Besides the men in the headline, we have the latest on Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, plus what's next for Juan Carlos Burgos, Antwone Smith, Marco Huck, Erislandy Lara and a bunch of other boxers. Disclaimer: I rarely can attest to the actual in-the-worksness of some of these fights, so don't be disappointed when I tell you Pacquiao-Mayweather is... not so much.
Round And Round
Here we go again: Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye, creeping up on a deal -- even with, reportedly, signed contracts, with July 2 the date. There are some significant holes in some of the details; for instance, they don't apparently have a site picked yet, which in the past has been a problem. They don't have a U.S. network picked -- reportedly, it could be HBO, could be Showtime, could be an independent pay-per-view. Also, there's a chance that if Wlad is injured, big bro Vitali steps in to replace him. Also, there's a chance that Haye just mysteriously up and pulls out, because that's his track record with the brothers Klitschko. I hope he doesn't. Really, I could like Haye so, so much. His quip that all he needs for this fight is a ref who can count to 10... it's hilarious, it's bold, and I'm not going to hold it against him later if he gets knocked out thoroughly, because I'd rather see Haye man-up and lose than keep up the "I'm gonna kill you gonna maim you gonna beat you and never mind I'm out of here" routine.
There was a brief blip in the Pacquioa-Mayweatheriverse when Mayweather's uncle Jeff said there were talks to have the welterweight fight right in Nelson Mandela's front yard (not kidding, basically) and that it was gonna happen, for real this time. Then the promoters said no, not happening. Except when Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum said that the second Don King signs May, the fight will happen. And then, I hadn't noticed it until a commenter pointed it out, but last month Zab Judah said that Floyd had told him he was "finished." As with Klitschko-Haye, don't get your hopes up on this bout happening until the opening bell rings.
Somehow, Nonito Donaire-Anselmo Moreno is very much looking like the reality for May 28 on HBO. I guess Moreno couldn't sign with Golden Boy Promotions fast enough for Top Rank to use that as a reason not to make the fight. And for real, it's a good fight. And every boxing fan in their right mind wants to see Donaire back on HBO as soon as possible. Moreno's a tricky vet and the current #2 man at bantam; depending on how things go in the Showtime bantam finale in April, this fight could still be for the legitimate, lineal Ring magazine championship.
Middleweight champ Sergio Martinez has a fight this weekend but is already dreaming about his next move, with the winner of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.-Sebastian Zbik on his mind while he waits for a maybe-fight with Miguel Cotto. I give Martinez-Chavez about a 0% chance of happening, because no way Top Rank cashes Chavez out that way, and I don't blame them, really. Martinez-Zbik could happen, though, if Chavez loses. You should know that WBC prez Jose Suliaman, which just gifted Saul Alvarez a junior middleweight belt so as to suck up percentages of his big purses, thinks we could get Alvarez-Chavez in 2014, which would be a marination job for the ages. Maxboxing's Steve Kim raised an interesting point about what Alvarez getting the belt means -- that is, that his competition level could step up by necessity, what with a bunch of quality 154-pounders ranked by the WBC. Kim also suggested the WBC would protect him as long as it could, and I suspect that's the most likely outcome. If they found a way to leap over all those 154-pound dudes who are actually good and proven to make way for Alvarez-Matthew Hatton, I'm sure they'll find some other exceptions in there rules for Saul. As for Hatton, he'll move back to welter, and Golden Boy says he'll be in line for a title shot there, and that HBO is interested in him. I'd like to see him do something more significant at welter before that happens, but maybe Hatton's gutty showing was enough for HBO to return interest, or maybe they just owe GBP some more dates.
This Round and Round is super long, to say the least, so we need something to break it up and make it interesting. Usually I would insert some hot chick but I can't think of any right now. So here's some Roy Jones porn:
There's a little bit of confusion about which Pinoy Julio Cesar Miranda will face next in defense of his flyweight strap: Brian Viloria or Richie Mepranum. Six of one, half dozen of the other. Viloria hasn't been impressive much lately and Miranda has already knocked out Mepranum.
ESPN2 just keeps loading up its schedule with nice little fights, with a welterweight clash between Joel Julio and Antwone Smith due up May 20. Julio and Smith have lost recently but both are entertaining and should make a good fight with one another, and the winner is poised for a revival.
