Weekend Boxing Notebook

By Francis Walker
Updated: April 24, 2009

Ricky Hatton talks to the media about his upcoming 12-round junior welterweight title fight with Manny Pacquiao. Photo Credit: Jen Carpenter - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions.

Ricky Hatton talks to the media about his upcoming 12-round junior welterweight title fight with Manny Pacquiao. Photo Credit: Jen Carpenter - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions.

NEW YORK — WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch (24-0, 19 KOs) is in a tight spot. The newly crowned 168-pound champion’s first defense will be his first bout on U.S. soil.

Ricky Hatton and trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr. work the pads in preparation for the Pacman. Photo Credit: Jen Carpenter - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions.

Ricky Hatton and trainer Floyd Mayweather, Sr. work the pads in preparation for the Pacman. Photo Credit: Jen Carpenter - Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions.

His opponent, former Undisputed world middleweight champion Jermain Taylor (28-2, 17 KOs), is hungry to become a two-division champ. Froch vs. Taylor will be the main event of a Showtime Championship Boxing doubleheader on Saturday night at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, CT.

Froch vs. Taylor is a difficult bout to call, even though many ring experts are leaning toward Taylor because of his speed and athleticism. Taylor should be favored because his resume is an excellent one.

The former 2000 Olympic bronze medalist has twice defeated Bernard Hopkins in 2005, ending his 10-year reign as world middleweight champion. Taylor has fought former world champions Winky Wright, Cory Spinks, and William Joppy.

Will Jermain Taylor be smiling as the new WBC super middleweight title on Saturday?

Will Jermain Taylor be smiling as the new WBC super middleweight title on Saturday?

“Jermain Taylor is a big marquee fighter,” Froch said. “He’s a big name in America and a big name world wide. He’s someone I looked up to as I was coming up through the pro ranks.”

Taylor’s only two losses were to one man — Kelly Pavlik.

During a bout that Taylor was winning, Pavlik came from behind to score a dramatic seventh round stoppage in September 2007 to capture the world middleweight title. Pavlik beat Taylor in an immediate rematch in February 2008, but Taylor was competitive for a longer duration of time and lost a close decision.

Taylor had better not look past an eager and determined Froch. The last time Taylor said that he wasn’t impressed with an opponent, he lost – twice in consecutive fights.

“Who is he? Who has he beat?” Taylor asked.

Froch vs. Taylor: a WBC mandate

This fight is happening because Froch and Taylor each won their previous bouts as mandated by the World Boxing Council.

In December 2008, Froch won a 12-round unanimous decision against Jean Pascal for the vacant WBC belt following the retirement of former champion Joe Calzaghe.

The winner (Froch) was ordered to make a mandatory defense against the victor of Taylor-Jeff Lacy bout in November. Taylor belted Lacy through twelve rounds for a unanimous decision nod to become the No. 1-ranked challenger.

2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist and unbeaten super middleweight contender, Andre Ward has a word with ShoBox announcer Steve Farhood. Ward faces the toughest test of his career on May 16, against Ediosn Miranda. Photo Credit: Tom Casino - Showtime.

2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist and unbeaten super middleweight contender, Andre Ward has a word with ShoBox announcer Steve Farhood. Ward faces the toughest test of his career on May 16, against Ediosn Miranda. Photo Credit: Tom Casino - Showtime.

There is a possibility that the Froch-Taylor winner could face 2004 Olympic gold medal winner Andre Ward, ranked No. 2 by the WBC. First Ward has to surpass the challenge of former IBF middleweight title challenger Edison Miranda on May 16.

“Stylistically speaking, it’s a hard fight to call,” Ward said in a recent statement. “Both fighters have their pros and cons. But if I have to pick, I’d say Taylor will win a very close fight. I think his speed, experience and athleticism will pull him through.”

Yuriorkis Gamboa is a world champion

Newly crowed interim WBC featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa smacks a solid right to the face of Jose Rojas. Photo Credit: Tom Casino - Showtime.

Newly crowed interim WBC featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa smacks a solid right to the face of Jose Rojas. Photo Credit: Tom Casino - Showtime.

Yuriorkis Gamboa is a world champion after only fifteen professional bouts and less than two years of pro experience. Gamboa (15-0, 13 KOs), during the April 17, edition of “ShoBox: The New Generation,” stopped four-time world title challenger Jose Rojas in the tenth round.

