Wednesday’s Boxing Notebook

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: January 19, 2010

NEW YORK (BASN) — The epic super-fight between WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao and undefeated Floyd Mayweather will not occur on Saturday, March 13.

Instead, Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs), through promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank pay-tv outlet, has agreed to fight former IBF welterweight champion Joshua Clottey (35-3, 20 KOs) at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Initially, HBO had reserved the March 13th date for Bernard Hopkins vs. Roy Jones, Jr. However, on December 2, 2009, while Hopkins outpointed Enrique Ornelas in Philadelphia, Jones suffered a shocking first-round KO defeat to Danny Green in a cruiserweight bout in Australia.

Somehow, HBO was able to save Hopkins-Jones for an April 17, Pay-TV date.

Pacquiao-Mayweather talks broke down over drug testing. Mayweather and Co. wanted Pacquiao to agree to random, Olympic-style drug testing. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddy Roach countered by saying he didn’t want Pacquiao’s blood be drawn, but so many times during training camp especially in the final days leading up to the fight.

A mediator was brought in two weeks ago to talk some sense into both parties at Top Rank and Golden Boy. Nothing was resolved and both fighters will move ahead with their careers.

The 31-year-old Filipino will fight Clottey in what should be another dangerous outing for “Pac-Man.” Pacquiao will look to dominate another championship caliber opponent. Pacquiao, fresh off consecutive victories over Juan Manuel Marquez, David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, and Miguel Cotto hasn’t lost in four years to Erik Morales on points.

Pacquiao, formerly known as the “Mexican Assassin” following his career-defining wins against Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, continues to get better with each fight. In fact, many consider him to be the best fighter in the world — pound-for-pound.

Unless someone proves otherwise, Pacquiao will continue to pummel the opposition. “Clottey is big and strong,” Pacquiao said recently. “People were saying that I won’t be able to put Miguel Cotto down, but you know what happened.”

Clottey is a very solid and well-built welterweight contender from Accra, Ghana. Clottey’s best wins were a technical decision over Zab Judah in August 2008 and a dazzling points win over Diego Corrales in the final fight before his death in 2007.

Clottey isn’t a stranger to losing though. His injured right hand during a bout with Antonio Margarito cost him a decision. In his previous bout in June 2009, Clottey, floored in the first round, had his opportunities but didn’t capitalize, as he allowed Miguel Cotto to outbox him through twelve rounds.

Pacquiao, should he beat Clottey, may opt to wait on Mayweather, who could find himself in a fight with WBA welterweight champion Sugar Shane Mosley.

Berto pulls out of Mosley fight

Sugar Shane Mosley was scheduled to fight WBC welterweight champion, Andre Berto on January 30, but that fight was scratched in wake of the disastrous hurricane that hit Haiti last week. Berto’s family is Haitian.

“Since the 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti on Tuesday evening, I have been focusing on my family and the Haitian people who are facing an inconceivable battle for survival while still trying to continue to prepare for an opportunity I have dreamt of since childhood,” Berto said in a statement.

“I lost several family members to the earthquake and after two days without word, was relieved to learn that my sister, Naomi and her daughter, Jessica survived, but were left homeless.”

“I have seen the pain in my parents’ eyes as they attempt to understand what has happened to our homeland and recognize a place they once called home.”

Berto continued: “As a result of this disaster, I am mentally and physically exhausted and therefore I have no choice but to withdraw from my bout on January 30.”

Berto, who fought twice in 2009, looked terrible in title defenses against both Luis Collazo and Juan Urango. Berto makes a lot of mistakes, but going into the Mosley fight he brought speed, strength, and pressure by putting his punches together.

Berto’s youth would have given him an edge against an inactive, 38-year-old Mosley. As a slight favorite, Mosley hasn’t fought since his ninth-round destruction of Antonio Margarito more than one year ago.

Mosley-Berto would have been very fascinating for obvious reasons; especially in aftermath of that huge earthquake that hit Haiti. For Berto to pull out of the fight, an HBO fight at that, had to have been a tough, but understandable decision to make.

Jermain Taylor pulls out of Super Six Classic

The Super Six World Boxing Classic will resume without the skills of former world middleweight champion Jermain Taylor. Taylor (28-4-1, 17 KOs), is best recognized for his two consecutive victories against Bernard Hopkins in 2005.

However, the 31-year-old from Little Rock, Arkansas suffered two consecutive/concussive knockouts in the final round in 2009. His last occurred during the initial stage of the Group 1 Round-Robin series at the hands of former unbeaten IBF middleweight king Arthur Abraham.

A replacement for Taylor’s spot in the Super Six tournament will be decided on February 5, when Allan Green will battle former “Contender” champion Sakio Bika in a super middleweight bout.

The winner will challenge newly crowned WBA 168-pound champion and 2004 Olympic Gold medalist Andre Ward in April during the final bout of Group 2 Stage of the tournament’s opening round.

