Golden Boy Promotions has lined up a show they're going to market at the hardcore boxing fan for April 9 on pay-per-view, with the lead two bouts being a 140-pound clash between Erik Morales and Marcos Maidana, and a lightweight fight between Robert Guerrero and Michael Katsidis.
Dan Rafael has the particulars on the entire card and some quotes from Richard Schaefer, but we're just going to take a quick glance over the four fights that have been named.
But before we do that, let's talk about the actual most important thing going on here. It's being suggest right now that Juan Manuel Marquez is looking for free agency because he didn't finalize a deal to fight Morales. Both sides had talked about that fight for months, and then Marquez didn't go through with it. One source speaking with BoxingScene.com's Jhonny Gonzalez said that Marquez is "very, very unhappy" with Golden Boy right now, and the speculation is that he's going to follow Shane Mosley's path and look for a trilogy bout later this year with Manny Pacquiao. The great thing about that fight is I think it would be on the table whether Pacquiao wins as expected or is upset by Shane Mosley on May 7. This has been talked about since Mosley left Golden Boy to make a deal on his own to fight Top Rank's Pacquiao. Golden Boy and Top Rank aren't co-promoting, so if Mosley wanted that fight, he had to leave. Marquez might see the same writing on the wall. It wouldn't surprise anyone, I don't think. Pacquiao is by far his biggest potential money fight, and if Golden Boy can't get that for him, why should he stay there? He's 37 years old and the clock ticks for any fighter his age, no matter how good they still look.
Anyway, on to the "replacement card," if you will.
Erik Morales v. Marcos Maidana
Erik Morales is possibly my all-time favorite fighter. I love the guy. He's a Hall of Famer in waiting, a great action star, and had two of the great modern trilogies with Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera. I didn't really like the idea of him fighting Marquez, who is 37 and like Morales, a blown-up featherweight. I really don't like the idea of him fighting Maidana, a very powerful, very dangerous, in-prime legit junior welterweight. Maidana did have his struggles last year with Chop Chop Corley, but when he fought Amir Khan, I think he showed that was likely a bad night, perhaps a bad training camp, and maybe something he learned from. He's got to take Morales seriously if for no other reason than he can't afford a loss to stay in the hot 140-pound main event picture.
With loving grace, the WBA has thrown in a vacant belt by promoting Amir Khan to SUPER CHAMPION!!, which means that Morales will have another crack at being the first Mexican fighter to be "world champion" in four weight classes. He's done it at 122, 126 and 130, failed in a bid at 135, and now is going for 140 against maybe the best puncher in boxing. Morales' comeback has really not been pretty and I think Golden Boy is more or less hoping that people won't have seen his fights with Jose Alfaro, Willie Limond and Francisco Lorenzo. But you have to give credit where it's due: Morales didn't come back and fight tomato cans or
cab drivers bloggers and other such massive sissies. While none of those three guys are exactly great, they're all legitimate pros who could have derailed his plans. He beat them. And this type of fight is the only step left. Best of luck to him.
Michael Katsidis v. Robert Guerrero
I think we've probably already seen the best we're going to see out of Katsidis, who is a great guy and one of the few I think deserves the tag of "warrior," not because I think a bunch of undeserving pansies get called that, but because I don't think it's a word to use lightly, and it's thrown around for basically everyone. Guerrero is hit or miss. He looked really good against Vicente Escobedo, didn't look very good at all against the ghost of Joel Casamayor. Katsidis will bring pressure, that much we know. It's up to Guerrero what happens from there. If he's on point, I think he routs Katsidis.
Winky Wright v. Matthew Macklin
I already talked about this one before. I will say this: I know some of you are big Winky Wright fans, but I'll have to politely decline invitation to the party of people really excited to see Winky Wright back in action. I always liked watching Winky fight, but he's 39 and has fought twice since 2006, going 0-2 in a couple of fights that weren't exactly close. It's a good comeback fight for him, as Macklin is right about the level you'd like to see Wink against in a return. It may not be fair to expect him to fight a top 10ish guy upon return, but he says he wants the big fights and we all know who Winky Wright is. He'll gain nothing "tuning up" against club fighters or the like. Macklin is a tough cookie and the fight is fine, it just doesn't get my engine revvin'.
James Kirkland Return
Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Don't expect much of an opponent either.