The Hottest Boxing Storylines for the Week of Jan. 13
With the boxing calendar about to jump out of the starting gate this coming weekend, there is obviously a lot to cover and a lot to talk about.
Here we'll dedicate the time and space to filling your brains with the key stories, questions and developments that will dominate the boxing headlines in the coming week.
We'll break down whether Adrien Broner's decision to immediately rematch Marcos Maidana has settled the Floyd Mayweather lottery by default. We assess Canelo Alvarez's chances of selling a pay-per-view against a tough but limited foe. And we'll break down whether Jean Pascal can still be a player in the light heavyweight division ahead of his huge fight with Lucian Bute this Saturday night.
All this, and much, much more. These are the hottest boxing storylines for the week of Jan. 13!
Did Adrien Broner Settle the Floyd Mayweather Lottery?
Against the advice of his mentor and idol Mayweather, Adrien "The Problem" Broner has exercised an immediate rematch clause in his contract with Maidana, and he will get a chance to regain the WBA Welterweight Championship after the Argentine handed him his first loss in December.
The fight is possible for sometime in April, according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, and it has reverberations that will ripple far out into the boxing world.
By electing to take the immediate rematch, and forcing Maidana to face him in his next fight, Broner has all but settled the lingering questions about who would win the lottery for a chance to face Mayweather in May.
Maidana, along with former junior welterweight champion Amir Khan, had been the most frequently mentioned candidates, with Mayweather himself singling "Chino" out as a potential foe after his lopsided defeat of Broner.
With Maidana now contractually obligated to defend his title against Broner, it would seem that the next chance to face Mayweather will, almost by default, fall to Khan.
That might not make a large swath of the boxing public happy, but barring Mayweather pulling a rabbit from his hat, it seems the most likely scenario.
Of course, Maidana could always give up the WBA belt rather than face Broner, but that seems like an unlikely course of events. Instead, the Argentine will likely look to secure lucrative terms for this fight, while at the same time negotiating something bigger on the back end should he win again.
Mayweather will, short of something completely unexpected, still be there in the fall. And a second win over Broner could well place Maidana in an even better position to secure that fight.
But as for this May?
It seems like it's Khan's ticket to cash.
Is Canelo Biting off More Than He Can Chew?
Everything went right for Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in the first half of 2013. He earned the biggest win of his career—over Austin Trout in April—transitioned from star to superstar and secured the highest-profile fight in boxing against pound-for-pound king Mayweather in September.
And then the wheels, as they say, came off the train.
Canelo was thoroughly beaten by Mayweather—you could easily make the case he lost every round—before getting, somewhat, let off the hook by a ludicrous majority decision ruling. To those who just viewed the results, without the context of having seen the action, that verdict created the false perception of a close contest.
It wasn't. At all.
At the post-fight press conference inside the MGM Grand, a visibly distraught Canelo had to be comforted by the man who had just spent 36 minutes of his life embarrassing him in front of one of the biggest pay-per-view audiences in boxing history.
Golden Boy Promotions CEO, and Canelo promoter, Schaefer quickly declared that the man, whom his company had spent countless millions building up, would be back in the first quarter of 2014 with a vengeance.
We now know that Canelo will return on March 8 against the rugged, but limited, Alfredo Angulo on Showtime pay-per-view.
It's an intriguing matchup for many reasons, not the least of which being that both fighters are Mexican and seem to have a great distaste for one another.
And Angulo might just be the perfect foe for Alvarez, who has had back-to-back fights against extremely tricky boxers. "Perro" is crude and unrefined, but he comes to fight every single time. He'll be right there all night.
Canelo should have no problem finding the target and getting back on track in this fight. But there's always that element of intrigue when you face a guy with the guts and punching power of Angulo.
Will People Shell Out to See Canelo vs. Angulo on Pay-Per-View?
It's a rather ambitious, and risky, move on the part of Showtime to place the Alvarez-Angulo tilt on pay-per-view rather than network television. Canelo has yet to show the ability to carry a pay broadcast on his own, and we still don't know how much his star has been damaged by his washout against Mayweather.
It would seem that the safer, and more fan-friendly, course of action, would've been to place Canelo in this bout on network television, and then bump him up to a pay-per-view headlining slot in a more important fight later in the year.
But those decisions, unfortunately, are out of our hands, and all fans can do is sit there and vote with their dollars by deciding whether or not to buy.
Canelo vs. Angulo has all the makings of a tremendous action fight. Both guys are Mexican warriors, both can punch and both seem to have a serious dislike of the other. The storylines really write themselves. But is "Perro" really a PPV-worthy opponent? And will the public shell out upward of $60 for the right to watch?
