Harrison (31-7, 23 KOs) won a 2000 Olympic super heavyweight gold medal for Great Britain and arrived on the pro scene with enormous potential. It went unfulfilled -- and dramatically so.
He never had a breakout win, yet still got a world title shot against David Haye, who cherry-picked him and won by third-round knockout in a fight so horrible that British fans revolted and caused Sky Sports to stop broadcasting pay-per-view boxing for a while.
Harrison thankfully retired. But he came back 16 months later, beat nobody and then got whacked in the first round by hot prospect David Price in October.
After winning an edition of the "Prizefighter" competition, Harrison got obliterated by Deontay Wilder in the first round on April 27.
On May 1, Harrison announced his retirement again. Good, I thought. He should have stayed retired after the Haye embarrassment.
But on Tuesday -- just 20 days after retiring a second time -- Harrison announced that he is unretiring.
Harrison claims that the birth of his son last week helped him make the decision.
"When I made the tough decision to walk away from boxing, I knew it was not going to be easy. As the days passed, I knew I would not be able to live with the decision," he said in a long-winded statement. "I wrestled with it for a few weeks and spoke to everyone from the [British] Boxing Board, to Lennox Lewis, David Haye, my dad, wife and many others. Ultimately, seeing my son born crystallized my decision.
"There is no way I am going to tell my son, 'I gave up because I didn't want to climb the mountain again, I didn't want to dust myself off again, when I'm now in the best shape of my career, doing things I haven't done for years, and back in love with the sport.' How can I retire when I know I have another shot in me? If I don't get up and try again, everything I've stood for would mean nothing."
Does Harrison actually believe that? He has been knocked out four times, all inside three rounds. And when Harrison, who has no chin whatsoever, gets knocked out, he really gets knocked out. In splattering fashion.
For him to seriously think he will ever get another big-time fight, or even have a prayer of winning one, is just sad. Seriously, who would pay 10 cents to see him fight again? Yet here comes more gibberish from his statement:
"We all saw how the fight [with Wilder] ended, which was not right," Harrison said. "I can't walk away with that performance. If I do, it would haunt me until I'm old and gray. I got up. They should have let him come to finish me and let me show what I got."
Show what I got? Really? REALLY?
Harrison had absolutely nothing, which was exactly why Golden Boy Promotions settled on him as the opponent for Wilder. He was a decent name who presented no real danger to the undefeated prospect.
"People who worry I may get hurt, I thank you for your concerns," Harrison continued. "We live in a free society, and my desire for freedom and autonomy is my universal right. Don't know where, but see you in a ring real soon."
And then, without question, we'll see "Fraudley" flat on his back yet again.
Bradley signed his contract on Friday, manager Cameron Dunkin told ESPN.com.
The fight is supposed to take place Sept. 14 (HBO PPV) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. However, that is also the date (on Mexican Independence Day weekend) that pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. says he will next fight, at the MGM Grand in a Showtime PPV fight.
If Mayweather finalizes his own fight -- opponent TBA, but hopefully Mexican star junior middleweight champ Canelo Alvarez -- Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who is putting on Bradley-Marquez, said he will get out of the way and move the fight to Oct. 12. Arum said he has the Thomas & Mack Center also on hold for that date in case he needs to move it.
As for Marquez, who is coming off a sensational one-punch knockout of Manny Pacquiao in December, he hasn't yet signed his paperwork, but there are no issues, according to Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti.
"He has not signed, but all is done," Moretti said. "Nothing new when it comes to this stuff."
Just on their own, the fights between Danny Garcia and Zab Judah, who met April 27, and Lamont Peterson and Lucas Matthysse, who meet Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET/PT) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., are attractive matchups.
Garcia is a unified junior welterweight titleholder and the No. 1 fighter at 140 pounds. Judah is a former three-time titleholder with one of the biggest names in the sport. As it turned out, they waged an excellent fight with plenty of drama, and Garcia survived to win a unanimous decision.
Peterson, who also has one of the world titles, and Matthysse, an interim titleholder, are the Nos. 2 and 3 fighters in the division, and they have styles that should mesh beautifully and make for a terrific fight.
But when Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer and Showtime Sports boss Stephen Espinoza put together the fights, they had a grander idea than simply having the individual bouts separated by three weeks.
