gennady Golovkin more for the fall, he says. I don't doubt Chavez is annoyed but a lot of this stuff between Chavez and Martinez smacks of long-term negotiating tactics. Also, Ward would tear him up, so if I'm Chavez I'm looking at the older, smaller guy (Martinez) instead of the younger, better, bigger guy (Ward). Now, I can really get behind Chavez-Golovkin as a slugfest par excellence, but there's much more money in facing Martinez again, so I think that's probably only the back-up plan. Golovkin, by the way, is getting close to a bout with Matthew Macklin for June on HBO, who would be the best opponent Golovkin has ever faced. I like it. It would be paired with a clash between Thomas Oosthuizen and Brandon Gonzales, a step-up for Gonzales and a decent meeting of two young 168-pounders.
In a similar zone of "maybe just posturing," Juan Manuel Marquez continues to talk about any fight other than another welterweight bout with Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz says he's not "desperate" for fourth Marquez rematch, and that a Brandon Rios fight remains a possibility despite Rios' recent loss. As is becoming a hilarious trend, Koncz says something and then Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum turns around and contradicts it — Arum says that a rematch with Marquez or Timothy Bradley is up next.
Likewise, there's been some probable posturing between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez about a 154-pound meeting in the fall, with both men making a big show about how they don't need the other. They don't, but the pile of cash is larger for both against each other than anyone else. Amir Khan figures he can get in the mix for the winner of Mayweather-Robert Guerrero (welterweight) in May, but Khan won't be anywhere near as financially viable for Mayweather as Alvarez will.
The weight climb continues, apparently: word is that Yuriorkis Gamboa's team has made an offer to lightweight Miguel Vazquez for a June bout. I'm not terribly excited about either man these days — Vazquez is horrible to watch, Gamboa shouldn't be fighting above 130 and looked sloppy as hell in his last outing — but I wouldn't oppose it as an undercard bout on HBO at a low cost to the network.
British heavyweight news: David Price will exercise his rematch clause against the American who upset him, Tony Thompson, in July. I'm not sure about the wisdom of it, but it's less risky than the similar rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell, since Thompson was already old and will be older still by the time the pair meet up again (whereas Banks is not old). Alexander Povetkin had wanted to face Price, but so much for that — Povetkin avoiding the Klitschko brothers indefinitely then targeting a "name" coming off a knockout loss is typical of him. David Haye plans to fight again on that same date in July, but we don't know against whom other than that it won't be Vitali Klitschko. And ultra-shot Audley Harrison plans to face former U.S Olympian Deontay Wilder April 26. It's unclear if the bout will be aired on Showtime or Showtime Extreme or such. For as slowly as Wilder has progressed, he shouldn't have any trouble beating the biggest name he's ever faced, since all it requires to knock out Harrison these days is the tiny puff of air they blow in your eyes during vision tests.
Golden Boy Promotions is apparently just going to see whether brawling Alfredo Angulo has anything left at all and is throwing him into a difficult match-up against fellow junior middleweight Erislandy Lara on Showtime on the June undercard of Marcos Maidana-Josesito Lopez (welterweight). I don't mind the fight one bit. It could be an interesting one, and if Angulo isn't what he once was, might as well get him one more fight on Showtime proper.
Robert Stieglitz-Arthur Abraham III is the likeliest course of action after the two split their series. I'm OK with it; I tend not to like rematches of bouts that end like Stieglitz-Abraham did, i.e. with one guy pounding the other in one-sided fashion, but it's still going to get each man the biggest payday, so I understand it. No date has been set or even suggested. Also in Germany, cruiserweight Firat Arslan wants a rematch with Marco Huck. He deserves one.
If Shane Mosley is going to fight again — and I'd really rather he not — I suppose a bout against someone like fringe welterweight contender Pablo Cesar Cano on one of the lesser networks is the kind of bout I can most live with. It'll happen in May on Fox Deportes.
In July, Showtime is expected to air a doubleheader featuring welterweights Andre Berto and Keith Thurman in separate bouts. Berto would face Jesus Soto Karass in a fight I'd honestly like to watch — Soto Karass is only ever in fun bouts, really, and Berto's gotten that way too. Thurman would face Diego Chaves, an obscure Argentinian with a high knockout ratio. I suppose it could work out, but I'd rather have Thurman face someone who's a step up from his last win over Jan Zaveck, and this ain't it. I'd also really rather that Berto-Soto Karass be an undercard bout to a bigger, better or more meaningful main event. Remember how I said before that the de facto Top Rank/HBO alliance will lead to some lesser bouts airing than might otherwise? This doubleheader is a byproduct of the Showtime/Golden Boy alliance.
Were you surprised when talented/flaky super middleweight Andre Dirrell pulled out of his April 12 date on ESPN2? If so, don't go near any jack-in-the-boxes. You might have a twitchy heart.
(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; RingTV; The Daily Mail; Maxboxing)