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Tomato Cans: May 1, 2008

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  • We're going to get the updated pound-for-pound top 20 up as soon as possible. We're waiting on a ballot from Kevin right now. This time around, the list has been made up of votes from myself and fellow BLH contributors Matt Miller and Kevin Gonzalez, Ring Report's Tim Starks, and BLH commenter jrok. There are plenty of changes, as expected.
  • Joel Julio proved a lot with his win on Wednesday Night Fights over Ishe Smith, a good boxer who doesn't get knocked out and was last seen by most getting robbed against Sechew Powell at the Hammerstein Ballroom, where the Brooklyn-born Powell's decision win was booed. Julio is a knockout artist, but he's made great strides and looks every bit like the boxer that was once Prospect of the Year material. Taking a tough, 10-round decision against Smith proves a fair bit about his overall game, I'd say. I really think that Julio moving to 154 was the best option for him -- it's a very weak division and he could beat anyone out there, except perhaps for Cory Spinks, who could Cory Spinks his way to a decision. There are guys he could lose to, obviously (Dzinziruk, perhaps), but who really overmatches him? Nobody. There's money to be made, and he also might be someone that could breathe some life into a dead division.
  • I can't believe Showtime is putting Andre Dirrell on TV tomorrow night. Anyone that saw his embarrassing "fight" against Curtis Stevens last year won't soon forget or forgive. I'll always say this: for those that think Floyd Mayweather, Jr., is a "runner," watch Andre Dirrell. Floyd looks like Micky Ward in comparison. Here's hoping Anthony Hanshaw beats Dirrell so that we can stop having to endure Dirrell fights.
  • Does anyone else wish Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins would both just shut up about the fight? Let's go bare bones on this and look at it without the two Hall of Famers in the same ring thing in mind. It was a rather boring, ugly fight, totally unmemorable from a black-and-white perspective such as, "Was that a good fight or not?" No, it wasn't. Calzaghe won. Let's move on. On the same note, if Bernard Hopkins retires, who's really going to miss him? Great fighter, Hall of Fame fighter, but he's 43 years old and his act is even older.
  • If Steve Forbes beats Oscar de la Hoya, I don't really know what I'll do. But I'm rooting for Stevie Forbes, and I've really never disliked Oscar the way many do.
  • Stevie Johnston is back in the game, as he'll be headlining the May 21 edition of Wednesday Night Fights against Edner Cherry. I've always liked Stevie, but it's probably time for him to hang 'em up. We'll see exactly how much he has left against Cherry, who's coming off of two wins over Wes Ferguson following a shutout loss to Paulie Malignaggi.
  • Paul Spadafora was arrested again for violating a protection from abuse order that was filed last year by his ex-fiancee, Nadine Russo, whom he of course shot in 2003. He's currently free on a $2,500 bond. Can we stop with Spadafora already? This is the second time since his release from prison that something of this nature has happened. It's over. His career is dead in the water.
  • Amir Khan has parted ways with trainer Oliver Harrison, and has hired Dean Powell to replace him. Other candidates were reportedly Buddy McGirt (who was assumed to be getting the job) and Roger Mayweather. Maybe Khan just couldn't afford those guys right now. Or maybe Frank Warren got his fangs in. It does seem to me (and others) from an outside perspective that Khan-Warren is not a relationship that will end amicably.
  • With Antonio Margarito vacating his recently-won IBF welterweight title to fight Miguel Cotto, top-ranked contender Joshua Clottey says that he expects to fight Andre Berto in August for the vacant belt. Berto currently has a scheduled bout with Miki Rodriguez, another in a long line of patsies that the athletically superior Berto should destroy. Clottey, though, is a different animal. He takes a good shot, knows his mind games and tactics, and doesn't go down easy. I'd still have to favor Berto on physical gifts and the fact that Clottey does sometimes seem to wander in fights, but that'd be a hell of a test to see where Berto is really at, and to see if Clottey is truly top-notch or just a top-notch opponent for the best welterweights.
