Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quick Jabs: Joshua Clottey Goes From Underappreciated To Too Big For His Britches

If it seems like I'm not around quite as often this week, well, I have my reasons. The day job heated up, so much so that I'll be on MSNBC Saturday morning and C-SPAN Sunday morning; it's holiday season; I posted like crazy for all those 2009/decade awards and I'm a tad tired; there aren't any fights happening. But the biggest reason is that I'm in a funk over this Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight being in limbo. I'm in a serious state of woe about it. It's hard for me to get excited about the sport when what would be its biggest fight in decades is in such doubt. And it doesn't look good at all right now. Last we heard there was still some chatter from both sides, and nobody's signed fights with anyone else, but it looks bad.

Still, I haven't done a Quick Jabs in a couple weeks, so there's a decent amount to catch up on. There's the stuff in the headline, of course. What kind of jackass would put that stuff in a headline then not write about it? But there's also some more tidbits a ton more fights under discussion to, um, discuss, which would be the major focus of this year edition of the column.

Quick Jabs

Around this time in 2009 (i.e., January or so) I was saying that welterweight Joshua Clottey wasn't getting the love he deserved. He was a really good and dangerous fighter, and deserved more attention. Now, though, he's gotten a big head, and refused a fight on Fox Sports Net on the grounds that he considers himself an "HBO fighter," according to BoxingScene (aka "BS" for today). How's that? He still doesn't have a fan base, and he doesn't even really have any viable opponent options right now. The only way a fighter like that builds a fan base is to be out there, creating demand for himself...

If I told you BS had an article entitled, "You've Got to Admit... Floyd Mayweather is Right," who do you think would have written it? And if a "smart-ass blogger" took a shot at him, and he was getting raked over the coals once again in his own website's comment section, wouldn't that maybe be a sign to him that he wasn't as fair-minded toward his "favorite" as he insisted? Lyle Fitzsimmons, old buddy, you didn't "take 'Money' to task" by saying he should have been DQ'd in the Zab Judah fight, because Mayweather's team was to blame for that, not him. (I can't find the column -- maybe he called Mayweather to task for having his uncle as his trainer...?) Anyway, that's just one of a couple Mayweather-Pacquiao items to discuss. There's the Pacquiao defamation lawsuit, which I find fairly pitiful. If you read it, you noticed how often it sounds like a publicity man blowjob for Pacquiao and how it makes difficult-to-defend accusations that Mayweather knows Pacquiao isn't on steroids. What, are his lawyers mind readers? They have zero proof of what Mayweather knows, and they put that in there because they surely anticipate the defense (common, as I read from Wikipedia, source of all knowledge) that it wasn't a knowingly false accusation, expression of opinion or good-faith remark. The other thing is that Miguel Cotto has now raised questions about whether Pacquiao is on steroids, via BS. That should be an indicator of the kind of bind Pacquiao has put himself in here by turning down these blood tests. He may be justified in doing so, but if Cotto -- as gracious an athlete as exists in boxing -- now is questioning his character, how much damage has he done to his reputation by standing on principle?...

Speaking of mind-readers, am I the only one who noticed that two of the biggest television stars of 2009 were tiny women named Sookie and Snooki? I'm going to go ahead and answer myself: "Yes"...

sookie-stackhouseYou know whose excuses are getting old? Roy Jones, Jr. He's given all kinds of reasons why he got knocked out in the 1st round by Danny Green in their cruiserweight fight, after initially being classy and making zero excuses. I'm guessing this is his way of trying to squeeze another fight or two out of his career, since everyone is going to have trouble taking him remotely seriously after that loss. But I don't have to play along. Here are the only excuses for Jones losing that I put any stock in: His chin is made of china these days, and Green has first-rate knockout power...

Did you know that disgraced welterweight Antonio Margarito's suspension could be lifted soon? The one-year anniversary of his suspension is coming up in February, and he can petition for reinstatement of his license. The California State Athletic Commission should consider whether anyone who ever was a party to loading his gloves with a cast-like substance should be boxing again, ever...

