Is Danny Garcia the Fighter of the Year?

When I first saw the stories and blogs this morning suggesting Danny Garcia as a fighter of the year candidate, I scoffed. Really? He just beat a fighter who has been shot for years, and beat an Amir Khan that was coming off a loss. That was my initial reaction.

Morales has long been a shot fighter and was coming into the fight with a 4-5 record since September of 2005. His world title was the one stripped from Timothy Bradley, and his best fight since 2005 was a loss to Marcos Maidana. Khan was coming off a loss to Lamont Peterson and has two losses in a row. Yes, Khan is a legitimate star in the sport and a great champion. I just wish he didn’t back up the victory with another fight against Morales, but someone who is a little hotter. That’s not Garcia’s fault as there was a rematch clause.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think highly of Danny Garcia. No fighter has come as far as he has in 2012 and he is definitely the breakout star in boxing. And the knockout of Khan was very impressive and a strong candidate for upset of the year.

But then you have to look at the other candidates for fighter of the year. It’s not very deep, and no obvious leading candidate in my eyes.

Brandon Rios beat Mike Alvarado in the leading fight of the year candidate. But was unimpressive and booed in April in his win over Richard Abril, where he failed to make weight.

Sergio Martinez has a very dominant performance for 11 rounds against Julio Cesar Chavez in the best pay-per-view fight of the year. He also had a rugged victory over Matthew Macklin. But the last round against Chavez, you felt like Martinez was lucky to get through that round.

Nonito Donaire has continued to dominate with three big victories in his first year in the super bantamweight division, winning two world titles.

Andre Ward only had one fight this year, but he dominated light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson. Still, he’s just not active enough for consideration.

Canelo Alvarez? Please. He needs to fight better competition.

There’s still two-and-a-half months to go to see if someone can win it. Garcia is not in the driver’s seat, but he is in the mix.

And hopefully Garcia will start his year off with a bang and take on the highly respected and dangerous Lucas Matthysse, which could be a fight of the year candidate.

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.

Tough year for Golden Boy and Freddie Roach

Arguably the best trainer in boxing might be having his worst year to date after Amir Khan repeatedly dropped in his loss to Danny Garcia on Saturday night. Khan is supposed to be one of the rising stars in the Golden Boy stables. Although reports indicate that Khan hasn’t sold as well as he says he does, certainly Golden Boy has invested a lot of time and money into the British star.

But Khan lost his second consecutive fight. In December, Khan lost to Lamont Peterson in a controversial decision. But Khan needed to make a statement against Peterson, and needed a win against Garcia to bounce back. There’s reason to believe that with a victory, Khan could have positioned himself for a fight against Floyd Mayweather. But with his slump, Khan could have a long ways to go if he ever wants to fight in a big-money fight.

For Roach, he’s seen two of his biggest fighters lose in a matter of weeks. Remember, Manny Pacquiao lost a controversial decision to Timothy Bradley. A saving grace for Roach is that he also trains Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., who will fight on Sept. 15 against Sergio Martinez. It is one of the most anticipated fights in a while and should be a strong seller on pay per view. However, Martinez will be the heavy favorite, and Roach could have a painful trifecta of losses.

But Golden Boy took another tough loss by a fighter it has been trying to groom as a star. The other one was Victor Ortiz, who suffered a bad, bad loss against Josesito Lopez. Both guys were supposed to be the next generation, and gave Golden Boy a depth advantage over Top Rank. Maybe not so anymore. Ortiz broke his jaw in two places, so he couldn’t continue. But when Ortiz also quit in his first professional loss to Marcos Maidana, he has hurt his credibility with the fans. With Khan getting knocked down repeatedly, the questions about his chin will begin to dog him once again. That might not be as bad as trying to recover from two losses. Golden Boy does have a big, big thing going for them and that’s Mexican sensation Canelo Alvarez. But Alvarez is fighting Lopez, and it’s unlikely that can be a competitive fight. And Alvarez might not have one until next year. But at least he is undefeated.

It looks grim for both Golden Boy and Freddie Roach, but you can’t count out either one. It will be interesting to see how things go for both from here.

