The Hottest Boxing Storylines for the Week of August 11
Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson each got wins on Saturday night in separate bouts that were appropriately labeled as mismatches, so is the path now clear for the two 140-pound fighters to meet in a unification clash?
We'll take a crack at answering that question.
In the same vein, who is to blame for the atrocious mismatches that littered Showtime Boxing's latest card on Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York?
Then we shift our focus ahead.
Shawn Porter will defend his share of the welterweight crown against Kell Brook on Saturday night. Whose zero will go?
And is Juan Manuel Marquez targeting the winner in his quest to become a five-division champion?
Finally, Andre Ward has scheduled his next fight, but it's not where you think.
These are the hottest storylines in boxing for the upcoming week.
Should Garcia vs. Peterson Be Next?
Garcia and Peterson both won egregious mismatches on Saturday night at the Barclays Center, each stopping a woefully overmatched opponent inside the distance.
Neither win proved much of anything, as the results were widely expected.
Garcia nearly decapitated “Lightning” Rod Salka with a vicious left hook in the second round, and Peterson battered Edgar Santana for nearly 10 full rounds before the ring doctor had seen enough.
Leading up to the fights, many questioned the need for interim bouts when it seemed that Garcia and Peterson were possibly headed toward a unification showdown later in the year.
Both men were asked post-fight about the possibility of said matchup, and both deferred to the decision of their manager while repeating the familiar refrain that boxing is a business.
Nothing to see here.
But the bout makes complete sense.
Between them, Garcia and Peterson own three of the four 140-pound titles. Both are managed by Al Haymon, and both are in need of a significant fight after Saturday’s massacres.
And it would be a pretty good fight.
Garcia, despite his quality of opposition, looked quick and sharp, and he really committed to his punches against Salka. It’s hard to tell how much of that had to do with his lackluster foe, but he didn’t mess around and took care of business.
Peterson also brought his A-game. He boxed beautifully, using movement and a vicious body assault to wear down Santana and prompt a stoppage that probably came a round or so late.
There is every reason for this fight to happen, which is why boxing fans probably shouldn’t hold their collective breath.
Who Is to Blame for Woeful Mismatches?
There is a ton of blame to be doled out for the horribly mismatched night of fights that Showtime broadcast Saturday night.
Garcia's bout was originally scheduled as a title contest, but the WBC and WBA—known for their oftentimes putrid ranking systems and handing out “title” belts like candy on Halloween—refused to sanction Salka as a worthy challenger.
Allow that to sink in for a moment.
And, no disrespect to Salka, but you couldn’t help but understand why that was the case once the fighting began.
While watching him lie on the mat, the recipient of a pinpoint left hook that nearly snapped his head off his shoulders, you had to be concerned.
This wasn’t just a mismatch; it was brutal and dangerous, and Salka paid the price.
Garcia, seeming to understand the public outcry coming into the fight, made it very clear that he doesn’t pick his opponents. Matching fights and picking foes is the job of his manager/adviser Haymon.
Haymon is a very polarizing figure in the sport of boxing. He’s highly sought-after by fighters who seek to use his connections and business acumen to maximize both their earnings and exposure, but many critics accuse him of loading the deck and carefully maneuvering his fighters.
Showtime also doesn’t escape blame.
The network, under the guidance of Stephen Espinoza, completely reshaped its brand in the past two years, becoming known for compelling matches and solid top-to-bottom cards.
Viewed in this context, Showtime isn’t immune from criticism for putting on a card that everyone knew featured three mismatches. None of the favorites so much as lost a single round, confirming the lopsided nature of the bouts, and we knew this coming into the night.
There was no drama. None.
And when these types of things happen, nobody wins.
Not the fighters, not the fans and certainly not the sport.
Whose 0 Will Go When Shawn Porter Takes on Kell Brook?
Porter has resurrected his brand in a big way since a disappointing draw to shopworn Julio Diaz in 2012 left many questioning his prospect credentials.