He sure is a helluva lot better than one of the other names bandied around as a potential PPV foe for Alvarez. Carlos Molina may hold a share of the junior middleweight crown, but his style is, well, tricky is a nice way to put it, and he'd bring nothing to the table in terms of selling a bout.
So by that measure at least, Canelo vs. Angulo looks something like Gatti vs. Ward.
Also, there is speculation that Showtime, as they're apt to do, is working on finalizing a stacked undercard.
It could well include a title defense by lower weight dynamo Leo Santa Cruz against former champion Cristian Mijares, and Canelo's little brother Ricardo Alvarez taking on Omar Figueroa.
Will that be enough to draw in people outside the mainstream?
That's one question that remains to be seen.
Can Jean Pascal Still Be a Player at Light Heavyweight?
It's been a precipitous fall from grace for Pascal these past few years. And all seemed to be going so well, too.
Pascal won a share of the light heavyweight title from Adrian Diaconu in 2009 and then captured The Ring Magazine belt with an 11th-round technical decision over Chad Dawson in 2011.
He made his first defense of the crown later that year against an, even then, ageless Bernard Hopkins. And in the early going, it seemed that not only would Pascal win the fight, but he might become the first man to stop the hard-nosed Philly veteran.
Hopkins was dropped in both the first and third rounds before rallying to earn a controversial draw. Many felt that B-Hops did enough to win the bout outright, and he silenced all doubters by easily outpointing Pascal in a rematch six months later.
Since then, the Haitian-born Canadian transplant has only fought twice against low-level opposition. A slew of injuries have forced him to postpone or cancel fights, and he'll be taking a massive leap in competition for his next bout.
Pascal will face Bute—a former IBF super middleweight champion—as the headlining bout of an HBO-televised card this Saturday night from Montreal.
It's the definition of a crossroads fight for the former 175-pound champion, and it comes against an extremely dangerous foe. With a win, he'll immediately restate his claim as a contender.
On the other hand, a loss would likely signal the end of a once-promising, but injury-derailed, career.
Will Mike Perez Be the Same Fighter After Abdusalamov?
Mike Perez outlasted fellow undefeated heavyweight prospect Magomed Abdusalamov in a brutal bout, better known for its aftermath, last November at The Theater at Madison Square Garden
As the fight wore on, it was clear that Perez was landing a frightful number of hard, clean shots to the head of his foe. As the match became more and more one-sided, the Russian repeatedly asked his corner if he was injured, and he expressed concern over the punishment he was taking.
But the fight continued, and it ended in tragedy. After the fight, Abdusalamov had to undergo emergency surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain. Left unchecked, the clot could've been fatal, and he was placed in a medically induced coma to reduce the swelling on his brain and keep him alive.
Even so, the situation remained extremely dire. Abdusalamov suffered a stroke and was placed back into the coma after doctors had initially pulled him out. On Christmas, and after several promising weeks of recovery, he was moved from a hospital bed to a rehab facility. He's expected to recover, but he will never fight again and will almost certainly face life-long complications.
Perez, who will return to the ring on Saturday night against Carlos Takam, obviously carries with him a heavy heart. He wasn't guilty of anything more than doing his job and fighting against Abdusalamov, but he's obviously had to grapple with the events of that night.
He's already dedicated this fight to his fallen foe and has emphasized that he won't be affected by its memory when he returns to the ring. But we won't truly know that until we see firsthand.
That's the kind of thing that can get into a fighter's head, and it can make him reluctant or tentative. Again, Perez didn't do anything wrong, but it's hard to see how it how it doesn't leave an impact.
What Is Robert Guerrero Up To?
Less than a year removed from the biggest fight of his professional career, Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero wants out.
He wants out of his contract with Golden Boy Promotions and, thus, with Showtime as well.
Guerrero announced late last week, through his attorney, that he would be seeking to bring the case to arbitration with the California State Athletic Commission in the hopes of being allowed out of his contract to pursue other opportunities.
The move caught Golden Boy, and particularly its CEO, Schaefer, by complete surprise.
According to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, Schaefer didn't understand Guerrero's gripe and claims to have complied with the requisite provisions of the contract. There is also a dispute over whether "The Ghost" even has any standing to bring an arbitration hearing in the state of California.
All of Golden Boy's contracts are governed by New York law, despite the promotion being based in California.
That's something for the high-priced lawyers, which you can bet both sides will trot out, to decide.
It would seem that with Golden Boy promoting a plethora of good fighters between 140 and 147 pounds, a split at this point would be odd.
There's a great deal of potential money on the table, so what is Guerrero up to?
There has been a bit of speculation of late that the fight Guerrero is hoping to snag could be none other than Manny Pacquiao. That would give him back-to-back paydays against the two biggest cash cows in the sport and might be the only thing that makes sense.
If that's not the move, or at least what he's looking toward, then it's hard to see how this makes a whole lot of sense for him.