Real life Mike Tyson quotes for Nintendo’s Punch-Out make the whole game a lot weirder. (But if you want more of them, have at it.)
The game of matchmaking never ends; in this edition of Round And Round, we contemplate what’s next for Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, Ruslan Provodnikov, Andrzej Fonfara, the men in the headline and some others.
Round And Round
Mr. Mayweather said he’s expecting to finalize a welterweight rematch next week with Marcos Maidana in the fall, the fight that makes the most sense for both men among the options possible. We’ll discuss it more when and if it gets signed. Mayweather also said he’d have a big surprise for May, which probably was his way of trying to hint at the Manny Pacquiao fight that he’ll never make, but that he knows talking about makes people talk about him. Here are some other people who have talked about wanting Mayweather very recently, and what the ring merits of each one would be: Erislandy Lara (great one, if he makes it past Canelo Alvarez); Demetrius Andrade (not too shabby); Chris Algieri (nah); and Robert Guerrero (not even remotely worthwhile).
Pacquiao’s next fight is up in the air, but Top Rank has talked up Algieri (OK, he’s coming off a big win, he’s got a fan base in New York, but…) and Luis Carlos Abregu (no idea on that one). Lately, Amir Khan has entered the discussion for November, and given how they used to share trainers in Freddie Roach, given Khan’s relative decency at welterweight, it’s the best option outside of another Juan Manuel Marquez rematch. Danny Garcia and Maidana have also mentioned in conjunction with Pacquiao’s name of late, but Maidana was probably just trying to pressure Mayweather to come to the table and Garcia, with Al Haymon, isn’t likely to ever get a Pacquiao fight no matter how much Roach wants it.
Assuming Algieri doesn’t get Pacquiao, his promoters have also eyed junior welterweight champion Garcia. Not bad, but Garcia-Lamont Peterson match-up is more immediately desirable. And Garcia’s dad is saying Algieri would have to beat Peterson for the right to face him, which, ugh, means they’re aiming to make the Peterson fight TWO MORE fights from now. Ruslan Provodnikov reportedly has a rematch clause with Algieri, but he can take an interim bout. So Provodnikov has been pining for a different rematch, vs. Timothy Bradley II, going so far as to say he’ll fight on Bradley’s home turf. No matter what Bradley said about the Provodnikov fight having lost its luster, it has not. What fight would be better?
No, not a fight against middleweight champion Miguel Cotto. Cotto won’t be going back down to 154, his team is saying, and even then that’s far too high for Bradley to be interesting; he couldn’t punch much at 140, can’t at 147 at all and definitely couldn’t at 154, let alone 156. Nope, Cotto-Bradley shouldn’t be in the mix.
As for last weekend’s heroes: Terence Crawford might be moving to 140 pounds sooner rather than later. There are a bevy of solid names at 135 or 140, but whether any of them are truly available is a question. At 135, my vote would be for Raymundo Beltran, but Hank Lundy is interested, and that would be cool, too. Because of the Top Rank/Haymon divide, some other appealing match-ups at 135 are hard to make, among them Omar Figueroa. Same deal at 140: Some good ones, many of them already mentioned here — Algieri, Garcia — but only some available. If Crawford did get even just one solid win at 140, he’s suddenly become very viable for Pacquiao in my book. Roach hasn’t ruled out Pacquiao going down to 140, and Top Rank probably wouldn’t mind a super-talented American with a massive regional fan base being the one to knock off Pacman.
Yuriorkis Gamboa, the man Crawford took out, is committed to moving back down from lightweight. It’s the right move. He and his team are talking up the likes of Mikey Garcia — a fight that fell apart after Garcia and Top Rank developed legal friction — or Juan Manuel Lopez, the fight that should’ve happened all those many years ago and never came to fruition. Gamboa-Garcia remains very appealing, perhaps even more than before, as Gamboa showed he could hang with an elite opponent. Gamboa-Lopez is nowhere near as appealing. Lopez is coming off a solid win but still might be shot, so Gamboa-Lopez won’t regain any luster until Lopez definitively proves he is not. But Gamboa belongs back in a big fight, and might find them easier to make now that he’s also shown he’s beatable. Now all he needs is a promoter who gives a damn about him, a description that doesn’t necessarily match 50 Cent.
Keith Thurman is a guy who’s going to keep having trouble getting fights for a while, one suspects. Guerrero had said he’d face Thurman if he beat Lara, which is as good as saying he doesn’t want to fight him. Since he’s eased up on that condition, perhaps because he realizes it would take beating someone like Thurman to make a Mayweather rematch worthwhile to anyone. Devon Alexander is open to facing either dude, he said. Alexander has never lacked for willingness to fight hard opponents. We’ll see whether Alexander or Guerrero are truly interested in facing Thurman.
That delayed/people thought it was dead welterweight bout between Shawn Porter and Kell Brook looks like it’s on for September now. Still a good fight, welcome news that it’s not going away.
Yoan Pablo Hernandez, in the discussion for best cruiserweight in the world, is booked to face Firat Arslan in August. It’s a passable bout, maybe more than that. Arslan gave Marco Huck a scare a couple fights back, then got KO’d in the rematch. But Hernandez is also coming off a shaky, rust-shedding performance.
Carlos Molina is fresh outta jail on immigration-related charges and wants him some Cornelius Bundrage, which looks as though it will happen in September in Mexico. They can make it for the mauling championship of the world.
We’ll be getting a rematch of the super middleweight draw between Sakio Bika and Anthony Dirrell, in August. The first fight was better than expected, and the inconclusive nature means the rematch has some appeal.
Perhaps the most interesting match-up associated with the Canelo-Lara pay-per-view could be airing on free Showtime right beforehand, when bantamweights Tomoki Kameda and Pungluang Sor Singyu go at it. That’s not saying a whole lot because the undercard is terrible, but Kameda-Sor Singyu is at least a contest on more even footing.
Rocky Juarez is aiming at Jhonny Gonzalez. Nice featherweight match-up, with both resurgent and both powerful punchers.
Coming off his own solid performance, albeit in a loss, Andrzej Fonfara is targeting Chad Dawson, himself just back in the ring after a long layoff. That works.
Scott Quigg-Victor Terrazas might happen before Quigg gets his hands on Leo Santa Cruz the way he wants. Quigg-Terrazas is fine, but all this footsy between British junior featherweights and Santa Cruz (Carl Frampton is the other) is getting old. Just fight already.
Zhang Zhilei, a giant Chinese heavyweight, will make his pro debut in August, and it’s overdue since he fought in the 2008 Olympics. The newly retired Evander Holyfield will serve as an adviser, which gives the whole spectacle even more of the stuff.
(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; RingTV; ABS-CBN; Flint Journal)