News: According to Frank Warren, this weekend's Vegas trash talking has led to negotiations between Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins being "very close" to done. [Source]
Views: Anyone that really buys that Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins just happened to run across one another on a massive fight weekend with US-UK drama is as gullible as it gets. There's no way it wasn't planned. But, this is great news. In some ways, I view this the way I did Hopkins-Wright -- more a glorified exhibition than anything. But, the thing is, that's OK with me. Bernard Hopkins is choosing world class opposition for his career-ending run, and Calzaghe isn't far off from retiring either, according to his own words. I'd surely rather see the two of them fight one another then either of them fighting Clinton Woods. If Warren and Golden Boy can hammer this out, the iron is hot. It's a great time to announce this fight.
In a related story, Frank Warren has taken Hopkins to task for his "racial slur" made in Vegas, when Hopkins said he'd "never lose to a white boy." I think a lot of people are far more up in arms than they need to be, but make no mistake about it, it was a stupid damn thing for a professional like Bernard Hopkins to say. At some point, it would be nice of Hopkins to stop acting like a pissy 20-year old. There was no reason for him to make the comment, the same as there was no reason for him to shove Winky Wright at their weigh-in. Both instances were just awful judgment calls. We're not talking about an angry young fighter anymore, we're talking about a middle-aged guy with a lot of money who helps run one of the biggest promotional firms in boxing.
News: Barring a fight with de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton's desire appears to be a fight with current IBF junior welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi. [Source]
Views: Hatton-Malignaggi could be very interesting. Paulie hung in there, valiantly (maybe stupidly), with Miguel Cotto for 12 rounds. At 140, I think Hatton is actually stronger than Cotto was, as Miguel had to work a lot harder to make the weight.
If Malignaggi is successful with his January 5 (Showtime) date against Herman Ngoudjo, which he should be, a fight with Hatton could sell to any network. Ricky will still have a massive following, Paulie has his own loyal fans, and I think the style matchup is very good. Malignaggi is a defensive-minded, slick boxer with good counter-punching skills and very fast hands, plus good footwork. But no one will ever accuse Malignaggi of running. He has a mean streak, despite his complete lack of power, and I think if Hatton started battering him inside, Paulie's instinct to stand and trade would kick in. I'd favor Hatton, but that's no knock on Paulie, of whom I have become a big fan since his performance against Cotto. And he's been dominant over Edner Cherry and Lovemore N'dou this year.
News: Edison Miranda and Jean Pascal are on a collision course for this summer.
Views: Miranda, who just recently went up to 168 pounds, and the Montreal-based Haitian Pascal would make for a dynamite fight. Both have rather big egos and like to bring it, and both can punch. I think Pascal's a better fighter, so I'd pick him if/when it comes about.
Pascal beat Brian Norman via 10-round unanimous decision in Montreal this weekend, and it gave Miranda a chance for his trash talking to return. This fight has been in the works ever since Miranda moved up, though. The two of them had photos together in the ring after Miranda's win in Florida a while back.
Right now, both are scheduled for the January 11 Friday Night Fights, against opponents yet to be named, which indicates they'll be given free passes to set something up for later. If ESPN is hoping to secure Miranda-Pascal for the summer, it'd be great, but I'd hope they already have the contracts in place, because another network could snap that up in a heartbeat if both guys are impressive.
News: Anthony Mundine returned from his eye surgery to score an easy win over a non-contender as he "defended" his "title" on Monday.
Views: Mundine is not a champion. At all. That is sanctioning body bullshit. And speaking of bullshit, that is what the ring physician called Mundine claiming he'd lost half the vision in his bad eye, but was fighting on -- which makes sense, since no decent governing body would have let him fight. Mundine has always been a self-promoting machine, and this is just another step.
There has been a rumor for a while now that he'd next face old rival Danny Green again in 2008, and Green says he's more than willing to do it, though this time he'd want it at 175 instead of 168. Their first fight was in front of nearly 30,000 in Sydney.
News: Steve Molitor will return on January 19, facing Ricardo Castillo. In other return news, John Duddy isn't wasting any time either, as he'll be at Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Peter-Maskaev, facing veteran Matt Vanda.
Views: It's a nice matchup for Molitor, who is steadily rising in notoriety. As for Duddy, it's not only a step back, but Vanda is long removed from even being a fringe contender-level fighter. It may or may not end up being televised. But this is the Duddy camp being smart, too.
John already basically has a fight lined up with Kelly Pavlik in June. Why take a big risk? His payday is already out there, just waiting for him to come in with that spotless record. Maybe it's not the most fun, but it's wise.