Back to Business for Nonito Donaire
Dan Rafael of ESPN.com reported a couple of days ago that Nonito Donaire appears headed for a May 28 return on HBO, where he would face Anselmo Moreno. Donaire (26-1, 18 KO) and Moreno (30-1-1, 10 KO) are by my tally the two best bantamweights in the world not currently tied up on April 23 for the Showtime tournament, so there's not much you can argue with as far as matchmaking. I also know I said just this morning that I don't think anyone at 118 matches up well with Donaire, and I don't, but I believe if anyone might surprise me, it's Moreno, a southpaw who knows how to ugly up a fight.
They do have a common opponent. Moreno had two wins on the road over Wladimir Sidorenko, the man Donaire starched in the worst televised high-level beating of 2010. Styles do make fights and all that, but Donaire deserves to be a heavy favorite against anyone in the division, even the other really good fighters. He really is that good.
The co-feature in the works would pit welterweight Mike Jones (24-0, 18 KO) against Antonin Decarie (25-1, 7 KO). This is an instance where a fighter being largely unknown in the States probably helps a fight, because if more people were familiar with Decarie, the fight would get crapped on as an uncompetitive showcase. Decarie is an OK fighter, but that's as far as it goes, and for Jones, he would be a sideways step at the very best.
Devon Alexander-Lucas Matthysse Talks Underway
Rafael also reports that Don King and Richard Schaefer are trying to hammer out a deal to pit Devon Alexander and Lucas Matthysse in a 140-pound fight in June or July. That's a good fight from a fan perspective, but it would scare the hell out of me if Alexander were my fighter. Matthysse looked much better than he had in the past in his narrow loss to Zab Judah last November, and beat Chop Chop Corley in a January fight that saw Corley ruled down an astonishing nine times in Argentina. Alexander was flat against Timothy Bradley, and was coming off of a controversial win over Andriy Kotelnik last August. Alexander really hasn't looked good in his last two fights after trouncing Juan Urango in March 2010, and Matthysse can bang.
Changes for Cotto-Mayorga Card
Christy Martin is out of her scheduled fight on the Cotto-Mayorga PPV for March 12, with a rib injury putting her on the shelf. I hate to put it this way, but as much as I don't want her to be injured and miss a payday she was expecting, that fight had no business on the show. Putting the 42-year-old Martin on a major PPV broadcast hadn't entered anyone's mind in years, and there's no denying whatsoever that she was getting the spot because of her recent headlines. That felt low even for boxing promoters.
But the card does have another undercard attraction, as former Notre Dame football star and current Baltimore Ravens safety Tom Zbikowski will make his return to the ring. Zbikowski fought once in 2006, scoring a 49-second TKO win at Madison Square Garden on the Cotto-Malignaggi card (boy, doesn't that seem like ages ago). He has no opponent named yet, but does have plans to fight more after this, especially if there's an NFL lockout, which seems likely. Must be nice to fight twice as a professional boxer at Madison Square Garden and the MGM Grand.
Barrios Arrested Once Again
Jorge Barrios was arrested again, according to BoxingScene.com, as he attempts to pile up more legal battles. A woman filed charges of sexual assault against the fighter. He's currently dealing with charges from last January stemming from the death of a pregnant woman in a car accident, and December, when his ex-wife filed a report that he beat their son. At 34 and with all of this mounting against him, it's probably likely that Barrios is done as a relevant fighter.
Odds and Ends
Kevin Iole quite rightly warns against going hysterical over Saul Alvarez. I would add that Alvarez is still fast-tracked at the level he's fighting right now. Beating guys like Lovemore N'dou and Carlos Baldomir, even the faded versions of both, is quite impressive for a 20-year-old kid. He was 19 when he beat Jose Miguel Cotto. Matthew Hatton is a terrific opponent for someone Alvarez's age. I mentioned this before, but it's really a razor's edge that Golden Boy would be walking if they start pushing too hard to make Alvarez a flagship star, sending him into fights he's not prepared for yet, and there are a lot of those out there right now. He's a good young prospect and so far seems to handle the attention well, but we've seen better prospects and level-headed kids get their lives, not just their careers, derailed by too much, too soon.
Zach Berman of The Star-Ledger has a quick profile piece on Kaizer Mabuza and Zab Judah.