Plenty of interesting stuff going around right now, but let's start with an injury in the lightweight division.
Katsidis Injured, But Will Fight Guerrero
Michael Katsidis suffered a cut near his eye in training camp for his upcoming April 9 bout with Robert Guerrero, which is the main co-feature fight on the Morales-Maidana PPV from HBO, but is planning to go ahead with the fight anyway. The cut required stitches, but Katsidis wouldn't let the fight be called off, and said, "It's just a cut," though he did say it's "bad."
Katsidis (27-3, 22 KO) is one of the more popular fighters in diehard boxing fan circles thanks to his all-action style. He's generally involved in some major give and take in every fight. But he has struggled some against his better opponents. In November, he was stopped in nine by world lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, although he floored Marquez in the third round. He also lost a one-sided decision to Juan Diaz in 2008, and before that climbed off the canvas, put Joel Casamayor through the ropes, and was ultimately knocked out in the 10th round of a great fight. Against his three best opponents, he's gone 0-3. But he did wipe out then-unbeaten Kevin Mitchell in the third round last year on the road in the UK, and he won a clear decision over Vicente Escobedo in 2009.
Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 KO) has a history of being spotty, but for his best fights he generally shows up. He's very talented, but hasn't faced a really good pressure fighter like Katsidis yet. Basically, if Guerrero can box and Katsidis has lost as many steps as I think he has, I expect Guerrero to win pretty easily. If Katsidis is able to apply pressure, he has a real shot, or it could get him countered to death. It's the best fight on that card by far, and the biggest reason to order the show. If it does turn out that Katsidis can't go forward with the fight, that show is gutted, having already lost the Winky Wright-Matthew Macklin bout.
Gary Shaw: Chad Dawson to Face Adrian Diaconu
Promoter Gary Shaw was on The Fight Show today, and confirmed that Chad Dawson will face Adrian Diaconu in the co-feature of Pascal-Hopkins II, whenever that fight actually takes place. Tentative date for Pascal-Hopkins II is May 21.
Dawson (29-1, 17 KO) lost his last fight to Pascal, of course, in August 2010. Diaconu (27-2, 15 KO) won his last bout in October, grinding out a decision against a very game Omar Sheika. It was Diaconu's first fight after taking 10 months off following his own back-to-back losses to Pascal. Combined, Dawson and Diaconu are 56-0 against everyone else, and 0-3 against Pascal.
The idea is for the winner of Pascal-Hopkins to face Dawson next. Dawson has a contractual rematch clause with Pascal, but the WBC asked for Dawson to step aside and allow for a Pascal-Hopkins rematch. He did, and now he faces Diaconu to shake some rust. It's a good fight for that cause. Diaconu is a top ten light heavyweight, but if Dawson is on his game there's no reason he shouldn't be able to beat the 32-year-old Romanian. Dawson will have big height and reach advantages and is simply a better boxer. But you really never know how a guy will fight after a first loss, even if it wasn't one with major physical damage inflicted. Some guys just don't handle losing well.
Chisora-Fury Headed to Purse Bid
In a fight that really piques my interest, a purse bid is set for a British heavyweight title scrap between champion Dereck Chisora (14-0, 9 KO) and challenger Tyson Fury (14-0, 10 KO). To me, this is a far better fight for where Chisora's actually at in his career than the twice-aborted matchup with Wladimir Klitschko, and gives Fury a chance to once again back up that big mouth of his.
The other thing I dig about this fight is that it's two guys who improve pretty much every time out. Fury takes some flak for talking too much, but if you tune out his chatter and just watch him fight, he really is getting better and better, and starting to get better control of his body. He's 22 and he's 6'9", but he doesn't move like your usual giant and actually throws in combination. He also has seemingly settled in on a comfortable weight around 260-265 pounds, which really isn't that heavy for someone with his frame, and he also looks to have struck a decent balance between muscle and ability to move. Not everyone is the Klitschkos and can carry around all that muscle, or should. Fury doesn't look like he should.
As for Chisora, he'll be a big step up for the cocky kid. Chisora is just 27 himself and has made big strides over the last couple of years in the ring. He'll have an even bigger height disadvantage than he would have against Klitschko, but the good news is he won't be facing the best of a generation at the peak of his powers. Chisora is a fighter I enjoy watching because he doesn't hesitate to close when he thinks the time is right. I mean, let's be honest, Chisora is not a nice guy and he doesn't fight like one, either. It's a good test for both as they look to take steps forward. Hopefully the winner has the sense to look to European level next before rushing onto the world stage against any of the division's Big Three.
DeGale-Groves Looking Sure to Happen
In even more exciting British boxing news, a fight between talented super middleweight prospects James DeGale and George Groves looks good to go. Sky Sports reported that an April 9 date was set, but that it was likely to be pushed back, as you might expect. The two may just be prospects, but both are looking to step up to the big time sooner than later, and aren't going to rush into a dangerous fight with one another on a month's notice.
This is a fight we've had some discussion about here. I know Brick and myself both favor DeGale heavily, and others support Groves. It's a really, really good fight, especially for guys of their experience level. DeGale (9-0, 7 KO) claimed the British title at 168 pounds in December, beating the capable Paul Smith (TKO-9), just a couple of months after wiping out tough Carl Dilks in 2:54. Groves (12-0, 10 KO) had some real trouble in November with Kenny Anderson. He came out with a TKO-6 on paper, but there was much more to the fight than that. Anderson had Groves in quite a spot that night, but the real story is that Groves, 22, dug down deep, came up with something special, and charged back to score a stoppage. It was really a terrific little fight, and proved a lot about Groves' resolve.
So we know Groves can come back from danger. DeGale hasn't faced any. They've been against roughly the same level of opposition, with DeGale's win over Smith obviously being by far the best for either man. They also genuinely don't like each other. Groves had success against DeGale in the amateur ranks, but to me DeGale has come a long way and has really started developing into a possible great fighter. Personally, I'm a much bigger fan of Groves, but if I'm trying to predict their futures, I think DeGale has the higher ceiling. But with prospects you just never do know until you know. I think both are likely to be mainstays in the top ten of their division(s) for a long time, and that Groves will provide some really great fights along the way. Maybe this is one of them.
Odds and Ends
Ryan Burton of BoxingScene.com reports that a May 13 fight on ShoBox between Sharif Bogere and John Molina is nearly set. Bogere (19-0, 12 KO) is a Golden Boy prospect originally from Uganda, and would be giving up nearly half a foot of height to Molina (21-1, 17 KO). Molina bounced back last year from his late 2009 loss to Martin Honorio, beating Hank Lundy in July and going 3-0 on the year. It's a good fight for both, and yet another nice sign that promoters and TV people are starting to look for prospects to take good fights against other prospects. I like this trend.
Richard Schaefer is holding a June 18 PPV date open for Saul Alvarez, according to Dan Rafael. Rafael also notes that the 11,764 fans that packed the Honda Center for Alvarez's win over Matthew Hatton is the second-biggest crowd to ever attend a boxing event at the arena, and HBO says that the fight drew 1.4 million viewers. I know we're all trying to pump the brakes on getting too crazy about Alvarez, but the kid's a star already, and that's just in the US. We're not even talking about the phenomenon he's become in Mexico. If Alvarez were to fight and win on 6/18, he'd also headline on 9/17, the weekend of Mexican Independence Day.
Also from Rafael, Robert Helenius will fight Samuel Peter on April 2.