Nikolay Valuev will make his mandatory defense against Ruslan Chagaev on April 14 in Germany. An exact site has yet to be determined, but the fight is definitely on. Chagaev defeated John Ruiz to earn the shot. The most interesting thing about Valuev is the awkwardness and uniqueness of his size puts a solid fighter like Chagaev at a severe disadvantage. There's no way Chagaev can knock Valuev out, so the only way to beat the giant may be to pick and peck your way around him and hope for a decision win. Once Valuev loses a fight or two, whatever marketability he has will be gone. But I don't think Chagaev is the guy to beat him.
38-year old Tommy Morrison made his return to organized boxing last night with a second round knockout of John Castle in West Virginia. It was The Duke's first sanctioned fight since he lost to Lennox Lewis in 1995, and his first win since beating Razor Ruddock earlier that same year. Morrison fought and won a non-sanctioned bout in 1996, but had been out of the ring since then. He has recently tested negative for HIV, reportedly. I haven't talked about this story much because despite the fact that I liked Morrison when I was a kid and root for him in a way, the whole thing is so bizarre that it's hard to get full-fledged behind him.
On the same card, Joe Mesi fought another tomato can, this time beating George Linberger via KO in 1:55. The 33-year old Mesi now stands at 34-0.
In the main event of that card, in a fight that actually matters somewhat, Soto won the super featherweight Battle of the Humbertos, knocking out Toledo in the third round. Soto improves to 41-5-2, and Toledo falls to 30-3-2.
Other heavyweight news: David Tua won in New York at the Roseland Ballroom, beating Robert Hawkins via unanimous decision after 10 rounds. Tua is now 47-3-1 for his career, which at 34 really could still have plenty of time to live up to all that potential heavyweight champion jazz. He hasn't fought a strong opponent since drawing with Hasim Rahman in 2003, but he's 5-0 since his 2005 comeback and hasn't lost a fight since falling against Chris Byrd in 2001. Tua is a moderate name with some life left, but he's never scored that defining victory, because when he beat a then-undefeated Rahman in 1998, it was a pretty bullshit stoppage. There are a lot of fighers in Tua's way if he's serious about making a real run at the title again, but many of them are fighters he really could beat. I don't think it's likely that we'll see Tua win a heavyweight title, but it's not something I'd entirely rule out, either.
Some people hate the heavyweight division, but I kind of love the endless possibilities that accompany all the horseshit you have to step in.