(Credit: Dan Rafael of ESPN -- When isn't he the credit, really?)
The June 9 pay-per-view bout between Miguel Cotto and Zab Judah is now all but set, with Judah just needing to win a tune-up fight in April, and that means Top Rank is starting to think about the undercard.
The idea of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. taking on Hector Camacho, Jr. is intriguing -- sort of. The 28-year old Camacho is 42-2-1, but that is a seriously fluffed record. Chavez, 29-0-1, has a fight on March 9 against Louis Brown on Telefutura, but Brown has been out of the sport for a while, and it's just another tomato can win for Chavez on paper.
The 21-year old Chavez may or may not have a really bright future. After 30 fights, it's still hard to tell, because he hasn't fought anybody yet. Take your pick as to who is the best fighter Chavez has faced. Jermaine White? Ruben Galvan?
Chavez, Jr./Camacho, Jr. is simple marketing, and if you get both of their fathers in attendance, you could probably have some real fun with it.
Also being considered is a junior flyweight title bout between Ulises Solis and current strawweight champion Ivan Calderon, plus Humberto Soto v. Bobby Pacquiao, something with Tommy Morrison if Morrison can get licensed in New York (I highly doubt he will be), and Fernando Montiel v. Martin Castillo. The most likely of those would seem to be Solis/Calderon, as it's the only one with no hoops to jump through. Soto may bide his time for now, hoping to become the mandatory challenger to the winner of Barrera/Marquez, Morrison's license situation is going to be a pain with New York, and Montiel may or may not still be under contract with Golden Boy -- his handlers say he isn't, but handlers say lots of things.
But Top Rank is going to need to put together a strong undercard. Solis/Calderon would be a fine start, and if you got Montiel/Castillo, that would be nice, too. Cotto isn't yet a proven draw in any way outside of Puerto Rico, and Judah is a falling star. There's some intrigue there, but the fight will need help to sell on pay-per-view.
A fight between middleweight contenders Kelly Pavlik and Edison Miranda was rumored before Miranda beat Allan Green, and now that he has, it may just be a matter of time before we get an official announcement. The fight would take place in Cleveland at the Gund Arena, just up the road from Pavlik's home in Youngstown, OH. Miranda also has the option to fight a rematch with Arthur Abraham, apparently, but Miranda and his promters at Seminole Warriors prefer to stay in the U.S. and fight Pavlik, rather than head back overseas after what they still feel was a bum decision against Abraham in the first fight.
Also aiding this fight's potential for going off quickly is HBO's feverish desire to air it on an "enhanced" Boxing After Dark card. HBO so badly wants to get Miranda/Pavlik on the air that it is willing to pay seven figures -- not bad for Pavlik, who just made his HBO debut in January, and Miranda, who is clearly an HBO darling since his first round KO of Willie Gibbs in December.
HBO would then wait for Jermain Taylor to beat Sergio Mora, and move forward with plans for Taylor to take on Miranda or Pavlik, both guys presenting interesting challenges for the current middleweight king. Miranda's punching power is always looming, and Pavlik and Taylor have crossed paths before.
I think on paper, you have to consider Miranda the favorite just because we've seen him against better opposition. But Pavlik is a quality fighter and I believe in him as a legitimate contender. That said, Pavlik's lapses in defense could not happen to the extent that they did against Jose Luis Zertuche. Miranda would put him away easy and early if Pavlik let his guard down as he did at times in the Zertuche fight, good chin or not.