Weekend news and notes 10-15-12

It’s very rare a fight can live up to, or even exceed, the kind of hype that surrounded the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado fight. But that fight was pretty brutal and fantastic and the leading candidate for fight of the year. Rios won with a seventh-round TKO when he was able to close off the ring and then unload on Alvarado. Up until that point, Rios took a good about of abuse from Alvarado, who fought extremely well.

It puts Rios in a great position as the hottest boxers out there, and now a leading candidate to fight Manny Pacquiao sometime in the spring of 2013 in what will be his biggest payday and a star-making opportunity. However, Rios will have a long wait if he tries to secure the Pac-Man fight. Pacquiao won’t fight for another two months, on Dec. 15, taking on rival Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time. AFter that, there’s talk that Pacquiao would like to step back into the ring in April. But that seems unlikely. After the third fight against Marquez last November, Pacquiao wasn’t ready to fight for seven months. Further complicating things is that Pacquiao is up for re-election in the Philippines, so July could be problematic.

Pacquiao has dragged out his decisions in the past, and with this time table, it could be a while before Rios could get an answer. If he decides he doesn’t want to wait, he has some attractive offers.

First would be a rematch with Alvarado. Judging by the fans and media reaction on Twitter, that fight would be a huge attraction and the most anticipated fight outside Pacquiao-Mayweather. Maybe it would be good enough to become a pay-per-view event. If not, what about Rios taking on Timothy Bradley? It would be an interesting fight, but you can expect both fighters to demand a lot of money for a risky fight. That could be the deal breaker.

In other news, it was announced today that Robert Guerrero will fight Andre Berto. Both guys were leading candidates to fight Bradley. With the continuing problems between Golden Boy and Top Rank, it was difficult to land either guys for Bradley, who will likely pass on his Dec. 15 date. The fight between Guerrero and Berto will be in Ontario on Nov. 24 as both fighters are moving up to a bigger stage. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Whoever wins, it doesn’t seem like either would be a natural to face a Pacquiao or Mayweather or Cotto. Guerrero still has questions to answer at welterweight after just one fight at that division, although he did win the WBC interim title. Berto’s appeal lost some luster when he fell to Victor Ortiz in 2011 and had a failed drug test earlier this year to keep him inactive for all of 2012. They are both terrific fighters, but they have to prove if they have what it takes to be a star. The winner will likely be on track to stardom, but it seems unlikely it will be a fast track.

 

Why it’s good for Timothy Bradley to wait

It’s pretty obvious that when possible opponents for Bradley came down to Lamont Peterson for a Dec. 15 date in Miami, it was time to consider taking a pass on that date. Their 2009 fight was so lopsided that there was never a demand to see a rematch. A Bradley-Peterson rematch could be an attractive fight later, but it certainly isn’t now. Peterson has been out of the ring for a year with his positive drug test and has no momentum coming in. Peterson has a possible fight with Zab Judah, and that might work out well for him right now.

As for Bradley, passing on Dec. 15 will open up even more attractive opponents for him. Several fight in the next few weeks, and wouldn’t have been available for Dec. 15.

Two leading candidates are fighting this weekend as the co-main event in Carson, Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios. Both guys have created huge buzz coming into their fight Saturday that could overshadow the main event. These two bruising brawlers have people anticipating this could be a classic in the tradition of Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti. That’s huge praise. So having the winner face Bradley could provide an exciting fight fans will want to see.

Another possible opponent could be Paul Malignaggi, who defends his WBA welterweight belt next week in Brooklyn. Top Rank has been talking about hosting a fight in New York for Bradley, and Malignaggi could be the perfect opponent for Bradley. Yes, Bradley would be fighting in Malignaggi’s home turf, but the upside could be big with a victory. And it would be a unification bout, so Bradley could add another belt to his collection. Malignaggi has already been talking a lot of trash with the Bradley camp. The huge obstacle is that Malignaggi is with Golden Boy, and we know how it and Top Rank can’t work together.

Andre Berto is another attractive option for Bradley. A former world champion, Berto could provide an exciting fight. But in trying to book Berto for Dec. 15, there was some confusion as to which promotion company represents him — Golden Boy or Lou DiBella. My hunch is that Bradley’s camp wasn’t interested in fighting Berto in Miami. So why avoid Berto in Miami, but fight Malignaggi in New York? Because Malignaggi brings in a big crowd that would make it worthwhile. And he does have a belt, and Berto doesn’t.

And there is the Devon Alexander-Randal Bailey fight this weekend. Neither one would be at the top of Bradley’s list, but the winner will have the IBF title and that could change things depending on how interested Bradley is in collecting titles.

But on an even bigger picture, Bradley could also wait to see what happens in the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight, or the Miguel Cotto fight, both in December. Bradley said he would like to fight in January or February, but if he continues having problems finding an attractive opponent, it might be worth the wait.

 

Should Timothy Bradley fight on Dec. 15?

The long wait for who Timothy Bradley will fight next continues, and none of the options seem that attractive. The fighters in contention have been Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, Andre Berto and now a rematch with Lamont Peterson. None of those fights were a good step up from the controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao, and you get the feeling these are just fights to keep Bradley busy. Here’s a look at the three.

Option No. 1 was Guerrero, but that has fallen apart as the bickering between the two rival promotion companies — Bradley’s Top Rank and Guerrero’s Golden Boy Promotions — continues. It was a fight that generated a lot of buzz, and would have been a nice consolation prize. Big problem is they’re both California products and the fight is in Miami. This would be a good fight in Miami, but a great fight in California, either in LA or the Bay Area.

Option No. 2 was Andre Berto, but that would have been a bad option for Bradley. Berto is a big welterweight who would be fighting at home in Miami. Berto is a tough fight, but fighting in his home would be a bad decision. This would be a good fight, but at a different time and a different venue. Since Bradley is the champion, he could demand the fight be in California.

Option No. 3 is Peterson. This is a rematch of a fight Bradley dominated in 2009 with a near shut-out. Online, the demand for this fight is ice cold. This would be a no-win situation for Bradley.

Another obstacle is the venue, Marlins Park in Miami. In one online report, Arum figures they would try to draw 20,000 for the fight. But the feeling is Top Rank has over reached with this venue. Bradley is a West Coast guy trying to sell in Miami. And the arena is in Little Havana. They will need to find a big Cuban draw to help fill the arena, but I can’t think of one guy who could help fill that arena. It feels like they are setting Bradley up for failure. He has taken enough heat for not selling. Putting him in a big arena in a fight no one will care about is a bad idea. It just seems like it would be a good idea for Bradley to fight in LA and reconnect with Southern California.

As the struggles continue to find a new opponent, especially one who can help fill Marlins Park continue, maybe it’s just time to punt. Sometimes fighting to just fight is when boxers can get into trouble. Maybe it’s getting to that point where it will be better to wait until next year and make another run at the Miguel Cottos, Juan Manuel Marquezs, Manny Pacquiaos and Floyd Mayweathers.