It's Monday. Welcome back for another edition of Observe and Fight, The Boxing Observer's compilation of observations and random thoughts from the week that was in boxing. Get caught up on some of the most recent events you may have missed out on, including a recap of this past weekend's fights, Canelo's mystery opponent, Randall Bailey's odd choices, and much more. Without further ado, check out the latest observations from The Boxing Observer.
- Cornelius Bundrage will make for entertaining fights, no matter who he is fighting. It's just too bad it's unlikely to be Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Before this past weekend, most believed Bundrage needed a big performance against Cory Spinks to be considered an opponent for Canelo. Bundrage delivered with a 7th round knockout, reminiscent of his first fight with Spinks. Unfortunately for K9, Golden Boy Promotions announced on Friday that Canelo's opponent had already been selected and the announcement would come this week. All that did was prove what I had been saying all along about Golden Boy. The reason they bought the Bundrage-Spinks rematch was in the hopes of matching the winner with Cuban Erislandy Lara for the IBF title.
- Lara looked excellent once again, but didn't go for the kill. I was a bit surprised that Lara let Freddy Hernandez off the hook Saturday night. There were numerous times in the fight I thought Hernandez was ready to go, but Lara didn't take advantage. Either way, Lara proved why he may be the most feared man at 154 pounds. Luckily for Lara, Golden Boy made sure Showtime focused on him after the Bundrage victory, essentially setting up an IBF championship showdown between the two. Bundrage is one guy who will not be afraid to mix it up with Lara. K9 wants to get paid (he made just over $150,000 for the fight Saturday), and he will be rewarded handsomely (as will Lara) on Showtime Championship Boxing. Don't be surprised if a Bundrage vs. Lara fight gets added to the Canelo Alvarez undercard in September. It's a quick turnaround for both fighters, but neither absorbed much punishment, and it would add some stability to a card with a very weak main event.
- Speaking of September 15th, Canelo's opponent will be??? At this point, unless Oscar De la Hoya is coming out of retirement, I think it's a foregone conclusion Alvarez will be fighting Carlos Quintana. Austin Trout has been nixed. Bundrage and Lara are being setup to fight one another. Josesito Lopez is just too small. Same goes for Marcos Maidana. Miguel Cotto has stated he isn't interested fighting in September. Vanes Martirosyan is a Top Rank fighter. Gabriel Rosado isn't there yet. There is nobody else left. Quintana owns a victory over Paul Williams, and the last memory fans have of him is his knockout of Deandre Latimore on the Mayweather vs. Cotto undercard. It's Mexico vs. Puerto Rico on the eve of Mexican Independence Day. At this point, nothing else makes sense.
- Randall Bailey's decision-making is currently very spotty. No disrespect to the newly crowned IBF welterweight champion, but worrying about a venue against Devon Alexander should be the least of his concerns. Bailey and Alexander have agreed to terms for a September 8th title fight, but Bailey says he wants the fight outside of St. Louis (Alexander's hometown). Bailey says this fight should take place in Las Vegas. In most cases, I would tend to agree with the champion. However, in this case, that is the dumbest move he can make. There are a few things to look at when analyzing this decision. If the fight goes to the scorecards, it means Bailey will have lost regardless of where the fight takes place because Alexander is by far the superior boxer. Bailey will be looking for a knockout, plain and simple. Also, where else is this fight going to take place? Bailey is not a draw in any city, including his hometown of Miami, and Alexander routinely brings in 6,000-plus fans in St. Louis. You have to go where the tickets will sell. On top of that, going to Vegas for this fight? Bailey says he wants Alexander out of his comfort zone. Understandable, but this fight will not sell 2,000 tickets in Las Vegas. The Amir Khan vs. Danny Garcia fight on July 14th has barely sold 3,000 tickets, and rumor has it that if you book a room at Mandalay Bay that weekend, they are giving away free fight tickets. Khan is a much bigger draw in Vegas than Bailey or Alexander. When Alexander fought Timothy Bradley in Detroit (in a location that made no sense for either fighter), the fight sold only 4,000 tickets and about 2,000 comps were given away. You're looking at less than that for Bailey vs. Alexander. Finally, Showtime offered Bailey $500,000 for this fight. Bailey made a career-high (in America) $100,000 to be an opponent for Mike Jones on the Pacquiao vs. Bradley undercard. Bailey caught a lucky punch, and is now being offered half a million dollars. TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN, RANDALL! Bailey should consider himself fortunate that Showtime is willing to pony up that kind of money for him. Plus, in St. Louis, he can probably negotiate to get some share of the ticket sales. Anywhere else and Bailey won't be making half a million. Guaranteed that Showtime will reduce his offer because they won't sell as many tickets. Randall Bailey needs to take the money and run.
- Peter Quillin vs. Marco Antonio Rubio is a strong possibility to open for Alexander vs. Bailey. I like this fight, A LOT! Quillin is coming off of his best performance against the biggest name of his career, Winky Wright. Now it's time for him to prove he can take on one of the big boys in the middleweight division. I am a big fan of Quillin and think his ability is limitless. Marco Antonio Rubio is a game fighter who always tests the competition. He gave Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. all he could handle and more. Should Quillin pass this test, he could be in line to face the winner of Chavez Jr. vs. Sergio Martinez, which takes place just one week later. Quillin's personality alone will sell tickets. He just needs that one signature win. Rubio can provide that test. Excellent matchmaking.
- Gary Russell Jr. continues to impress. I, for one, want to see Russell in a fight with someone like Elio Rojas next, a game veteran who can provide a stiff challenge for the youngster. In my opinion, Russell is already the best featherweight in the world. Yes, I said it, and I'm sticking to it. I think he is better than Salido, Gamboa, Chris John, and Mikey Garcia. The one person who will present problems for Russell right now is Celestino Caballero. Caballero's height and reach advantage could prove to be difficult for the much shorter Russell, but Russell's hand speed is better than anyone in the division, maybe the world. As they say, speed kills.
- Is Andre Dirrell an active fighter anymore?
- The Marcos Maidana train ride hasn't stopped yet. First, he was going back down to jr. welterweight. Next, he was fighting Keith Thurman at welterweight on the Adrien Broner undercard, July 21st. Then, he said he was fighting Canelo Alvarez. Then, it was rumored he may be fighting Lucas Matthysse on the Canelo undercard. Now, he's is still negotiating with Keith Thurman, while at the same time looking at other possibilities. Let's scrap the Thurman fight and make Maidana vs. Matthysse. FIGHT OF THE YEAR!
- Nonito Donaire needs to look spectacular this weekend on HBO. A string of sub-par performances have people questioning if Donaire is a legit Top-5 pound-for-pounder. A great performance will make everyone remember why Donaire is Donaire.
- In case anyone cares, Wladimir Klitschko is fighting Tony Thompson again on Saturday for the heavyweight title.
- The best fight this weekend may be taking place in Sheffield, England. Kell Brook vs. Carson Jones in a career-defining fight for both men. Brook hasn't fought anybody, yet wants to fight the best. A win for him could setup a British super fight between he and Amir Khan. Jones has won 8 fights in a row and a win on Brook's home turf would put him in line for a major title shot. Big fight with big implications!
That's all I've got for this week. Email any questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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