The plan was for the Garcia-Judah winner to face the Peterson-Matthysse winner to crown a 140-pound king in an unofficial tournament because the four fighters have not signed contracts calling for the final.
But that remains the plan, and everyone involved appears to be on board. The target date for Garcia to meet Saturday night’s winner is Sept. 7.
After Garcia defeated Judah, he came to the post-fight news conference and said to count him in.
“You know me, I'll fight anybody,” Garcia said. “If that's what [manager] Al Haymon [who recently signed Matthysse] wants, then that's what I'll do. I think Peterson will win [against Matthysse].”
Garcia plans to be ringside on Saturday night,too.
“Garcia is committed to it and the other two want to do it as well,” Schaefer said. “All the fighters are on board and so are the managers. I have to still discuss the money but [after Saturday] we’ll sit down with Showtime and work out a license fee.”
Although Peterson and Matthysse face a difficult assignment against each other, both also want Garcia next.
Peterson has wanted nothing more than to face elite opponents. He has faced Victor Ortiz and Timothy Bradley Jr. (both of whom are now welterweights). Peterson said he is all about proving he is No. 1 at 140 pounds.
“At the end of the day, those are some of the top guys in the division and to me that’s what boxing’s all about,” Peterson said. “Once you get to this level it shouldn’t be no more 'C class' fighters. There should be top-level guys, top five. I don’t even want to say top 10. It should be the top five guys. And those are some of the names that are in the top five, in my book, so I have no problem with that lineup. [So as for fighting Garcia], yeah, yeah, I’m definitely OK with it.”
As interim titlist, Matthysse is Garcia’s mandatory challenger, and that is the fight he has wanted even more than the one with Peterson.
“Yes, definitely, definitely, that’s what I want,” Matthysse said of facing Garcia. “I want that, if that’s the reason for this fight [with Peterson]. I hope that everything comes out OK because, yes, I would love to fight Danny Garcia.”
He had talked about issues making the featherweight limit of 126 pounds and after nearly a year layoff -- caused by his suspension after the Salido rematch because of the accusations that the referee stopped the fight because he had wagered on the outcome -- Lopez returned in February. His two fights (both knockout wins) since ending the layoff were both contested at 128 pounds, halfway between the featherweight and 130-pound junior lightweight limits.
But Lopez is going to fight at featherweight, at least for the time being, and is all set to challenge titleholder Mikey Garcia (31-0, 26 KOs), who won his belt from Salido in January. The fight is June 15 (HBO, 10:15 p.m. ET/PT) at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
It appears as though Lopez (33-2, 30 KOs) is taking his training seriously and that making weight won’t be an issue. At this week’s Puerto Rico commission’s 30-day weight check, Lopez scaled 138 pounds, well inside the allowable weight of 144.9.
“We are working to make the weight and to get the best condition,” Lopez said. “Our goal was to make 139 pounds [Thursday] and we made 138, it’s so good. We are one month before the fight and I’m feeling very good with the training. As we made two fights [in February and April] this year, I kept in the gym all the time. We want to be in 131 or 132 pounds next week and work with that weight for the finals weeks, but I’m so good -- eating good and in a good mood.”
Although his weight is fine, he did have a gym mishap this week. He suffered a bruise on his face after falling.
“In reaction work with the medicine ball, I slipped on the on the wet racetrack and fell,” Lopez said. “Unbelievable. That’s the first time in my career.”
Interim junior welterweight titlist Lucas Matthysse was supposed to arrive in New York on Tuesday morning on a flight from his native Argentina that would give him plenty of time to make it the final news conference on Wednesday to promote his 141-pound nontitle showdown with junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson.
They are scheduled to meet Saturday night (Showtime, 9 ET/PT) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
But when Matthysse was a no-show at the media event, the reason for his surprising absence was glossed over. Promoter Golden Boy simply attributed it to "a travel issue" and moved on to Peterson and welterweight titlist Devon Alexander and his challenger, Lee Purdy, who will meet in the co-feature.
But behind the scenes there was worry. Golden Boy officials were concerned about whether Matthysse would make it to the United States in time -- or at all -- for the fight.
