The king could battle a peasant in March. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Since all of this can go into one dandy post and y'all can react accordingly in a big lump sum, let's just do it this way.
The Fight: Miguel Cotto v. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Status: Dead for Now
Though in an earlier thread I did say I expected that Cotto and Chavez would meet in March with Chavez pulling out of his Saturday fight with Pawel Wolak, Bob Arum tells BoxingScene.com's Rick Reeno that that isn't the plan now. Arum says he wants Chavez to have a couple of fights at 154 pounds before he matches him with Cotto, which is pretty normal promoter spin since everyone was all gung-ho about Cotto-Chavez in December before Cotto decided to take the rest of 2010 off. This could mean a few things. It could mean Top Rank could shoot for a Cotto-Margarito fight earlier than expected. Top Rank would love to have Cotto fight in June during the Puerto Rican Day Parade festivities in New York, and either Margarito or Chavez would be perfect opponents for that, but I'm guessing Cotto won't want to sit out all the way until June, which would mean a year out of the ring for him. There's always the chance he could defend his 154-pound trinket against a relative patsy on a Top Rank PPV, too, instead of looking for a more "legit" opponent on HBO. Top Rank could give him Pawel Wolak. They've done mismatches with Cotto (Alfonso Gomez, Michael Jennings) during his peak years before, so it wouldn't really be anything new.
The Fight: Sergio Martinez v. Andy Lee
This comes from Michael Marley, who says that Martinez's promoter Lou DiBella and Lee's trainer-manager Emanuel Steward are both on board with the idea. It would happen in March. It wouldn't be much of a fight for Martinez on paper, though it's easy to forget Lee once had real promise. That has gone down the drain, though. When a fighter loses to someone he should beat (Brian Vera) and then goes on a nearly three-year run of basically being hidden against really mediocre (at best) opposition, that raises a red flag that nobody's all that confident in him, no matter what his team says. Since losing to Vera, Lee is 9-0 (6 KO) against nothing better than a C-grade opponent. The best guy he's faced in that time is probably Affif Belghecham. Martinez's side would do this because HBO would almost surely pair it up with a decent co-feature and stick it on the network, and because Lee's side isn't likely to demand or expect much money relative to other possible opponents like Felix Sturm or somebody. Lee's side would only do this if the people advising him are bizarrely confident in his chances, or if they're not seeing the progress you'd want to see from a 26-year-old prospect whose bubble has been burst already, and figure it's better to lose to the champ for good money than get beaten by another Vera type of guy. If this doesn't happen, though, signs are still pointing to Lee rematching Vera on the February 4 edition of Friday Night Fights, should Lee win on December 11 and not suffer any injuries.
The Guy: Robert Guerrero
Potential Opponents: Jason Litzau and Jorge Linares
As much serious love as I have for Litzau's upset of Celestino Caballero, taking a fight with Guerrero would be a big mistake. At 130 pounds, Litzau can probably land a title shot, and a winnable one at that, fairly soon. But he'd have to go up to 135 to fight Guerrero. As for Linares, something in my gut tells me that Golden Boy might pay that fight some lip service, but that they won't be eager to jump on it just yet. If Marquez goes up in weight to fight Pacquiao or Erik Morales, he could potentially vacate one of his trinkets at 135, which could leave them in a position to make Guerrero-Linares more meaningful than it would be right now. It's a good fight either way, but I'm just assuming they'll want it to make the most money possible and have the most fluffed-up significance that it can.
The Fight: Hugo Cazares v. Drian Francisco
Status: In Play
Today in Thailand, Francisco (20-0-1, 16 KO) went on the road to stop Duangpetch Kokietgym in the 10th round, which puts him in line for a shot at WBA super flyweight titlist Cazares (33-6-2, 24 KO). I think Cazares, even at 32 and probably a little past his absolute best, is one of the most overlooked and underrated fighters in the game today. He was champion at 108 pounds and gave Ivan Calderon all he could handle twice there. He had two good fights with Nobuo Nashiro when moving all the way up to 115, going 1-0-1. His last two wins have been sort of "eh," and he's got a title defense in Osaka on December 23 against Hiroyuki Hisataka (19-8-1, 8 KO), which is just about a gimme win for him. If he retains as expected, the 28-year-old Filipino would be his best opponent since the second Nashiro bout. Nashiro, by the way, is set to face WBC titlist Tomas Rojas in February on a big card.
The Fight: Alexander Ustinov v. Denis Boytsov
Status: Discussed for WBA Eliminator
Familiar Klitschko undercard dross Ustinov (22-0, 17 KO) could get matched with Boystov (28-0, 23 KO) in a WBA eliminator. David Haye currently holds the belt, while Ruslan Chagaev is currently next in line. With Valuev injured and Ruiz retired, the WBA had only one avenue left for their continual circle-jerk of heavyweight titlists, so Chagaev got to fight Kali Meehan in an eliminator, which was cute, I guess. The differences between Boytsov and Ustinov are pretty striking. Boytsov is 24. Ustinov is 34 in a week. Boytsov is a prospect. Ustinov is not. Boytsov can fight. Ustinov is tall. I suppose you could argue that Ustinov has a puncher's chance if nothing else, but I'd argue that even though he was rocking Monte Barrett all over the place early in their fight, he's so incredibly slow and lumbering that he couldn't even finish off Barrett, who managed to survive all 12 rounds in one of the worst fights of 2009.
The Fight: Alexander Ustinov v. Hasim Rahman
Status: Discussed for WBA Eliminator
This is the other option, may God have mercy on anyone who could potentially watch Ustinov-Rahman.