â†µNext Fights Announced for Pavlik and Cotto
â†µIt was a big week for promoter Bob Arum, announcing the likely next fights for his second and third most valuable properties, Miguel Cotto and Kelly Pavlik (lest you not know this, Arum’s most valuable commodity right now is this little Filipino guy you may have heard of). â†µ
â†µThe Cotto make has Fight of the Year written all over it. Returning to Madison Square Garden on June 9th, the eve of New York City’s Puerto Rican Day Parade, Cotto will represent P.R. in Gotham once again, taking his WBO welterweight title into a unification bout with current IBF champ, Joshua Clottey. â†µâ†µ
â†µThis is a perilous and gutsy call for Cotto, because Clottey is a very rough customer who brings to the table all of the tools that Cotto does and then some. In fact, though Cotto is the much bigger name in the fight, if you match up similar opponents, Clottey comes out ahead in two notable performances. Clottey decimated Zab Judah last August while Cotto fought him tooth and nail before finally stopping him in the 11th in June of 2007 (another pre-Puerto-Rican-Parade-at-the-Garden fight for Cotto). And Clottey clearly was beating Antonio Margarito in their fight in December of 2006 before suffering a hand injury in the middle rounds that severely hampered his efforts. As for Cotto, I think we all know what Margarito did to him, loaded gloves or not. â†µâ†µ
â†µThe upshot is that this promises to be knockdown drag-out war of breakneck speed and lethal power. Both guys are fast, both guys can box and bang, and both have real pop in each hand. Right now, I’d give the overall edge in speed to Cotto and the edge in power to Clottey, though I’d say it’s very close on both counts. From this distance, the fight looks to me like a tossup. A very bloody tossup. â†µâ†µ
â†µAs for Kelly Pavlik, it looks almost certain right now that his next opponent will be Sergio Mora for an early summer date in Atlantic City. Which is a bit of a disappointment to say the least. Mora is game, definitely the best overall fighter to come out of The Contender enterprise, but he’s still a B-minus level talent at best, and what’s more, his best weight class is junior middle. He’s fought at 160 before but he’s definitely lean at that weight, and in that he doesn’t have much of a punch at 54, he carries flea-like pop with him to middleweight. Against a behemoth at 160 like Pavlik, that doesn’t bode well for the Latin Snake, not at all. Mora is long on heart and short on just about everything else, setting him up perfectly for an ugly stoppage at the hands of a knockout artist like Kelly the Ghost. This is no doubt exactly what the matchmakers have in mind, along with a heavy Youngstown contingent rolling into the casinos after the fight drunk on beer and violence and with their unemployment checks recently cashed. â†µâ†µ
â†µBarrera vs. Khan on PPV Tomorrow at 4 p.m.
â†µIntegrated Sports will bring you the Sky Sports telecast of the Marco Antonio Barrera/Amir Khan fight tomorrow afternoon from Manchester, England for the low, low price of $24.95. Something tells me sales will not be brisk, although maybe I am underestimating Barrera’s star power. He is a legitimate Mexican icon on the comeback trail, along with being one of the great fighters of the last 20 years. He fought memorable wars with Erik Morales, he actually stopped Manny Pacquiao, and, perhaps most famously, he single-handedly ended the reign of Prince Naseem. The guy has Hall-of-Fame credentials to put it mildly. â†µ
â†µThis is also quite a crossroads fight for both principals. If Barrera loses tomorrow, one has to imagine that his comeback bid is kaput, while if he wins, given his level of name recognition, he likely will be in line for a high-profile fight against an A-lister, maybe even a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez. â†µâ†µ
â†µMeanwhile, for the highly touted prospect, Amir Khan, it’s make-or-break time. As far as his career goes, things have gotten late real early. A win tomorrow should erase for the time being the doubts engendered by his crushing first-round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott last September and put him back in line for a title shot. But a loss to an aging warrior like Barrera could spell the end of Khan before he ever really got off the ground. â†µâ†µ
â†µIn short, it’s a good fight between two notables with heavy consequences. But I still can’t see too many of the U.S. rank-and-file fight fans shelling out money to see it live. Maybe a few Mexican Barrera fans, and that’s it. That said, I’m glad the option is there, and I definitely hope Integrated makes enough money to want to keep making high-profile European cards available here in the States. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.