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Mayweather picks 147, Klitschko/Brewster weigh-in, Calzaghe/Kessler notes

Floyd Mayweather, Jr. has decided to keep the WBC welterweight title and relinquish the 154-pound belt he won against Oscar de la Hoya in May. Mayweather is continuing to call out Ricky Hatton, who started the war of words. Part of Floyd's strategy is to say now that Hatton won't take the fight, but Ricky Hatton has no choice now. He has to sign a contract and fight Mayweather, no matter how bad of an idea it is. If the fight is at 147 pounds, which it almost certainly would be, then I just don't think Hatton stands a chance.

The vacated 154-pound title will now be up for grabs in the Vernon Forrest/Carlos Baldomir fight on Boxing After Dark on July 28. Two former welterweight champions fighting on Boxing After Dark for the WBC's junior middleweight championship. How about that? I'm trying to come around on this fight because I like both guys in many ways, but they both haven't fought in months and neither was impressive their last time out.

One interesting note to those that think Mayweather is a loudmouthed punk with no respect for anyone: Leonard Ellerbe, who is Mayweather's best friend, said that Floyd is glad that his vacting the 154-pound title is giving Baldomir an opportunity to become a champion again, as he respects Carlos greatly for fighting him last year.

Wladimir Klitschko weighed in at 246 pounds and Lamon Brewster at 228 pounds for their title fight rematch tomorrow in Germany. The IBF -- whose title is held by Klitschko -- is considering a title eliminator fight between Chris Byrd and Calvin Brock, with the winner to face Klitschko should Wlad retain against Brewster. If he didn't, I'd have to guess there would be a third Klitschko/Brewster fight, even though that would mean that Brewster has beaten him twice.

Think about the IBF's idea here. Have we seen Klitschko/Byrd before? Yes, twice, and it was a slaughter both times. Chris Byrd does not match up with Wladimir Klitschko. It doesn't work. Have we seen Klitschko/Brock? You bet, and Klitschko knocked him the hell out as soon as he turned up the heat. I don't even want to see a Byrd/Brock fight just because it doesn't sound very interesting, let alone Klitschko/Byrd III or Klitschko/Brock II. Who on earth would want to see those fights? Neither HBO nor Showtime would be interested, I don't think. Good God.

Joe Calzaghe and Mikkel Kessler talks have taken another turn. HBO has lost their exclusive negotiating window, and Showtime has now stepped into the mix, offering Calzaghe a two-fight deal, with the second against Kessler sometime in the first quarter of 2008, as they don't have the $5 million available in their budget for this year. Again, it's a fight that needs to happen. There are not many on-paper fights that truly settle who the top fighter is in a division, but Calzaghe/Kessler is chief among them. These are clearly the two best 168-pound fighters in the game. Pacquiao/Marquez II is a fight people would love to see, but there are other top fighters at 130. Mayweather/Mosley is a dream matchup, but what about Miguel Cotto or even the winner of Margarito/Williams? Some divisions have a clear-cut top guy already -- at 140, Ricky Hatton is the king, and then there's really a pretty fair argument about who lines up behind him. Some fights need to be made because they can only be good for boxing, and most likely both fighters.

The Fernando Vargas/Ricardo Mayorga PPV fight will eminate from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, which should do a decent crowd for what is advertised as Vargas' farewell to boxing. Even though I think Fernando Vargas is truly ready to retire from in-ring action and do other things with his life, I have to wonder, of course, if he'll reconsider should he overwhelm Mayorga, which is no stretch. Mayorga has been out of the ring for a year and has had nothing but bad news since being trounced by Oscar. Vargas has also been out of the ring for a year since being destroyed by Mosely, but something just tells me that Vargas is taking this fight more seriously, and that for him, it's really a chance to say goodbye properly, as the "El Feroz" his fans will want to remember. I've never been a Vargas fan, but he brought it when he fought, and I expect he will again. That 154-pound division is looking pretty thin at this point, when you're talking about Forrest and Baldomir in a title fight. There are good fighters in the division, but no Mosleys or Oscars or Mayweathers or anything like that. Vargas could probably still win a title there. We'll see.

The Ruslan Chagaev/Sultan Ibragimov unification bout that has the world with its ear to the ground has an official date: October 13, in Moscow.

In more interesting heavyweight news, Vitali Klitschko's return bout against Jameel McCline will be shown on same-day tape delay on Showtime on September 22. Showtime is actually stepping up their coverage with some of these fights: Klitschko's return is a big deal, Marquez/Vazquez II on August 4, trying to get Calzaghe/Kessler next year, Maskaev/Peter on regular Showtime. The return of Vitali Klitschko could be a big old wrench thrown into the heavyweight mix.

HBO is working on a Juan Diaz/Julio Diaz 135-pound title unification fight for the October 13 Boxing After Dark. That would be a good one, to say the least. Both Diazes have claimed to have called the other out, so now maybe we'll get something done between these two. If the fight is made, Nate Campbell (who fights later tonight on FNF) is likely left out in the rain again, as he was hoping for a fight against Julio, perhaps in November.

The vicious rumor that we would see a Derrick Gainer/Zahir Raheem fight on the undercard of the July 14 PPV pitting Roy Jones, Jr., and Anthony Hanshaw has been squashed. Gainer will instead spend the night scurrying away from Carlos Navarro, a 30-year old southpaw with knockout power. Can you imagine having to see a Gainer/Raheem fight? Gainer running around the ring, Raheem attempting to tackle him. It's brutal to think about.

If only American TV would pick up the September 7 fight between Junior Witter and Vivian Harris...

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