A source involved in the fight told ESPN.com that Matthysse's home in Argentina was robbed last weekend. During the robbery, according to the source, Matthysse's passport was badly defaced and rendered unusable. It is believed by Matthysse's camp, the source said, that it was an inside job by somebody clearly upset with Matthysse and purposely trying to screw up his travel plans for the fight. After all, burglars don't break into a stranger's home and then go hunting for a passport to destroy.
The intruder almost prevented Matthysse from fighting. Golden Boy spent the early part of the week contemplating a contingency plan in case Matthysse couldn't make it to America in time. What Golden Boy hoped to work out with Showtime in the event that Matthysse couldn't travel would have been to elevate Alexander-Purdy to the main event, with the welterweight fight between unbeaten prospects Shawn Porter and Phil LoGreco getting bumped up to the main broadcast from its slot on the Showtime Extreme portion of the card.
As of last Friday night, Matthysse didn't have a usable passport and needed to get one on short notice in order to get a visa. His team in Argentina was up to the challenge and worked very quickly. Somehow the time-consuming process was completed in a few days.
According to the source, Matthysse had been issued a new passport by the time the Wednesday news conference had started, saving Golden Boy officials from having to explain the situation to the media and to Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs).
With his paperwork in hand, Matthysse (33-2, 31 KOs) flew overnight on Wednesday night from Argentina to New York and arrived on Thursday morning. He and his team then drove to Atlantic City and were there by Thursday afternoon to rest, work out, do some interviews, get ready for Friday's weigh-in and, thankfully, Saturday night's big fight.
That Showtime card (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) -- which takes place at one of boxing's best venues, the outdoor Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. -- is headlined by slugger Marcos Maidana (33-3, 30 KOs) of Argentina against Josesito Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs) of Riverside, Calif., in a welterweight scrap. How can that not be a good fight?
In the co-feature, junior middleweight contenders Erislandy Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs), the slick boxer from Houston by way of Cuba, and Mexican brawler/puncher Alfredo "Perro" Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs) square off. And in the opener, a serious crossroads fight, Houston hot prospect Jermell Charlo (20-0, 10 KOs) -- who I think highly of -- faces veteran (and Bernard Hopkins' nephew) Demetrius Hopkins (33-2-1, 13 KOs) of Philadelphia in a junior middleweight contest.
The fighters in the top two bouts, along with Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya, met the media this week in Los Angeles to kick off the promotion. Here's some of what they had to say about the fights:
• Maidana: "I know [Lopez] likes to stand and trade and fight. That's what I do and that's why it's going to be such an exciting fight.
"My plan is to go toe-to-toe. I don't know what Josesito is going to do, but that's what I plan to do. Pressure is the key to the fight. I'm feeling great. I've been in Oxnard, Calif., for over a month already. I love training there. The weather is great and it's where my coach [Robert Garcia] is. It's going to be a great fight and I'm going to defend the honor of Argentina.
"The 147-pound division is where I feel best. I didn't feel that way at 140. Now I'm free and I can eat more. My body is different and you can see the definition."
• Lopez: "When you're fighting a heavy puncher like Maidana, you have to be smart. The move up to 154 pounds [for a loss to Canelo Alvarez in September] helped me now that I'm back at 147. Now I feel I'm a true welterweight. I feel great in the gym -- stronger and faster.
"I'm so excited about this fight and I'm the one receiving the punches. I can only imagine how excited the fans are. Years ago before I was at this level I thought, 'Man, this would be an exciting fight. I would love to get in there and bang with him.' Now we're here. It's a hell of a match-up. It could be the fight of the year.
"This is a fight I have to win. It's a fight that keeps me on the map. This is where I want to be and I'm working my ass off."
• Angulo: "This is my third fight after my time off [because of immigration issues] and conditioning-wise I'm feeling like my old self, feeling like I used to feel. There's no doubt I'll be in better condition than I was for my last two fights. There was just too much time off. Now, I'm in a rhythm.
"It's going to be a very good fight, the bull versus the matador. I have a lot of respect for Lara. He's a really good fighter and he wants to show he's the best, but he's going to have to come out and fight. He may think he's just going to box, but he's going to fight."
