Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey meet in a marquee welterweight title fight this Saturday at Madison Square Garden. (via www.boxingfanatics.com)
Coming off of what has definitely been a pretty slow week for action but a fairly big week for heavyweight switcheroos, here are some thoughts bouncing around in my brain right now.
This weekend's Miguel Cotto-Joshua Clottey fight is the first truly marquee fight since Hatton-Pacquiao on May 2, and it feels like longer. After a May that failed to thrill anyone so far as American TV fights go (Dawson-Tarver II, Berto-Urango and Ward-Miranda were all one-sided and lacked drama), June was shaping up quite nicely before the death of Klitschko-Haye. Cotto-Clottey is now easily the month's biggest fight and its most interesting. It could be a really good, possibly even great fight -- but it could also turn into a bit of a stinker if Clottey has his way. I'm not slamming Clottey when I say that, but he's really not that exciting of a fighter and his best option will be using his defense to shut down Cotto. Neither has huge KO power and can be quite methodical. We'll have much more on the fight in the coming days, and round-by-round coverage on Saturday.
As far as a fight between Vitali Klitschko and David Haye goes, I'm totally on board. Haye would have to avoid the big shots and hope Vitali comes out cold as he did against Juan Carlos Gomez, but it's a good fight. I also think we'll wind up seeing it.
Andrei Arlovski's 22-second knockout loss to Brett Rogers at Saturday's Strike Force event was shocking to many, and while I hesitate to ever compare MMA boxing to what we know as boxing, it told me that Arlovski probably needs to focus on, you know, MMA, which he's been good at for years. Though he's not on a hot streak by any stretch right now, I figure part of that might just be that he didn't really train to fight Brett Rogers. This BS about his boxing career should stop unless he wants to totally ruin his combat sports career. A KO loss in boxing to some journeyman or can -- hardly a stretch, really -- would really damage his stock. As it is with his MMA career, he'll have to take some lower-tier fights (Rogers was considered lower-tier but proved out in emphatic fashion) and get back some mojo. Or not, I guess. But his boxing career should be put on ice for good.
Speaking of MMA-to-boxing heavyweights, Tim Sylvia is pondering doing it for good: "I would love to fight some of the heavyweight champs, you know? I mean the paydays are ridiculous!" Sylvia has as much chance of landing a heavyweight title fight as I do.
(Well, OK, he's much closer than me. I figure I could last a solid seven seconds against Ray Mercer and Sylvia will undoubtedly stay in longer than that.)
How much interest do you have in an Andre Berto-Luis Collazo rematch? While I think one is surely deserved, is that really a big enough fight for those that want to see Berto truly step it up into the elite ranks? Collazo is a tough cookie, but he's a second-tier welter, and statistically speaking, the first fight victor almost always wins the rematch. Still, there are only so many top 147 pounders out there, and Collazo might really be the best fight Berto can get.
Anyone going to drop a few coins down on Matthew Hatton upsetting Zab Judah? The more I think about it, the less preposterous it sounds. If Hatton isn't destroyed early, I think he just might be able to get something done on Judah and score the upset that would essentially end Judah's career.
Do you think HBO would air a fight between WBA titlist Felix Sturm and Winky Wright? That's not a rumor or anything, but Wright is familiar to overseas rings, there isn't much depth at middleweight, and he wants to keep fighting. Sturm is better than his reputation, which to be fair has been earned.
If Bernard Hopkins wants to fight again, go after Nikolai Valuev. Screw it, why not?
I wish HBO would get over their small man bias. The Ivan Calderon-Rodel Mayol fight on Saturday is more than worth a TV slot, especially given some of the undercard crap they've fed us both on PPV and their World Championship Boxing/Boxing After Dark shows. The economy may be slightly to blame, I suppose, but HBO hasn't shown any interest in many of the world's best fighters below 122 pounds.
I hope Bernard Dunne can get some U.S. TV exposure sometime.
I like watching Edwin Valero, but who is he that he gets to dictate he'll only accept "big fights"? He has little name, can only fight in Texas or out of the U.S., and I'd like to see him in against good opponents before I wind up spending $50 on him fighting Manny Pacquiao or something, which he believes he deserves. For the record, I still think Pacquiao would annihilate Valero.
I was happy to see Alfonso Gomez return with a TKO win on May 1. Now with Top Rank, Gomezis one of the sport's most likable characters, and there are few fights I've watched where I felt worse for the loser than the one-sided beating he took from Miguel Cotto last April. Gomez had no business in the ring with Cotto, and Cotto knew it. So did everyone else.
Admittedly, I'm sort of psyched for the July 11 fight in South Africa between Lovemore N'dou and Phillip N'dou. That's just good old-fashioned fun.