With the November 13 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito now good to go following Margarito's licensing in Texas this evening, the undercard for the event at Cowboys Stadium is already starting to get some talk flowing.
Those who hoped for a 118-pound title fight between Fernando Montiel and Nonito Donaire can keep waiting, it appears. That fight might wind up in early 2011 at this rate. Montiel-Donaire has been discussed for a long time now (before Montiel beat Hozumi Hasegawa), and it's still just idle chatter for the most part.
Most notable so far is Rick Reeno reporting at BoxingScene.com that Kelly Pavlik is a possibility. The former middleweight champ has been very quiet since losing his crown to Sergio Martinez on April 17, with only his declining a rematch coming out of Youngstown. There's been talk that he would move up to super middleweight, and then talk that he'd stay at 160 for the time being. Reeno says that a Pavlik fight in Arlington would be at a max weight of 164 or so, with Top Rank looking to "test" Pavlik.
The middleweight ranks are thin for "tests," which in boxing promoter speak usually means a journeyman who would be a serious underdog but a mild threat, a guy who can give rounds. I still think Peter Manfredo Jr. would be a nice comeback opponent for Pavlik from a Pavlik standpoint, but Manfredo recently signed with Lou DiBella and seems to have serious intentions of building a real career at 160.
Speculation: I wouldn't be shocked to see Top Rank re-visit the idea of Pavlik facing John Duddy, whose career has peaked with his loss to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in June. Once upon a time, Pavlik-Duddy was seen as a middleweight championship fight that would draw a crowd in the northeast. Now, it would just be a fight between a down but not out former champ and a clear also-ran. Brian Vera's always willing to fight anyone, too, and always provides good action. Lajuan Simon is a former title challenger who has won two straight. Andy Kolle has been on a roll since getting knocked out by Paul Williams. This is the sort of competition I expect they're looking at.
Boxing Scene also reported that Guillermo Rigondeaux is still expected to be a featured part of the undercard, but there are two opponents rumored now. Both would be big steps up in class for him, and both are also the sort of fighter that Rigondeaux can feast upon. Former titlist Ricardo Cordoba is one, and Bernabe Concepcion is the other. Concepcion is coming off of a second round TKO loss to featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez in July. Cordoba has won three straight over iffy competition since losing a war to Bernard Dunne in March 2009. Either is a nice fight on paper and probably action-packed.
I'd also expect another Mexican name of some repute to be featured on the card, even if it's just Alfonso Gomez or somebody. An easy fight for Marco Antonio Barrera might also move a few extra tickets.
Update: Lem Satterfield of FanHouse reports that Mike Jones will also be part of the undercard. Jesus Soto Karass, Lanardo Tyner, David Estrada and Ed Paredes are possible opponents. His promoter, Russell Peltz, added this:
"I asked Mike if he would rather Berto for the title or Soto Karass in Dallas, and he said that he would rather fight Berto," said Peltz. "HBO, I'm told, actually agreed to the fight, but I understood that Berto's people turned it down."