The Super Six: World Boxing Classic tournament will resume with a Group 2-Stage SHOWTIME attraction featuring Abraham vs. Andre Dirrell in March. In April, WBC super middleweight titlist Carl Froch vs. Mikkel Kessler and Ward’s first defense will be against the Green-Bika winner as well.

In Group 1, Abraham’s emphatic final round knockout of Taylor allowed him to jump to a 3-0 points lead. Points victories by Ward and Froch (2-0) led to a two-way tie for second place.

With Taylor eliminated, Kessler and Dirrell too are on the verge of elimination should they lose their respective bouts in March. At the end of the three Group Stages of the tournament’s first round, the top four fighters will advance.

The bottom two will be eliminated. In round two, the tournament’s final four fighters will meet in a single elimination format with the winner meeting the third and final Stage – the Super Six: World Boxing Classic Championship finale.

Gamboa-Lopez destined for a collision?

Cuban amateur sensation and Olympic gold medalist, Yuriorkis Gamboa and unbeaten WBO super bantamweight champion, Juan Manuel Lopez appear to be headed toward an eventual showdown.

For the second consecutive bout, both Gamboa and Lopez will co-headline a world championship doubleheader from the Theater of Madison Square Garden.

In the main event, Gamboa (16-0, 14 KOs) will defend his interim WBA feathereweight title against Rogers Mtagwa (26-13-2, 18 KOs). Lopez (27-0, 24 KOs), moves up in weight from 122 to 126, challenges WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano (37-1, 15 KOs).

The fights will be featured on HBO’s Boxing After Dark beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET.

In October 2009 during a Top Rank Pay-TV card, Gamboa had an easy time handling Whyber Garcia through four rounds. However, Lopez, had a life-and-death struggle against Mtagwa, the same guy Gamboa will be fighting.

No one thought Lopez, making the fifth defense of the WBO 112-pound title, would have a problem with Mtagwa a fighter with 12 losses going into the bout. Lopez boxed very well in the first-half of the bout, but for the last several rounds of the contest, was on the verge of getting KO’d.

It will be interesting to see whether Lopez had learned from his mistake of underestimating Mtagwa. Lopez will have a very tough fight with Luevano — a skilled boxer with only one loss more than four years ago.

It will also be interesting to see whether Gamboa will have his way with Mtagwa or struggle the way Lopez did. Either way, both Gamboa and Lopez are expected to win in spectacular fashion on Saturday.

Edwin Valero plans to dazzle boxing world on SHOWTIME

Hard-hitting WBC lightweight champion, undefeated Edwin Valero (26-0, 26 KOs) is currently training in Mexico for his highly-anticipated showdown with WBC interim titlist Antonio DeMarco (23-1-1, 17 KOs) in a SHOWTIME Championship Boxing telecast from Monterrey, Mexico on Saturday, February 6, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

“I am very happy to be in Mexico once again, I am Venezuelan, but when I come here, I feel that I am at home,” Valero said. “I have always felt comfortable among people who have Mexican blood, and now that I am about to fight in Mexican soil again, my joy has doubled.”

“I hope, as always, to fight a good bout, I know that DeMarco, current Interim champion, is a fighter who has his own style, reason for which I am preparing, to do my best and become the undisputed WBC lightweight world champion.”

Amir Khan signs with Golden Boy Promotions

In an attempt to make rising British star Amir Khan (22-1, 16 KOs) a household name in the United States, Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions took a significant step by signing the 23-year-old to a promotional pact.

“Amir Khan is one of the most talented fighters in the world at any weight,” said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “That talent, combined with his charismatic and out-going personality, makes him a promoter’s dream and I feel will one day lead him to being the face of boxing.”

“We are extremely excited to team with Khan Promotions and look forward to introducing Amir to fight fans in the United States and around the world.”

Khan is an accomplished fighter. He won a silver medal for the British Olympic boxing team in 2004 at age 17. Khan Steamrolled through the opposition and didn’t allow his shocking first-round stoppage defeat by Breidis Prescott in 2008 to ruin in career.

Khan responded from the loss with a big 2009. Khan TKO’d the great Marco Antonio Barrera, scored a points win over Andreas Kotlink to claim the WBA junior welterweight championship, and recorded a 76-second, first round knockout of Dimitry Salita.

“I am really happy Khan Promotions is partnering with Golden Boy as I know that together they will be the right team to help me continue my career as an elite fighter and to expand my fan base to the United States and around the world,” Khan stated.

“I’m ready to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime and know that Golden Boy will help me accomplish these goals.” Hopefully, Golden Boy Promotions will rush to make an exciting fight between Khan and hard-hitting, interim WBA titlist Marcos Rene Maidana.

In June 2009, Maidana survived three knockdowns to knockout highly-talked about prospect Victor Ortiz in the sixth round of a wild slugfest. 96% of Maidana’s victories have occurred by knockout.