Jorge Barrios has been calling out Edwin Valero for ages now, calling him a communist and a long-haired prostitute in the lead-up to Lightweight Lightning, and recently calling him more names after allegations of domestic abuse by Valero. Valero has now fired back, asking Barrios to put his money where his mouth is, saying Barrios can face him in Venezuela in December. This is an empty offer, since Barrios is scheduled to fight on Latin American TV in late November, but it also looks like Barrios' original goading may have been more empty than anticipated. Barrios says he'd only fight Valero in America, and as we know, Valero can't actually fight in America at the moment, since there's a warrant out for him in Texas and the only state where he's licensed is Texas. Still, with all this build-up and so few big money options out there, I expect this fight to happen eventually.
Ernie Lopez, a two time title contender, passed away tonight at the age of 64. He was best known for being an all-action fighter, and for being the less prominent of the fighting Lopez brothers (Danny "Little Red" Lopez was his younger brother). This one's another sad story. He lived his later years through dementia and actually ended up homeless in Texas, before someone was able to locate him when they tried to induct him into the California Sports Hall of Fame. Since then, he's been in a rest home in his native Utah.
David Tua just got himself back in the spotlight by crushing Shane Cameron, but it looks like he might be back to fighting cabdrivers for a while, unless he can get foreign TV on board. In New Zealand, Maori TV has the right to air his next three fights at NZ$50,000 a pop, meaning he can't go the pay per view route. With that small of a TV budget, it's unlikely he'd get any credible opposition. This may have something to do with why the proposed Tua-Rahman rematch fell through.
Eric Esch, the 4-round brawler better known as "Butterbean", likely fought his last professional bout in losing to local fighter Harry "The Ho-Chunk Hammer" Funmaker, in yet another 4 rounder. After making a name as a winner of the Toughman competition, Esch managed to carve out a decent career as a boxer, going 77-8-4 against mostly limited competition. His lone 10 round fight was against a then 52-year old Larry Holmes, in a fight he lost by unanimous decision. Happy trails, Butterbean.
This one could be entertaining. BBC1 will be airing the documentary "The Calzaghe Clan" tomorrow evening, which will focus primarily on the ornery elder Calzaghe. At least the BBC gets the right idea. Calzaghe-Jones 24/7 was quite the dud, and they would have done well to put more focus on Enzo, who appears to be quite the character.
Aleksandr Emilianenko, brother of MMA star and recognized top fighter Fedor Emilianenko, tried his hand at pro boxing yesterday, going four rounds against Hizir Pliev, who apparently was also making his pro debut. The bout ended in a draw, with Pliev controlling the first round and a half and Emilianenko taking over after that point. Still, the Russian press has still somehow painted this as a 'successful' pro debut. If successful means you didn't get knocked out, then sure, I guess. I wonder if his poor performance had anything to do with him being at a Russian wedding the day before. For those with morbid curiosity, the fight is up on Youtube.
Former title challenger, goofy looking fighter and all-around good guy Sam Soliman came back into the ring after nearly a year off, defeating 10-2-3 Les Piper in a 7th round TKO. Evidently the layoff wasn't as much because he wanted the time off as that he's still trying to get another title shot, and couldn't get anyone ranked to face him. Soliman is still ranked in the top 15 at middleweight by the IBF, and since he's getting up there in years, he'd probably do well to stay busy. Fortunately, he is a fitness freak, and I do hope he can get there some day. His actual talent level belies his mediocre looking 37-11 record, and due to his oddball fighting style, he doesn't get many favors from the judges. Still his infectious enthusiasm, ability to communicate and love for the gym mean that he probably still has a decent career as a trainer ahead of him.
Bute-Johnson a match made in heaven | Click! (link in Romanian)
Bute has taken up camp for his Librado Andrade rematch in Miami, in part so he has the services of Glen Johnson as a sparring partner. Bute-Johnson sparring seems absolutely perfect for both guys, and I hope some video of this leaks out there. It's rare to see two fighters of their levels sparring each other while both is training for a big fight, but this one make perfect sense. Bute's opponent is Librado Andrade, a forward-moving puncher who has unlimited energy. Johnson is similar to Andrade in many of those respects, although he's an infinitely better boxer than Andrade. Johnson's opponent is Chad Dawson, a southpaw with great handspeed who can show some slickness and throws big combos. While Bute is a bit smaller than Dawson and doesn't throw as hard, he's a southpaw who's just as quick as Dawson and is probably slicker and a better combination puncher than Dawson. I can't imagine a much better sparring scenario.