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Golden Boy signs Casamayor, Holyfield title shot on ESPN Classic

Golden Boy Promotions added another star to their roster recently, signing unrecognized lightweight champion Joel Casamayor to a promotional agreement, with the hope that Casamayor will be back in the ring before the year is out, for the first time since last October, when he beat Diego Corrales. It is likely that Casamayor will be added to the undercard of either November's Miguel Cotto-Shane Mosley welterweight title fight, or the megafight in December between Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Ricky Hatton.

Casamayor has really never been a public or media favorite. Without the belt he rightfully earned by clearly beating Corrales, neither HBO nor Showtime have shown any interest in putting him on their networks. Rumors had circulated prior to David Diaz's win over Erik Morales that Casamayor would fight the winner, hopefully to reclaim his title. He is still the RING Magazine champion, which means a lot more than any of the actual straps do these days.

In reality, Casamayor probably needed Golden Boy a lot more than they needed him. But it should be a good fit for both sides.

Evander Holyfield's fortuitous October world title shot in Moscow will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic, pending some minor details on the agreement. I think this is a fantastic idea, although it'd be better if it was ESPN or ESPN2, obviously. Not having it on pay-per-view will allow more people to see the fight. More people just need to see more big fights without having to pay out the nose for them. I'm glad promoters are finally starting to realize this.

I mean, think about it. Jermain Taylor hasn't fought on pay-per-view since the last time he faced Bernard Hopkins, and that includes a fight against Winky Wright, and his upcoming title clash with Kelly Pavlik, both fights that I probably would have paid for if not given the option. Hatton-Castillo could have easily been a pay-per-view fight. Either of the Marquez-Vazquez bouts could have been paired up with a strong co-feature and sold just fine.

This is a world where boxing will still occasionally attempt to charge you money for Holyfield-Maddalone, Tua-Montana, Marquez-Juarez (which I still don't understand at all), and Mijares-Kikui. But, thankfully, that's starting to change somewhat.

In somewhat related news, Don King is bringing boxing to MSG in a big way, which is excellent. The cruiserweight title fight between Jean-Marc Mormeck and David Haye will be shown live in the States. If King could get past his hard-on for cruiserweights (it's admirable to try and promote the division, but let's be real, no one cares), Andrew Golota (who returns on the untelevised undercard of Maskaev-Peter, by the way), and other such general wastes of time, he could do a lot of great things for boxing.

I've said this recently, but it bears repeating. The media's decision that boxing was dead earlier this year has been proven a little bit premature. de la Hoya-Mayweather was the biggest money fight ever -- ever. Cotto-Judah set an attendance record at Madison Square Garden. "The Contender" finale did a rating that rivaled that of UFC's "Ultimate Fighter." And with the truce between Golden Boy and Top Rank, we're getting fights that everyone wants to see. The fall/winter schedule is amazing, really.

It's long overdue, but for those of us that stuck through some somewhat lean years with the sweet science, it's great to see the sport coming back, and it's even better to see the sport's heads getting their collective act together and doing what's right for the fans and, in all reality, the fighters. 2007 has been a tremendous year for boxing, and it's only going to get better.

I've said it a million times. This is not a sport where the athletes got less skilled, as some pundits think is the case. Shane Mosley has the ability to push any welterweight who's ever stepped into the ring. And there are several other cases like that that you can make, and they're all realistic. What it lacked was the great matchups, because no one wanted to risk a loss, when really, it's better to have lost a great fight to a great fighter than to have beaten a bunch of mediocre opponents.

Does anyone think less of Oscar for losing to Floyd? Marquez for losing the rematch to Vazquez? Barrera for losing to Juan Manuel Marquez? Will we think less of Cotto if he were to lose to Mosley, or vice versa? Zab Judah gained more in losing to Miguel Cotto than he would have making some lame comeback against a guy everyone knew he should beat. He fought with guts and he lost -- but at least he fought top competition, and did so with pride.

Who's Jake La Motta without Sugar Ray Robinson, you know? Barrera and Morales made their legends largely against one another. It's the matchups. It's the fighter against the other fighter. It's not just the fighter. That's what promoters lost sight of. It's what a lot of fighters lost sight of. Promoters thought that pretty, undefeated records were what sold a fight. I don't think the general public cares what a guy's record is so long as he's credible.

And, on a final note, Vazquez-Marquez III is all but official and signed for the first quarter of 2008. Showtime wants it and will likely get it, and both fighters are on board. They're going to use the time to, you know, heal up, which is good. I'm already psyched.

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