Photo by Anna John for StiffJab.com
by Gautham Nagesh
This column is where I’m supposed to update you on fight announcements and all the other business of boxing stuff that makes this a professional site. Unfortunately I’ve been slacking, but we’re going to try and make up for that with one marathon inbox dump, which should have you all caught up on the latest happenings in our coverage area. Without further ado:
Lamont Peterson vs. Lucas Matthysse In A.C. May 18 Looks Likely: The chips are starting to fall into place in the junior welterweight division, setting the stage for one of Golden Boy’s four 140-pounder to come out as the undisputed king of the division. First up is a showdown between Lamont Peterson (above)and Lucas Matthysse, which looks likely to take place in Atlantic City on May18th as part of a co-feature on Showtime with Devon Alexander vs. Kell Brook. That fight has already been delayed once, and could produce a future opponent for recent Showtime signing Floyd Mayweather.
Both Peterson and Matthysse are no doubt eying a shot at Mayweather down the line for themselves, because this is probably the toughest fight either of them could take outside of Tim Bradley or Danny Garcia. Matthysse is a real banger, one of the hardest punchers in the sport, and he has knocked down every man he has faced. Both his losses (to Zab Judah and Alexander) were controversial, though I was ringside in St. Louis and thought Alexander narrowly won that fight. Peterson is back in the groove after taking more than a year off, and looked extremely formidable while dismantling Kendall Holt. This is a pick ‘em fight, and could be one of the best of the first half of the year.
Abner Mares-Daniel Ponce de Leon on May 4th: Speaking of Mayweather, Golden Boy says Floyd’s May 4th Showtime Pay Per View tilt against Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero will be supported by a solid featherweight scrap between Daniel Ponce de Leon and Abner Mares, who is moving up from 122 lbs. The promoter also expects newly-minted superstar Adrien Broner (above) to return on June 15th against Ricky Burns, should burns win his challenge against Miguel Vazquez on March 16. Golden Boy prospect Omar Figueroa, who we like a lot, could get Richar Abril on the undercard of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Austin Trout on April 20. Finally, a potential fight of the year candidate is shaping up for June 8th in Oakland, where the explosive Marcos Maidana will fight the gritty Josesito Lopez at welterweight as part of a triple-header.
Chris Arreola-Bermane Stiverne Postponed: Goosen Tutor Promotions informs us the heavyweight eliminator between Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne has been postponed due to a bronchial infection sustained by Arreola. Arreola is still one of the top U.S. heavyweights, which isn’t saying much, and this illness ensures he will be tied up for the foreseeable future. This fight was supposed to open on HBO for the Bernard Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud, Keith Thurman-Jan Zaveck doubleheader from New York.
The rest of the card from Sherman Oaks, Calif. will air on HBO Latino and feature a junior featherweight rematch between Juan Carlos Salgado and Argenis Mendez. Also on the card are twins Oscar and Javier Molina, who represented Mexico and the U.S. in the 2012 and 2008 Olympics respectively.
Jordan Shimmell vs. Brad Johnson in Kalamazoo March 23: Rising West Michigan heavyweight Jordan Shimmell (above) was scheduled to fight on Thursday at the Motor City Casino in Detroit, but was unable to lock down an opponent in time for the show. Instead, Shimmell will now focus on his March 23rd date at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo against unbeaten former high school wrestler and cage fighter Brad Johnson of Lansing. Shimmell had a long amateur career and has fought frequently since turning pro last summer, as his handlers seem intent on making him the biggest draw in Grand Rapids since Floyd Mayweather left for Las Vegas. He’ll be looking for his 9th professional win and 8th knockout against Johnson, who will be fighting for the third time as a pro.
Paulie Malignaggi Headed to Abu Dhabi in May: Welterweight titlist and Showtime commentator Paulie Malignaggi looks likely to fight in Abu Dhabi, UAE on May 18, either against Argentina’s Diego Chaves or Mexico’s Humberto Soto. Negotiations with Chaves’ champ have proven rocky, but Malignaggi said the opportunity to fight in the Middle Eastern capital excites him, so he plans to follow through against the fan-friendly Mexican if necessary. We like it any time a new audience gets exposed to world-class boxing, though Golden Boy boss Richard Schaeffer says he wants Malignaggi to fight in Brooklyn on June 22nd at the Barclays Center.
Photo by Tom Casino for SHOWTIME
Amir Khan Returns Home Against Julio Diaz: The rebuilding job continues for junior welterweight contender Amir Khan in Sheffield, England on April 27 against faded former titlist Julio Diaz. Khan beat up the overmatched Carlos Molina (above) in December for his first win in a year, but new trainer Virgil Hunter is wisely waiting at least one more fight before putting him back in with the best. Diaz squeaked out a draw against the unbeaten Shawn Porter to earn this fight, but looked badly shopworn in his stoppage loss to Kendall Holt in May 2011. Khan needs to blow Diaz out if he hopes to return to his former heights. 2012 British Olympic bronze medalist and recent Golden Boy signee Anthony Ogogo will make his pro debut at middleweight on the undercard.
Zou Shiming Debut Highlights April 6 Macau Card: Top Rank has been busy touting their signing of two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming, who has the potential to become a massive attraction in his home country of China. Top Rank boss Bob Arum is smart enough to realize Shiming could help boxing establish a crucial foothold in the world’s largest emerging market, and has been pulling out all the stops. Shiming will make his professional debut on April 6 at the Venetian Macoa, as part of an HBO2 card featuring Rocky Martinez vs. Diego Magdaleno at junior lightweight and Brian Viloria vs. Juan Francisco Estrada at flyweight. Not a bad way to turn the People’s Republic onto the Sweet Science.