Before we get going, I wanted to give a link to this article on Yo-Sam Choi, written at Philboxing.com by Jonathan Davis.
News: A fight between Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao is a very real possibility for late this year, as word has come from both Bob Arum and Freddie Roach that it's a fight they'd take, and the same has come from the Hatton camp, too. Arum and Roach both continue to stress, however, that Pacquiao has to beat Juan Manuel Marquez on March 15. [Manila Standard Today]
Views: I'm glad someone is stressing that Pacquiao-Marquez II is actually happening. Arum is talking about doing a major promotional tour in the U.S. for the fight, including getting Manny on Leno, but then all they talk about is what's next in the great Manny Pacquiao's career. Now not only is Pacquiao going to take shots for being "unfocused," but I think Arum deserves to as well. First Juan Manuel Marquez, then David Diaz, then Ricky Hatton -- three weight classes, one year. But, hey, sure, of course we gotta get past Juan Manuel Marquez first.
It really seems like Freddie Roach is the only one that realizes that as good as Pacquiao is, he could come out and fight great on March 15 but still lose to Marquez. For a fight we've all wanted to see ever since their epic draw, once we've finally gotten it on the schedule, it seems like the only people really anticipating it are the fans. Top Rank seems like they're looking down the road.
But, if Manny seriously wants to do all of this in 2008, then I at least have to guess he'll show up in great shape and ready to fight in March, and that's a good thing.
News: The WBO is threatening to strip Juan Diaz of his title in favor of interim champion Michael Katsidis. Seriously. They are doing this because Diaz isn't fighting Katsidis on February 9. I'm not even making this up. [Boxing Scene]
Views: Of all the sanctioning body bullshit we have to put up with in boxing, this is one of the biggest frauds yet. This idea absolutely reeks. It is a genuine crock of shit. Let's recap this whole saga for those that might have missed a step:
- Diaz-Katsidis goes up for purse bid. Golden Boy wins at $1.5 million; not only does Diaz's promoter, Don King, not attend (he was overseas), he doesn't even send a representative to make an offer.
- HBO marks February 9, 2008, down as the date for a Diaz-Katsidis fight, under the Golden Boy banner.
- Don King refuses to let Diaz fight Katsidis with Golden Boy promoting, but does offer to step aside and let the fight go forward for a $2 million settlement.
- HBO, fearing litigation from King, pulls the plug.
- Katsidis signs to fight Joel Casamayor on March 22.
- Diaz signs to fight Nate Campbell on March 8.
So you tell me: What the hell was Juan Diaz supposed to do? Not only was the fight getting canned nothing to do with him, but Katsidis signed to fight another guy before Diaz did. Like Dan Rafael said the other day, I hope that the growing rebellion among fans against the sanctioning bodies continues to gain steam. This garbage does nothing but muck up our sport.
It has also come about because Brendon Smith, trainer and manager to Katsidis, has been on the WBO's case to strip Diaz and promote his fighter to full champion status. Shame on Smith just as much as the WBO. It's not as if Diaz-Katsidis isn't going to happen. Fight Casamayor (the first top fighter Katsidis has ever faced) and then earn it against Diaz.
News: A fight between Zab Judah and Antonio Margarito is being discussed for April 26 in Atlantic City, according to Judah. [Boxing Talk]
Views: If this fight goes off, then this is it. This is Zab Judah's last chance to climb back into the elite ranks. And I don't like his chances against Margarito, who looked like a wrecking ball against Golden Johnson in November. It was the sort of performance and fire that was missing in Judah in his two fights post-Cotto last year. But maybe Zab just needs a big opponent to really get up for a fight. I don't know. I'd take Margarito without thinking twice, though.
News: Friday results! On ESPN2, Allan Green and Zahir Raheem were both victorious, and on Shobox, the Peterson brothers both won. All were expected.
Views: Allan Green is really one of my favorite fighters, and he looked pretty good in his 10-round unanimous decision win against Rubin Williams. He knocked Williams down in the ninth en route to victory, improving to 26-1. I think Green would be a legitimate problem for anyone at 168, barring Calzaghe. But everyone from Kessler on down would have a tough go of it against Green.
Zahir Raheem knocked out powderpuff Ricardo Dominguez with a left hook in the first round. Dominguez sat there and didn't bother to try to get up. Lasted about a minute and a half. Thanks for that, ESPN. You know how the world loves to see Raheem fight in the first place. This time his opponent didn't even want to fight. Raheem is now 29-2 and probably on his way back into contention, even though the world at large is totally against this idea. If Cory Spinks loses his 154-pound title, can he be shunned the way that Raheem has? Fair is fair.
On Showtime, Anthony Peterson improved to 26-0 (19 KO) with an eighth-round stoppage of Jose Izquierdo, and brother Lamont went to 24-0 with a landslide unanimous decision win over Antonio Mesquita. I actually didn't think Mesquita boxed too poorly, but Lamont was clearly on another level. It might be just about time for the Petersons to step up for real. These kids are really good.