* This past week, Floyd Mayweather finally announced his May 3rd opponent, and the winner of the ‘Mayweather sweepstakes’: Argentine brawler Marcos Maidana.
Thankfully, a top 5 Welterweight has been chosen ahead of a floundering 140lber.
Hard luck Amir Khan, who for months had been expected to get the fight, despite not remotely deserving the opportunity or payday
* My take on the Mayweather-Maidana fight is as follows:
The buildup to the fight will not be half as entertaining as the buildup to a Khan fight would be, although the fight itself has the potential to be more entertaining (though not for those whose idea of a good time is watching Khan rendered ‘Bambi-legged’ by an infintely superior opponent).
Maidana actually earned the fight with his rousing win over Adrien Broner, and is clearly the second most deserving, realistic opponent for Mayweather, aside from Danny Garcia, whose March fight in Puerto Rico could be an attempt to galvinize his ethnic fanbase ahead of a future Mayweather tilt.
It would have been sad to see Khan collect the huge Mayweather payday ahead of at least half a dozen more deserving fighters, and it is also very difficult to feel sympathy for him after his childish media grandstanding before and after Mayweather’s final decision
* Speaking of ‘undeserving’, Stuart Hall, probably the worst world titlist in all of boxing, will make the first defence of his bantamweight belt against the spectacularly unqualified Martin Ward in an all Northeast battle in the UK.
A ‘gimme’ first defence is entirely understandable, although in terms of all-UK title fights, I would much prefer to see Hall defend against recent titlist Jamie McDonnell or Lee Haskins, two men who have defeated him in the recent past.
Lee Haskins, in particular, can’t seem to get a shot at the highest level, given that he also owns a win over McDonnell.
Incidentally, Stephane Jamoye, who won a thrilling Fight of the Year war against Haskins in 2012 but lost his last fight, is now set to challenge the impressive 118lb. titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka in April
* Abner Mares-Takashi Miura for a 130lb. title is one of the fights mooted for the Mayweather-Maidana undercard, and it would be a fascinating one if made.
It was expected that Mares’ next fight would be an immediate rematch of his shock 1st round knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzalez at 126lbs., but due to injuries to both men, and the new desire for each to take an interim bout, that has been delayed.
While Gonzalez sets up a soft title defence at home, Mares, true to form, may look to step up another weight division to take on the talented Miura, despite being only 4 fights removed from campaigning at 118lbs.
While Japanese fighters have historically done very badly when fighting in the US, it would be an intriguing clash
* Interesting to see that a Tyson Fury-Dereck Chisora rematch is being lined up for Upton Park soccer stadium in the summer, with both picking up easy wins on the same bill earlier this month.
Fury, who had been out of the ring for 10 months, was grossly out of shape, weighing a career heaviest, 274lbs. (he was reportedly as heavy as 308lbs. in the months preceding the fight), while, contrastingly, Chisora came in at 238, the 4th consecutive fight which he has come in-shape for, and a full 23 lbs. lighter than the fat tub of goo he was for the first Fury fight.
Two observations: I still favour Fury (who plans to take another tuneup in April) in the rematch, and I encourage everybody to spare a thought for poor Paris Fury, being crushed under 22 stone of pure flab by a frustrated & depressed Tyson after the collapse of the David Haye fight
* All-time great amateur, twice Olympic champion Vasyl Lomachenko attempts to make history this weekend, fighting Orlando Salido for a 126lb. title in just his 2nd pro fight, looking to become a world titleholder in the fewest number of bouts in boxing history.
If Lomachenko wins, he would surpass the records of both Saensak Muangsurin (who won a title in his 3rd fight, the least amount of fights ever), and Jeff Fenech (who won a title just 197 days after turning pro, the least amount of time ever)
* Finally, it’s time for an official O’ Connell prediction: Alfredo Angulo will upset Canelo Alvarez by knockout in their upcoming showdown on the 8th of March.
Canelo is clearly a talented fighter, but I feel he is greatly overhyped based on his actual level of accomplishment thus far. His only genuine world class win is Austin Trout, and that was a razor thing, and disputed, decision.
Angulo’s resume isn’t exactly chock full of top level wins either, but he impressed in his last fight, twice dropping the highly talented Erislandy Lara before being stopped himself, and has definitely improved under trainer Virgil Hunter.
Unlike many of Canelo’s opponents, ‘El Perro’ is a genuine Jr. Middleweight, and if he can land big shots on Lara, then there’s little doubt that he is going to test the unproven chin of Alvarez, which I believe he can dent