Monday, May 29, 2023  |


Rumors: News, notes, and more

Fighters Network

Is Pavlik-Mora on? Not on May 2 Rumor has it world middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik will make his third title defense against former 154-pound beltholder Sergio Mora but the fight will likely headline an independent pay-per-view show in the summer and not take place on the May 2 Ricky Hatton-Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view undercard as rumor had it.

Since being rejected by both HBO and Showtime, Pavlik's promoter (Bob Arum) has searched for a suitable site and date for the RING/WBC title defense vs. Mora, a tricky but light-punching middleweight rated No. 6 by THE RING at junior middleweight based on his huge upset of 154-pound titleholder Vernon Forrest last year.

The site, if the fight is made, will be the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, where Pavlik (35-1, 31 KOs) has drawn well in the past; the date will be in late June or July on a Top Rank-produced pay-per-view show.

However, Pavlik-Mora is far from a done deal, according to the middleweight champ's manager Cameron Dunkin.

Dunkin told that Team Pavlik has not received a contract or come to terms on the money the champ will receive for the Mora bout.

If the fight is finalized, the high-profile May 2 pay-per-view card co-promoted by Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions would provide more exposure for the interesting middleweight matchup than an independent pay-per-view show like Pavlik's last defense vs. Marco Antonio Rubio, which garnered less than 200,000 buys, but Eric Gomez of Golden Boy says Pavlik-Mora is not on the card which is still being set.

Kirkland confirmed for May 2 One fighter who definitely will be on the May 2 undercard is undefeated junior middleweight contender James Kikland (25-0, 22 KOs). Gomez confirmed that THE RING's No. 9 junior middleweight contender will see 10-round action against an opponent to be determined.

Dunkin, who co-manages Kirkland, also confirmed that the Texas terror will be on the card. Dunkin says the leading candidate for Kirkland's opponent is Michael Walker, a 30-year-old fringe contender from Chicago, whose only loss is to contender David Lopez. Walker (19-1, 12 KOs) was held to a draw by badly faded former contender Anwun Echols last February and won a majority decision over the aging veteran last October.

If Kirkland, who was impressive in stopping Joel Julio last Saturday, wins on May 2 his next fight could be for a 154-pound title, according to Gomez.

Ortiz to headline June 27 B.A.D. Junior welterweight standout Victor Ortiz, who smashed Mike Arnaoutis in two rounds underneath Kirkland-Julio, might go for a world title in his very next bout, which will be the main event of an HBO 'Boxing After Dark' broadcast on June 27, according to Gomez.

Ortiz (24-1-1, 19 KOs) was thought to be headed for the May 2 undercard and rumor had it that he would have faced fringe contender Steve Forbes, but the young fighter and his management would rather go for a world title immediately and the license fee the June 27 HBO date would bring is the best way to make that happen.

Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Ortiz and has the HBO date, is trying to entice Germany-based WBA 140-pound beltholder Andreas Kotelnik to the U.S. to defend his title vs. Ortiz.

Kotelnik (31-2-1, 13 KOs), a native of Ukraine who is coming off an impressive title defense of undefeated power-puncher Marcos Maidana, would be the toughest test to date for Ortiz, who is only 22 and currently unrated by THE RING. Kotelnik, 31, is THE RING's No. 3-rated junior welterweight.

Kirkland will co-headline the June 27 card if he comes out of his May 2 outing unscathed. Gomez says the B.A.D co-feature could be a title fight with undefeated WBO 154-pound beltholder Sergei Dzindziruk, who like Kotelnik is a Germany-based Ukrainian.

Dunkin confirmed that Dzindziruk would be Kirkland's likely June 27 opponent.

Dzindziruk (36-0, 22 KOs), THE RING's NO. 7-rated contender, won his title from current beltholder Daniel Santos and recently out-pointed Julio in a title defense.

If the fights can be made, Kotelnik-Ortiz and Dzindziruk-Kirkland will make for an excellent 'Boxing After Dark' event that will have heavy fan interest in the States, Germany and Ukraine.

Pacquiao camp: Week No. 2 Manny Pacquaio’s second week of training camp is under way without his head trainer Freddie Roach, who is in Manchester, England, the hometown of his May 2 opponent, Ricky Hatton.

While Roach makes final preparations for the showdown Saturday between his newest pupil, Amir Khan, and familiar foe Marco Antonio Barrera, the veteran trainer’s new assistant, Michael Moorer, is getting familiar with Pacquiao at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif.

On Tuesday, Moorer, the first southpaw heavyweight champ in history, worked the mitts with Pacquiao for the first time.

The 41-year-old retired fighter, who moved from Florida to the L.A. area two months ago to work with his old trainer, had the same reaction everyone who works the mitts with Pacquiao has.

“He’s very fast,” Moorer said. “I’m a heavyweight; I can’t keep up with his speed.”

That’s OK. Moorer isn’t there to go through speed and punch-volume drills with Pacquiao. The Filipino icon’s longtime friend and assistant trainer Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez took the fighter through five rounds of that type of mitt work before Moorer, who looks to be carrying a solid 250 pounds, entered the ring wearing body-protection gear that made him dwarf Pacquiao more than he normally does.

During their four rounds of work, Moorer instructed Pacquiao on technique, foot placment and strategy for getting in and out of punching range. That Pacquiao had to slow things down for the former two-time heavyweight titleholder was a good thing.

Their 12 minutes in the ring was a learning session, not a workout.

“I went over very specific things with him,” said Moorer, who finished his distinguished career with a 52-4-1 (40 KOs) record. “Being a former southpaw fighter I have the advantage of knowing what punches are going to work against right-handed fighters.”

Against Hatton, an orthodox pressure fighter with a physical style, Moorer believes Pacquiao will have many opportunities to catch his opponent coming in.

