Hope you all had a nice multi-holiday long weekend, from a romantic Valentine's Day to an, um, wooden-teethed, top-hatted President's Day? Main Events put together some corny-ass Valentine's Day cards for a number of its fighters, which was a great promotional gag. Check them all out on Twitter @Main_Events, but of course light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev, as always, was the funniest.
We'll talk about him in this edition of Round And Round, of course, if the headline didn't tip you off. We'll also talk about what's next for Nonito Donaire, Tyson Fury, Shinsuke Yamanaka and a bunch of other fighters.
Round And Round
Floyd Mayweather still hasn't selected his opponent for his next welterweight Showtime pay-per-view fight on May 3 and it's getting weird that he hasn't been announced yet. In a roundabout way, Mayweather is getting more promotion by not picking than he might if he had by now, which might be the point. The theories are that he is torturing Amir Khan, who's desperate for the fight, or that he's trying to drive down the asking price of both Khan and the other man in the running, Marcos Maidana. Not that Mayweather's fights need all that much promotion, but it's getting late in the game, and the more promotion they get the better, especially for an opponent who will inevitably be more likely to generate Robert Guerrero PPV numbers than Canelo Alvarez numbers. I lean toward thinking that the lack of a decision yet hurts more than it helps.
Quite a reversal, this: Super middleweights Carl Froch and George Groves didn't appear headed for a rematch, based on all the political maneuvering, but a rabbit has emerged from a hat and we're gonna get it now. It's the best fight for both men, and while a crowd of 80,000 as predicted by promoter Eddie Hearn sounds ambitious, there's little doubt that it'll be a massive ticketseller in the U.K. as it should be. Props to Froch for wanting to answer the unanswered questions, and props to Groves for not being as fussy as he had been about rematch terms for a while there. HBO might, maybe, could, televise.
Juan Manuel Marquez has been bandying about various opponents for May on HBO, and right now the odds are on Mike Alvarado. It's not perfect, but it's very much a viable bout. Who knows how much Alvarado's head is in the game after a confused performance against Ruslan Provodnikov, and who knows how much Marquez has left after a slightly trigger-shy outing against Timothy Bradley. It would be at 147, where the physically larger Alvarado might seem more suited than at 140 but where Marquez is more established as a real contender.
Coming off a weekend of wins, Brit heavyweights Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora might be headed for a rematch or might not. Fury after his shaky, flabby but still quality win over hard-hitting journeyman Joey Abell called out division king Wladimir Klitschko. Chisora, after his slow-ish decision victory over the once-OK-but-better-than-Abell Kevin Johnson, called out Alexander Povetkin of all people.
After flitting through any variety of possible opponents, Nonito Donaire is booked for May against featherweight Simpiwe Vetyeka in Macau. I like the fight. Donaire might not be all-in on boxing anymore, and if he's not, Vetyeka's rough and tumble style poses a threat. HBO, presumably, would televise.
Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez continues to say he's willing to fight Gennady Golovkin, after Miguel Cotto. He might have a chance to face Mayweather, though, in which case I wouldn't expect him to face Golovkin after any Cotto win. Martinez is right, though, when he says it's better to face him sooner rather than later if he's to do it at all. Golovkin is only going to get more experience and Martinez is only going to get older.
Hey, Kovalev, 'sup? You're fighting Spiro I mean oops Cedric Agnew in your next fight on HBO in March. A handful of writers believe Agnew — who has beaten faded version of gatekeepers Yusaf Mack, Daniel Judah and Otis Griffin — is being underrated, but from what footage I have been able to view, he's a sound but unspectacular boxer.
Just when you think Provodnikov-Brandon Rios is dead, it keeps flaring up, and then flaring back down. Rios said on Twitter he was fine with having the fight at 140 rather than 147, but also Provodnikov wants testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, and Rios has some odd theories about how VADA treated him in their positive test for his bout with Manny Pacquiao. I'd hate to see an "only VADA can do it" ultimatum get in the way of an otherwise good fight, since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency or Nevada could handle drug testing of a slightly lower quality but still advanced level to ensure a baseline of insurance against PEDs.
Robinson Castellanos' knockout loss to Rene Alvarado over the weekend took him definitively out of the running for a shot at featherweight Abner Mares. Despite being something of an upset, the loss wasn't all that unexpected — Castellanos' run came kind of out of nowhere before culminating in an undisputed split decision win over Celestino Caballero. That clears the way for Mares- Takashi Miura on the undercard of Mayweather's PPV, and while Miura is a weak-ish junior lightweight, I'm not convinced Mares is big enough. There's this thing where guys like Donaire and Mares are obsessed with moving up in weight even though they're not physically big enough to thrive in new divisions and have struggled in yet still can make the old ones. It's foolish to move up in weight for moving up in weight's sake.
There's all kinds of uncertainty about what's going to happen with some of the world's best flyweights in the next few months. Some kind of card has been booked for April in Japan to feature Naoya Inoue vs. top contender Adrian Hernandez, with champion Akira Yaegashi to face Odilon Zaleta for no good reason and Roman Gonzalez to face TBD. Ideally, Yaegashi should be facing Gonzalez. Instead he might not face him for a while, as Luis Concepcion could move into "mandatory challenger" status before Gonzalez does. Gonzalez might be fighting Juan Carlos Reveco except Reveco is booked agaisnt Mauel Vides in March for no good reason. It's hard to imagine Gonzalez rematching Juan Francisco Estrada in April on that card, which could mean the most threatening fighter in the division might not face any real contenders until the back half of 2014.
In addition to the quality Kiko Martinez-Hozumi Hasegawa bantamweight fight in April, Shinsuke Yamanaka vs. Stephane Jamoye at bantamweight could join in on the same card. It's another good one, if not the fight we might want for everyone in an ideal world.
You'd think light heavyweight Jean Pascal would be sitting pretty after beating Lucian Bute, but instead he sounds a little like he's reaching by calling out Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. Then again, Chavez is without a post-Brian Vera dance partner with Froch taking on Groves again, so maybe it could happen.
In a doubleheader of faded or ex- or otherwise fringe contenders, Denis Grachev-Isaac Chilemba (light heavyweight) will accompany Tomasz Adamek-Vyacheslav Glazkov (heavyweight) in March. Not a bad little NBC Sports Net card.
(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; RingTV; The Daily Telegraph)