Jones might get called up to the 'Show'
Roy Jones Jr. is working out the kinks to finally fight on Showtime against Tony Hanshaw, writes Dan Rafael in his weekend notebook.
HBO's May 26 "Boxing After Dark" card, which is probably headed to Anaheim, Calif., could be a doozy if it comes off as the network and promoter Golden Boy hope it will.
The opener, which shapes up as a slugfest, is set: featherweight titlist Injin Chi (31-3-1, 18 KOs) will make a mandatory defense against Oscar Larios (58-5-1, 37 KOs), the ex-junior featherweight champ.
"That fight's done," Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told ESPN.com. "I think it's a hell of a fight. Larios made a good account of himself against [Manny] Pacquiao. He was competitive and he was fighting right in front of him. Chi is an older guy, but he's a very tough guy and always in exciting fights."
The main event being worked on could also be a corker: All-action Australian lightweight Michael Katsidis (22-0, 20 KOs) defending an interim belt against junior lightweight titleholder Joan Guzman.
In February, Katsidis stopped Graham Earl in the fifth round -- both men were down -- in London in a savage bout that is, to this point, the leader for fight of the year honors.
Although terms have been agreed to, Katsidis' promotional situation with Northeast Promotions could derail the fight as they argue over its expiration date. His management and Golden Boy believe the contract ended in January. The lawyers will sort it out.
Katsidis' previous issues in obtaining a visa have been cleared up, according to Golden Boy.
Guzman (27-0, 17 KOs), who won his first belt at junior featherweight, would move up in weight yet again for the bout.
"He says, 'I want to prove I am the best. I'm not going to waste my time waiting on [Juan Manuel] Marquez, [Marco Antonio] Barrera and Pacquiao,'" Gomez said. "Guzman said 'Let's do it.' He's stepping up. He wants to be great. He can do it. He's a big, strong dude and he has the tools."
• Besides Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather and the junior featherweight title eliminator between Rey Bautista and Sergio Manuel Medina, Golden Boy is close to finalizing the third bout for the May 5 HBO PPV broadcast: Rocky Juarez vs. Jose Hernandez in a featherweight bout. Juarez (26-3, 19 KOs), who lost twice last year in junior lightweight championship fights to Marco Antonio Barrera but rebounded by knocking out Emmanuel Lucero in December, will return to featherweight for the bout. Hernandez (22-3, 14 KOs) is coming off a stirring HBO-televised comeback victory in December. He was trailing badly against prospect Jason Litzau before rallying for an out-of-nowhere knockout in the eighth round.
• De La Hoya's junior middleweight title defense against Mayweather won't be the only championship fight Golden Boy will promote at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on the first weekend in May. On May 4, junior flyweight champion Hugo Cazares (24-3-1, 18 KOs) of Mexico will defend his title against Colombian mandatory challenger Wilfrido Valdez Perez (23-1-3, 16 KOs) in a Telefutura main event. The deal isn't done yet, but it looks good. "It's in the works and we're going back and forth on the money with Perez," Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told ESPN.com. "We're hoping we can get the contract signed."
• Former light heavyweight champions Glen Johnson and Montell Griffin hook up May 16 on ESPN2's "Wednesday Night Fights" in Hollywood, Fla., in an elimination bout. "The contracts are signed," said Johnson promoter Leon Margules of Seminole Warriors Boxing. Johnson had hoped to face another former champion, Julio Gonzalez, in an eliminator, but because titlist Clinton Woods' mandatory defense being due, and Gonzalez is ranked higher by the IBF, Gonzalez is going directly to a title bout with Woods. That left Johnson (44-11-2, 29 KOs) to face Griffin (48-6, 30 KOs), the next highest available contender. If Johnson wins, he'll become the mandatory challenger for the Woods-Gonzalez II winner. If Griffin wins, he will be ranked No. 1 but still might have to fight another eliminator to get a title shot. "It's a great opportunity for both guys," Griffin promoter Joe DeGuardia said. "I was surprised they hadn't fought each other before since they both have fought everybody else in the division. It's fitting they're fighting each other now for high stakes."
• Promoters Seminole Warriors Boxing and Don King avoided a purse bid by reaching an agreement this week for the mandatory rematch between cruiserweight beltholder Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (37-1, 27 KOs) of Poland and Philadelphia's Steve Cunningham (19-1, 10 KOs). Warriors plans to stage the fight May 26 in Warsaw, which doesn't sit well with Cunningham, who felt he was treated unfairly in their first fight. Wlodarczyk won a vacant belt on a controversial split decision Nov. 25 in Warsaw. Cunningham appealed to the IBF for a rematch, which was granted, even though he will now have to return to Warsaw. "Although it is my preference to fight in a neutral county, I am excited about the opportunity for the rematch," Cunningham said. "What happened in November is over and done with. I will leave no doubt in anyone's mind for this fight as I will dominate from the opening bell until my hand is raised and I bring back that belt, that is mine to begin with."
• King also cut a deal this week with promoter Joe DeGuardia to avoid a purse bid for the junior middleweight title eliminator between Roman Karmazin (King's fighter) and Terrence Cauthen (32-3, 9 KOs). The winner will become the mandatory challenger for the title held by Cory Spinks. No date is set, but DeGuardia told ESPN.com that it could be April 28 on the Acelino Freitas-Juan Diaz card, which King is co-promoting, or on the May 19 Jermain Taylor-Spinks undercard. King has Spinks and possibly could squeeze a bout onto the show. If Karmazin (35-2-1, 22 KOs) beats Cauthen, he would earn a rematch with Spinks, who defeated him for the belt last summer.
• Former heavyweight titlist Chris Byrd (39-3-1, 20 KOs), idle since losing his belt via a bloody seventh-round knockout to Wladimir Klitschko last April, returns to face Paul Marinaccio (22-2-2, 9 KOs) in the Bahamas on April 18 (ESPN2). Byrd elected to remain at heavyweight when there was no network interest in him dropping to cruiserweight to challenge for a title. Marinaccio, 39, is a southpaw like Byrd and was stopped in the seventh round by Timor Ibragimov in 2005 in his only notable fight.
• Prospect James McGirt Jr. (14-0, 8 KOs), son of former champion and noted trainer Buddy McGirt, announced that he will move up from middleweight to super middleweight. At 6-foot-1, McGirt, 24, said it he could no longer make 160 pounds. "It's gone beyond him struggling to lose weight," manager Dennis Witherow said. "It's become an impossibility when there's nothing to lose. His next fight [May 2] will be at (165). It's absolutely the right thing to do."
• Condolences to Hall of Fame trainer and HBO broadcaster Emanuel Steward, whose younger brother, James Steward, died March 24 after a battle with lung cancer at age 53. James Steward, who lived with his brother in Detroit, was an amateur fighter like his brother and won Golden Gloves championships in Detroit in 1971 and 1972. A memorial service celebrating his life is scheduled for Saturday in Detroit.
"I have no pressure on me. I'm going to get booed, you know, probably in the beginning. I think by the end of the night though, I think I'm going to turn the crowd over, kind of like Rocky going to Russia. But it's kind of cool. I've got no pressure on me going there fighting the world champion, who's expected to kill me. I've got a lot of surprises for a lot of people that night."
-- Peter Manfredo Jr., predicting success when he travels to Cardiff, Wales, to challenge heavily favored super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe April 7 (HBO) in front of more than 35,000 Calzaghe fans