Amir Khan will fight for Timothy Bradley’s title against Danny Garcia

It was a year ago when Timothy Bradley passed on a fight against Amir Khan that drew heavy criticism, much of it generated by the British champion. Khan said Bradley was ducking him and scared of him. Well Bradley passed on the fight, let his contract run out with Gary Shaw and Ken Thompson, and then signed with Top Rank. Bradley went on to fight Manny Pacquiao for much more money. Khan went on to lose a controversial decision in December to Lamont Peterson, a guy Bradley dominated.

So now Khan needs to win to regain some of the tarnish partly because of the loss and partly because of the long layoff. The reason Khan hasn’t fought for so long was that a rematch with Peterson fell through because Peterson tested positive for a synthetic testosterone that had been perscribed to him for medical reasons. Khan is working to regain the two belts he lost to Peterson, who admitted he was using the same treatment prior to their fight in December. But in the loss, Khan was exposed for his struggles against pressure and fighting inside, where he tends to take more punishment than he should.

Now Khan will fight Danny Garcia, who holds the WBC belt. If you don’t remember, the WBC belt was the title Bradley has won twice, only to relinquish it the first time and then was stripped for bogus reasons the second time that the WBC tried to window dress by saying Bradley was a champion in recess.

Khan said Garcia is a similar fighter to Peterson and he is prepared for his style. But Khan can’t afford a second consecutive loss so he really needs to stay disciplined and not take unneccessary punishment. The carrot dangling in front of him is a possible fight against Floyd Mayweather. Because Khan works out with Manny Pacquiao and they share trainer Freddie Roach, it’s unlikely Khan will secure that lucrative fight. So he’ll have to settle for Mayweather, whose opponents earn half what they would against Pacquiao. If the fight is offered to Khan immediately, he will have some tough decisions to make. He has fought his whole career at 140, and Mayweather last fought at 154. It’s likely Mayweather will leave Khan no choice but to go up in weight.

But there’s also the chance Khan could fight Bradley if Top Rank doesn’t make the Bradley-Pacquiao rematch on Nov. 10. With all the controversy swirling around Bradley’s victory over Pacquiao, this fight could generate much, much more than a year ago. It’s a fight Khan covets, and Bradley really wants to beat up Khan. Of course the main hurdle is if Top Rank and Golden Boy can work together to make the fight happen.

But first things first. Garcia is a tough, undefeated opponent. He won the title beating a very old and worn Erik Morales, who was gifted Bradley’s title. So Garcia has a lot to prove in this fight. A victory will move him among the elite fighters in the division.So you can bet Garcia will come in hungry and determined. That can make up for a lot, in what we saw from Josesito Lopez’s stunning victory over Victor Ortiz.



Timothy Bradley, the waiting game

It’s been over two months since his last fight and Cathedral City champion Timothy Bradley still doesn’t have an opponent yet. But good things come to those who wait.

What’s holding things up for Bradley is the negotiations for Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. If Pacquiao doesn’t make that fight, then he will select from a group of four boxers, which includes Bradley. A fight against Pacquiao has earned opponents a reported $5 million in the past.

The other four being considered are Lamont Peterson, Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Marquez. The way things are looking, Bradley might be the best option.

Miguel Cotto reportedly refuses to fight down in weight at 147, claiming he was drained in the last fight trying to lose so much weight. Pacquiao, who usually comes in under at 147, won’t fight up, so the weight appears to be a deal breaker.

A fight against Marquez would be the fourth, and people are cooling over yet another fight between the two. Yes, they’ve all been great fight, but nothing new to be explored there.

Peterson was an interesting choice, coming off his victory over Amir Khan. But Peterson was dominated by Bradley. Now that a mandatory rematch has been ordered for Peterson-Khan, that choice seems unlikely.

That leaves Bradley. The knock on Bradley is that he doesn’t bring in enough marquee value for a pay-per-view fight. But what Bradley brings to the table might be too attractive to turn down. Bradley would best prepare Pacquiao for Mayweather as there is talk they would more likely fight in November than May. Drawback, Bradley could be the toughest opponent Pacquiao has faced in a while. At 28, Bradley is young, fresh and quick, something you can’t say for Pacquiao’s last few opponents over the last few years. If the Pacquiao camp thinks Bradley is too dangerous, they might try to squirm out of the fight.

