You seen that one before? Maybe even in this space? Memory does not serve. It's from "Dancers Among Us," a series of photographs by Jordan Matter, recently the subject of a sequel, "Athletes Among Us." Both are beautiful. No word on whether there's a boxer in the "Athletes Among Us," but I'm guessing not, because it would require a boxer socking some 6-year-old in a laundromat, and that just wouldn't fly.
Boxers are, as always, lined up to get into the boxing ring with one another. Besides the fights in the works or not in the works for the men in the headline, this round-up includes what's happening for Canelo Alvarez, Tyson Fury, Devon Alexander, Sergey Kovalev and others.
Round And Round
The most intriguing series of potential match-ups in boxing right now involves a love square between Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. and Sergio Martinez. Canelo wants Sergio or Cotto. Chavez wants Martinez, but also Canelo and a bunch of other guys. Martinez doesn't want Chavez and seems to want Cotto. Cotto's new trainer Freddie Roach wants Floyd Mayweather, but definitely not Manny Pacquiao. So let's check off the options available for each man and the likelihood:
Martinez and Cotto: I'd put my money on Cotto-Martinez right now. There's some ambiguity still about how tied Cotto is to Top Rank and therefore HBO, but middleweight champion Martinez is the best in-house option at HBO. Martinez is vulnerable and has some history strapped around his waist, while Martinez can't make any more money against anyone else. If somehow Cotto isn't tied to Top Rank, though, and would be down for swinging over to Showtime for another go with Mayweather, it's probably the most sell-able bout at Mayweather's disposal still, too. Alternately, both Martinez and Cotto could take interim bouts for Cotto to exploit his revival (or "revival," depending on how you look at it) and to give Martinez a chance to prove he can come back from his string of injuries.
Chavez: Martinez, Canelo, Andre Ward, Carl Froch, the winner of Peter Quillin-Gabriel Rosado… all of these bouts have been mentioned for or by Chavez, but the one that looks most likely next is the one I didn't expect: a rematch with Brian Vera before the end of 2013. Top Rank has suggested it could air on an independent pay-per-view, but that sounds like negotiation talk aimed at convincing a potentially skeptical HBO (owing to Chavez' sloppy work habits and the chance that the Chavez brand was damaged by his last showing) to fork over some serious cash.
Canelo: Hard one to figure. He could also benefit from Cotto not being tied to Top Rank, because Cotto's the best money option for him, just like for Mayweather. Austin Trout surely wouldn't mind another go, and Carlos Molina's name has entered the discussion. I wouldn't be surprised to see Canelo take an easier one next if he can't get Cotto. That is, if he is unencumbered by legal woes; there's been some discussion out there about whether Canelo is a promotional free agent due to a non-Golden Boy claim on his promotional rights, although it's clear Canelo wants to stay with Golden Boy and therefore Showtime.
All the talk is of David Haye-Tyson Fury being rescheduled for February, though with Haye and his history of pulling out of fights, you never can tell. It's still a big-money U.K. heavyweight clash, if not one that a lot of folk consider competitive. Other heavyweight bouts that could be in the works: Another compelling all-Brit clash between Dereck Chisora and David Price, although if I'm Price's team I ignore that and focus on rebuilding him so he can either take a punch or avoid one. He'll have to drop his British championship to do so, though. And lastly for British heavyweights, no, Lennox Lewis is not going to fight a Klitschko for $100 million. People should've seen through that "story" immediately, but he's thoroughly debunked it himself.
Junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux is due back on HBO in December, against a quality opponent in Joseph Agbeko. However rusty Agbeko looked in his return, however much difference the extra four pounds will make for him in a move up from bantamweight, it's a solid bout. The undercard would feature middleweight Matthew Macklin against junior middleweight Willie Nelson, a decent supporting bout that's the result of HBO owing Macklin a date for fighting Gennady Golovkin. It also reportedly could include the return of troubled junior middleweight James Kirkland against Glen Tapia, which could steal the show if Kirkland has his mind right and Tapia's as good as some suspect.
