The last few weeks have been filled with plenty of news in the boxing world. Boxing is a complicated sport from the outside looking in, for those who have been fans for years and even more so for those inside the sport. The sport continues to confuse and alienate its own fan-base at times. Here’s what’s going on these days..
Andre Ward finally found an opponent for the under-card of the Cotto – Canelo Pay-Per-View. The opponent is disappointing, but did we as fans really expect a top 10 light heavyweight? Ward would be favored against almost every contender at 175 except for Kovalev, but to expect any of these guys to get ready for Ward with 3 weeks notice isn’t realistic. It was also announced that Ward signed a three-fight contract with HBO with a match up with Kovalev being the prize in the fall of 2016. Hopefully we get either Kovalev – Stevenson or an Andre Ward fight against a light heavy weight with a relative chance in between then.
A couple of weeks ago Terence Crawford defeated Dierry Jean in front of an excited 11,000 fans in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Crawford is one of the elite fighters that knows it’s not just that you win, but it’s also how you win. Crawford showed a bit more personality in the win and was willing to take his man out when he knew he had him beat. Whether he ends up fighting Pacquiao next year or not, his 2016 better be a more active one as he deserves better.
Speaking of the Pacman recently he posted a video discussing a rematch with Floyd Mayweather. Even if they sold half of what they sold this past May it would still be a success, but does anybody remember just how horrid a promotion that whole PPV and event was? HBO made a good documentary, but that was the only slight positive that arose from the experience. I would sadly prefer a John Ruiz comeback than a Mayweather – Pacquiao rematch. Rumors of Pacquiao facing Amir Khan have risen again while the WBC has ordered a match up between Danny Garcia and Khan. Either match up would be fine and may be exciting. Both fights would have a good story line and include the trainers possibly trading words. It was also rumored that Pacquiao may face the winner of this weekends Bradley – Rios bout. Neither of these bouts would do anything for Pacquiao and would be re-runs of bouts that weren’t that good in the first place. What may be overlooked by team Pacquiao is a match up with Canelo Alvarez should he defeat Miguel Cotto in the next few weeks. This would bring him the most money while being a major event and would be winnable as long as Pacquiao isn’t shot.
In 122 pound news, Guillermo Rigondeaux was stripped of WBA and WBO titles for inactivity. These two sanctioning bodies had no faith that Rigondeaux would be able to face any contenders and its seemed unlikely that anybody would step in the ring with him. Rigondeaux has been in the shadows for the last two years and has to face an opponent this year. Promoters Caribe Promotions has dragged the boxer’s career through the mud and have done absolutely nothing for him. Even if Rigondeaux couldn’t find any opponents within the top ten of the division he would have been better served by being active. Fighting in Japan as he did last year may not be a bad idea to keep doing, as the market in Japan for boxing is still very popular.
In other news, the long awaited and anticipated Carl Frampton – Scott Quigg bout was finally signed for to take place on February 27, 2015. This may end up being the UK version of Barrera – Morales and all fans should look forward to the action and the crowd that will be apart of this event.
It was announced that Ken Hershman of HBO would be stepping down from his position as President of HBO Sports by the end of the year. Hershman didn’t exactly have the best of reigns as President as HBO constantly needed a bigger budget for boxing and would take months off at a time to only comeback with mismatches. It wasn’t all bad as shows like 2 Days, In this Corner and The Fight Game were all established, but they are too few and far between. The next HBO Sports President is hopefully a boxing fan that understands that boxing needs a bigger budget to deliver a better product. It’s important as well that the new cold war between Haymon, Golden Boy and Top Rank be settled as fans shouldn’t be subjecting themselves to fantasy match ups of fighters in the same weight class in the same era.
I am really looking forward to this Saturday’s welterweight bout between Timothy Bradley and Brandon Rios. It’s a bit of a crossroads bout for both men as a loss could send both men down a path irrelevance. Both men look in phenomenal shape and should be prepared to go 12 rounds. Bradley recently had a very public break up with trainer Joel Diaz who he claimed missed a number of days during their last few training camps. I could have sworn I heard Teddy Atlas commentating for some fights in Phoenix this past week and unless Bradley came down to Phoenix, Atlas may have missed a day or two as well. This trainer – fighter break up has been an ugly one.