Dan Rafael of ESPN.com reported late last night that plans have changed for the Erislandy Lara vs Ronald Hearns fight, as it will no longer be taking place on the Paul Williams card on January 21, but instead as the main co-feature to the Victor Ortiz vs Andre Berto rematch on February 11.
This doesn't change the fact that Lara vs Hearns is not a very interesting fight and that Hearns shouldn't be getting this type of opportunity, but at least the January 21 card is no longer two bad fights. What is questioned now is whether or not there will be a Williams vs Lara rematch at some point. Lara's team says that Williams' team has expressed no interest in doing it again.
[ Related: Ortiz vs Berto Press Conference ]
The Showtime telecast will be a triple-header, also featuring top featherweight prospect Gary Russell Jr (19-0, 11 KO) against an opponent to be named. Russell getting on, along with Williams' weak fight on 1/21, and Berto part of the mix here, does lend some credence to the idea that Al Haymon has Showtime's ear now with Stephen Espinoza in charge. Haymon is criticized frequently because his fighters have a tendency to get TV dates in weak fights for too much money. Ortiz vs Berto is not that sort of fight at all, but Williams vs Ishida is, and Russell probably isn't going to face anybody difficult either.
For those who may have missed it, or don't yet know what Al Haymon even looks like, the New York Times had a great article on the controversial manager/agent/adviser/semi-promoter, and in November, MaxBoxing's Gabriel Montoya had a terrific piece on Haymon as well.