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, Golden Boy's silence on Canelo's opponent, a preview of this weekend's bouts, and much more. Without further ado, check out the latest observations from The Boxing Observer.
- I'm still not sold that Nonito Donaire is the best super bantamweight in the world. Yes, he did unify belts in the 122-pound division. I am not taking anything away from that, but I said last week, before Donaire's fight with Jeffrey Mathebula, that he needed a spectacular performance. I understand he has moved up several weight divisions already, but I'm just not seeing improvement from Donaire as the competition steps up for him at 122. To be frank, I'm not so sure he beats the likes of Abner Mares or Guillermo Rigondeaux, both 122-pound titlists. Donaire says he wants one more belt before moving up to featherweight. I think Donaire needs to take care of business with the entire division before he should think about moving up, because 126 pounds is no joke with fighters like Gary Russell Jr., Elio Rojas, Mikey Garcia, Chris John, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Orlando Salido, Celestino Caballero, and a host of others.
- Kelly Pavlik is not going to win another world title. I'm rooting for Pavlik, don't get me wrong, however, Pavlik is a shell of the fighter he once was, and he does not have the power to knock out the top level fighters in the super middleweight division. Lucian Bute may be a nice payday for Pavlik, but even after Bute's loss to Carl Froch, I still don't see Pavlik on his level. Of course I'm rooting hard for him to complete the comeback trail, but his performance against Will Rosinsky Saturday night was further proof that Pavlik is no longer an elite level fighter, nor will he ever be an elite level fighter again. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm being a realist.
- No surprise that the fight of the weekend took place Saturday in Sheffield, England. Kell Brook and Carson Jones put on a spectacular performance in the welterweight division with an IBF title shot on the line. Jones put on a Marcos Maidana, workman-like effort and had Jones on the ropes several times in the latter half of the fight. To his credit, Brook stood tough and hung on for the hard-fought, majority decision victory. No argument on the scorecards, and Brook proved to the world he had something that some were questioning...heart. However, whether or not Brook is good enough to beat any of the welterweight title holders is another question. WBC champion Floyd Mayweather? Get real. WBO champion Timothy Bradley? Highly unlikely. WBA champion Paulie Malignaggi? Possibly, although I think Malignaggi's speed, stamina, and slickness would give Brook some serious issues. IBF champion Randall Bailey? That's the ticket. Brook would box circles around Bailey, however, if Bailey were to press late in the fight, as Carson Jones did, there is a strong possibility it would be lights out for Kell Brook. Don't believe me? Ask Mike Jones. What about Bailey's opponent on September 8th, Devon Alexander? I think Alexander is a bit too slick and would get off first against Brook, which is something Jones failed to do. When Jones did get off first, Brook looked befuddled. Alexander would do just that...befuddle him.
- Will the Al Haymon effect land Josesito Lopez the payday of his life? Al "The Ghost" Haymon continued to grow his stable of world class fighters this past week after signing Josesito Lopez and Erislandy Lara. Lopez is coming off the biggest win of his career against Victor Ortiz and has been rumored to be a possible foe for Canelo Alvarez. Ricardo Mayorga is tweeting that he is signing a contract for the fight on Tuesday, and Marcos Maidana has also been rumored as a possible foe. Of those three, I'd personally choose Mayorga for the simple reason that he is a true 154-pounder. Maidana just pulled out of the welterweight fight with Keith Thurman because his team believes Thurman is really a 154-pounder fighter in a welterweight's body. Why then would Maidana step into the ring with a real 154-pound fighter? Oh yeah, that's right...MONEY! Maidana said he wasn't ready for 147 after he was outclassed by Devon Alexander in February. I'm sure 154 pounds would be a much better venture for him (insert sarcasm). Lopez is a true 140-pound fighter who moved up for the sole purpose of facing Ortiz. While Lopez proved he could certainly take the welterweight punch (Ortiz is one of the stronger punchers in the division), going up to 154 against possibly the strongest fighter in the division is another beast entirely. That being said, if I had to put my money on it, I'm guessing it will be Lopez who receives the assignment, thanks to one Al Haymon. "The Ghost" is the most powerful and influential figure in boxing and, I believe, his power will come into play in making this matchup. My one question for Golden Boy Promotions is how exactly is this fight going to be "history-making" as they have repeatedly stated?
- Are the Klitschko brothers in the Top 10 of the all-time heavyweights? It's a question that has been tossed around more than, "Who is Kim Kardashian currently sleeping with?" Whether or not you think the heavyweight division is dreadful, the brothers can only fight who is available. They have done that and more. After Wladimir's knockout win over Tony Thompson Saturday night, the combined record of the two brothers is 102-5 with 91 KO's. I don't care who the opposition is because that's very impressive. Since either Klitschko last loss (a 2004 Wladimir loss to Lamon Brewster), the brothers have won 28 fights in a row combined, 22 via stoppage. Both men are Hall of Fame bound in my opinion, and should at least be considered among the all-time greats. If you think about the all-time greatest heavyweights, would you find 10 that would DEFINITELY beat the Klitschkos every time they fought? I'm not so sure. If you disagree with me, email me a list of 10 fighters you are 100% sure would beat the Klitschko brothers every time they fought. It might be tougher than you think.
