Some are lamenting not being able to get to see heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s fight against Eddie Chambers on television — it’s only being webcast via Klitschko.com — and unless brother Vitali can get U.S. TV money to fight Odlanier Solis, he may be searching for yet another opponent soon. I can’t lament it too much. Certainly, it’s a reminder once again of the dismal U.S. interest in the heavyweight division. But remember, most of us (including myself) not that long ago were wondering why HBO kept broadcasting Klitschko fights, as they were a waste of money. There hasn’t been an exciting Klitschko fight since then, has there? Some meaningful ones, yes, like Wlad winning the lineal championship, and some hopeful ones, like the possibility that exciting Chris Arreola would force Vitali into an exciting fight. But they all sucked. All of them. And they apparently always will.
Now, it’s up to you. You can pay $15 to watch Klitschko-Chambers if you want. Really, it’s only worth that price if you think there’s a remote chance Chambers can pull the upset. But the market has spoken. Nobody wants to see the Klitschkos fight in the United States. So HBO and Showtime and even ESPN are spending their money elsewhere. As important as the Klitschkos are, I’m grateful that instead of dropping millions on the Klitschkos, HBO will have the option of spending money on more desirable fights.
In other Quick Jabby items besides that one and the one in the headline, we’ll take a look at an unexpected retirement, a peculiar venue shift and fights in the works for Nonito Donaire, YURIORKIS GAMBOA! and Daniel Jacobs — among other tidbits.
Bernard Dunne’s retirement at 30, when he’s still a viable junior featherweight even coming off a knockout loss, is fascinating as all get-out. When does that happen? But I suppose my take is this: If he’s made some money, made some fans happy, given us some good fights, accomplished a nice amount and he’s afraid he doesn’t have him in it to keep giving his all — all of which describes his career — then I can’t be anything but happy for him for calling it a career. Maybe it sticks, maybe it doesn’t (this is boxing, after all), but if this is it, thanks for the memories, Bernard…
The light heavyweight rematch in April between Roy Jones, Jr. and Bernard Hopkins, as well as the welterweight fight in May between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Shane Mosley, will be headed to the movie theaters for fans who want the communal experience. The trick worked for Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez, where it was by all accounts a success. Why not do it again? Maybe Jones-Hopkins II won’t be that kind of success — even if it does better than expected, it’s simply not a fight even on the caliber of Mayweather-Marquez — but Mayweather-Mosley sure as hell will be, and even better, with hundreds more theaters expected to participate. And incidentally, kudos to Golden Boy for this honor — the UFC is copying boxing’s movie theater idea. When’s the last time mixed martial arts copied anything boxing did in the marketing realm? Usually, it’s the other way around…
I’m still not sure what to make of the delay and location shift for Arthur Abraham-Andre Dirrell, a 168-pound fight that’s part of the Super Six tournament. Friend of the site PJ is highly suspicious, as is the Abraham team, and I don’t blame them. The fight moved from early to late March because Dirrell said he had a back injury, and it also moved from California to Michigan. Economically, I don’t think that helps either party. I’m guessing that if everyone involved could make more cash off fighting in Dirrell’s home state that’s what they would have done to begin with. Strategically, it could help Dirrell, forcing Abraham to stay away from his native Germany longer and then moving to Dirrell’s backyard where one might assume judging would be more favorable; an Armenian populace in Cali could have helped Abraham with judge-swaying cheers, especially as Armenian junior bantamweight Vic Darchinyan was originally expected to bring some fans to the fight, too. There’s another explanation, of course, and that’s simply that the Dirrell injury is legit and Michigan made as much sense as anywhere else on short notice…
Man, you gotta love those Donaires, sending some money the way of injured Filipino fighter Z Gorres. It doesn’t even seem to have been a publicity effort on the part of Nonito and wife Rachel, from my reading of how it came out…
Oh, and how weird was this: In his junior bantamweight fight with Donaire, Manuel Vargas tested positive for a prescription painkiller. Is that a good idea? Donaire thinks he dislocated Vargas’ jaw, but Vargas may not have really felt it. Prescription painkillers + boxing sounds to me like it = taking a beating that could lead to one’s death. Luckily for Vargas, he got knocked out before it could come to that. Super middleweight Mads Larsen also tested positive recently (beware, cyberdiseases sometimes available via BoxingScene links) for some kind of banned substance in a fight he lost. I guess they were right what they told you when you were a kid: Drugs are for losers…
Junior middleweight Cory Spinks has hired Buddy McGirt to be his trainer (per BoxingScene). McGirt hasn’t been all that active or prominent lately, nor has Spinks, so maybe they can give each other a boost. On the surface, McGirt doesn’t seem to offer Spinks much he doesn’t know already, but Spinks has had trouble motivating himself — that’d be where McGirt could help most.
Vanity Fair has an interesting piece on the making of “Raging Bull,” widely considered the best boxing movie and often considered among the very best American films. Robert De Niro’s bloody face wants you to read it.
Round And Round
As I mentioned, Klitschko is looking at Solis as his next opponent for May 29, now that Nicolay Valuev has fallen through because of what sound like insane cash demands from the Valuev camp. Solis is not much better or worse than any other option. At a certain point, the Klitschko brothers are just going to run out of opponents, unless Vitali retires at the end of the year as promised.
Donaire, Eric Morel, Fernando Montiel and Hozumi Hasegawa continue to do a shuffle. Montiel-Hasegawa was alernately on and off as the week went on, with Montiel-Morel in discussions for May 8. Now, though, Donaire says Morel’s an option for him on that date. Go figure.
Lightweight Anthony Peterson is slated to get a shot, probably in June, at the winner of Humberto Soto-David Diaz. I like those potential match-ups. Don’t forget — as exciting as brother Lamont was in his junior welterweight fight against Timothy Bradley, it’s historically been Anthony who’s the more exciting of the siblings. Peterson-Soto or Peterson-Diaz is a pretty good action fight.
For his stay-busy appearance in Germany March 27, featherweight YURIORKIS GAMBOA! is slated to fight Jonathan Barros. It is what it is. Barros is the prototypical undefeated South American, fighting nobody of note while racking up wins, only Barros doesn’t have the customary garish KO record. Sounds like a safe fight from here, not the kind of bout that could get in the way of the far more appealing Gamboa-Celestino Caballero this summer.
For May 15, Golden Boy boss Oscar De La Hoya wants to make a fight between middleweight prospect-turning-contender Daniel Jacobs and Peter Manfredo, Jr., who’s revived his career a bit. I like the fight for both men. It would be on the undercard of an up-in-the-air card featuring junior welterweight clashes Amir Khan-Paulie Malignaggi and Victor Ortiz-Nate Campbell.
Bantamweight Cristian Mijares, who’s still on the comeback trail, is fighting Francisco Arce, brother of Jorge, next April 10, aparently. If Mijares can’t beat that dude, he definitely should re-retire.
Ruslan Chagaev looks like he’s going to reappear on the heavyweight scene quite soon, as he’s booked to fight Kali Meehan on an unspecified date in a title eliminator for an eventual shot at David Haye. Also, Hasim Rahman is calling Chagaev out. If Rahman is calling you out, you’ve officially “arrived.”
(Round and Round sources: ESPN, BoxingScene, Fightnews)