Hence, the waiting game. If Bradley can’t get the Pacquiao fight, then he has an attractive alternative in Marquez, a superstar in Mexico. A victory over Marquez would enhance Bradley’s already impressive resume.

We should know more by next week. So we’ll all be on the edge of our seats.

A look at Amir Khan vs. Lamont Peterson

Everyone is treating this weekend’s fight between Amir Khan and Lamont Peterson as if the result is a forgone conclusion, that Khan will win. Wish I could contradict those predictions.

This very well could be Khan’s toughest fight. Peterson is smart and tough. He’s proven he can take a punch and keep coming, like he did against the hard-hitting Victor Ortiz to earn a draw. Cathedral City’s Timothy Bradley has repeatedly said Peterson was his toughest opponent, tougher than Kendall Holt, who knocked Bradley down twice. Also, this fight is in Washington D.C., where Peterson grew up and built a strong following.

But it’s still hard to pick Peterson. For all the respect Bradley has given Peterson, he still won in dominating fashion. Peterson said he was nervous and grew since the Bradley loss two years ago, but that’s a big gap to close against an elite opponent like Khan. Also, Khan has been on a good hot streak and coming off his victory over Zab Judah to win his second belt in the division. Also, Khan has the big carrot dangling in front of him, a potential fight against Floyd Mayweather, which promises to be a rich pay day.

Is Amir Khan the cash cow in the light welterweight division of boxing?

Ever since Cathedral City’s Timothy Bradley turned down a fight with Amir Khan, he has been bashing the Desert Storm. That’s what all boxers do, and Khan had a lot of ammunition. Bradley looked bad turning down the fight. He said he wanted the fight to marinade and felt it was too soon to make the fight against Khan. At that time, Khan and Bradley were the undisputed top fighters in the division and it would be a big fight.

But Khan kept proclaiming himself the cash cow of the division. For turning down the fight, Khan threatened that he would never offer so much to Bradley if he comes looking for a fight.

Bradley seems to be doing OK without Khan now that he’s signed with Top Rank.

From what I could gather, Khan’s two fights in Vegas were disappointments at the box office, based on whatI saw from other beat writers online and on Twitter.

Then I hear Khan’s next fight is against Lamont Peterson, but it’s not in Vegas or New York. It’s in Washington D.C. Nothing wrong with that, as Washington is a major city. But this is Lamont Peterson’s hometown. Since when does a champion, who claims to be a cash cow, have to go into someone’s hometown for a title defense? But that’s what Khan is doing. Basically, Khan is accepting he will have second billing to Lamont Peterson. Does that make sense for a cash cow?

Remember, Khan was going to throw in a large portion of his shares to make the fight with Bradley after he turned it down the first time. That included half of the international television market that was in the neighborhood of $500,000 for Bradley.

Maybe Khan just isn’t the attraction he claims he is.

Don’t get me wrong, Khan is one of the big names in the sport and he rightfully deserves to be recognized as one of the top-10 fighters in the world. But a large part of this business is buzz, and despite Khan’s fight, he’s not as big an attraction as he should be. What Khan has had was decent promotion by Golden Boy, while Bradley has had some questionable moves from his former promoters.

But you would think that if Khan is a big attraction, he could have secured the Floyd Mayweather fight next. Khan said his fight in December will be his last at 140 before he moves up in class to challenge Mayweather. Why not now? I know the Golden Boy people are pushing for a rematch between Mayweather and Victor Ortiz, but who really wants to see that fight again? Victor didn’t do enough in that fight that warrents a second look. So why not Khan? Maybe Mayweather sees what Bradley saw — that Khan doesn’t bring enough to the table.

Go by his action (and not their words) and Khan seems to be proving Bradley right. Bradley has said he will fight Khan, but the money has to be better than what was offered, even if it was the most Bradley would make at the time. Bradley might be doing both of them a favor by not undervaluing their talents.