The problem for Rigo is that he'll have an even tougher time proving his worth to HBO on that date because he'll be going up against Zab Judah-Paulie Malignaggi on Showtime, probably. That bout, to be fought at welterweight, has big appeal in Brooklyn and probably will steal a good share of viewers and maybe even ticket-buying fans, if the match-up takes place in Atlantic City.
Little bit of a light heavyweight round-up here: Sergey Kovalev is expected to face Ismayl Sillakh end of November on HBO in a doubleheader with champ Adonis Stevenson facing Tony Bellew. Bellew had a chance to face Jurgen Braehmer, but naturally isn't going to. Stevenson said the guy he'd most like to fight is Bernard Hopkins, but given the Showtime/HBO split and Hopkins being with Golden Boy, I doubt it happens anytime soon if ever. And as much as the doubleheader is aiming Kovalav and Stevenson toward each other, I still suspect that's a ways off, with Stevenson maybe having options in the winner of Lucian Bute-Jean Pascal or super middleweight champion Andre Ward. Ward, finally back on HBO in November against Edwin Rodriguez, would probably come second as he'll be looking at Chavez early next year before he looks at Stevenson.
We got a bit of a pump fake over junior featherweight Leo Santa Cruz's next opponent there, with Cristian Mijares looking like the one, only for it now to look like Cesar Seda on the undercard of the potential Showtime PPV headlined by welterweights Adrien Broner and Marcos Maidana in December. Santa Cruz's presence could bolster PPV sales but Seda is not much of an opponent, so the impact might be reduced. Let's hope we get Mijares instead, even if it's on a different date (that bout had been talked about for late November).
This is only kind of too bad: Eddie Hearn, promoter of lightweight Ricky Burns, has turned down a fight with Terence Crawford early next year in the United States on HBO. I say "kind of" because Hearn would rather do a Burns rematch against Raymundo Beltran, which is commendable given the controversial outcome of their first meeting even if Hearn says the reason is because it's more marketable. I wouldn't be surprised if Top Rank steers Crawford and Beltran toward one another instead. All three match-ups are good.
A couple middleweight bouts in the works: Darren Barker-Felix Sturm — OK, it's not in the works, it's signed. It'll be in Germany because that's where more money is, with the risk of Barker being screwed by the judges offset by a rematch clause for England. Glad Barker's going to get a big money bout, even if the fight itself doesn't enthuse me. Meanwhile, Andy Lee is targeting Marco Antonio Rubio, although nothing seems close there. Good fight if it happens.
Jorge Linares is headed back to Japan to face Richard Abril, a super-spoilery lightweight who nonetheless is kind of good for a 135-pounder these days. I would love it if Linares, with so much talent but a shaky chin, could get his career back on track with this November bout.
Karim Mayfield vs. Khabib Allakhverdiev could be on deck sometime in the near future on HBO. Good fight for both men. Mayfield also wants Pacquiao. Won't happen. Nice that he's aiming high, though. Worked out for Robert Guerrero, eventually, to say "I want Mayweather!" long before anyone thought he was ready.
Fresh off the best win of his career, junior featherweight Kiko Martinez ain't taking a victory lap in his next bout: Jeffrey Mathebula in December is a tough fight.
The teams of Scott Quigg and Yoandris Salinas are of opposite minds about the need for a rematch after their closely fought (duh) draw this past weekend. Quigg's team said it's not necessary, Salinas wants it. Maybe Quigg's side is worried that Quigg got some help late from the Salinas injury? Anyway, it was a legitimately close fight and I wouldn't mind a rematch between the two junior featherweights, myself.
Sampson Boxing has some fairly ludicrous terms before they'd put Magomed Abdusalamov in the ring with heavyweight prospect Deontay Wilder, all of which say, "We don't want the fight." Like, it would have to be on HBO (not going to happen, since Wilder is with Golden Boy) and Sampson Boxing would have to be the lead promoter (as if there's any grounds for those demands).
(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; ESPN; RingTV; Telegraph; Scotsman)