Congressman Manny Pacquiao, here hanging out with Filipino President Benigno Aquino III, apparently has the date for his next fight set, which will take place on April 16 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images)
Almost two months after junior welterweight titleholders Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley Jr. signed to fight each other in the first major fight of 2011, the bout finally found a home in Pontiac, Michigan. This is one of the more ludicrous fight locations I've seen in a while, even if it will be set up to only hold 15,000. Dirrell-Abraham tanked miserably in Detroit, and that involved a hometown fighter. To top it off, Gary Shaw is more of a TV promoter than a get butts in seats guy. Sticking this fight someplace with a lot of seats seems like it's just a really bad idea if the fight is anywhere but St. Louis.
According to Lance Pugmire, Manny Pacquiao's advisors have already set his next fight date and location, on April 16 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. This doesn't necessarily mean much - Bob Arum routinely reserves the MGM Grand many months in advance, and the last time he did so, Pacquiao in fact ended up fighting Joshua Clottey in Dallas instead. Arum also maintains that if Floyd Mayweather doesn't show interest, then Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley and Andre Berto remain the candidates for the fight.
Steve Cofield wonders why attendance was so poor at a number of major fights this November. Perhaps having no major fights for months, and bunching all of them together within a month of each other, had something to do with it. Also, perhaps some of them just aren't that great of fights. 4000+ to watch a Ward-Bika fight with no discernible undercard that was available for free on TV is a pretty darn good number, in my opinion.
A nice fluff piece about Dereck Chisora and his upcoming bout against Wladimir Klitschko. Del Boy says he regrets his prior controversial incidents (domestic violence, biting opponents, etc). He also says he's getting paid "crap money" (about £200,000) and he does have a three-fight deal, should he win, where he would next need to fight Vitali.
An interesting little story about the level of respect between Juan Manuel Marquez and Michael Katsidis. After their fight, the two met up, traded autographed shoes from the fight and hung out for a while, despite having just pounded on each other for nine rounds.
Willie Casey has confirmed he is set to return to the ring just five weeks after winning the European super bantamweight title. This should be a warm up for his fight against Kiko Martinez, but there are swirling rumors that Casey may vacate to fight Guillermo Rigondeaux for the interim title he just won. This sets up a couple of interesting plot lines. Casey is one of the 14 fighters who Freddie Roach continues to train (after cutting the size of his roster in half), while Rigondeaux used to be trained by Roach but the two split up about six months ago. I doubt Roach lets the 14-0 Irishman in the ring with Rigondeaux unless he thinks that Casey's balls-to-the-wall style would seriously fluster and possibly overwhelm the extremely tentative Rigondeaux.
Ricky Hatton has revealed that Commonwealth welterweight champion Denton Vassell is helping him fall back in love with boxing. Quoth Ricky, who compared Vassell to Mike Tyson "I like Denton a lot and I am convinced he is going to become an elite fighter over the next 18 months." Sure Ricky. At least he seems to have this whole promotion thing down, but if he gets too deep into hyperbole, people will start to forget what a likable fighter he was and start to view him just like any other smarmy promoter.