Joseph Agbeko will face Vusi Malinga in a title eliminator next. The only question is where the fight will be held.
Promoters Don King and Branco Milenkovic are likely to see the IBF bantamweight eliminator between Joseph Agbeko and Vusi Malinga head to a purse bid, as the two are failing to agree on a site to host the bout. Milenkovic feels it's necessary to have the bout in Malinga's native South Africa, and King, uh, doesn't.
Malinga (19-3-1, 12 KO) is a solid fighter but would have to be seen as a big underdog. His record is a bit misleading, as two of his three losses came in his first three bouts as a professional, and the only loss he's had since came to Hozumi Hasegawa, who flattened him in one round. Agbeko had a nice breakout year in 2009, getting a couple of Showtime main events in which he beat Vic Darchinyan and lost a sensational fight against Yonnhy Perez.
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It looks like the next fight for Humberto Soto could be against former lightweight titlist David Diaz. Diaz will probably always be most famous as the guy who was run over by Manny Pacquiao in Pacquiao's lone fight at 135 pounds. Both are Top Rank fighters and the fight is likely quite easy to make. Diaz has fought just once since losing to Pacquiao, coming back earlier this year to beat Jesus Chavez in Chicago. Soto beat Chavez far easier on December 19, and so I suppose on some level it makes sense for Soto to fight Diaz.
It's also not a bad fight; Diaz is pretty durable and can mix it up, but he likely presents no real threat to the far more dynamic, stronger Soto. And since Top Rank has been trying like hell to make an Edwin Valero-Humberto Soto fight, that's probably good for them.
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Yes, you read your ESPN Bottom Line crawl right last night, in case you missed the first announcement in November. Evander Holyfield, 47, will travel to Uganda to fight "WBF heavyweight titlist" Francois Botha, 41, on January 16. Why ESPN thought this news was relevant enough to be mentioned when something like Mosley-Berto gets roughly the same ESPN coverage is beyond me, but I'd almost appreciate it if they didn't lend crap fights like this any credibility. In some ways, they legitimized this fight merely by mentioning it. But I still think it won't actually happen.
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Gatekeepers Peter Manfredo Jr. and Matt Vanda will fight on January 29, and Ryan Burton interviewed Manfredo. Manfredo is moving down to 160, saying that's "where he should have been in the first place," and he calls this move his "last shot." Manfredo seems like a pretty honest cat, really.
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Jose Luis Castillo says 2010 will be a big year for him. OK, Jose. He also believes he can move down to 140. You might recall that the last time he tried to make 140, he was so overweight he didn't even bother weighing in, leaving Timothy Bradley hanging.