  • Those that are giving Kelly Pavlik and his team guff for lining up two "soft" defenses against Gary Lockett and Marco Antonio Rubio need to really look at what's out there. The cupboard is pretty bare at middleweight past Pavlik, Arthur Abraham and Winky Wright. All Kelly is doing is staying active, and at the same time making fights that at least promise action. Plus, there's talk of him fighting Abraham when King Arthur is more established in the States, as well as talk of a fight with Joe Calzaghe sometime in 2009. Pavlik's not ducking anyone. There's not really anyone to duck.
  • Is there a more unappreciated pound-for-pound fighter in the sport than Joan Guzman?
  • Nate Campbell is expressing doubts about the news that Joel Casamayor wants to fight him. In an interview with Boxing Talk, Nate said, "Unless De La Hoya puts up $2 million or some crazy amount of money or Don puts up something crazy, they're not going to take the fight. ... People want to see (Casamayor-Juan Diaz) as much as they want to see me fight Katsidis. People want to see winners fight winners, not winners fighting guys who just lost." Frankly, I'd take any combination of the four fighters against one another, but ideally, he's right. Casamayor-Campbell would be a fight between the true champion (Casamayor) and the guy that has truly established himself as "the man" in the division (Campbell). Do that and Diaz-Katsidis, because Diaz-Katsidis would just be a hell of a fight.
  • Let's say it once: a fight between Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. and Hector Camacho, Jr. is a joke. Anyone that pays money for that absurdity is out of their mind.
  • Judge Chuck Giampa has retired from the sport and will go into consulting. He's been an insurance broker since 1969, and will be Nevada's only insurance broker specializing in athlete accounts. Most boxing fans slam all judges all the time, but this is a case where I'd rather just wish Chuck a happy retirement.
  • The proposed fight between Ricky Hatton and Paulie Malignaggi is reportedly going to receive a big money offer from one of the casinos in Vegas to stage their fight there instead of Madison Square Garden. Hatton wants to fight at MSG, and Malignaggi is a Brooklynite so he has a lot of fans there. They'd most likely sell out or come very close to doing so. Ricky's dad, Ray Hatton, says that Vegas considers Ricky "one of the top six most exciting fighters in the world." Who are these people that find Hatton so damned exciting? Am I missing something? I love the energy of his fans, but the guy isn't the action star many make him out to be. He's not even close to it, really. Now if by "exciting" they mean "profitable," then OK.
  • While David Diaz has been training hard since mid-April for his June 28 bout with Manny Pacquiao, the Pac-man is again concerning promoter Bob Arum and trainer Freddie Roach by failing to start his own camp of yet. He plans to begin soon in Cebu, and then fly over to Los Angeles' Wild Card Gym to start work with Roach. I don't think there's really any doubt that Manny should beat Diaz, but if he's not taking him seriously...
  • Talks have begun for Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez IV. Marquez wants it in November/December, but Vazquez wants to wait until January/February. I'm sure they'll figure that part out pretty easily. The Home Depot Center, which housed their third classic, is the target venue. Vazquez is said he'd be willing to fight Ponce de Leon or Molitor or anyone else, and I'm sure Marquez would, too. But the fact is, Vazquez-Marquez IV probably offers both guys their best possible payday. Plus it's a guaranteed great fight. The part of me that didn't want to see them battle again is losing to the part of me that would watch them fight every week if it were possible.
  • The recently amended gloves rules in Nevada that allow for Cotto and Margarito to fight with eight-ounce gloves are making problems elsewhere, specifically in the Kendall Holt-Ricardo Torres rematch. Torres wants ten-ounce gloves, and Holt wants eight-ounce gloves. So they're doing ten-ounce gloves, because that's how the rule breaks down. Everywhere else, they'd be going with eight ounces. It's silly, and just one of those things you don't think about too often, but how has Nevada, of all places, gotten this so screwed up? Just do what everyone else does, guys.