• Lara: "There's always a lot at stake when I fight, so I know I can't look ahead or take Angulo for granted. He is my total focus now. After I win on June 8, I can start thinking about a world title shot again. Angulo is a good fighter. I give him a lot of credit. He always comes to fight. I've worked very hard and am preparing for the best Angulo possible.
"The fact that I'm favored to win means nothing. Once the bell rings, it doesn't matter what the odds are. It's what you do in the ring that counts. Style-wise this is a perfect fight for me because Angulo likes to come forward. It's the classic boxer versus the puncher. I expect to put on a boxing clinic, so you can expect a smart fight from me.
"Obviously, the most important thing is for me to win, but I want to put on a great show for all the fans."
• De La Hoya: "We should have called this 'High Stakes' because you have the welterweight division where you have Floyd Mayweather. The winner between Marcos Maidana and Josesito Lopez automatically puts himself in line and at the front door knocking to fight the very best.
"What's most exciting for Alfredo Angulo's team is that he's just now putting everything together and really learning the craft of boxing under [trainer] Virgil Hunter. It's going to be very exciting to see him fight such an incredible fighter like Erislandy Lara."
The win was Lee's second in a row since getting stopped in the seventh round in a middleweight world title fight by then-titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. last June in El Paso, Texas.
It was also Lee's second fight with new trainer Adam Booth, who Lee hired after longtime trainer and close friend Emanuel Steward died in October.
Ireland's Lee (30-2, 21 KOs), 28, who now trains with Booth in England, stunned fellow southpaw Cunningham (28-5, 11 KOs), 38, of Detroit, with a left hand and was all over him. He trapped Cunningham on the ropes and let his punches fly. Cunningham was taking heavy punishment when referee Benjy Esteves Jr. stepped in.
"Onward and upward from here," Lee said after the fight. "I feel like I am at the top of my game right now and obviously the No. 1 guy in the middleweight division is Sergio Martinez and that is the fight I want. We have the same promoter in Lou DiBella, so I feel like it is an easy fight to make and one that is very attractive for the middleweight division. I know that Sergio is taking some time off [because of a knee injury], but I'll be ready for him once he is ready to go."
DiBella was impressed with Lee's performance.
"It was very explosive," DiBella said. "He came out like he had the intention to hurt him from the get-go and he did. I thought it was very impressive. Adam Booth told me before the last fight, 'You gotta give me a couple of fights with him because we're working on some things, so it won't happen in one fight.' But Andy looked like a beast.
"I think he's ready to go into a more substantial fight and there are tremendous fights to be made in the middleweight division."
With Martinez on the sidelines, probably until at least next spring, DiBella mentioned some other potential opponents for Lee, including Martin Murray, Darren Barker and the winner of the June 29 fight between titleholder Gennady Golovkin and Matthew Macklin.
With Lee being from Ireland and Murray, Barker and Macklin (who is Irish) all being from England, DiBella noted that those fights are a natural.
DiBella also said that he would like to try to get Lee a shot at titlist Daniel Geale of Australia, whose next fight likely will be in the United States on promoter Gary Shaw's HBO "Boxing After Dark" card in August.
"That's a fight we would be very interested in and I think that would be a helluva fight in the ring," DiBella said.
He had a done deal worth $8 million to fight Lennox Lewis but took what was supposed to be an easy tuneup fight against Michael Bentt in 1993. In shocking fashion, Bentt -- a massive underdog -- knocked Morrison out in just 93 seconds and the huge-money fight with Lewis went down the drain.
Although they would eventually fight two years later, it was not nearly as big of a fight and Morrison made a fraction of the money.
That is perhaps the most stark example of the tuneup fight turning into a nightmare, but there is always a danger and Russia’s Alexander Povetkin faces just that when he defends his secondary heavyweight belt against anonymous and untested Andrzej Wawrzyk (27-0, 13 KOs) of Poland on Friday night in Moscow.
If Povetkin (25-0, 17 KOs) blows through Wawrzyk then the decision to fight him will be forgotten. But if Povetkin should lose or get hurt it will be an absolute disaster for him.
Povetkin is going into the fight with a long-awaited showdown against champion Wladimir Klitschko on the schedule for Aug. 31. Klitschko crushed Francesco Pianeta in six one-sided rounds on May 4 in his tuneup defense.