The Celestino Caballero-Juan Carlos Burgos featherweight bout could go down in May. Caballero looked like crap in his last fight, but he does that sometimes; the issue here is whether it was because of that pattern or because of the move up in weight, or because he's aging now and has lost it. If Caballero has something left, Caballero-Burgos is a helluva nice fight.
On the Devon Alexander-Lucas Matthysse undercard on HBO this summer, we could get a junior middleweight bout between Cornelius Bundrage and Erislandy Lara. A year or two ago, I would have turned that fight down on the spot; Bundrage was in boring, hugging awkwardfests and Lara needs an aggressive opponent to look good. But with Lara gunning for the KO a bit more lately -- and getting it because his opposition was so poor, granted -- and with Bundrage also getting more entertaining of late, it's now a bout that has appeal beyond it being a match-up of two of the better junior middles.
Not that anyone is mourning it much, I'm guessing, but the middleweight bout between Winky Wright and Matthew Macklin originally scheduled for the April 9 pay-per-view headlined by Erik Morales-Marcos Maidana that got canceled helped kill some more of what little appeal that card had. Yeah, Wright historically isn't very fun, but he's not as boring as he used to be, and at least it was a meaningful fight in the division to make up for such a horrid headliner. So, thanks, Winky, for getting injured.
If Haye fights Klitschko and the winner were to move up to "super" champion or whatever idiotic designation the outfit that sanctions his belt deems him, Alexander Povetkin would be in line to fight for whatever "regular" title remained. That would most likely put him in against Jean-Marc Mormeck in June. That fight doesn't do anything for me but it would be the first singificant opponent for Povetkin for years, and not even THAT significant, since all Mormeck has done is struggle at heavyweight since moving up from cruiser.
Junior lightweight Roman Martinez could be facing fellow Puerto Rican Luis Cruz on April 16 in a bout that's been discussed before, or if that doesn't work out, Bernabe Concepcion on May 6. The main thing is I'd like to see it, since Martinez is can't-miss TV.
Another fringe-y heavyweight bout: Robert Helenius vs. Sam Peter April 2. Okey doke.
A fringe-y light heavyweight super middleweight bout: Robert Stieglitz-Dmitri Sartison April 9. Okey doke. One division up: Yusaf Mack won his eliminator this weekend over Otis Griffin, so he's next in line for Tavoris Cloud, who should slaughter him.
There's no Joshua Cottey-Calvin Green this weekend on the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga undercard, and I'm sure we're all very, very sad about this news. I'm going to try and soldier ahead through this "dregs" section of Round and Round.
Cruiserweight Marco Huck is wasting time fighting Giacobbe Fragomeni on April 2. Frag was fun for a while but he's done as a legit contender and should've stayed retired, probably.
Eric Morel-Martin Castillo, the rematch, at bantam, April 1, Solo Boxeo. Castillo should be even more retired than Frag.
Former cruiserweight Enzo Maccarinelli plans to return at 175, but he'll get knocked out there savagely, too, because that's what Enzo Mac does exclusively now. Should've stayed retired.
Roy Jones could be fighting Denis Lebedev June 4. On the "should've stayed retired" continuum, Jones is nearly off the chart.
(Round and Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; Irish Times; GMA; Maxboxing)
Big, big, big ups to Friday Night Fights for what is lining up to be an outstanding season after what I thought was a very solid year last year. ESPN is doing that show RIGHT, and they've managed to do it without the mind-blowing incompetence of HBO or the divisive ruthlessness of Top Rank. Smith-Julio is a perfect FNF fight. Can we get the Shrimp Counter & Co. ousted from HBO and replace them with the FNF masterminds? Those guys are doing what they do now on a shoestring budget and they seem to have a far greater understanding of the sport AND the business of the sport than HBO does. Plus, I doubt the ESPN guys would steal shrimp from Larry David.
I really, really, really, really wish I had access to whatever drugs British boxing fans wolf down before they start talking about the Klitschkos and Haye. Of course, if I did, I might start saying things like "Jersey Shore is actually a really great show" and "Sex with attractive young women just doesn't interest me" because I would be helplessly delusional.
@Scott_Kraus You really think Wladimir "Corrie Freaking Sanders" Klitschko can stand up to the Hayemaker's Power (its so Powerful it deserves Capitalisation)?