One of the early tiny gems of the 2009 schedule, a Jan. 9 super middleweight fight between Edison Miranda and Robert Stieglitz, has been postponed at best and called off at worst, due to a Miranda illness. Miranda and Stieglitz don't have much defense between 'em, two wobbly chins and Miranda's power is excellent to Stieglitz' good power. Sounded like a nice scrap. Ideally it will be rescheduled...

Fortunately, an ailment won't get in the way of another of the early gems of 2009, Juan Manuel Lopez-Steven Luevano on Jan. 23. Juanma's featherweight debut was rumored to be jeopardized by an ankle injury, but the Juanma camp insists (according to BS) he's good. As someone who's twisted, sprained and torn or strained muscles in my ankles, I can tell you it's no damn fun, and it really limits your ability to move around. That could be important in a fight with a quick-footed type like Luevano, so kudos to Juanma for pushing through...

Amir Khan is a promotional free agent, it looks like (according to BS), and word is he's looking at Golden Boy Promotions or Top Rank. Given his affiliation with the Pacquiao team, and the hostility between Pacquiao and GBP, how crazy would it be if he signed with them?...

I'd said before that the Fox Sports Net schedule wasn't all that impressive, but I'm looking at it anew in light of some recent news on that front and I have to say it is of decent caliber, on the level with or better than some of ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" schedule. We could get the likes of Odlanier Solis against Ray Austin at heavyweight in an alphabet title eliminator; an appearance from underappreciated welterweight Mike Jones (don't get any Clottey-like ideas here, Mike); a bout between lightweight prospects Brandon Rios and Jorge Teron; junior middleweight Vanes Martirosyan vs. Kassim Ouma; and a title eliminator with Kendall Holt against somebody. That's rather good, actually...

Two bantamweights who recently suffered brain injuries in the ring appear to be doing better. Z Gorres is talking to people and seems to have his wits about him. Alejandro Valdez -- originally reported just to be dehydrated -- actually has a brain clot, but he's said not to be in too bad a shape...

And Mike Tyson won't be getting charged because of his scuffle with some paparazzi. Nice to see a Tyson criminal matter go his way.

Round And Round

jersey-shore-snookiThere's lots of movement involving middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik and Sergio Martinez. Pavlik and Martinez may fight one another, in fact, in 2010. I think that's a hard match-up for Pavlik, honestly, and it would be a huge statement to Paul Williams if Pavlik could beat him. Another option for Martinez, though, is Martirosyan, with whom Martinez has had a protracted trash-talking war. I've become a believer in Martirosyan and no longer think it's obvious he's too green for Martinez to have any chance of winning. Another option for Pavlik, meanwhile, remains Felix Sturm, who somehow just snagged himself a 10-fight deal (!) with a German television station and may have to fight mandatory challenger Gennadyi Golovkin sometime soon.

A heavyweight showdown between Chris Arreola and Tomasz Adamek remains an option for April 24. It's hard to imagine a much better action fight. It's not a done deal, but HBO's on board, which gives it a strong chance of happening. Other heavyweight options of note: Sam Peter-Tony Thompson; James Toney-Solis; Thompson-Solis; Vitali Klitschko-Nicolay Valuev. Any of those would do, really, other than goddam I wish Toney would retire. He's super-shot. I'm not as offended by Klitschko-Valuev -- around April or May -- as some people, because it's not like there are a whole lot of contenders left for the Klitschkos and it's not as if Valuev lost his most recent fight all that conclusively. I'm also not saying I care about it very much, though. I'm just saying it will do.

Bernard Hopkins-Danny Green is off because Hopkins demanded a 60-40 split. Although there are reports Hopkins wanted yet more than that. Green said he'd fight in the United States for free, as long as he could keep the Australian TV money. Even though Hopkins made the argument that he brought HBO and that's why he deserved a better split, he also reportedly was insisting on a cut of the Australian TV money. I'm not sure where Hopkins gets off thinking he's worth so much cash, and then when GBP doesn't get him a big fight he blames GBP. Well, Hopkins-Green would have been a big fight, worth a lot of money, but his insistence on such a huge pot split is par for the course. When Hopkins sits on his 44-year-old ass again for a long time, he has no one but himself to blame.