Making the stakes even greater than just Povetkin’s shot at the real champion is the sheer amount of money at stake.
When the Klitschko and Povetkin camps could not make a deal the fight went to a purse bid and Russian promoter Vladimir Hryunov, who doesn’t promote either fighter, stunned everyone with an astronomical bid of $23,333,330, the third-biggest winning purse bid ever for a fight that most experts believe won’t come even close to generating that kind of money. But Hryunov put down his 10 percent deposit and both sides believe his bid is legit and that he won’t default.
Based on that massive bid -- which blew away bids from Klitschko’s K2 Promotions ($7.13 million) and Povetkin promoter Sauerland Event ($6.014 million) -- Klitschko is due a career-high payday of $17,499,997 (75 percent of the bid) with Povetkin due the remaining 25 percent for a career-best $5,833,333.
Povetkin knows what is at stake Friday but did his best to ignore the Klitschko talk at Wednesday’s final news conference.
“I am putting my belt on the line, so this is a very important fight for me,” Povetkin said. “I promise to give it all I have. My opponent’s name on Friday is Wawrzyk and not Klitschko. I am fully focused on him and want to give the fans inside the arena a great show.”
Wawrzyk would love nothing more than to repeat what Bentt did to Morrison 20 years ago.
“As soon as they offered me to fight Povetkin, I accepted,” he said. “This could be the chance of a lifetime. I have been in training anyways so I was ready from the get-go and I will try everything possible to burst the bubble that is the fight between Povetkin and Klitschko.”
DeGale (14-1, 9 KOs), fighting for the first time since he routed Fulgencio Zuniga for a lopsided 12-round decision in December, has fought all but one of his pro fights in the United Kingdom, save for one bout in Denmark. He is looking forward to fighting on the other side of the pond.
“I’m feeling good, very good,” DeGale, 27, said. “I haven’t been out of the gym since the beginning of the year. I’ve had a couple of fights canceled on me and postponed, but obviously I’m a true professional. I’ve been in the gym training hard and I’m just looking forward to [fighting in] Canada. It means a lot to be making my debut in North America. I traveled a lot as an amateur, traveled the world, but I haven't done too much as a pro to be honest.”
Demers (31-5, 11 KOs), of Quebec, took the fight on short notice but is an experienced veteran. In his only world title fight, he was knocked out in the third round by then-middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham in 2007.
Demers, 33, owns a 2010 win against faded former middleweight titlist William Joppy, but has lost his three bouts since, two by early knockout.
For DeGale, the fight is a way to get busy, show to a new audience what he can do, and keep working toward a world title shot.
“I can't wait to get out and fight, put on a great performance and move on and keep on progressing,” DeGale said. “Boxing is big out there, it’s one of their biggest sports. They’ve got some great fighters -- so in the future I could be fighting over there [in North America] again in another big fight. I want to put on a good performance and let everyone take note, because, like I said before, this is my year, 2013 is going to be my year.”
Mexico's Terrazas (37-2-1, 21 KOs), who won a vacant title by outpointing former junior bantamweight champ and countryman Cristian Mijares by split decision on April 20, is going to be tied up with a tough, tough fight beforehand. He likely won't be available on Aug. 3, and there's a good chance he will no longer have his title in the fall.
Terrazas has been ordered to make a mandatory defense against former bantamweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (24-0-1, 14 KOs), who gave up his 118-pound belt and made the successful move to 122 on May 4 when he blitzed former junior bantamweight titleholder Alexander Munoz for a fifth-round knockout in a one-sided fight on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero undercard.
Although Santa Cruz has made just one fight at junior featherweight, he was given the mandatory position by the WBC as a former titleholder in the weight class below.
"We got the notification that Santa Cruz is the mandatory and the WBC has ordered the fight," Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer, who represents Santa Cruz, told ESPN.com.
Schaefer said Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez has reached out to Fernando Beltran, Terrazas' promoter -- and Arum's close associate -- to begin negotiating the fight.
Don't count on the camps making a deal given the bad blood that exists between Golden Boy and Top Rank.
