Marquez Speaks, Nacho Listens: No Maidana-Beristain Team
Juan Manuel Marquez reportedly pulled a power play according to BoxingScene.com, forcing trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain to pull the plug on a new professional relationship with Argentinean slugger Marcos Maidana before a camp could even get underway. Maidana is scheduled to face Erik Morales on April 9, and had decided to go with Beristain as a new lead trainer. Now that's not going to happen.
The reported story from the Marquez side is that he didn't want his trainer working with Maidana, as it could potentially block or complicate a future fight between the two fighters. Maidana is not pleased, of course:
"It seems that Marquez is jealous and scared of the possibility of facing me some day. Nacho didn't even bother to talk to me. He only did it with my advisor. He just left us abandoned. Why did he make us travel to Mexico? Not very pro from Nacho, right?"
Maidana says his new lead trainer will be another Mexican, Rudy Perez. Perez was the longtime trainer of Marco Antonio Barrera and has faced Morales in the past, so he'll have a good idea of a fight plan already. Considering the fact that most fans and pundits are expecting a courageous wipeout, so to speak, the issue of who trains Maidana for this fight probably isn't the biggest deal, but obviously Maidana sought out Beristain for a reason, and to have the rug pulled from under him just like that must sting. Who knows? Maybe this makes Marquez-Maidana more likely if and when Maidana gets past Morales.
Golden Boy Wins Bid for Hopkins-Pascal
The purse bid for the Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins rematch on May 21 took place today, and Golden Boy Promotions won with a bid of $1,911,500. Pascal's promoter (Group Yvon Michel) came in second with a bid of $1.7 million. A venue for the fight will be announced soon. Unless you market it right in New York and put it in Madison Square Garden, I really think the fight belongs in Montreal or Quebec City. But I think you have a chance with New York -- hype it heavy on local TV and radio and print, really put the effort into a press tour, sell the tradition of the championship and the venue, have the network get behind it big, etc. But it's still risky, as MSG isn't what it used to be in boxing, with the New York taxes making high-level boxing at the venue a rarity nowadays. If they go to Vegas, the fight will die at the gate, but they might be able to get the big site fee from someone who wants an event.
Fernando Vargas Comeback Is Paused
You may or may not have heard that Fernando Vargas was planning a comeback on April 16, when he was scheduled to fight Henry "Sugar Poo" Buchanan in Las Vegas. Dan Rafael of ESPN reported today that that bout is now "on hold" due to illness. Vargas reportedly has bronchitis and pneumonia.
It probably could go without saying, and I hate to pile on to the "this guy shouldn't fight" fires, so let me spin this another way. I don't want to see Fernando Vargas fight anymore. It just doesn't interest me at all. What can the bloated, 33-year-old Vargas, with years of damaging wars behind him, really prove to anyone? He's planning to fight at super middleweight. Have you SEEN the guys at super middleweight? Vargas is a natural junior middleweight and doesn't have the frame to really carry up to 168 well, plus he's beaten to all hell. Vargas has taken a lot of punishment over the years. He hasn't won a fight in six years and hasn't even competed in one since 2007, when he and Ricardo Mayorga packed on the pounds for a catchweight grudge match, which was everything you could have hoped it would be for two guys so obviously out of peak fighting shape and past their primes. That would be a fine note on which to end a career, but they all come back. They always come back, and then they lose fights they shouldn't. I'm not concerned about Vargas' legacy. The real Vargas is not the guy who would fight "Sugar Poo" or the guy who brawled with Maidana. It was the guy who went out on his shield against Oscar de la Hoya and Tito Trinidad.
I hate to say he needs the money, because I don't know, but... what else can you speculate? Vargas definitely always had the passion to fight and I'm sure that at 33, that still burns. He's a young man. If he does return, I wish him all the best. I hope he does well. But does it excite anyone?
Manny Pacquiao and His Hipster Haircut Visit Washington
Luke Thomas of SBNation.com/MMA was in attendance when Manny Pacquiao hit Washington D.C., and he got some photos and wrote up a piece afterward. He also got a quick video of Bob Arum talking about Pacquiao aiding Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada last election.