Ten & Counting: A Roundup of Recent News in Boxing

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 11: Boxing promoter Bob Arum speaks during the final news conference for the bout between boxer Manny Pacquiao and WBO welterweight champion Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino November 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao and Cotto will meet in a WBO welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand on November 14. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The word “upgrade” is rarely seen in boxing, but when Orlando Salido withdrew from his bout with Yuriorkis Gamboa and was replaced by Elio Rojas, things went from mediocre to eye-opening in an instant. A good matchup between talented fighters linked to different promoters on HBO? Has the world gone mad?

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As one might imagine, it has been all but impossible for Bob Arum to stick by a gag order agreed to, in principle, by all parties involved in the Pacquiao-Mayweather Jr. negotiations. But every day Arum emerges, like some sort of jack-in-the-box set on a 24-hour timer, to bait keyboard hacks with gags not nearly as funny as his hair dye. The more Arum talks, it seems, the less likely this bout will come off.

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Lou DiBella recently complained to Dan Rafael at ESPN.com about how some fighters on HBO avoid good competition. So what does he do? He offers Alfonso Gomez to HBO as a sacrificial lamb for Andre Berto. Someone should run out and buy some “Goo Gone” for DiBella so he can clean his halo with it.

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See if we you can make some sense out of this: Luciano Cuello is part of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. “Bum of the Month Protection Program,” but he is a solid opponent for Saul Alvarez?

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This week “Friday Night Fights” airs what should be an entertaining clubfight when lightweights Hank Lundy and John Molina meet. Neither fighter is superstar material, but they appear evenly matched and that is almost more than you can ask for these days in boxing. Lundy, by the way, has talked enough smack to make Vic Darchinyan proud. Apparently, Lundy is just the boisterous type; he spent most of the night at a recent card at The Arena in Philadelphia joking and shouting from the back of the audience.

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Judging from the fawning over the Golden Boy Promotions undercard for Marquez-Diaz II, lots of outlets are hoping to score press creds and get “exclusive” interviews with the participants involved. Otherwise, how can you explain such a patchwork card, thrown together seemingly by chance, getting such rave reviews? The reality-based community can read on if they want; others can visit the Clifford The Big Red Dog website for more fantasy.

On to the “stacked” undercard. Most folks used to sigh when Rocky Juarez was featured on another pay-per-view, but now, apparently, just mentioning his name sets off cannon fire. Daniel Jacobs was so exciting in his bouts with Michael Walker and Ishe Smith that everyone is just dying to see him on July 31st. (By the way, who is Dimitri Pirog?) Joel Casamayor will be 39 next week and was last seen in the ring looking decidedly jaded against a no-hoper named Jason Davis on a welfare PPV promoted by Fernando Vargas that got fewer buys than “Dorm Room Sex Orgy,” or “Bang My Wife 4.” Not to mention the fact that both headliners are coming off of one-sided thrashings. If this is “great,” then previous undercard tripe must have been “good.” Nothing beats progress, especially the boxing kind.

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Kevin Iole recently reported that the Super Six telecast of Andre Ward-Allan Green on Showtime drew about 435,000 viewers. Add to this shocker the fact that the fight was nearly cancelled because of poor ticket sales, and you are talking about a truly dreadful situation. Think about it: even Chad Dawson garners bigger ratings. We know about Green and his misdirected aggression (usually outside of the ring), but Ward, heir to the Sugar Ray Leonard legacy, ahem, needs to start appealing to folks who actually like to see some action in the ring.

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According to Lem Satterfield at Fanhouse.com, Chris Arreola and Manuel Quezada will face off on ESPN2 on August 13th. Although both fighters are coming off losses (Quezada to the limited Jason Gavern), it should be a good heavyweight scrap while it lasts. In addition, Arreola, on ESPN2, is finally fighting where his skill level belongs.

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Even some of the gullible boxing press seems puzzled by the forthcoming Shane Mosley-Sergio Mora bout scheduled for September. Not only is Mora not TV-friendly, but the fight is another senseless catchweight extravaganza put together for no other reason than both fighters are under the Golden Boy Promotions banner. Much has been written about Top Rank keeping fights “in the family” recently, but at least they keep these bouts in the appropriate weight class. Mosley last fought at welterweight, and Mora was over the middleweight limit when he knocked out Calvin Green (who once fought for a minor junior welterweight title!) in April. This fight is so important, however, that the difference in weight will be split so that the people can get what they want. Sigh.

Whether HBO will be involved in this PPV misadventure is unknown at the moment, but if they pass it by–as they should–Mosley-Mora will be a giant stinkbomb in L.A. Hopefully, Golden Boy can manage to be bothered to schedule enough rounds for it to qualify under the California State Athletic Commission minimum. Not even Victor Ortiz-Vivian Harris can save this mess if HBO refuses to give it the equivalent of a corporate bailout.

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Watch out! Here comes Edel Ruiz!

Solo Boxeo dove headfirst into the bottom of the barrel when it was announced that Antonio Escalante would face Edel Ruiz on August 6th. Prior to knocking out a shot Bones Adams in February, Ruiz, 34-22-4, had been crushed in FORTY-THREE seconds by Robert Guerrero. His last four wins before the Adams fight came against opponents with a combined record of 2-54. This is not a typo. Who knew boxing on Telefutura, brought to you by Golden Boy Promotions, could actually get worse?

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Tags: Andre Ward Bob Arum Chris Arreola Danny Jacobs. Joel Casamayor Floyd Mayweather Hank Lundy Juan Manuel Marquez Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Lou DiBella Manny Pacquiao Rocky Juarez Saul Alvarez Sergio Mora Shane Mosley Yuriorkis Gamboa