“I want Pacquiao to practice the southpaw punches that orthodox fighters don’t see – the right hook, right uppercut, and the straight left to the body and head,” Moorer said. “Hatton’s going to be right in front of him and his head is going to be high coming in.”

Moorer wants Pacquiao to be ready to take advantage of Hatton’s aggression, but he wants the pound-for-pound king to be sneaky about it.

“There are ways to hide the straight left and the left uppercut,” he said. “For instance, you can slide in to the right and blind them with the jab.”

Moorer and Pacquiao worked on this move and others. The only thing that was done in repetition was Pacquiao’s jab. While on the mitts with Moorer, and during two rounds on the heavy bag and two rounds on the double-end bag, Pacquiao popped hard shotgun jabs, up-jabs, fast-slicing jabs, and quick double- and triple-jabs.

After the mitt session, Fernandez and fitness coaches Alex Ariza and Paul Mayorquin followed Pacquiao from station to station, back into the ring where the fighter did two fun freestyle rounds of shadowboxing and finally to the sit-up area. Sitting near the jump rope area of the gym, Moorer silently observed everything.

It wasn’t evident from the stone-cold serious look on his face, but Moorer, who was running a private investigation agency in Sunrise, Fla., before he decided to return to the familiar atmosphere of a world-class gym, is happy.

“I like being the teacher,” said Moorer, who was brought up in the famous, now-defunct Kronk gym in Detroit. “I like being in a busy gym and teaching these young bucks the right way.”

Next up for Mosley? Was Shane Mosley TOO good against Antonio Margarito on Jan. 24? Could be. It seems he’s having trouble finding a good opponent for his next fight.

Mosley wanted a rematch with Miguel Cotto, which remains a possibility at some point. However, Cotto, coming off a solid victory over Michael Jennings, chose to fight Joshua Clottey in a title-unification bout in June and then hopes to meet the winner of the May 2 Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight.

Mosley, too, would like the winner of Pacquiao-Hatton but he might not want Mosley.

“My feeling is that (the winner) most likely won’t want to fight Shane either,” said Mosley’s promoter, Richard Schaefer. “The fact is Shane looked spectacular in his last fight, almost too good for his good. It’s funny how quickly one fight can change everything. Shane was labled a wash up or close to it by many writers. Virtually no writers picked Shane to win (against Margarito). They felt he was past his prime. Suddenly, he puts on that performance and now he’s one of the best fighters again, in most people’s top three or four, right there with Pacquiao, (Juan Manuel) Marquez and Bernard (Hopkins).

“He was so spectacular that people say, ‘Oh, s—. I’d really rather not fight Shane Mosley.'”

In time, however, Schaefer said Mosley will get another big fight.

“Eventually all the guys who want a big fight will to have to look to Shane Mosley,” he said. “It might not be today or tomorrow but it will come. There are basically two options: wait for a big fight to happen, which it eventually will, or try to unify the titles with one of the other title holders.”

Mosley holds the WBA version of the welterweight belt. Clottey and Cotto hold the IBF and WBO belts, respectively. That leaves Andre Berto (WBC) as the only other title holder.

Mosley-Berto would be a terrific fight because both of them are aggressive. However, Mosley won’t be overly excited about the matchup because Berto cannot generate the money Pacquiao, Hatton and Cotto can.

Marquez in mix: Juan Marquez, coming off his tremendous knockout of Juan Diaz, is looking for his first monstor payday and could get it if Hatton beats Pacquiao.

“Ricky Hatton and his father, Ray, made it clear to me, if he wins that fight, he’d love to fight Juan Manuel Marquez,” Schaefer said.

The key to the opponent of the Pacquiao-Hatton winner could come down to promotional affiliation. Pacquiao and Cotto are promoted by Top Rank; Hatton and Marquez are promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.

Floyd Mayweather, who reportedly has been training, is the wildcard should he decide to come out of retirement.

“He could come back and be the face of the sport,” Schaefer said. “Hatton or Pacquiao might want to fight Mayweather. Juan Manuel Marquez has made it clear he’d like to fight Mayweather, too. He called out Mayweather, and he was serious.

“There are a lot of possible showdowns at 140 and 147 pounds. It really is exciting. And that’s good for the sport. You could put all the names into a hat, pull out any two names and no matter what you’d have a great matchup.”

24/7: The four-episode “Pacquiao-Hatton 24/7,” an all-access look at the fighters leading up to their May 2 showdown, debuts on April 11 on HBO.

Also that night, HBO will televise the Paul Williams-Winky Wright fight and the debut of “Thrilla in Manilla,” a documentary of the 1975 Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight in the Philippines.

Episodes 2 and 3 will air on April 18 and 25, respectively. The finale will be on May 1.

Tijuana card solid: Some people are anxious about the location of Top Rank’s pay-per-view card March 28, violence-plagued Tijuana, Mexico. However, it’s harder to be critical of the card itself.

In the main event, Luciano Leonel Cuello (23-0, 10 knockouts) would seem to be a decent test for the profoundly untested Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., although Cuello has fought only once outside his native Argentina. That means he’s a bit of a mystery.

Also on the card: Humberto Soto defends his WBC junior lightweight title against Antonio Davis; Fernando Montiel and Diego Silva fight for the vacant WBO interim bantamweight title; and Jose Luis Castillo faces Antonio Diaz in a 10-round welterweight bout.

That’s solid entertainment

“We’ve done so well on the pay-per-view in the U.S. from cards in Mexico,” Top Rank President Bob Arum said. “Now, we’re taking a step up and we’ll continue to take steps up. At the beginning, (Mexican promoter) Fernando (Beltran) and myself, we didn’t know how it would work.

“The people, the fans have been very supportive. That’s enabled us to upgrade the product.”