But the Khan-Peterson fight will be a terrific matchup. Although Bradley dominated Peterson, the D.C. native is a tough customer. Despite getting knocked down, he hung in and earned a draw against Ortiz, and fought to the finish against Bradley. Peterson will keep coming, he’s young and he’s hungry. And credit to Khan for fighting a very tough opponent in Peterson, rather than WBC title holder Erik Morales, who is a champion by reputation, not merit.  

If Khan wins that fight, he will deserve a lot of credit and his reputation will rightly grow. Maybe if Khan does have a great performance, he claims of being a cash cow won’t be hot air.


Erik Morales will fight Lucas Matthysse for Timothy Bradley’s title

Erik Morales will actually fight a good opponent in Lucas Matthysse, but it’s not a legitimate fight for the WBC title. Well, in my estimation. Apparently not for the WBC and Golden Boy Promotions.

Matthysse should have had wins against Zab Judah and Devon Alexander, as he scored knock downs in both, but lost both decisions. And the two losses were in Judah and Alexander’s turf. This fight will be in Las Vegas, so Matthysse will have a legitimate shot against Morales.

The only problem is, both fighters are coming off losses. They shouldn’t be fighting for a world title.

And the WBC seems like they’re going through the motions trying to justify this fraud. The WBC tried to do damage control by saying Bradley wasn’t stripped, but is a champion in recess. Not sure what that means, but Bradley doesn’t have his title, and the WBC never said he would get an automatic title shot when he returns. It was stripped, no matter who the WBC tries to spin it.

Golden Boy is involved with this. But to their credit, they did get a more deserving fighter in there in Matthysse. And this will be a great bout. It just should not be for the title. Can’t see how the Golden Boy people can look themselves in the mirror after participating in this fraud.

To their credit, they have put on a terrific Sept. 17 pay-per-view from two sites — Las Vegas and Staples Center. But the title fraud is casting a cloud over that company as well as the WBC.

Now people thought Khan would have taking on Morales, assuming he won the fight, for three of the four belts in the 140-pound division. That doesn’t seem likely now, as Khan will have a mandatory title defense against Lamont Peterson. This will be a good measuring stick. Peterson was dominated by Bradley in his only loss and fought Victor Ortiz to a draw. Peterson fights with a lot of heart, as he battled throughout the Bradley fight despite being outgunned. Peterson will come to fight, unlike Judah. Khan said December would be his last fight at 140. Ideally, it should be against Bradley, but his status is in limbo with the legal problems. Peterson is much more worthy than Morales. Yes, Morales is a Hall of Famer fighter with three titles. But Peterson is a man in his prime, and has done well enough against two of the best young fighters today.

Looking at Timothy Bradley’s victims

Devon Alexander just got through a rough fight against Lucas Matthysee, earning a split decision victory in his hometown of St. Louis. This is the same Alexander who was beaten and reputation was thrashed in his loss to Timothy Bradley in January.

Alexander’s victory helps show how good Bradley’s opponents have been.

Alexander was a two-belt champion, who had the fight taken out from him in January. But Alexander, who was ranked No. 4 in the division by The Ring magazine, had to rally from getting knocked down in the fourth round to win a very close decision over Matthysee, who was ranked No. 9 coming into the fight. Matthysee’s only other loss was to IBF champion Zab Judah, and that too was a split decision.

Another Bradley victim, Lamont Peterson, is not a hot name in the junior welterweight division, but he’s one of the best fighters. Peterson, ranked No. 7,  was undefeated when he faced Bradley and was the No. 1 contender for the WBO title, but Bradley throughly dominated him. Two fights later, Peterson fought to a draw against Victor Ortiz. From there, Ortiz went up in weight class to beat Andre Berto for the WBC welterweight title. Now Ortiz, ranked No. 2 in the welterweight division behind Manny Pacquiao, will face Floyd Mayweather in September.

Kendall Holt, who Bradley beat in a unification bout after getting knocked down twice, is one of the most feared punchers in the division. Holt appears to be getting himself back into the thick of the light welterweight division after his knockout victory over two-time IBF lightweight champion Julio Diaz of Coachella. Holt is unranked by Ring, that should change soon.

So while people want to take shots at Bradley for ducking out on the Amir Khan fight, there is a reason why he’s more respected and ranked her than Khan and is among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.