Round And Round, Rematch Edition: Dirrell Vs. Froch, Khan Vs. Maidana, More

Hey, it’s a “punching bag!” Fashion is so clever and this is totally not weirdly and/or accidentally misogynist. Watch out, though, model lady — Floyd Mayweather might request a fight with you next, hey-oh. (h/t unofficial TQBR fashion consultant Che; full pic)

There is no transition from that to this. We’ll start this edition of Round and Round talking about various rematches of fights under discussion (most of them improbable), then slowly move into originals.

Round And Round

Light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson keeps barking about wanting to fight Sergey Kovalev, and Kovalev’s team has positioned him via sanctioning outfit maneuvering for the fight, but I doubt Stevenson wants it truly, and I doubt his adviser Al Haymon does, and I doubt the two men fighting on separate networks makes the fight possible, and I doubt his desire to keep any alphabet belt would convince him to make this happen. Instead, look for Stevenson to face Andrzej Fonfara again in 2015 and then figure out a way to do anything but fight Kovalev.

Also via sanctioning belt maneuvering, super middleweight Andre Dirrell is in line to face Carl Froch. Froch hated fighting him the first time, and probably got lucky to pull out the victory. With Froch targeting big money guys like Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (and threatening retirement if he doesn’t get him), and having big money guys like James DeGale as back-up options, this is probably another case where Froch will either dump the belt or get a series of delays via the organization that gave him the belt. Meanwhile, also also via sanctioning belt maneuvering, Dirrell bro Anthony won’t have to face Froch nemesis George Groves right away, but expect it later in 2015.

Abner Mares is back to agitating for a Jhonny Gonzalez rematch at featherweight. Don’t believe him, either. He’s had chances to take the fight before and didn’t. And besides, Gonzalez has his own sanctioning belt politics to deal with — if he wants to keep his strap, he’ll have to face the winner of Rocky Juarez-Robinson Castellanos, then face the winner of Marvin Sonsona-Jayson Velez (both intriguing fringe contender bouts, by the way). Sonsona-Velez would be paired on the same March card with Stephen Smith-Javier Fortuna at junior lightweight, another solid bout.

Now, Arthur Abraham vs. Paul Smith II is a fight that can happen. In fact, a do-over of the controversial first bout won by Abraham is already booked: The two super middleweights will meet Feb. 21. Good.

Adrien Broner says he wants Manny Pacquiao (which is slightly more likely than before, given that some Golden Boy/Haymon fighters are appearing on HBO these days, but still difficult given the animosity between Haymon and Top Rank, Pacquiao’s promoter); or Marcos Maidana. Fighting Maidana would entail moving up again to welterweight. Surely Maidana wouldn’t mind that fight again, given how he dominated the first time. If either fight could happen, either would be worth watching. Maidana has talked about other targets, however, namely Amir Khan for a different rematch of the close loss the Argentinian is clearly still sore about, but not Keith Thurman, given that Maidana’s team finds Thurman conveniently boring now coming off a rare lackluster performance.

Khan, of course, is angling for Floyd Mayweather, who keeps saying he has no interest in Khan while he pretends to want Pacquiao. Kell Brook keeps angling for Khan, meanwhile, who in turn keeps saying Brook can wait. While Brook is waiting, he might owe a mandatory challenge to Jo Jo Dan. Best fights for everybody, from a match-up standpoint: Mayweather-Pacquiao; Khan-Brook; Maidana-Thurman; Broner vs. some junior welterweight or the other (Danny Garcia, say). Chances of all of those fights happening next: Nil.

Try to keep this planned series of heavyweight fights straight: champ Wladimir Klitschko vs. Bryant Jennings (makes sense), with Shannon Briggs being talked about if that doesn’t happen (throwing shade at that one); the winner of Bermane Stiverne vs. Deontay Wilder to fight Jennings if Klitschko-Jennings doesn’t happen (OK); and Alexander Povetkin vs. Mike Perez (good) to determine who gets a shot at Klitschko later (please not Povetkin again, unless there’s a real ref in the ring that night).

There’s talk of a bout between middleweight killer Gennady Golovkin and middleweight comeback artist Andy Lee, once Golovkin faces Martin Murray. Sounds reasonable, given what options are expected to be available to either man. It continues to be surprising when someone wants to fight Golovkin, but boxing still has some brave souls, and bless ’em for it. One of the people who wants to fight Golovkin is ultra-faded Ricardo Mayorga, which is hilarious and should never happen, plus Mayorga also would settle for Felix Sturm, which is somehow less hilarious, and therefore slightly sad.

Rough news about Anthony Crolla suffering a skull fracture trying to stop a neighbor’s house from being burglarized, since he had a bout lined up with fellow lightweight Richard Abril. One hesitates to make a joke about Crolla suffering such a bad injury while doing something noble, so let’s skip the “the idea of watching Abril fight anyone gives me a headache, too!” nonsense. In all sincerity: Make a full recovery, please, Crolla.

Artur Beterbiev could get a chance to move from light heavyweight prospect to full contender if he accepts a fight offer from Main Events against Isaac Chilemba in March. You might think it’s too quick a jump, but Beterbiev did easily stop Tavoris Cloud two fights ago before suffering a knockdown in his most recent. And Main Events is probably taking a strategic gamble based on that knockdown that Chilemba could get credit for taking out a seven-fight fighter who’d been pretty menacing except for said knockdown.

So that Zou Shiming and Amnat Ruenroeng may fight, John Riel Casimero is taking some step-aside cash. Zou-Ruenroeng still sounds very, very premature for the Chinese flyweight. Casimero would get the winner.

There is some complicated reasoning behind how these lightweight fights are expected to unfold via sanctioning outfit decisions, but all that matters is that they’re happening: Jorge Linares-Javier Prieto (Dec. 30, not bad); Hank Lundy-Dejan Zlaticanin (no date, not bad); and Daniel Estrada-Kevin Mitchell (Jan. 31, not bad). Then some of them might fight each other or something.

Thabiso Mchunu vs. Ilungu Makubu will bring about a worldwide shortage in the letter “u,” but it’s not a bad cruiserweight fight, with the winner set to face Grigory Drozd.

Should-be-retired heavyweight Antonio Tarver calling out retired heavyweight David Haye warrants some kind of droll comment. It’s so uninspiring a prospect that I don’t have one.

(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; Twitter)

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.