Is it Danny Jacobs? Is it Shawn Porter? No, when their powers combine, they form Danny Porter! Anyway, enough jokes at some poor digital producer’s expense, let’s get to the Round and Round — fights in the works, fights that might be in the works and fights that are definitely (maybe) going to happen. Some of boxing’s biggest stars are on the prowl for a date (in the boxing sense, though they may also be on Tinder for all I know), including the names mentioned above, as well as Leo Santa Cruz, Vasyl Lomachenko, Alexander Povetkin and more. Let’s get to it.
The biggest of the Round and Round updates (which you have probably heard elsewhere because we haven’t done one of these things in a while) is that junior middleweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has signed to fight Erislandy Lara July 12 in Las Vegas on Showtime PPV. Man, is that one good fight or what? It’s a clash between the top two junior middleweight in the world according to the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (Mayweather being the champ). Canelo has taken a lot of (justifiable) fire for being matched softly, but I think that time has come to an end. He legitimately wants to establish himself and I don’t really know who to pick. What more can you ask for? If your answer is not-very-funny boxer-made memes, then it’s your lucky day.
Negotiations continue (we hope) for Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. vs. Gennady Golovkin at super middleweight. Chavez said as much on Thursday after rumours the fight was in jeopardy because Chavez wasn’t happy with the contract extension Top Rank wanted him sign. Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez added to optimism by saying that the fight, planned for July 19 on HBO PPV, was “99 percent done.” Though Sanchez did also tell another reporter that Golovkin has a plan to fight in May in New York if the fight doesn’t come off. The real spanner in the works was the rumour that Chavez is in talks with super-advisor/villain Al Haymon. Arturo Sacramento “reported” that Haymon has offered Chavez a $47 million contract, which seems absurd, but it does add fuel to the fire. If he signs with Haymon, the fight with GGG isn’t going to happen, since Haymon’s guys don’t fight on HBO. And if he did, he might not fight at all for a long time, because Bob Arum is unlikely to let one of his stars go without a big legal fight. At this point there’s not much we can do but cross our fingers, but it’s not looking good.
As has been said innumerable times before in this space, the Top Rank/Golden Boy feud is starting to bite on the number of fights we get (see above). Luckily a featherweight clash between Gary Russell, Jr. and Vasyl Lomachenko is going to happen thanks to the two sweetest words in the English language de-fault. Golden Boy narrowly won a purse bid, which means Top Rank won’t be involved in the promotion, and the fight will happen June 21, most likely in Carson. Russell, a 24-fight, 5-year pro, is now in the awkward position of fighting a 2-fight, 1-loss pro with a better resume than him. This is one of the better fights that can be made in the sport, and anyone that says Lomachenko doesn’t deserve another title shot after Orlando Salido can suck eggs — would you rather see him murder some poor journeyman?
In other purse bid news, the rematch of Argenis Mendez vs. Rances Barthelmy at junior lightweight is a go after Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions won the rights for $261,000. Barthelmy knocked Mendez out after the bell in their first meeting, and his victory was changed to a No Decision, which means he’ll only get 25 percent of the purse this time. Barthelmy looked dominant in that fight, but who knows what happens in the do-over, early knockouts sometimes have a way of being flukey.
Bob Arum is reportedy looking to make Ray Beltran vs. Terence Crawford in Iowa, a short drive from Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. That’s a great fight, between the world’s #3 and #4 lightweights. Nebraska and Iowa aren’t known for being huge boxing markets, but it’s not like they’ve got much of a chance to be in the past.
Fellow junior lightweight Bryan “Tiquito” Vasquez, meanwhile, is searching for an opponent after his highly enjoyable victory over Jose Felix on the Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley II undercard. He’s mentioned Mikey Garcia (who is having some legal troubles), Juan Manuel Lopez or Daniel Ponce de Leon. They’re all good fights, though Lopez and Ponce de Leon are the more realistic options. I’d watch the hell out of either.
With Pacquiao’s emphatic victory over Bradley, attention has turned to who the Filipino superstar will fight next. TQBR alumnus Mike Coppinger reported that HBO boss Ken Hershman is keen on Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez V (assuming Marquez beats Mike Alvarado), and you can’t really blame him. Short of Mayweather, that’s probably the most marketable fight out there for Pacman. Unfortunately “Dinamita” himself isn’t so keen, saying that the fans would rather see Pacquiao vs. Mayweather (which I don’t need to tell you isn’t going to happen) and that he’s not “losing any sleep” over it. Marquez’s pride-bordering-on-dickishness is part of his appeal, but Pacquiao gave him a bunch of rematches, so this seems closer to the dickishness end of the spectrum. Sigh.
Junior middleweight contender Jermell Charlo will take something of a sideways step after defeating Gabe Rosado. He’s got a bout teed-up with Japan-based American Charlie Ota (24-1-1, 16KO) on the undercard of Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara May 24 on Showtime. Kind of hard to tell much about Ota, since the junior middleweights aren’t exactly stacked in Japan.
Nicaraguan featherweight Rene Alvarado has professional loser Rocky Juarez in his sights after upsetting Robinson Castellanos in February. I think it’s fair to say that nobody outside Juarez’s family (and maybe not even them) is all that keen on seeing him fight ever again.
A showdown between junior featherweight fun machines Leo Santa Cruz and Carl Frampton is looking increasingly likely, with Santa Cruz saying that he’s willing to travel to Frampton’s hometown of Belfast for the fight. The Ulsterman’s trainer, Barry McGuigan, said that to get Santa Cruz to Belfast he’d make the Mexican an “offer he can’t refuse.” Hopefully he meant that in the “lots of money” way, rather than the “do as I say or I’ll kill you” Godfather-style way. Mind you, if it gets that fight done, what’s a death threat or two between friends?
Junior welterweight Khabib Allakhverdiev wants a rematch with Jesse Vargas after the Vegas-native’s relatively close win in their fight on the Pacquiao vs. Bradley II undercard. I can dig it. Allakhverdiev was fighting with a Grand Canyon-sized hole in his face, so I guess if he has a whole face he might do better next time.
Light heavyweight Juergen Braehmer wants to return to the ring as quickly as possible after stopping Enzo Maccarinelli this month. With both Marco Huck and Yoan Pablo Hernandez both out hurt, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a quality opponent.
And finally, Russia and Ukraine, apparently not content to nearly go to war in real life seem set to meet in the ring in June, with their chose representatives heavyweights Alexander Povetkin and Vyacheslav Glazkov. That’s a good fight, hopefully it’s not as boring/foul-filled as the last time Povetkin fought a Ukrainian (Wlad Klitscko).
Round and Round sources: ESPN, Boxingscene, Fighthype, Ringtv.com