Since that night, he’s defeated Diaz in a rematch, taken Devon Alexander’s welterweight title and dominated the always-durable Paulie Malignaggi.
Porter will make the second defense of his IBF Welterweight Championship on Saturday night, taking on undefeated Brit Kell Brook at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Had circumstances played out differently, it could have been Brook defending his crown and not Porter.
Brook had several fights against Alexander postponed—and ultimately cancelled—due to injuries suffered by both fighters, and it was Porter who eventually got and cashed in the opportunity.
Porter vs. Brook is something of a rarity in today’s boxing world: two young, undefeated fighters in their prime meeting with a world title on the line.
And the winner will move on to bigger and better things.
Porter has been mentioned among the possible entrants in the Floyd Mayweather sweepstakes, and if not, a bout with fellow undefeated titleholder Keith Thurman makes a lot of sense.
Brook would instantly jump to the ranks of superstardom in his native U.K. with a win, and a lucrative all-Brit bout with Amir Khan would be big business.
Someone’s zero has to go in this bout, and the stakes are clearly very high for both men.
That’s good for boxing, and it makes for compelling television.
Is Juan Manuel Marquez Eyeing the Porter-Brook Winner?
Marquez has made no secret about two things.
He wants a welterweight championship in order to become the first Mexican fighter to win titles in five weight divisions, and he has zero intention of facing Manny Pacquiao for a fifth time after knocking him cold in December of 2012.
Until recent events changed the equation, Pacquiao—the only welterweight champion who, like Marquez, is with Top Rank—seemed to be the only viable option. Even with that reality, Marquez seemed in no hurry, and Pacquiao has since signed on to face 140-pound champion Chris Algieri this November in Macau.
But with Richard Schaefer’s departure from Golden Boy Promotions and the subsequent thawing of boxing’s cold war, other possibilities now exist. And it looks like one of those possibilities has a fair chance of becoming a reality—at least, if Marquez has his way.
Marquez, who has not definitively decided whether or not he will continue fighting, seems to favor a match with the winner of Porter vs. Brook, possibly in Mexico later in the year.
The 40-year-old has longed to bring a major event to his home nation for some time now, and with his career winding down, the best chance might be now.
Porter would obviously seem to be the more attractive opponent, though he may have more lucrative and attractive offers should he win. Regardless, Marquez just wants the belt, and Brook would fill that role just as well.
Will Andre Ward Ever Fight Again?
Ward, the recognized super middleweight champion of the world, has scheduled his next fight, but fans shouldn’t get their hopes up.
The undefeated 30-year-old champion’s next appearance will be in a federal courtroom, per David Greisman of BoxingScene.com, the result of yet another lawsuit filed against promoter Dan Goossen and his company Goossen Tutor Promotions.
The latest salvo comes against the backdrop of several unsuccessful legal attempts by Ward to have his contract, which runs through November 2016, voided.
Ward lost two attempts at arbitration before the California State Athletic Commission—one in June of last year and again this past May—and he hasn’t fought since easily decisioning Edwin Rodriguez last November.
The new lawsuit alleges that Goossen and his company violated the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act by not providing the fighter with timely financial disclosures related to compensation for his fights.
Ward is seeking damages, claiming economic injury as a result. He wants to see a full accounting of Goossen’s books to make sure that money wasn’t improperly deducted from his purses.
So what does this all mean in the big picture?
Injuries and promotional issues have limited him to just two fights in the past two years—with none on the horizon for 2014—and have squandered a considerable portion of his prime.
You can ascribe blame for this situation in any share that you choose.
Ward has an absolute right to safeguard his finances and make sure that he’s being appropriately and fairly compensated according to the terms of his agreement for every fight. That fact is beyond dispute.
But he’s also losing out on tons of money by fighting in court and not in the ring.
Ward has potentially lucrative fights all around his neighborhood—Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., etc.—and it’s a shame that his best fights are coming with a suit on instead of a pair of boxing gloves.