- Tyson Fury is being brought up very nicely by his promoter, Mick Hennessy. Let's be very clear about something, I am 100% against promoters cashing in on their fighters by consistently putting them in there with over-the-hill fighters. It's not fair to the fans and it does a disservice to the fighter. It also does a grave disservice to the opponent. Like it or not, Golden Boy Promotions has done a great job building up Saul Alvarez. At the same token, Top Rank has brought up Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. just wonderfully. Look at the improvement of those two future superstars in the past 24 months and tell me I'm wrong. The same goes for the 23-year-old heavyweight contender Fury. It would be very easy for Hennessy to throw Fury into battle with Wladimir Klitschko. Fury could have been Wlad's opponent Saturday night instead of recycling Tony Thompson, but Hennessy knows Fury isn't ready. By the same token, Fury understands he needs a few more fights. When I saw Fury fight in 2010 against Rich Power, my initial thoughts were: clumsy, horrible footwork, and terrible defensive stance. That was 7 fights ago. What I saw from Fury Saturday in his win over the out-matched Vinny Maddalone was much better balance, patience, excellent body work, and the killer instinct that has been lacking in the heavyweight division for quite some time. Fury is a completely different fighter than he was 2 years ago, much like Alvarez and Chavez Jr. After the fight, Fury didn't call out the Klitschko brothers. He decided to call out the #3 ranked heavyweight in the world (according to Boxrec), Tomasz Adamek. Instead of Adamek facing James Toney (please help us all), why shouldn't Fury be the one to face Adamek on September 8th? Kathy Duva and Main Events want Adamek to fight a big name to sell pay-per-views in Poland. Fury is a bigger name in Europe and Asia than James Toney at this stage. Fury would probably bring in over 15,000 fans inside the Prudential Center in New Jersey, bring Fury some American exposure, and would sell pay-per-views in the United States as well. With the fight taking place in the afternoon (in the United States) to accommodate the Polish fans, this fight could do very well in Europe and the United States because it would not interfere with both HBO and Showtime boxing broadcasts that same night. It would also not interfere with Vitali Klitschko's title defense later in the afternoon.
- Speaking of fights on pay-per-view, is anyone in their right mind actually thinking about buying the pay-per-view fight this weekend between Anthony Mundine and Bronco McKart? Mundine has been on this kick lately that he is the only fighter that can challenge Floyd Mayweather. Based on what exactly? A win over Daniel Gaele? Give me a break. Mundine has no business charging anyone to watch him fight. If Mundine wanted to be taken seriously, he should have fought his mandatory, Austin Trout, for the WBA 154-pound title. Instead, he passes on that to fight the 41-year-old McKart. I know I'm supposed to be unbiased, but I have no problem saying that I hope McKart digs down deep to win this fight in any fashion possible. Pay-per-view? Get the hell out here with that garbage!
- David Haye vs. Dereck Chisora is the most anticipated heavyweight non-title fight in a long time. When was the last time anyone was this excited about Saturday night's main attraction in London? The last heavyweight fight I looked forward to watching this much was James "The Grim Reaper" Roper taking on "Irish" Terry Conklin in the movie The Great White Hype. Truth be told, the fight is almost guaranteed to be a stinker, however, I will be watching because the lead-up has been outstanding with both fighters taking shots at one another. Let's face it, Chisora is a ticking time bomb. Come to think of it, he might actually be crazy enough to bring an actual bomb into the ring Saturday. Maybe Chisora should go through metal detectors before entering Upton Park. Just a thought.
- Holy crap has the Amir Khan vs. Danny Garcia fight produced some serious hype! Weird thing is that it has come from the most unlikely of sources, Garcia's father, Angel. If you haven't seen his rant, you can click on this link to judge for yourself. Either way, the storyline going into the fight Saturday night has been set. If Khan is focused, he should win, but Garcia is game and he can hurt Khan if Amir is not in top shape. Expect Khan to try to stay on the outside with his jab while Garcia will try to make this fight as physical as possible. Should be a good one either way.
- I don't care about what anyone thinks, but I really like Adrien Broner. I was fortunate enough to follow Devon Alexander behind the scenes at his last fight in St. Louis, a fight in which Broner was in the co-featured bout. What fight fans saw on HBO during the "2 Days" program after "Boxing After Dark" was not an act. Adrien Broner is his own man. Over the period of the same two days HBO followed Broner, our paths crossed several times as he and Alexander are very close friends. In the hotel lobby on the day of the weigh-in, Broner approached me and asked how I was doing. I told him I was doing great, but it wasn't important how I was doing because I wasn't the one that was going 12 rounds the next day. In typical Broner fashion, confident and quick-witted, the champion chuckled and stated, "I'm good then too because I'm not going 12 rounds either." He was right. Broner knocked out the previously unbeaten Eloy Perez in spectacular and dominating fashion. What I also experienced in my interactions with Broner was a caring individual who not only wants to be famous, but wants to take care of his family and close friends. Make no mistake about it, Broner is flashy, flamboyant, and may rub people the wrong way, but I can tell you just from experiencing him first-hand, don't judge a book by its cover. He is a genuine individual outside of the ring. As far as his in-ring prowess, I think Broner's skills speak for themselves. If you haven't seen Broner fight, I highly recommend tuning into HBO July 21st, as you will most likely be witness to something spectacular, both in and out of the ring.
That's all I've got for this week. Email any questions or comments to email@example.com
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