What began as a dull summer in boxing, got real hot and heavy over the last several weeks. From Floyd Mayweather's announced bout with Victor Ortiz, to Amir Khan's fight against Zab Judah set for July 23, it's been an interesting few weeks.
First thing’s first. Devon Alexander, who scored a split-decision win over Lucas Matthysse on Saturday, announced he is moving up to the welterweight division. Citing his trouble making 140 pounds, Alexander’s manager, Kevin Cunningham told ESPN.com that he won’t take another fight at junior welterweight unless “it was something really big”.
It makes perfect sense for Alexander (22-1). Sure, he could miss a chance to take on the winner of Amir Khan and Zab Judah something this fall, but there are plenty of big bouts available at 147. Future fights against the likes of Andre Berto, Victor Ortiz and possibly Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather all become viable options for Alexander. Cunningham mentioned a possible matchup with Paulie Malignaggi. When and where that fight will take place is anyone’s guess right now.
The odd man out in this seems to be Timothy Bradley. We’ve been over Bradley turning down a guaranteed $1.4 million to fight Khan. With Alexander moving up to 147, there’s no logical matchup for Bradley for the foreseeable future. At least not anything that would pay him anything close to the $1.4 million he was offered to fight Khan.
There is always the possibility that Bradley could fight the winner of Khan and Judah. Then again, the winner of that bout could decide to make the jump to 147 for a big payday.
JERMAIN TAYLOR RETURNS
Former undisputed middleweight champ Jermain Taylor (28-4-1) is returning to the ring after an 18-month layoff, his trainer Pat Burns told ESPN.com. Taylor suffered a 12th-round knockout at the hands of Arthur Abraham in a Showtime Super Six tournament bout in October, 2009.
Taylor will return to the ring in the middleweight division, according to Burns. Taylor’s last three fights were at 168 pounds, two of them resulting in losses to Abraham and Carl Froch. There is no shortage of opponents to fight at 160 pounds for Taylor. The question is when Taylor, who suffered a concussion in his fight with Abraham, will be ready for a bout. A better question is should Taylor even be fighting?
HBO GETS MAYWEATHER
It’s been a marriage made in heaven between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and HBO. The welterweight star will take on Victor Ortiz on September 17 in a PPV bout, it was announced last week. It’s no surprise HBO landed the bout, especially since Showtime hit the jackpot broadcasting Manny Pacquiao’s bout with Shane Mosley. That fight drew 1.3 million PPV buys.
Part of the deal with will be that HBO will use its sister networks –TNT, TBS, TruTV– to help promote the bout. It worked for Showtime, which had CBS help with the promotion.
There’s no doubt HBO will produce another 24/7 series. Mayweather’s story combined with the route Ortiz has taken will make for great headlines.
KIRKLAND ON THE MEND
James Kirkland (28-1), a Neutral Corner favorite, made short work of Dennis Sharpe on Friday night, scoring a first-round knockout. It was a badly-needed win for Kirkland, who suffered an embarrassing first-round knockout at the hands of Nobuhiro Ishida. Kirkland, who served 18 months in prison, fired trainer Ann Wolfe after he got out. Kirkland went back to Wolfe after his loss to Ishida.
WILLIAMS IS BACK
Paul Williams (39-2) will finally make his return to the ring after suffering a devastating knockout at the hands of Sergio Martinez last November. The loss was a major setback for Williams, who had trouble finding quality opponents to fight in the first place. Williams will take on Erislandy Lara (15-0-1) on July 9 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Lara wasn’t Lara’s first choice, however, as HBO withdrew its approval of Williams first opponent, Ishida. Yes, the same Ishida that knocked out Kirkland.