Credit, as always: the esteemed Dan Rafael
News: WBC super flyweight champion Cristian Mijares successfully defended his title against Franck Gorjux.
Views: I've generally praised the promoters for making a fantastic fall schedule, one that seems to be spilling over into a very promising winter. But this was typical sanctioning body garbage. Mijares was tremendously impressive when he dominated Jorge Arce earlier this year, but his last two defenses have been suspect at best. Teppei Kikui in July was one thing, but Gorjux is entirely another. Take a look at his record for yourself, and then tell me how the WBC had this guy ranked No. 10, which allowed Mijares to skirt by with a joke of a defense.
Gorjux is entirely unknown, and came in with a 16-7 record. The spin is that he'd won six in a row. Combined record of those six opponents, prior to fighting Gorjux: 52-57-3. It's not the WBC's only absurd ranking, but it's one of their worst, maybe the worst. It's not as if there aren't other quality fighters in the division: champions Fernando Montiel and Alexander Munoz are every bit as legit as Mijares. Simply put, Gorjux getting a world title shot, in any division, against any champion, is hopefully something that is going by the wayside.
News: Felix Sturm has promised Randy Griffin a rematch after their WBA middleweight title bout on Saturday ended in a draw, with rave reviews.
Views: Griffin came in as an unknown with a solid record by the numbers but nothing exceptional to his credit. He gave Sturm a hell of a fight, and Sturm is doing the right thing by giving Griffin another shot at his title. It's unlikely that Sturm's next opponent would've been any more deserving than Griffin is.
News: Jose Luis Castillo will return to the ring on Saturday in Mexico.
Views: Castillo's camp has made it entirely clear that the former 135-pound champion and near-Mayweather conqueror is boxing on because he needs the money. As most of you know, the estate of Diego Corrales is suing Castillo for failing to make weight in their third fight. I don't know where that'll go, but Castillo is not in great standing financially. How bad it really is, I'm not aware. But there's no denying that Castillo did not look like he wanted to be there against Ricky Hatton. Castillo himself has said that it was one punch, a great punch, and he shouldn't be taking guff for the result. Hatton should have beaten him, probably, but if you saw the fight, you know what I mean. Castillo looked like a fighter there to collect a paycheck, and nothing more.
And, personally, as long as he's healthy and fit to be in the ring, Jose Luis Castillo and anyone else are entitled to earn their living. He'll be fighting Adan Casillas (20-6).
News: Boxing Talk is reporting that the WBC is ordering Juan Manuel Marquez to defend his 130-pound title against Manny Pacquiao. This may or may not be true, of course.
Views: Assuming Marquez beats Rocky Juarez, and he should (although Marquez has lost fights he probably should have won before), then Marquez-Pacquiao II is the one fight at 130 pounds that needs to happen. It is the division's Calzaghe-Kessler. There is not an acceptable substitute fight for either guy. If Marquez-Pacquiao II really goes head-to-head with Vazquez-Marquez III on March 1, though, I'd skip it barring a seriously great undercard. The Marquez-Pacquiao rematch is not $50 more interesting than the third bout between Vazquez and Juan Manuel's brother, Rafael. We all want both fights. The best we could hope for is a rescheduling of one of the dates, and both are still tentative given how far off they are.
News: The Cunningham-Adamek cruiserweight title fight is likely not going to happen on the undercard of Jones-Trinidad.
Views: This is too bad, as it was a fight I was interested in, and would've been a superb addition to the HBO PPV card. A possible replacement? A 154-pound title fight between Cory Spinks and mandatory challenger Verno Phillips. Ugh.
News: Former cruiserweight champion O'Neil Bell wants to fight Sultan Ibragimov.
Views: I like Bell, he's a really entertaining fighter, and I think he could do fairly well at heavyweight, and would have a real shot at beating Ibragimov. But with Ibragimov's team talking with Wladimir Klitschko's, Sultan can make a lot more money and get a lot more exposure. Frankly, revisiting a fight with Ruslan Chagaev would probably be far bigger than a fight with Bell, who hasn't fought since losing to Jean-Marc Mormeck in March, a rematch that was 14 months after their first bout, which was the last time Bell had fought before that. He's good, but the cruisers just aren't that well known.
News: Zab Judah's next fight, against Ryan Davis (20-6-2), will be at junior middleweight. It's a one-shot deal.
Views: I still find Judah's comeback interesting, as much as I dislike him. He got the shot at Cotto, lost, and now he's gone back to the drawing board, even stepping up in weight for another tune-up bout as he awaits something bigger at welterweight. If Zab could do it, a return to 140 pounds might be the best thing for him. Welterweight -- with Mayweather, Mosley, Cotto, Williams, Margarito, Cintron, de la Hoya, a rising Andre Berto, and now Ricky Hatton -- is just too crowded. Without Hatton, the top dog at 140 is Junior Witter, and Judah has already beaten him. A Judah-Malignaggi fight could do a really good crowd in New York. But Zab is strong-willed if nothing else. I'd expect we'll see him in a major fight again in the first quarter of 2008.
News: Speaking of Paulie Malignaggi, he'll make his first title defense on January 5, against Herman Ngoudjo, on Showtime.
Views: Should be a win for Malignaggi, but it's surprising to see him on Showtime as he seemed like something of an HBO favorite. You probably remember Ngoudjo from giving Jose Luis Castillo a very, very tough night in January, when Castillo and Hatton both fought on HBO to set up their summer clash, all of which turned out to be supremely disappointing. In fact, Ngoudjo was probably the real star of that January evening. Meant to be a tune-up, he came hard at the heavily favored veteran. I don't think he has the speed to keep up with Paulie, or the power to knock him out. Cotto couldn't do it.
News: The latest rumored card for Top Rank's December 1 PPV features Ivan Calderon defending his WBO junior flyweight title against Manuel Vargas.
News: Calderon (29-0, 6 KO) owned the strawweight division before finally moving up and taking a split decision over Hugo Cazares. If this goes through, a Calderon fight does make the PPV (headlined by Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. v. Ray Sanchez and Jorge Arce v. Wyndel Jaliona) a little more attractive. Not a LOT more, but somewhat. Vargas shouldn't present Calderon with much of a challenge, but we thought the same about Nonito Donaire earlier this year.