In another slow week for boxing we have a few decent headliners. Fights to look forward to and fights that look as though they may or may not happen, so let’s dig into this week’s edition of the “Week in Review.”
Jennings Going Bye-Bye?
This week a press conference was held to announce the upcoming title fight between Wladimir Klitschko. Klitschko who will defend the world heavyweight championship against the undefeated Bryant “Bye-Bye” Jennings on April 25th at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Jennings is another American heavyweight hopeful who is attempting to bring glory back to the heavyweight division like his fellow compatriot Deontay Wilder did last month. Jennings, however, will be at a huge size and power deficit against the champion and will have a huge uphill battle to climb in his quest.
Having seen Jennings hurt against lesser opposition, it would seem as though he will be the one going “bye-bye” when he takes on the true heavyweight champion in Wladimir Klitschko. But at least we are getting an intriguing match up in the heavyweight division.
Gary Shaw Parts Ways with Roc Nation
Well, that didn’t last long. It actually didn’t even last a month. It seems as though there was too much in-fighting and tedious power struggling for Gary Shaw to stick around and continue his partnership with Roc Nation.
In leaving the company, Shaw takes his fighters and his promotional company back and leaves Roc Nation with a handful of fighters. This is but another failed attempt by Roc Nation to buy its way into boxing. First the company tried to buy fighters that were managed by Al Haymon, and that failed miserably and now they tried to buy a whole promotional company, and that failed as well.
It seems as though Roc Nation is destined to learn the hard way that the sport of boxing is nothing like the regulated sports of the NFL, NBA and MLB. It will take more than just throwing money around to become a power within this sport.
Carl Froch Vacates the IBF Super Middleweight title
In a move that is not surprising in the least, Carl Froch has vacated the IBF Super Middleweight title in hopes of securing a more high-profile fight with the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. He also has said that a fight against the 50-year-old Bernard Hopkins would be a big fight for him but then he came out and said Bernard may be too old and essentially not worth the risk.
While Hopkins is a legend in the sport, and he truly is a slick veteran, he most certainly is not a pay per view (PPV) worth challenger that Froch covets. The best that Froch can hope for right now is that Chavez Jr. wins his next fight and is free of legal obligations to Bob Arum so they can make a big fight. Then Froch can fulfill his dream of headlining a PPV in America.
Floyd vs. Manny Update
The only update that is really going to matter is the one that says this fight is happening in 100% certainty. This past week has seen Bob Arum came out and said the network issues are resolved and that there are only two significant issues left to hash out.
Only to be rebuffed by the networks who say that no such deal had been reached yet between them (kind of like how Bob said there was a contract when one never existed). Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports also reported that many people within the Top Rank organization are upset with Arum for speaking about the fight and reporting false information that could be damaging to negotiations.
Meanwhile Floyd Mayweather himself posted a video on Instagram of him and Manny in a meeting saying that this fight has to happen. All of the talk and posturing from both sides has added up to a whole bunch of nothing so far. With the proposed date of May 2nd getting closer and closer, it is looking more unlikely that the fight will happen within that timeframe let alone ever. However, we will be waiting with bells on for the fight to be green lighted and finally officially announced….or, not announced.
Mikkel Kessler Retires…Kind of.
First came the news that Mikkel Kessler was retiring from the sport of boxing due to lack of motivating fights and what not. Then we hear rumblings that he may be in negotiations with Andre Ward for a rematch.
Kessler has had a good career and certainly does not have anything left to prove. But one can only hope that he does not come back half-heartedly and embarrass himself like so many other fighters have done in the past. It certainly is never easy to give up something that you love but sometimes you have to know when to walk away. I for one have enjoyed watching Kessler fight, and I wish him the best whether it be in retirement or on the comeback trail.
Al Haymon Buys Out Leo Santa Cruz
Leo Santa Cruz and Golden Boy promotions reportedly had a good relationship but earlier in the week Leo’s manager, Al Haymon, bought him out of his promotional contract. There has been a lot of chatter that this was done so that Leo does not have to fight Rigondeaux whom Golden Boy was trying to negotiate a fight with, but it may not be that simple. It may be that Haymon wants to get Golden Boy out of the picture so that he does not have to deal with them at all.
Now Haymon can negotiate fights with the likes of Rigondeaux, Mares or even have Leo move up and fight Gary Russell or Jhonny Gonzalez. Right now everyone is mad at Leo and calling him a ducker but let us not forget that everyone was mad at Haymon too until he announced his TV deals and committed to bringing high-profile fighters to network television. If Leo is on NBC fighting Mares, I find it hard to believe anyone will be crying too loudly that he ducked Rigo.
Jermain Taylor Stripped of IBF Middleweight Belt
Another move that didn’t need to be predicted by the psychic hotline to be foreshadowed was the formal stripping of Jermain Taylor due to him being in legal troubles. Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam will now fight Felix Sturm for the vacant title once negotiations are complete. Taylor, on the other hand, is not only in bad shape from a boxing standpoint but also from a legal standpoint. He is being mentally evaluated for competency and faces some stiff charges.
One would like to hope that part of his issues are due to the concussive knockouts he has endured versus him just being a bad person but we will have to wait and see. All we know is that boxing and a lost title are the least of his worries right now and. Hopefully, he gets the much-needed help he requires.
Boxing Tidbits and Talk
Miguel Cotto’s advisor says that he will return in May or June against an opponent yet to be named. If he returns in May, I can see him fighting Mayweather but if he returns in June I have no clue whom he could fight with all the other decent middleweights tied up with other fights right now.
Speaking of who Cotto could be fighting. Amir Khan tweeted early Sunday morning “Khan v @RealMiguelCotto I’d take that fight in a heartbeat at catch weight 155lbs for the @WBCBoxing Middleweight title”.
Whether you like him or dislike him, you at least have to give Khan props for trying to fight the big fights, regardless of if he deserves them or not. He has the skills to beat Cotto but he also has the chin to lose should the fight happen.
Gennady Golovkin and his team have been doing a good job of promoting his upcoming fight with Martin Murray as a good challenge to help validate GGG’s resume but I doubt that this fight makes it past 6 rounds. Murray is a good opponent GGG is on another level and will continue his KO streak. At least we don’t have long to wait to find out the answer.
That’s all we got for this week but that is by far not all there was to talk about. Make sure that you catch Tha Boxing Voice weekly radio show live every Thursday and Sunday starting at 7pm (EST) or catch the podcast to get more insight and opinions on the world of boxing.