News: Ricky Hatton has rejected an offer to fight WBA junior welterweight champion Gavin Rees on May 24. [Lancashire Evening Post]
Views: You know how some fights you really look forward to because they're big fights, and then some fights you really look forward to just because they should be good? Hatton-Rees would've been the latter. It briefly (like, for eight hours) seemed like it was a fight that would come off, but now it's off the table. I almost had enough time to get excited. I thought it would've been a perfect way for "The Hitman" to get back into the swing of things, a home country scrap with one of the surprise stars of 2007.
Rees (27-0, 13 KO) would have provided Hatton with a gutsy, entertaining, but very beatable opponent. And I'm not even saying there was no chance Rees could upset Hatton -- there was, in fact, just enough of a chance that the fight would have been very interesting to me. In his first fight of any note whatsoever, he upset Souleymane M'baye to win the WBA strap last July, in a convincing 12-round decision. He's also an Enzo Calzaghe fighter, which would've made for a fun England-Wales atmosphere.
Oh, well. HBO still has the May 24 date set aside for Hatton, and it's nice to see the network still sticking with deserving fighters, even if they lose.
News: With Martin Krisjansen dubiously out with a case of the flu, Amir Khan is now set to face former titleholder Gairy St. Clair on February 2 in London. [ESPN]
Views: The 32-year old St. Clair (39-5-2, 17 KO) is not really the toughest test of Khan's young career any more than Rees, Lawton, or Limond were, but is arguably a fair step up from previous upcoming foil Kristjansen.
The ESPN article has a couple facts wrong: St. Clair was a titleholder, beating Cassius Baloyi in 2006 for the IBF 130-pound belt, but he lost it in November of that year to Malcolm Klassen, not in 2007 to Baloyi. He did lost a fight on points to Baloyi last year in an eliminator bout, then moved up to 135 to beat journeyman can Robert Oyan.
Commonwealth lightweight champ Khan is one of my favorite young fighters, and I already had him in my top ten in the world at 135 before he impressively disposed of Graham Earl in 72 seconds. I think much the same fate awaits St. Clair. Khan has serious pound-for-pound potential; this is one of the most exciting young boxers to come down the pipe in years.
News: The WBC sent out a press release with purse bid results. Notably, Chad Dawson and mandatory challenger Adrian Diaconu seem to have an agreement between their camps, and a fight would presumably come after Dawson's scheduled bout with Glen Johnson. Carl Froch and Denis Inkin will fight an eliminator bout in England on March 15, and Thompson Boxing withdrew a bid on a Casamayor-Santa Cruz rematch when Golden Boy didn't even show up. Gary Shaw won a purse bid for a fight between Omar Nino and Juantio Rubillar for a reported $30,000, which has to be approved by the WBC as it was below expectations.
Views: Out of all this, getting Dawson-Diaconu done is the most important, with the Froch-Inkin fight a close second.
Casamayor-Santa Cruz is such a double-edged sword for a boxing fan. While I firmly believe that Santa Cruz won that fight, and the official result was amazingly, somehow, in disagreement with everyone else on the fuckin' planet, it was such a God awful fight and so plainly one-sided that even though Santa Cruz was robbed, I can't say as though I'd want to actually see a rematch. In fact, I can quite boisterously say that I absolutely do not want to see those two fight again. No one does. It's a situation that doesn't call for a rematch; it calls for a banning of the judges responsible for the fact that anyone is even talking about a rematch. Santa Cruz should move on with his career, but the bigger problem he'll face is that even though he won the fight, he didn't impress anybody in doing so. He dominated Casamayor, but it was far more because Casamayor looked inept than Santa Cruz looked any sort of good.
News: In continuing Casamayor news, the WBC will strip Casamayor of his interim title. Oh God, let's get into this one.
Views: Jose Sulaiman is a pox on the sport of boxing. Said the disturbingly incompetent WBC boss, "Joel Casamayor has to fight (Santa Cruz) or he will lose the title. If Joel fights Michael Katsidis that means he's leaving the WBC, and we would have only one champion - David Diaz."
Wow! What a novel idea! ONE champion! Just ONE for a sanctioning body in a particular division. But, Jose, wait! How is that supposed to make any sense to us?
To recap the entire debacle that has been the WBC's lightweight ranks, let's not forget that the title was held by Diego Corrales. Casamayor beat Corrales. Then he got stripped, which no matter what you think of Casamayor right now, was a joke. David Diaz, a largely-unproven fighter, beat Jose Armando Santa Cruz, another one, to win the title, and then Casamayor was given an interim title that he didn't even have to fight for.
Now, they're going to take away that same earned-yet-unearned distinction because he is going to fight a perfectly deserving challenger in a perfectly acceptable time frame instead of going ahead with a fight that hadn't even come up for purse bid yet, that the promotional company for both fighters is so intent on making that they didn't even SHOW UP for the bidding.
The sooner that Sulaiaman and his cronies in the WBO, WBA, IBF and then every half-assed, money-stealing, baseless sanctioning body otherwise get out of boxing, the better. This is nothing new, but for people that don't really pay attention to the bullshit that these guys pull, imagine something that shouldn't surprise you, yet every time manages to infuriate you anyway.
News: Yusaf Mack has called out Antonio Tarver. The world awaits.
Views: Team Mack sent out a press release to call Tarver out. A fight between Tarver and Jeff Lacy is "off," if you listen to some people, though the fact of the matter is that one was never on. It was a fight Showtime wanted to make that neither fighter was going to give a green light to, Tarver because he doesn't want to fight anyone that might pose a threat to him for less than a world title and some serious cash, I would guess, and Lacy because he wants nothing to do with former promoter Gary Shaw. And if you think that sounds like I'm siding with Lacy, let me just say that I have no interest in either fighter at this point, and a bout between the two sounded like the equivalent of drinking all the Colt .45 in northwest Indiana. And Tarver-Mack doesn't sound a whole lot better.
News: DiBella Entertainment sent out a press release with Andre Berto's opponent for the February 9 HBO card, headlined by Williams-Quintana. The young welterweight KO artist will be facing Germany's Michel Trabant (43-2-1, 19 KO).
Views: Berto has already stepped up to this level of competition, with a decision win over Cosme Rivera and an 11th round TKO of David Estrada. The release erroneously called past Trabant defeatees Michele Orlando and Frederic Klose "world class" fighters.
This won't prove anything about Berto that hasn't already been proven, but there's no rush to get him into the elite ranks. He'll get there, and fights against tested guys like Trabant, Rivera and Estrada are exactly where his career should be right now.
News: Despite a report in The Scotsman that 130-pound titlist Joan Guzman doesn't want to face Scotland's Alex Arthur, Team Guzman says that is, in fact, exactly who they want to face. Another possibility is Roman Martinez. A purse bid for Guzman-Arthur seems imminent. [Boxing Scene]
Views: Here's a prime example of a fighter (Arthur) being pushed too hard, too fast. Though talented and tough, Arthur is not going to beat Joan Guzman. I tend to agree with the Guzman team on this one: This was the Arthur camp trying to call a bluff, and getting caught with their pants down. There's no way that Arthur's handlers can really think this is a very good idea.