What a purty boxing-themed hockey goalie helmet. Or, at least, half of one. The other half has Sideshow Bob. Via.
While the hockey playoffs will inevitably lead to much fisticuffs, here are some events in the works where fighting is the only idea. It's been a couple weeks since we did this, so we'll break things up with a nifty bit of robot combat.
Round and Round
Worst news for the Pacquiao-Shane Mosley undercard May 7 is that Humberto Soto-Urbano Antillon II is off, with Soto declaring his independence from Top Rank (the second high-profile fighter lately to do so). The good news is that Antillon will go ahead with a different Fight of the Year-worthy bout against fellow lighweight Brandon Rios on July 9, if all goes according to plan. Top Rank also has had designs on matching Rios with Marco Antonio Barrera, but they've been talking about that forever and appearances are that Barrera would rather not wait anymore for a meaningful match-up; he's saying he'll go elsewhere if he's not given a big fight by August. Top Rank needs to get this "marination" situation under control, cuz they're marinating fighters right out the door. (Technically, Barrera says he's with Zanfer and Top Rank's Bob Arum says the same of Soto, but there's little daylight between the two.) We could end up now with Barrera-Erik Morales IV, which is a fight I could get behind if only Barrera had, in any fight of his comeback, shown the kind of life Morales had shown against Marcos Maidana this month. And thank jebus, by the way, that a Morales-Ricky Hatton bout has been shot down by Golden Boy.
Say what you will about new no-defense/between-fights-fattie Juan Manuel Lopez, but the man has heart. He wants a rematch with Orlando Salido right away, after being stopped by the chap for his first loss, and it could happen as soon as August -- or maybe Salido gets an easy defense of the new featherweight belt he won, then the fight happens in November or December. The reporting is unclear on whether there's a rematch clause and if so, what the terms of it are. (Rafael Marquez loses the expected rematch with Lopez, so he'll be fighting Mike Oliver in a credible-ish bout on the undercard of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.-Sebastian Zbik in a bout that might or might not be on HBO.)
Similarly: Hernan Marquez-Rafael Concepcion II would be what happens next if Concepcion got his way. Good for him. He took a beating and wants to avenge it. Let's see if Marquez is eager to engage him. It won't be next, as Marquez plans to make a token defense of his flyweight strap before then, on June 25, but the sequel is a must at some point in the near future.
The July 23 junior welterweight bout between Timothy Bradley and Amir Khan that could crown a 140-pound champion is reportedly hitting a snag over Bradley wanting more money. The figure discussed is too close for Bradley's taste to what his recently-vanquished foe Devon Alexander will be making on HBO next. Bradley should feel free to try and boost his purse, but at the end of the day, he's lucky -- beyond lucky, even -- that he makes as much money as he does. He isn't a draw and he isn't popular with a lot of hardcore fans, even.
Junior middleweight Serhiy Dzinziruk appears on track for a summer bout on HBO against Pawel Wolak. The bout itself is fine by me, if it's something they buy for cheap, because it's a good enough match-up but not one to get carried away about or anything. There are a few weird things about it, though. Some reporting has suggested that Dzinziruk is getting back on HBO as a condition of having fought middleweight champ Sergio Martinez. If true: Wasn't the big paycheck for that fight enough to get him in the ring with Martinez? Second, Dzinziruk being back on HBO before Martinez, whose return has been delayed to September, is beyond wacky, since Martinez won and should be on the network all the time.
Paul Williams has had a comeback date on HBO for months and months and months -- since at least January -- first for April then for July, yet he still has no opponent. It's standard operating procedure these days for people to get fights on HBO without an opponent lined up, but this is getting silly. At least three men -- Erislandy Lara, Kell Brook and Deandre Latimore -- have in recent weeks volunteered for duty. The first two are excellent opponents if Williams is sticking with his plan to fight a quality foe and not take an easy fight coming off his big knockout loss to Martinez. Brook is a welterweight, and the latest indicators are that Williams is going to set up shop at junior middleweight. Lara would be a better option, then, and his low work rate in contrast with Williams' high work rate makes him less dangerous than a young, hungry unknown like Brook. Latimore is risky only because he's a big puncher, but he's the least credible of the three since he has only lost big fights of late.
There was some extremely brief furor -- as in, a few hours -- over whether light heavyweight Chad Dawson was going to pull out of a May 21 HBO fight with Adrian Diaconu, and whether Dawson was a wimp about it. Then his trainer Emmanuel Steward said he was the one who had hesitation over the fight being on Diaconu's home turf in Canada, and nobody called Steward a wimp. People are strange. Anyway, the fight is a go.
SPARBOT 7000! (not its real name)
There have reportedly been talks already for junior middleweight Saul Alvarez to face Ricardo Mayorga in September, which sounds like a really good time to me. Only one worry: Alvarez has a real opponent in front of him, Ryan Rhodes, for June 18.
Kermit Cintron might be fighting Jesus Soto Karass in his Top Rank debut July 9 on the Showtime undercard of Rios-Antillon. *Insert mandatory, unoriginal, unfunny, Cintron jumping out of the ring/trampoline/etc. joke here.* Cintron and Cornelius Bundrage have also been barking at one another, and that's a credible bout for later down the line, should Cintron make it past Karass. And he should, especially if the bout is at junior middleweight, but Karass is the kind of unyielding pressure fighter who used to serially give Cintron trouble.
