Birthdays and Games
Don't miss the first week of Pick 'Em Game choices one post below this one. Or you can just click here if you're too lazy to scroll.
FOUR big birthdays in the last three days. On Saturday, Bernard Hopkins turned 46 years old. On Sunday, his rival Roy Jones Jr. turned 42. And today, the great Muhammad Ali turns 68, and Marco Antonio Barrera turns 37. Many happy returns to them all. On a personal note, my grandmother and aunt both had birthdays today, too. That's a lot of cake.
Really Quick Note
This just came up while I was putting this together: Saturday's ARD card in Germany which was to feature Sebastian Sylvester making a title defense and Steve Cunningham-Enad Licina has been canceled, it appears. Sylvester got a viral infection, is the story, and the whole show was scrapped.
Manny Pacquiao to Fight Six More Times
Manny Pacquiao has promised to fight six more times, and if you're the sort of person that takes promises from boxers seriously, I guess that's great news.
This does raise a question: Who the hell is he going to fight six times? I mean, it's awesome that Manny wants to fight twice a year for three more years. The more Manny the merrier. But they're running out of guys at 147, so they'll need some of these dudes at 140 to start making noise, and in a weird way, Manny might want to hope that stablemate Amir Khan doesn't beat a Tim Bradley or a Devon Alexander or what have you.
First fight is Mosley, of course, coming in May. Then later this year, I expect Pacquiao-Marquez III if Marquez beats Morales, even if it means JMM has to leave Golden Boy. Marquez already technically has his own promotional company anyway, and outside of contract demands that Bob Arum has more criticized Marquez's handlers over, Arum has often been very complimentary of Marquez in the past, so I don't expect they'd have a hard time working together.
Maybe in 2012, Andre Berto is the right guy at the right time for Manny. Then you start finding out what has shaken out at 140, maybe someone comes strong at 147 like Kell Brook, maybe someone from 135 even makes their way up, and maybe, just maybe, for the sake of argument, Mayweather actually happens.
Looks like Winky Wright is going to be getting back into the ring for the first time since his 2008 blowout loss to Paul Williams, which itself followed a two-year layoff. Dan Rafael reports that Golden Boy is putting together a PPV card for April 9 in Las Vegas, and Wright (51-5-1, 25 KO) will be facing Matthew Macklin (28-2, 19 KO). That's a real solid comeback fight for Winky, and while Macklin is not the sort of great fighter that impresses most on first glance, he's a tough guy who can fight, and given Wink's age (39) and the fact that he's fought twice since the calendar turned over to 2007, losing both times, I don't think anyone should see Macklin as simply a comeback opponent.
It's a good fight for both, really. Winky, if he wants to try to get back into contention, is taking a bold first step back into action. Macklin could use a win over someone with Winky's name value, especially after struggling a bit against Ruben Varon in December.
The main event for the show will be Juan Manuel Marquez taking on Erik Morales, as most expected was going to happen. That looks like a go, as Richard Schaefer says they're finalizing the deal.
Weekend Winners: Manfredo, Lara, "La Bomba"
Peter Manfredo Jr. continued his winning ways by topping Daniel Edouard in the Key West main event of Friday Night Fights, winning a 10-round decision on scores of 98-91 (twice) and 97-92. Edouard (23-4-2, 14 KO) went down in the fourth round on a mental lapse that led to a nice right hand from Manfredo. The bout was contested a bit over the 160-pound limit of the middleweight division where Manfredo has recently been fighting, but 160 is still his future and he's well-aware of that. I'd really love to see him get a good fight next, because as nice as it is that he's beating the guys put in front of him, the guys put in front of him during his current six-fight win streak aren't world-beaters. Manfredo looks strong at 160 and looks like he has in some ways come into his own. I'd like to see him get a real shot to make his mark again.
In the Key West co-feature, Edwin "La Bomba" Rodriguez overcame a torn rotator cuff to grind out a decision over Aaron Pryor Jr. at 168 pounds. Rodriguez (18-0, 13 KO) won on scores of 96-93, 97-92 and 98-91. Pryor (15-3, 11 KO) is nothing close to a legitimate prospect with his late start in the sport. He's built like a basketball player and a lot of the times, he looks like a basketball player fighting. There are raw skills there, but they're the type that to make a successful pro fighter, really should have been honed when he was 17 years old, not when he's 32. As for Rodriguez, I watched the fight on tape (well, DVR) and yeah, the injury obviously affected him. He's a flawed fighter still, but he fights hard and showed some grit in this one. I still like him a lot.
In Cincinnati, Golden Boy prospect Adrien Broner improved to 19-0 (16 KO) with an easy win. In Indio, California, Erislandy Lara scored another first round win, this time over Delray Raines. Lara's talent is going to be wasted if they don't find a way to step him up immediately. This pattern they've got him on now of fighting guys he would have beaten in his first pro fight is not helpful. He's a polished product. Take him out of the glass case and let him shine. Frankie Gomez won again on the undercard of that show, too.
Holyfield-Williams PPV Lineup
It looks like that Evander Holyfield-Sherman Williams fight really is going to happen this time. Here's the January 22 lineup for those interested, and the fight will be available on U.S. PPV for $29.95.
Heavyweights, 12 Rounds: Evander Holyfield (43-10-2, 28 KO) v. Sherman Williams (34-11, 19 KO)
Heavyweights, 8 Rounds: Travis Kauffman (21-1, 16 KO) v. Julius Long (15-14, 13 KO)
Heavyweights, 10 Rounds: Monte Barrett (34-9-1, 20 KO) v. Charles Davis (19-21-2, 4 KO)
Middleweights, 8 Rounds: Donatas Bondoravas (11-1-1, 3 KO) v. Willie Fortune (9-0, 5 KO)
Willie Fortune is a great boxing movie name, by the way. Those are the fights that will be on the Integrated Sports show. The following fights will take place that night, but off TV:
Heavyweights, 10 Rounds: Cedric Boswell (32-1, 25 KO) v. Dominique Alexander (19-9-1, 9 KO)
Middleweights, 6 Rounds: Domonique Dolton (9-0, 6 KO) v. Marcos Primera (20-22-2, 13 KO)
Junior Welterweights, 8 Rounds: Miguel Gonzalez (12-2, 11 KO) v. Ramon Guevarra (9-20-2, 6 KO)
Al Bernstein and Benny Ricardo will have the call on PPV.
Odds and Ends
Featherweight prospect Matt "Sharp Shooter" Remillard of Connecticut signed a deal with Top Rank, which is good for him. Remillard was in talks to fight Celestino Caballero in the fight that wound up seeing Jason Litzau beating Caballero, and looking back, boy do I think Remillard missed out on a good opportunity, because the way Caballero showed up that night, I think Remillard would have walked out with a big win. The downside for those excited about Remillard signing with Top Rank might be that now that they have another feather under their care, any JuanMa Lopez-Yuri Gamboa fight might be waiting even longer. For now, Dan Rafael is reporting that he could face Mikey Garcia on March 26 on HBO. That's a nice prospect-prospect fight.
Jo Jo Dan will be fighting on ESPN2 on February 11. That show will come from Montreal. BoxRec has Antonin Decarie and Shamone Alvarez matched up in the only full fight on the listing, which is not something that's going to get me to tune in on a Friday, I can tell you that much.
USA Today has a feature on the upcoming Fight Night Champion video game, with a lot of info about the buzz building around the prison storyline and mature rating.
Phil Doherty of Fightnews.com has a Q&A with Miguel Cotto, who apparently likes the Minnesota Twins.