What Gamboa did was sweet, but the feat of winning a world championship would have been sweeter if Gamboa, a former Cuban amateur standout and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, were to have beaten let’s say WBA featherweight champion Chris John.

Gamboa, throughout his young career, has fought and defeated opponents with winning records. That’s a compliment to Gamboa’s level as a fighter. However, Gamboa has beaten guys who had their ring records padded for the most part.

His win against Rojas, a former four-time world title challenger, was a solid ‘W’ for the rising Cuban star. However, Gamboa beat a guy who was arguably there for the taking.

“It is always good to put on a show for the fans,” Gamboa said afterwards. “I think the fans are going to be hearing and seeing a lot from good Cuban boxers from now on.”

But can we truly consider Gamboa to be a world champion? Gamboa fought for the WBA “interim’ featherweight title, but John wasn’t hurt or incapable of defending his belt. In fact, John last escaped with his title after 12 pressing rounds against Rocky Juarez.

Yuriorkis Gamboa is a world champion after only 15 professional bouts. Will Gamboa's fast climb toward the top lead to a rapid downfall? Photo Credit: Tom Casino - Showtime.

Yuriorkis Gamboa is a world champion after only 15 professional bouts. Will Gamboa's fast climb toward the top lead to a rapid downfall? Photo Credit: Tom Casino - Showtime.

Winning a world title in 15 professional bout is amazing, but why the sudden rush? Why was there a need to rush Gamboa toward a world championship, any world championship, an interim title, so quickly?

Credit to Showtime for featuring Gamboa’s title fight on critically acclaimed “ShoBox: The New Generation” series. One reason why Gamboa was rushed into a world title fight is because, TV networks like Showtime, HBO, and ESPN have been quick and responsive to one simple demand…

People want to see Yuriorkis Gamboa fight!!

Gamboa spells action, action, action. It’s either he’s going to try to knock his opponent out or he’s going to risk getting taken out himself. Gamboa has notably tasted the canvas on more than several occasions, which has raised questions about his chin.

What would happen if Gamboa was tested by an experienced technical fighter and made the mistake of dropping his hands and lunging forward? Gamboa would probably be stopped.

To give Gamboa credit, every time has been clipped he has gotten his behind off the canvas and won fights in convincing fashion.

As long as Gamboa remains on TV, people will watch. For those that haven’t seen Gamboa fight (especially live like this writer), don’t blink because you may miss a knockout.

Pacquiao-Hatton undercard set

When Ricky Hatton collides with Manny Pacquiao in a scheduled 12-round junior welterweight clash on May 2, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the undercard will be stacked with loads of talent.

HBO Pay-Per-View will broadcast “Pacquiao vs. Hatton: The Battle of East and West” live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV on May 2, at a suggested asking price of $49.99. The televised event will also include a four-bout undercard.

WBC super featherweight champion Humberto Soto (47-4-2, 30 KOs) of Mexico defends against WBC No. 9-ranked Canadian Benoit Gaudet (20-1, 7 KOs). Gaudet has won his last eleven bouts and his record suggests that he’s a “safe” opponent for the champion.

Hard hitting Texas native, James Kirkland (25-0, 22 KOs) looks to continue his surge of knockout stoppages. Fresh off a decisive victory over former world title challenger Joel Julio (TKO 6) in March, Kirkland, ranked No.1 by both the WBA and WBO at 154 pounds, is scheduled to meet Mike Walker (19-1-2, 12 KOs) of Chicago.

The fight could be in jeopardy because. Kirkland was recently arrested for possession of a firearm in his native Texas. Kirkland, a convicted felon for armed robbery, could face jail time.

Should Kirkland be allowed to fight, he will surprisingly be moving up to middleweight to fight Walker at 160 pounds. Walker’s biggest win was an eight round decision against former middleweight title challenger Antwun Echols.

2008 Russian Olympian and middleweight prospect Matt Korobov (4-0, 4 KOs), along with former Cuban sensation Erislandy Lara (4-0, 3 KOs) will appear in separate four-round bouts.

Hatton vs. Pacquiao ticket info

Tickets for Pacquiao-Hatton are priced at $1000, $750, $500, $300, and $150. For more information contact Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com or the MGM Grand at www.mgmgrand.com.

Pacquiao- Hatton 24/7

HBO has done it again. The network giant is filming another 24/7 series featuring both Pacquiao and Hatton. The series is taped each week and the second installment of the four-show series was seen on Saturday, April 18, at 10 pm ET.

For more information follow www.hbo.com.