Featherweight Mikey Garcia is in line for a title shot against Billy Dib, maybe in July, since Yuriorkis Gamboa lost his belt on some technicality. Now, nobody likes Dib because everybody remembers his non-performance against Steve Luevano, but Dib CAN be exciting. It's not as bad as you think, in other words, and Garcia could use the seasoning against a quick and unconventional foe.
Rather than one or the other fighting Giovani Segura when he moves up to flyweight, Julio Cesar Miranda and Brian Viloria will likely fight each other June 4. That's a good fight in and of itself, and the winner makes an even better opponent for Segura. Donnie Nietes and Ramon Garcia Hirales, meanwhile, are likely to fight for Segura's abandoned junior flyweight strap.
Cruiserweight action! Guillermo Jones is set to face Yoan Pablo Hernandez, a good fight between big punchers, under a purse bid for a fight on June 25. That leaves Ryan Coyne, who apparently signed a fight with Jones, in limbo. Oh, also, and Antonio Tarver's heavyweight experiment is apparently over, because apparently he'll be facing Danny Green on July 20. If Tarver's going to keep fighting, the lower the weight the better -- and Green deserves a shot at him because Tarver left him at the alter a couple years back.
Matthew Macklin has been on a middleweight merry-go-round and the latest is that he'll end up with Felix Sturm on July 2. I can't get excited about any Sturm fight. Sorry, Matt. You deserve better.
Joel Julio and Antwone Smith are two welterweights who could use a big win. So they're trying to get one against each other, and I love it. It'll go down on Friday Night Fights on May 20.
A bout between U.K. lightweights John Murray and Kevin Mitchell has been talked about for forever is now on. It'll go down this summer, but no date has been set yet.
A junior welterweight bout involving Victor Cayo or Lamont Peterson or Tim Coleman isn't happening on ESPN2 next Friday. It's too bad. Any combination of those three would do the trick, and various incarnations had been discussed, but no two of them can make it happen.
This week on FNF -- no need to do a weekend preview outside the Showtime card we already previewed, since there's not much to it -- we get a different junior welterweight bout pitting Breidis Prescott against Bayan Jargal. Don't put it past Jargal to win. Many believe he deserved the win against Stephen Upsher Chambers in a close decision, and Prescott somehow keeps getting fights despite not looking impressive in forever.
As for Chambers, he's got his own FNF date lined up against Josesito Lopez May 27. Lopez is the kind of guy I like seeing regularly on FNF when he's matched competitively, and Chambers qualifies.
Matthew Hatton is going back down to welterweight as planned coming off the Alvarez drubbing, and he could get some kind of half-strap over the summer against Souleymane M'baye. Fair enough. It's a fairly even fight at this point in both their careers.
A revived Cristian Mijares, and revived Raul Martinez, for that matter, are slated to meet up May 14 for Mijares' bantamweight belt. I like this fight, too. I like a lot of these fights, I know. But there are some good ones. I don't know what you want from me.
Vanes Martirosyan's career has been spinnin' wheels for a long time now, but the junior middleweight is slated to be back in action May 4 on that Chavez-Zbik undercard. It figures as an action fight, but if I only get one undercard bout I think I'd prefer to see Marquez-Oliver simply because I like Marquez so much. (Martirosyan was originally gonna be on Top Rank Live this weekend alongside featherweight prospect Roberto Marroquin's bout with Frankie Leal, but like so much involving Martirosyan, it got pushed back.)
Gennady Golovkin will defend his middleweight belt June 2 against Kassim Ouma. Anything that gets Ouma another meaningful fight, I support, since he's still owed a make-up call from the Martirosyan decision.
Austin Trout has been mentioned for any number of middleweight fights, but he's ending up with David Lopez June 11. A lot of people are high on Trout, but it must also be said that Lopez has a deceptively bad record and is no joke.
Some mixed martial arts guy named Nick Diaz wants to fight Jeff Lacy. People get too worked up about these MMA vs. boxing match-ups.
After losing out on a bout with Hasim Rahman, heavyweight Tyson Fury is actually now lined up for an even better clash against British countryman Dereck Chisora on an undetermined date.
Sergei Liakhovich is in line for a shot at heavyweight beltholder Robert Helenius June 25. I've been trying not to mention these belts lately, but it often explains how or why a fight is coming to happen. It's not that Helenius-Liakhovich is bad or anything, though.
There's probably some belt involved in the possibility of Alexander Dimitrenko facing Jean Marc Mormeck. Whatever, it's another decent bout along the periphery of the heavyweight division, just like the last two I mentioned.
And, speaking of peripheral heavyweight bouts, the May 7 version of the British boxing tournament Prizefighter has a variety of names bigger than usual, and many of them from outside the U.K. They include: Juan Carlos Gomez; Kevin Johnson; Michael Sprott; Fres Oquendo; Tye Fields; and others.
Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; Maxboxing; The [U.K.] Sun