There's yet more junior welterweight merry-go-round business afoot. Marcos Maidana is insisting on his mandatory title challenge with Amir Khan, which I just don't see happening -- Khan will probably drop his belt first. Maidana thusly turned down a fight with Devon Alexander, another titlist, who instead is expected to fight yet another titlist, Juan Urango, on March 6. Also, Victor Cayo continues to seek a fight with Maidana, and you gotta admire the balls of being the only guy who consistently is calling out the high-risk, low-reward Maidana. Meanwhile, Juan Manuel Marquez-Ricky Hatton looks likely again for May. Okey-doke.

Feb. 6 is the date for Allan Green-Sakio Bika, yet another in a long list of great super middleweight fights on tap -- this one outside of the Super Six tournament on Showtime. Green-Bika has the makings of a real war. Dunno if it has any ramifications for the Super Six tournament or not, since Jermain Taylor is stubbornly pressing ahead in the tournament despite everyone thinking his health is at grave risk.

Lightweight Humberto Soto may be scouting the winner of Edwin Valero-Antonio DeMarco for a future opponent, but he's been talking about fighting Valero forever so it's hard for me to get excited about that. Meanwhile, Soto is looking at David Diaz for his next opponent, probably in March or around those parts. It would be the most legit fight Soto has been in for a while. Even if he wins I'm not convinced he's a real contender. Anselmo Moreno-Nehomar Cermeno is another sanctioning organization special at bantam, and it's a meaningful fight if not one I could promise would be very good.
Joseph Agbeko is looking at a title eliminator bout with Vusi Malinga. Sounds about right to me -- Malinga's a step back from the rather bold level of competition Agbeko has been fighting the last couple years, and after a loss to Yonnhy Perez, this is a way to get his footing back. The fight could be in South Africa, Malinga's country, depending on how the purse bid goes.

Celestino Caballero rarely has people calling him out, but junior featherweight prospect Guillermo Rigondeaux is interested in meeting him sooner rather than later. It's a hell of a fascinating idea, and not a crazy fight for Rigondeaux given his extremely long and successful amateur career making him less of a prospect than he'd seem to be; he's more a contender at this point, experience-wise. Caballero may have to defend his belt against Takalani Ndlovu. Also at junior feather: Marvin Sonsona-Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. would be for a belt in the division, and it looks like it's happening Feb. 27.

Daniel Ponce De Leon could come back to the scene Jan. 30 on the undercard of Shane Mosley-Andre Berto against featherweight Daud Yordan, last seen giving Robert Guerrero all he could handle. That's a very nice undercard fight.

Deandre Latimore and Sechew Powell will have to rematch for a shot at a junior middleweight title belt. That's fine, I guess.

Evander Holyfield-Francois Botha was running into money troubles (shock!) but it's back on for Jan. 16, as of this writing. I wish the money troubles would come back.

Light heavyweight Chad Dawson would have no money troubles if Ron Johnson came through with his $3 million offer for the fight. This seemed like a "get my name mentioned in the press" ploy by Ron "Who Is This Person, Does Anyone Know?" Johnson, but Dawson responded that he'd do it for $4 million. I don't know about you, but I think $4 million is asking too much. If I was a pound-for-pound top-5 boxer like Chad Dawson I'd take $3 million to fight somebody I'd probably blow out with ease.

Miguel Cotto has legit options for his return, like Kermit Cintron, but the one I wouldn't take is fellow Puerto Rican boxing icon Felix Trinidad. Cotto is thinking of moving up from welterweight to junior middle, and Trinidad's side is talking about 158-164 pounds. I have no idea how a fat, unmotivated Trinidad (who supposedly officially retired this year) thinks he'll get down to 158, but I guess it would be doable at that weight. Otherwise, it's a joke fight.


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