MU HA HA
*ahem* I may have been reading too much about Charlie Sheen of late...
@FunkyBadger @Scott_Kraus Corrie "Freaking" Sanders > Carl "F#@%ing" Thompson. And I don't really think old losses are a factor, I just think Wlad is too big, too good defensively, and too good with his jab to have much problem with Haye. I do think Haye has a legit chance to knock him out, I just don't think he's any better than a 2-1 dog to win and my money would be on the favorite. I just hope it actually happens this time, I'd rather talk about a fight than who is a ducker.
And there's no such thing as too much Charlie Sheen. WINNING!
@Scott_Kraus Good point there...
Not sure about Wlad's defense, it seems to consist of him leaning backwards a bit. That'll work against opponents who don't commit to the punch... if Haye does nothing else he puts every once through his power punches when he sees an opening.
If Haye pulls out of this again, let me never speak of him again. Got a fair inkling int'll be junior who pulls up lame before this is all out though...
@Scott_Kraus ESPN does so much with so little. Showtime, too, to some extent. It's remarkable. I think HBO gets over-criticized sometimes, but when you compare who does what with their resources best, it's no contest.
What's up with this abdominal (gut?) problem of Wlad's? First, he shrewdly backpedals away from the Chisora fight - reportedly after only training tepidly and after his team had a peek at Del Boy at a public workout and thought - shit, this dude's not bad and is...gulp...actually gonna try to win!! HOW DARE HE!! Now he has it as insurance in case Haye spooks him in their build up (send in the tougher brother!!). Haye has a real shot at beating Wlad - not so much of a one against Vitali.
@safesideOTR The injury is, I'm guessing, bunk. Or, anyway, it's real but not too severe -- but severe enough that they recognize it makes Chisora more fearsome and them more vulnerable, so why risk the bigger payday with Haye?
The key for Haye beating Wladimir is that chin. It's not a problem Vitali has.
@Tim From Iowa Anyone going in against Flash needs all the help he can get, including from big magic space fairies...
@Tim From Iowa I don't think of myself as playing a hand. What I'm doing is pretty normal discussion.
HBO is most certainly entitled to hire or fire Jones based on his performance. The point of any criticism, beyond me expressing MY belief, is to hopefully influence HBO to let him know that his antics are turning off their audience. And while you have a tolerance for Jones talking about God all the time, I'd rather not hear it, nor am I alone; just look at the responses here, Steve Kim's recent remarks, David Greisman's gripe, the commentary on Twitter. (As someone who is, presumably, religious, perhaps you don't know how it sounds to someone who is not -- or of a different religion other than the Christian kind -- when Roy goes on one of his God tangents. I don't think you HAVE to be areligious to imagine that, but I can tell you that many of the people I just mentioned referred to Jones' remarks as "preaching" and "proselytizing.") We are HBO's customers; we have every right to try and influence them.
Likewise, people who have different beliefs than me are ALSO entitled to try and influence other networks. For example, I could care less how many gay people are on TV. But some people find it offensive. I disagree with their values, but there's absolutely no reason -- zero -- that those people shouldn't be able to say that, or protest outside some television station. It's not "ridiculous" in any way -- it's a fundamental way in which people are entitled to try and influence the marketplace.
You, for instance, clearly think I shouldn't keep talking about this. You're well within your rights.
I don't think your generalization about "southern brothers" is fair. I feel like there have probably been black people from the South who have appeared on television without Godding it up all over the place. If you think I'm wrong, I'll go prove it to you, but hopefully you recognize that those two things are not intrinsically linked.
I think you're overplaying your hand. Preached to? Roy is a southern brother and what comes with that is religion. HBO knew what they were getting and can choose to hire or fire him based on his performance. Criticism is fine from media....but calls for him to "knock it off" or silence him are ridiculous.
@Tim From Iowa It's not the mere mention of his name that's problematic. It's the sense that we're being preached to by Roy Jones, and for no reason other than preaching
Long, well-researched piece of crippling depression right there. Also, why dont' super champions at least get super big belts with super-magnetic powers, causing mere champions to fly thirty feet the moment they are in their proximity? But there I go, encouraging the WBC.
@HitDogThere's some good news in there! Donaire-Moreno, Julio-Smith... but man, if the WBC invented a super belt like that, I'd become a fan. Please, encourage them.