The Hottest Boxing Storylines for the Week of August 16
The fall's biggest fight is signed, sealed and delivered.
HBO announced on Thursday that Puerto Rican legend and middleweight champion Miguel Cotto will defend his championship against rising Mexican sensation Saul "Canelo" Alvarez on November 21 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
The fight has been rumored for some time, even coming close to fruition before falling apart at the last minute in January. It promises the sort of guaranteed action that the year's other biggest fight failed to provide in May.
So, we ask the question: Will Cotto vs. Canelo prove to be the year's biggest fight?
Then we move on to rumors, speculation and innuendo.
Deontay Wilder reportedly has his next opponent lined up.
Who is it?
Good question. We had to use Google (only partially kidding).
Also, Antonio DeMarco seems destined to take a few more unnecessary and pointless knocks to the head. The former world champion is coming out of retirement just two months after mercifully calling it quits.
We assess and heavily criticize that decision, plus offer the latest on Brandon Rios and a surefire Fight of the Year candidate between a pair of cruiserweights on Premier Boxing Champions.
These are the hottest boxing storylines for the week.
Will Cotto vs. Canelo Be the Year's Biggest Fight?
Gear up, boxing fans.
There are few better rivalries in professional sports than Puerto Rico vs. Mexico in boxing. The two boxing-crazed nations are known for producing dozens of world champions, great fights such as Salvador Sanchez vs. Wilfredo Gomez, Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Hector "Macho" Camacho and Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Trinidad, and supporting their fighters to the bitter end.
Cotto vs. Canelo has the potential to easily be the year's biggest fight that meets and exceeds expectations, matching up a pair of slugging punchers who love to work with mean intentions to the body in the fine tradition of their national backgrounds.
The Puerto Rican champion is the more experienced (on this level) of the two fighters, while Canelo is younger, fresher and presumably stronger.
Cotto was confident on Thursday's conference call announcing the fight, telling Bleacher Report that he has many tools in his bag to match whatever style Canelo chooses on fight night. His trainer Freddie Roach echoed that sentiment, calling into question the prevailing logic and declaring his fighter the stronger and more powerful of the two.
Canelo refused to get into that type of war of words. He was more diplomatic, praising his foe for his long career and many in-ring accomplishments and telling Bleacher Report he believed this to be a 50-50 fight that would be decided by who worked harder.
And that's exactly right, even if yours truly favors Canelo. This is one fight that should deliver the action it promises with both guys having realistic shots of walking out victorious.
It's either the latest accomplishment of a Puerto Rican legend's future Hall of Fame career, or it's the coronation of a new Mexican star with a career-defining win.
In the words of the immortal Mills Lane: Let's get it on!
Deontay Wilder's Fighting...Who?
USA Today's Mike Coppinger tweeted on Saturday that WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will defend his title on September 26 (likely in Alabama) against French heavyweight Johann Duhaupas.
Wait, who the heck is this guy?
The good folks over at Boxrec.com (thanks, guys!) tell us that Duhaupas is a 33-2, 20-KO heavyweight who currently holds the WBC's No. 12 ranking by virtue of his majority-decision win over former title challenger Manuel Charr in his last fight.
And that literally ends the good news.
Duhaupas lost a wide verdict in his previous fight against the same Erkan Teper who recently annihilated David Price and likely ended the Brit's professional career. Just 12 of Duhaupas' 33 wins have come over fighters with winning records (of those, only eight had 10 or more wins), and good luck with identifying any of them.
This fight is just plain bad.
Really, really bad.
It's almost as though Al Haymon is trolling his critics by putting on a slew of truly terrible mismatches in September, beginning with Adonis Stevenson vs. Tommy Karpency, continuing with Peter Quillin vs. an anonymous Australian no-hope challenger and culminating with Floyd Mayweather Jr. facing a guy who last beat a significant opponent in 2009.
And that's only if you consider Luis Collazo significant.
This represents a clear step back for Wilder (you thought Eric Molina was bad?), and it caps off a month for PBC that can be best summed up by a four-letter word we can't print here.
Why Is Antonio DeMarco Coming Back...in the Co-Feature...on PBC?
DeMarco was an exciting fighter back in his day, but only the willfully blind can't see that his day ended a really long time ago. He's been through too many wars and looked absolutely dreadful in losing every round (suffering a knockdown against a light puncher) to Rances Barthelemy late in June on PBC.
Most in the boxing community were glad when DeMarco, as old a 29-year-old fighter as you'll ever see, decided to call it quits and retire after dropping his second straight fight, hopefully with all/most of his faculties still intact.
Well, so much for that.
In a shameful matchup, DeMarco will come out of a two-month retirement to face Omar Figueroa in September on the undercard of Wilder-Duhaupas, per Dan Rafael of ESPN.com.
PBC will ask you to suspend your disbelief here and tell you to remember that DeMarco is a former world champion who is known for his exciting, high-action style.
And he was.
Figueroa may be nothing more than a raw action fighter without much in the way of technical skill, but he's more than capable of inflicting considerable damage, particularly against a fighter as punchy and shopworn as DeMarco.
This fight is equal parts shameful and shameless.
Take your pick.
No Bradley, so What's Next for Bam Bam?
Rios has run into a string of bad luck when it comes to securing his next foe.
The former lightweight champion was rumored to be in the running for a shot at Kell Brook's IBF Welterweight Championship before that fight fell through, per FightHype.com (h/t Bad Left Hook).
The next plan seemed to involve getting a crack at Timothy Bradley's recently recaptured WBO 147-pound title, but according to Steve Kim of Boxing Scene, that fight too is now dead over (what else?) money issues.
So that leaves Rios with a bit of a problem.
Bam Bam looked great in his last fight, knocking out longtime rival Mike Alvarado for the decisive victory of their impressive trilogy, but that was in January, and no fights appears on the horizon in the near future.
One that makes obvious sense would be a guaranteed war against fellow come-forward slugger and defense-be-damned fighter Ruslan Provodnikov.
Provodnikov dropped a decision (that's what you all expected, right?) to Lucas Matthysse in a fight that satiated boxing fans' need for blood, conquest and destruction. Or maybe that's a slight bit of exaggeration.
Matthysse boxed far more than many expected, which limited some of the opportunities for supernova-like engagement, but you won't have to worry about that if Rios and Provo lock horns.
Boxing? Defense? The sweet science?
The fine people over at HBO should get working on this one immediately.
More Cruisers, Please
Krzysztof Glowacki vs. Marco Huck is the Fight of the Year.
End of story, discussion over, thanks everyone for playing.
OK, it's entirely possible that in the next four months of boxing some pair of individuals will put on a back-and-forth slugfest on par with or better than what we saw on PBC on Spike this past Friday night, but it's not highly likely.
Glowacki came from behind to absolutely stun Huck, the long-reigning cruiserweight champion who was attempting to break Johnny Nelson's record for consecutive defenses in the weight class, by knockout in Round 11.
It was the German-based Serbian's first fight in the United States, and it ended with him sprawled between the middle rope after taking a string of vicious punches. It was not the debut he was hoping for, certainly.
But, still, the Huck-was-always-overrated train needs to stop. He lost a tough, competitive war against a young, undefeated fighter. It happens in boxing, and he deserves credit for doing what a lot of quality European fighters don't...
Come to the United States and try to make a name for himself.
What this fight really does is expose how potentially interesting and exciting the cruiserweight division (long one of the most underappreciated in the sport) can be when quality matchups are made. Let's hope for more of this—both quality fights and exposure for the smaller big men.
Kevin McRae is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. You can follow him on Twitter @McRaeWrites. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and information obtained firsthand.