The Hottest Boxing Storylines for the Week of October 6
The weather is colder, the leaves are hitting the ground and boxing continues its run toward the new year.
Not much happened in the way of big-time fights this past week, but we'll take an overall look at the biggest stories in the sport today.
Is Saul "Canelo" Alvarez ready to seize the throne of boxing from Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
And will this increased pressure force the pound-for-pound king to answer so many of his critics.
Is Mayweather out of options for opponents? How will he handle this dilemma?
Will Andre Ward finally return to the ring and settle his disputes with the company of his late promoter Dan Goossen?
And why the heck is Jermain Taylor fighting for a world title on Wednesday?
All that and more in this week's edition of the hottest storylines in boxing.
Is Mayweather vs. Khan Next and When?
Mayweather might just be out of viable opponents to fight and viable dates (at least to his liking) on which to fight them.
The pound-for-pound king wants to return in May (his traditional date) but is facing a potential challenge from vanquished foe Canelo Alvarez for the date.
Also, the question remains: Who in the world would he fight?
Amir Khan is the most practical name available, but he’s—like Canelo—under the Golden Boy Promotions banner.
Oscar De La Hoya told Edward Chaykovsky of BoxingScene.com that he feels a bout between Mayweather and Khan will take place, but the question is when.
De La Hoya is in a tricky spot.
Khan has been pursuing a bout with Mayweather for seemingly forever, but it’s impractical for De La Hoya to make that bout for the same date as Canelo’s presumed challenge of Miguel Cotto.
Not to mention that the Brit could well spurn Mayweather for a big opportunity to fight Kell Brook in an all-UK fight at Wembley Stadium next year, further complicating the picture.
That would force Mayweather to either concede the date or find another opponent.
And who could that be?
Also a Golden Boy fighter.
Don’t bet your life, though Mayweather did recently mention in Moscow that he’d talk to Pacquiao if the Filipino icon dispatches Chris Algieri in November.
The options are dwindling for Mayweather, and it’s happening in a hurry.
And that could be a good thing for fans long desiring the mythical matchup with Pacquiao.
Is Canelo Ready to Seize the Throne and Force Mayweather's Hand?
New (old) network, big contract and a whole new level of swagger have made Canelo the man to watch as boxing closes out this year and heads into 2015.
The cinnamon-haired Mexican recently returned to HBO, shunning Showtime to become an exclusive asset of the network that helped launch his career but was on the sidelines when he became a star.
Canelo has made some noise about making a frontal assault on Mayweather’s pay-per-view and money-making supremacy at the top of the sport, and it seems that he has the goods to make good.
These aren’t just idle words or threats.
Canelo, despite being schooled by the pound-for-pound king last September in Las Vegas, doesn’t have any level of respect for Mayweather’s business dealings and plans to take him on next May for a date on Cinco de Mayo.
With HBO and its promotional and business might behind him, Canelo represents a possibly lethal threat to the Mayweather empire that we haven’t seen during the pound-for-pound king’s reign of dominance.
Now, that could mean a few things practically.
Mayweather has been accused by fans of becoming complacent of late, and not really seeking out the challenges that would define his career and move him firmly into the ranks of the all-time greats.
Can Canelo, by forcing his hand, be the driving force that pushes Mayweather to greatness?
Can Canelo supplant him as boxing’s top dog and attraction?
It seems likely.
Even if Mayweather keeps winning, he’s made it clear that his career is sprinting toward the finish line.
And Canelo should be there to fill that void.
What's Next for Andre Ward?
It’s always unfortunate when these things happen, but Dan Goossen’s death, while tragic, also remains a practical matter within the boxing world.
His main charge, Ward, the super middleweight champion, has been involved in thorny litigation with both Goossen and the promotional company he headed for well over a year now.
Ward has been seeking to void his contract—Goossen signed him out of the 2004 Summer Olympics and promoted every fight of his professional career—and he hasn’t been in the ring since last November. All of his attempts through the California State Athletic Commission and Los Angeles courts have failed.
With Goossen’s passing, Ward still sits under contract with the late promoter’s company, and it remains to be seen whether any movement will take place in light of recent events.
He issued a magnanimous statement upon learning of Goossen’s death.
Ward is obviously a prodigious talent. But he’s not the most aesthetically pleasing fighter for fans. You can call that what you want, but that’s the reality of the business of boxing.
He’s wasted a good portion of his prime, and with tremendous fights in and around his neighborhood, so much that we can only hope that a shred of light comes from this otherwise tragic situation.
Maybe now cooler heads can prevail and Ward can get himself back where he needs to be.
Why Is Jermain Taylor Still Fighting? Much Less for a World Title?
Taylor will face Sam Soliman for the IBF Middleweight championship Wednesday night in a fight televised by ESPN2.
Taylor is best known for his reign as undisputed middleweight champion between 2005 and 2007. He took the belts off Bernard Hopkins—some would say under spurious circumstances—and successfully defended them with another pair of questionable decisions—a draw with Winky Wright and victory over Cory Spinks.
"Bad Intentions” dropped the straps in brutal fashion to Kelly Pavlik, and his last taste of big-time boxing came in Showtime’s Super 6 tournament where he was brutally stopped by Carl Froch (before the tournament) and Arthur Abraham in successive fights.
Taylor has beaten a bunch of nobodies since, and he has beyond no business getting a title shot against Soliman. Most felt his career was over after the back-to-back stoppages left some serious questions about his health.
The Aussie champion turned down a unification showdown with Gennady Golovkin for this bout, but can you blame him?
Soliman is 40 years old and in the first title reign of his long career. The time to make money and make an impact is very short, and you can’t really blame him for taking a soft-name fighter and a secure payday.
He’s always been a tricky, awkward fighter, but he always seemed to operate a step or so below the top level. So it’s nice to see him make good in the closing stages of his career, but Taylor being sanctioned as a world title challenger at this point is a farce.
And it should be called for what it is.
What's Happened to Chad Dawson?
Dawson, a former lineal light heavyweight champion, was the last man to defeat Hopkins, and he did it in fairly convincing fashion.
Let that settle in for just a moment.
It’s been a precipitous fall from grace ever since for the 32-year-old South Carolinian.
Ward took him to school, Adonis Stevenson blew him out with one punch and took his belt, he came in badly overweight for a comeback fight against George Blades, and now this latest mess.
Clearly in better shape, Dawson lost a narrow split decision to club fighter Tommy Karpency at Foxwoods in Connecticut on Saturday night.
That’s an absolutely awful result for Dawson, who recently signed with power manager Al Haymon, and it probably signals the end of his career as a serious player for significant fights.
At least in the very near term.
He claims to have injured his shoulder in Round 3—he rarely threw his left hand after Round 7—and was hot about not getting the decision.
Haymon will need to work miracles with this one—Karpency is nothing more than a small-town fighter who had zero quality wins coming in—if he’s going to get “Bad” Chad even a sniff of a serious fight again.