We'll be previewing both the Diaz-Diaz and Ibragimov-Holyfield fights tomorrow and Friday, so make sure to check back for that. I think both fights have interesting dynamics, for totally different reasons. I'll be here on Saturday night to score and talk about the Diaz-Diaz bout live as it happens, so feel free to stop by and join us. Is anyone going to order the Holyfield fight? I wouldn't exactly object to some live updates. Think whatever you want of Holyfield, and God knows I've had some disparaging remarks over his comeback, but I'm not rooting against him or anything. It'd be a great story if he won, or even if he just made a hell of a good fight of it and then decided that was enough.
Showtime will get Antonio Tarver back on your television sets on December 1. Dan Rafael made note of this card a while back, but with Tarver, you always have to consider that he might flake out. But all reports are that his bout with Danny Green is an affirmed go. It's a fairly interesting matchup, better than Tarver-Muriqi, but I still don't understand Showtime's love affair with Tarver-headlined cards. Almost all of his marketability was flushed down the tubes when he was manhandled by Bernard Hopkins in such a fashion that even Tarver admitted after the fight that if Hopkins had come harder, he'd have knocked him out. He is a quality fighter, but he's no spring chicken. How much does he really have left in his legs? Green has a real shot at beating him. The undercard will supposedly feature Vernon Forrest making his first defense of the 154-pound title he won against Carlos Baldomir in July, against Michele Piccirillo. Most American fans will only recall Piccirillo from having his ass handed to him by Ricardo Mayorga.
Kostya Tszyu urges us to not count Hatton out against Mayweather. He seems to base most of his Hatton support on Mayweather getting distracted by "Dancing with the Stars," which I do agree is about the only way Hatton can beat Mayweather.
Does anyone else scour the boxing sites daily looking to see if there's been a signed date for the third meeting between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez?
Sergei Liakhovich and John Ruiz may not entertain the fans in Chicago on Saturday night after all. Liakhovich has reportedly still not signed the contract, claiming there wasn't enough time, according to Ruiz's camp. Ruiz has said that if Liakhovich doesn't fight on Saturday, he will petition the WBA (which has Ruiz ranked No. 3 and Liakhovich No. 2) to switch their spots in the rankings. "Petition" is one of John Ruiz's favorite words, but part of me feels he's justified here. First of all, Liakhovich hasn't fought in a year since losing to Briggs, and second of all, Ruiz dropped out of a scheduled fight to take this one on very short notice. He has a legitimate beef.
Speaking of fights that might be off (if they were ever really on to begin with), Nate Campbell was arrested on felony burglary charges this week. He was to face Humberto Toledo.
After the Pacquiao-Barrera fight last Saturday, there was reportedly a near-brawl between Filipino bantamweight champion Gerry Penalosa and Mexican action star Jorge Arce. I'll be honest here: I'm only 25, but when I was a kid, I still never would have imagined that the most intriguing and best "cultural war" in boxing would be the Mexicans and Filipinos.
Here's a question, and I pose this to British readers that wonder why I'd think that Hopkins is right in refusing to go to England but Calzaghe is sort of questionable for never leaving the United Kingdom (again, he's done it once, ever, in Germany): Why does Joe refuse to fight elsewhere? Ricky Hatton comes to the States. I am not trying to downgrade European boxers or European boxing, but let's be blunt about it. The United States is still the home base of major boxing. I don't want to hear about live gates, because Joe Calzaghe would be more than handsomely compensated for fighting Bernard Hopkins at a big arena somewhere in the northeast.
Calzaghe has very few wins over truly notable fighters. I'm not saying he hasn't beaten good fighters. I'm not saying he hasn't beaten a lot of them. I'm not even saying he hasn't dominated the majority of them. But there were fights he never took. Why is that? The Peter Manfredo fight was a joke, and it can't be blamed on a mandatory. He, in fact, faced Manfredo instead of IBF mandatory Robert Stieglitz.
Manny Pacquiao could fight in his home country every time out and sell out any facility or giant piece of land he wanted to. He fights in the States. No matter how big of a star Calzaghe is, he is not on Hopkins' level to most boxing fans. I want to again make clear that I think Joe Calzaghe is a hell of a fighter. What I'd like is to know that Joe Calzaghe is truly one of the best. I don't dislike Calzaghe, and I love watching him fight. I'd love to see him take on Hopkins -- for one thing, I think he's got the perfect makeup and skill set to beat Bernard. But we'll move on. Enough British boxing fans already dislike me.
On the topic of super middleweights, though, the upcoming title fight between hard-hitting champion Alejandro Berrio and top contender Lucian Bute should be a firecracker. It's not near the level of Calzaghe-Kessler, but I wish it was going to be on American TV.
Two more fights I look forward to eventually seeing: Chris Byrd bringing his veteran savvy against young bulldozer Alexander Povetkin, and John Duddy facing the very long-named Noe Tulio Gonzalez Alcoba. Alcoba (14-1) lost to Felix Sturm his last time out, and is a substitute opponent for Duddy. Alcoba is barely on the radar, really, but a fight with Sturm means he's been in the ring with much higher competition than Duddy's ever faced, and "Irish" didn't look so hot in his last fight. There have been rumblings that Duddy is looking to face Kelly Pavlik next year. That would be an enormous mistake for Duddy, in my view.
As for Byrd-Povetkin, it's just a crossroads matchup. How good a professional is Povetkin at 13-0? He's probably the future of the heavyweight division, but so were lots of guys. Chris Byrd has seen every type of heavyweight there is. He's been around the block, to say the least, and he's only ever seemed stupid when matched against Wladimir Klitschko, the one guy with whom, for whatever reason, Byrd feels the need to try to slug.
Who wonders what happened to the comeback of Paul Spadafora? Yeah, me neither.
Throw another log on the "guys who want to fight Manny Pacquiao" fire. Indonesian featherweight champion Chris John hasn't outright called Manny out on the carpet, but said in an interview that he feels he could beat him. John holds a win over Juan Manuel Marquez, which I personally felt he didn't actually earn.
Another thing I check the news for daily: Whether or not Vargas-Mayorga has been called off again.