It looks like the favorite to face 21-year old British lightweight champion Amir Khan in his September 6 bout is 36-year old American Derrick "Smoke" Gainer.
Gainer had previously turned down the Khan camp because of his obligation to fight on the September 20 undercard of Calzaghe-Jones, but now that that fight has been moved, he's back in the mix.
I really like Khan, and someone as crafty and downright annoying as Gainer is about the last guy I'd watch to put him up against. There's real upset potential here. Khan will have to catch rumblin', bumblin', stumblin' Gainer before he can hit him with his combinations and power shots, and that's no easy task.
On the other hand, Gainer has been very inactive in recent years. He lost badly in 2003 to Juan Manuel Marquez, and lost his next fight in 2005 to Chris John. Since then, he's won a 12-round split decision over tomato can Phillip Payne (who had lost six in a row), and a 10-round split decision over Carlos Navarro in 2007.
Chances are Khan smokes Gainer, and Derrick rides off into the sunset with a final payday. But there is that concern that the savvy vet gives Amir fits. Things like that have happened many times before.
Former WBC 108-pound titleholder Brian Viloria will get another crack at a world title when he faces IBF titlist Ulises Solis on October 11 in Macau. Rumor has it that Nonito Donaire will fight on the same card, but we'll see about that.
Viloria's camp is confident that their fighter is stronger and a better puncher than Solis, but I'm not. Viloria's reputation as a big puncher has gone by the wayside. "Hawaiian Punch" (22-2, 13 KO) was upset in a wide decision against Omar Nino in 2006, then went to a frustrating majority draw with Nino in the rematch, later ruled a no-decision when Nino failed his post-fight drug test. Edgar Sosa was next for Viloria, and Sosa won a tight majority decision.
Viloria is 3-0 in 2008, winning a pair of eight-round decisions and his last fight by third round knockout. I don't think he hits hard enough to be considered a one-punch type of guy against top competition, and Solis is absolutely top competition, arguably the best 108-pounder in the world. Solis (27-1-2, 20 KO) hasn't lost since 2004, when Nelson Dieppa won a weird majority decision (108-120, 108-120, 114-114).
If Viloria is outclassed by Solis, as I expect he will be, he's going to have a tough time getting another title shot. Or else he won't. Maybe he'll lose big and get another title shot against someone else right away. Solis winning would put a big mark on Viloria that he can't beat the best, which makes him attractive for a lot of top fighters.
Should WBA 140-pound titleholder Andreas Kotelnik succeed in his September 13 defense against Norio Kimura, an offer will be made for Kotelnik to face Dmitriy Salita on the Calzaghe-Jones undercard in November.
I like that fight as a PPV undercarder. Salita is noted for his guts, and at 28-0 (16), he deserves a good fight. He's signed with Roy Jones' Square Ring company now, so Roy and Co. are working to get him something good. This would be something good. Plus, I like Kotelnik. Right now, Salita is slated to face Willie Limond on the PPV, but if Kotelnik-Salita can be made, Limond would be moved into a fight with Darling Jimenez. I really pray that Calzaghe, Jones and HBO don't think Limond-Jimenez is a pay-per-view quality fight.