Before we talk about the July 30 Golden Boy/HBO pay-per-view, I wanted to quickly mention Victor Ortiz. Ortiz made a lot of new fans on April 16 when he outgutted and blasted on Andre Berto en route to a 12-round unanimous decision, and he made some believers out of non-believers. I was a longtime Ortiz non-believer; in fact, ever since I had first seen Victor Ortiz fight, there was just something I didn't like about him. The corny overdone smiling, the corny overdone "fun guy" post-fight interviews. He reminded me a lot of Oscar de la Hoya in the ways that I didn't like Oscar de la Hoya. He did not so much remind me of what I did like about Oscar, which is that he could fight his ass off and took on tough opposition constantly.
Anyway, Ortiz is continuing to try and bury any talk of fighting Marcos Maidana. Here's a snip of what he said to BoxingScene.com's Ernest Gabion:
"He's not even on my level. Now he's got to earn his ass whipping. I don't need to waste my time on him."
Now, look, I think Ortiz would beat Maidana in a rematch at 147 pounds, where Ortiz is staying, for the record. I think he is bigger and stronger at the weight, I think he's a better boxer than Maidana, and in all honesty I think he learned quite a bit about himself as a fighter (in all regards) from that fight and its fallout.
But let's be really clear: That fallout was created by Victor Ortiz. As much as promoters or Ortiz might want to gloss over why everyone was doubting his heart, it's very simple. Victor Ortiz publicly doubted his own heart. I don't care if that comes from bad PR training (another way he might be like his boss), it came out and it was worth "reading into." He said in the middle of the ring that he wasn't sure he "deserved" to be getting beaten up like Maidana beat him up.
Ortiz just can't help being Ortiz. I'm a believer with him at 147, but there's still just something about him that the pure boxing fan in me cannot latch onto. He still comes off somewhat like the spoiled fantasy tale prince who gets his jollies harassing commoners for no good reason, dreaming of facing dragons while having barely set foot outside of his own bubble.
Of course the more savvy among you may wonder why I take this stance on Ortiz-Maidana, yet basically take Ortiz's stance when it comes to a rematch between Amir Khan and Breidis Prescott. And I admit that in many ways the similarities are striking. In fact I admit that the two cases are similar enough that I will now ignore that and divert your attention.
HEY! Golden Boy's having an HBO PPV on July 30, and the rumors are coming on in. Erik Morales will headline, it appears, and the most likely candidates at this time are a Maidana rematch, a move to 135, or maybe a lame fourth fight with Marco Antonio Barrera.
Juan Manuel Marquez isn't being mentioned, as it appears he's either playing ball or pretending to play ball with a Zab Judah fight. All of that could be a bluff, by the way. Marquez says he's going to fight in July, but he could easily do that on his own in Mexico against a lesser opponent, and wait around to land the Manny Pacquiao trilogy fight that he still says is at the top of his list. And it looks like Pacquiao-Marquez III for November is also at the top of Top Rank's list now, too. They can't very well announce that fight now, or even really talk about it as Manny fights on May 7 against Shane Mosley, but they could very well have some idea of where they're headed. Main Events (Judah's promoter) say they've made Marquez an offer and have received no response. We'll see.
As for the July 30 card, you could possibly see:
- Chris John v. Daniel Ponce de Leon. The talk of John facing Yuriorkis Gamboa appears to be little more than fluff. Those Gamboa-Rafael Marquez rumors are picking up steam. John-PDL is a good fight, a couple of top ten guys at featherweight, and one I find intriguing stylistically right now. John is still a better boxer than Ponce de Leon and it's not even close, but Daniel has made some adjustments the last couple of years and is fighting arguably better than he ever has before. John isn't getting younger, and if Rocky Juarez can test John with his power, then Ponce de Leon certainly can.
- Nobuhiro Ishida v. James Kirkland II. That's right, fight fans! When Golden Boy gets money out of you in part to see a 30-to-1 underdog, and that guy winds up blasting out one of their pet projects, then you can be sure that Golden Boy had your best interests in mind the first time around and "knew something you didn't," and damn RIGHT the rematch will be on pay-per-view! Honestly I'd prefer Ishida find his money elsewhere and go for the gusto against someone else first. Then maybe rematch Kirkland if it makes sense. It's just that at 35, a fighter like Ishida doesn't get more than one chance to capitalize on sudden fame.