Top Rank, Golden Boy truce creates an exciting lineup
The truce between Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions has led to a lineup of exciting slugfests fans want to see including a Manny Pacquiao-Marco Antonio Barrera rematch, and more important, the long awaited fight between Miguel Cotto and Sugar Shane Mosley, writes Dan Rafael.
• The July 21 Bernard Hopkins-Winky Wright light heavyweight championship fight on HBO PPV generated between 300,000 and 330,000 buys -- roughly $15 million -- Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com. "I would definitely say it was a big success, especially being in the middle of the summer," he said. "It shows that Bernard has become a pay-per-view attraction and that he consistently delivers fights above 300,000 homes. There are very few fighters who can do that." The fight ranks as the year's second-most successful boxing pay-per-view event behind the record-shattering Floyd Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya bout on May 5.
• Although nobody is talking about it publicly, the sides are very close to a deal to match light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson with ex-champ Antonio Tarver on Sept. 29 as part of Showtime's free preview weekend. One item that still needs to be worked out is the site. The Tarver camp would rather not go to one of the casinos in Connecticut, Dawson's home state. Tarver wants to fight in his hometown of Tampa, Fla., and one site mentioned was Legends Field, the spring training home of the New York Yankees and home of their Class A Tampa Yankees. If Dawson-Tarver is made, it will knock heads with HBO's much-anticipated Jermain Taylor-Kelly Pavlik middleweight championship fight.
• In addition to the Fernando Vargas-Ricardo Mayorga middleweight main event and welterweight titlist Kermit Cintron facing Jesse Feliciano on the Sept. 8 Showtime PPV card from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a third TV bout will pit former junior middleweight titlist Roman Karmazin (35-2-1, 22 KOs) against Italy's Luca Messi (30-7-1, 11 KOs). Messi, who signed recently with Don King, was medically suspended in Italy in late 2006 because of an abnormality (not related to boxing) discovered in a blood vessel in his brain during an MRI exam that followed an 11th-round TKO loss to Michele Piccirillo last summer. Because of the Italian suspension, it would be very difficult for Messi to obtain a license in Europe. He did, however, receive a license in Florida. Also slated to be on the King and Main Events co-promoted card are two of Main Events' most promising fighters, junior middleweight Joel "Love Child" Julio and middleweight Giovanni Lorenzo. Their bouts are not slated for the broadcast but we could see highlights.
• Although a news conference in Los Angeles to officially announce the Oct. 6 (HBO PPV) rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera was postponed because Pacquiao did not fly in from the Philippines because of a scheduling conflict, Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman and Golden Boy's Eric Gomez are working on the undercard. Besides the main event, there will be three other televised bouts: one Top Rank fight, one Golden Boy fight and one fight matching a Top Rank boxer against a Golden Boy fighter. Top Rank is considering putting Steven Luevano (33-1, 15 KOs), who won a vacant featherweight belt July 14 in England, on the card in his first defense. Another possible match for the card would pit Top Rank's Giovanni Segura (18-0-1, 14 KOs), a mandatory junior flyweight challenger, against titlist Juan Carlos Reveco (16-0, 7 KOs) of Argentina, who won a vacant belt June 22.
• The deal between HBO and promoters of the Joe Calzaghe-Mikkel Kessler fight sets the date and location for the bout as Nov. 3 in Cardiff, Wales, and the network plans to air the fight live at 5 p.m. ET with a prime-time replay. However, HBO still has the option to change its mind and, for a steeper license fee, push the fight into the Cardiff wee hours in order to air the fight live in a more desirable prime-time slot on the U.S. East Coast.
• Vaunted super middleweight puncher Victor Oganov (26-0, 26 KOs), a Russian based in Australia who makes his U.S. TV debut on a special Saturday night edition of "ShoBox" (Showtime) Sept. 1, will face Fulgencio Zuniga in a 12-round bout at a site to be determined, promoter Gary Shaw told ESPN.com. Colombia's Zuniga (19-2-1, 16 KOs) dominated one-time contender Antwun Echols en route to a lopsided decision June 23.
