The December 5 HBO card main evented by Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez is picking up some steam. Rick Reeno reports that the show will be held at historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which was the venue for Williams' twice-postponed fight with middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik, too. It's an amazing boxing venue and even though it might not be the truly ideal place for this fight, there really isn't an ideal place for this fight, either. It should do far better in AC than it would have in Vegas, where they might've gotten lucky to draw 1,000.
With heavyweight contender Cristobal Arreola heading up the televised co-feature, contenders and pretenders alike seem anxious to take on the Mexican-American slugger, who suffered his first defeat in September at the hands of Vitali Klitschko. Owen Beck's manager contacted BoxingScene.com and had this to say:
"[I]f this was the 60s or 70s these young guys would be jumping at the chance to fight a proven veteran like Owen. That is one of the problems with boxing nowadaways. No one wants to take a risk."
He also said that Beck had been turned down by HBO (after the manager, Frank Meehan, contacted the network about the fight) because he's "been fighting journeymen." I think it's probably every bit as likely, if not more likely, that Beck was turned down because he's not a suitable opponent for Arreola at this point. Beck (29-3, 20 KO) hasn't beaten a notable opponent, well, ever really, with his best win coming against Darnell "Ding-a-Ling Man" Wilson, a natural cruiserweight who was giving up about 40 pounds in their fight. He was knocked out by Monte Barrett, knocked out by Nikolai Valuev, and beaten in a split decision by Ray Austin. Beck's simply not a viable name. He's not a "proven veteran," he's a guy that got exposed when he stepped up in competition and has never done anything to change the perception that he's just another mediocre heavyweight.
A slightly more interesting idea comes in the form of Brian Minto, the Pennsylvania scrapper. His team sent out a press release saying he'd love to take the fight with Arreola. Minto (34-2, 21 KO) is really no more qualified overall than Beck, probably, but he fights his ass off every time out and I'd rather see him get the shot than Beck, though again, to be fair to Owen Beck, Minto might have an even worse shot at beating Arreola. Minto is a mere 5'11" with a 72" reach and would be giving up a lot of size. He is probably best known as the guy that aborted Axel Schulz's 2006 comeback attempt by stopping him in six.
Beck is 33, Minto is 34. Either of them really would be a soft touch for Arreola, frankly, and I doubt either of them would be considered appropriate opponents by HBO's standards, which sometimes fluctuate given their intent for any given show
You know who I think would be plenty interesting at this point? Dominick Guinn, who isn't busy right now and is a DiBella fighter. DiBella's already involved in the card with Sergio Martinez, and Guinn has gone on a nice little three-fight win streak, taking Johnnie White's "0" in one round, beating the mammoth Gabe Brown, and knocking out Jean Francois Bergeron in two. He's 34 and if he's going to ever make that move some felt he had in him, it's probably now or never. Since that disastrous streak in which he went 4-6-1 (but still managed to beat Audley Harrison), he's rebounded and tried to get back on track.
I'm sure some will disagree that Guinn is much of a legit opponent, but I'd give him 10 times the shot I'd give either Beck or Minto, and there might not be anyone better willing to take the fight.