• In anticipation of next Saturday's junior featherweight world championship rematch between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez, Showtime will replay their all-action first fight from March 3 on Wednesday night (11 ET/PT). After seven rounds of toe-to-toe action, Marquez won the title when Vazquez retired on his stool with a badly broken nose. Showtime will also carry the rematch from Hidalgo, Texas, three days later (9 p.m. ET/PT).
• Kendall Holt (22-1, 12 KOs) has signed his agreement to face junior welterweight titlist Ricardo Torres (31-1, 27 KOs) on Sept. 1 in Torres' hometown of Barranquilla, Colombia, according to manager Henry Cortes. Holt had hoped to face Torres in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Ill., on Aug. 4 on the David Diaz-Erik Morales undercard, but Torres' Colombian promoter won a purse bid and has control of the fight. "We would have been happy if it was in Chicago," Cortes told ESPN.com. "We're not too happy it's in Colombia, but Kendall has to take the risk if he wants to be champion. He's going there to win."
• Heavyweight David Tua (47-3-1, 40 KOs), who's been keeping a low profile these days after a strong run in the 1990s and knockout wins against future titleholders Hasim Rahman, Oleg Maskaev and John Ruiz, and former champion Michael Moorer, headlines a small $24.95 pay-per-view card Aug. 18 against Saul Montana (48-14, 42 KOs) in Salt Lake City. Also on the heavyweight card: Joe Mesi (35-0, 28 KOs) faces Sherman Williams (33-10-2, 19 KOs) and Roman Greenberg (25-0, 17 KOs) faces an opponent to be named. A fourth fight pits Jeremy Williams (41-5-1, 35 KOs), returning to cruiserweight, against Gary Gomez (18-7-1, 7 KOs).
• New York junior welterweight Dmitriy Salita (27-0-1, 15 KOs) hopes to land a shot against newly crowned titlist Gavin Rees of Wales. Rees (27-0, 13 KOs) upset Souleymane M'Baye to win a 140-pound belt on July 21 in Cardiff. "Anytime, any place, anywhere," Salita said. "I'd love to fight him for the belt in Madison Square Garden. That would make history. I am, however, willing to fulfill my American dream of becoming a world champion in England. I will make all of my fans proud and my critics eat their words." Salita has also been mentioned as a challenger for titlist Paulie Malignaggi, his friend and fellow New Yorker.
• Everyone is doing it, so Ike Quartey is joining the party. Like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, Quartey said he plans to leave the junior middleweight division and head back to welterweight, where he used to be a champion. Quartey (37-4-1, 31 KOs) lost his last fight in December to Winky Wright at middleweight. "Even though everyone knows that I beat [Vernon] Forrest [at junior middleweight last August], I did have a tough night against Winky," Quartey said. "Neither fight was at the right weight for me. I feel like I can be slicker and move better in the ring at 147. Fighting at welter will allow me to polish my defense and have a much more explosive offense in the ring. I'm joining Mosley and Oscar in moving down and I will be a factor in the welterweight division."
"That was round one. Mayorga is a stupid fighter and I am an intelligent fighter and I'm going to pick my spots. I am going to knock him out. He already felt my power once and it's going to be great to do that at the Staples Center in front of a lot of crazy Mexicans. All of my fans will be going ape."
-- Former two-time junior middleweight titlist Fernando Vargas, speaking at a news conference this week in New York about his July 11 scuffle with Ricardo Mayorga and a prediction for their Sept. 8 Showtime PPV middleweight fight.
"I had a dream last night that I threw a rotten orange at Fernando Vargas and hit him in the chin and he went down, and he didn't get back up. He's ready to go. He's like a rotten piece of fruit."
-- Former two-division titleholder Ricardo Mayorga, taunting Vargas during a New York news conference this week to promote the fight.