Schaefer said the camps have been given until June 7 to negotiate a deal. If they don't make one by then, there will be a purse bid that day.
"We'll see if we can make a deal with Beltran, but if we don't, fine, we will go to a purse bid," Schaefer said. "If we win the purse bid, we will promote the fight. It's a good fight and we have plenty of spots to put it on. We're happy that Leo Santa Cruz has this opportunity and we are anxious to put on the fight."
• Miguel Cotto, who likely will return to the ring in September, is keeping busy with his promotional company. In his June 7 card on Showtime from Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y., junior middleweight Jorge Melendez (26-2-1, 25 KOs) of Puerto Rico will headline against Mexico's Luis Grajeda (14-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-rounder. Puerto Rican bantamweight Jonathan Vidal (17-0, 9 KOs) will face Mario Munoz (13-0-1, 10 KOs) of Mexico in the eight-round co-feature.
• Junior bantamweight titlist Juan Carlos Sanchez (15-1-1, 8 KOs) of Mexico will make a mandatory defense against Argentina's Roberto Sosa (24-0, 14 KOs) on June 8 (UniMas) at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Top Rank announced. Hot prospect Jessie Magdaleno (14-0, 10 KOs), who is from Las Vegas, will fight in the eight-round junior featherweight co-feature against Henry Maldonado (16-1, 11 KOs) of Nicaragua. Also on the card: heavyweight prospect Andy Ruiz (18-0, 12 KOs) in an eight-rounder against Carl Davis (16-5, 12 KOs). It's a tune-up fight for Ruiz, who is scheduled to face fellow undefeated prospect Joe Hanks on July 27 in Macau.
• The ESPN2 card headlined by junior featherweight Chris Avalos (21-2, 16 KOs) and former interim junior bantamweight titlist Drian Francisco (24-1-1, 19 KOs) of the Philippines, originally scheduled for June 14 at Texas Station Gambling Hall & Hotel in Las Vegas, has been moved to July 12. Junior middleweight prospects Glen Tapia (18-0, 10 KOs) and Abie Han (19-0, 12 KOs) will meet in the 10-round co-feature.
• Welterweight prospect Dusty Hernandez-Harrison (14-0, 8 KOs), an 18-year-old from Washington, D.C., who was just 17 when he turned pro, will headline a hometown card at the University of the District of Columbia's Sports Complex on Saturday night when he steps up a bit in competition against Puerto Rico native Eddie Soto (12-6, 4 KOs) of Pawtucket, R.I. Harrison is a student at the school. The card will be streamed live at Gofightlive.tv beginning at 7 p.m.
But now that Perez (28-0, 19 KOs) is taking on fellow unbeaten (but far more experienced) Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0, 16 KOs) on June 8 (HBO) at the Bell Centre in Montreal on the undercard of light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson's defense against Adonis Stevenson, we ought to get some answers about just how good Perez can be as a pro.
Gamboa, after all, was a Cuban Olympic gold medalist in 2004 and has won two pro world titles at featherweight and an interim title at junior lightweight. Now Gamboa is moving up in weight again, this time to lightweight, where he will face Perez.
"I wouldn't dare take Gamboa lightly," said Perez, 29, who has fought primarily in the United States since 2010. "I'll train hard for a tough fight and he'd be well-advised to do the same because I'm a top fighter. I will prove to everyone that I am a world-class fighter and the rest of the world will figure out what I already know after June 8th."
Gary Shaw, who co-promotes Perez with Thompson Boxing, said they have been patient trying to get Perez this kind of high-profile fight and are confident he will make the most of it.
"You have to understand that we've been waiting on an opportunity like this for Perez to make his mark," Shaw said. "Some may feel like it is Darley's chance to pull off the shocking upset, but I see it as more of a coming-out party. We've had him caged in waiting for the chance to unleash the beast and we could've pulled the trigger a couple fights back and then the world would be aware of his chances in this fight. But because we knew that an opportunity like this was only a matter of time we waited and now he will show he's been a top contender all along."
Gamboa, 31, who is promoted by rap star Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, will be fighting for only the second time since his dominant eighth-round technical decision against Daniel Ponce De Leon in Sept. 2011. In his last fight, Gamboa looked a bit shaky in a decision win against Michael Farenas in December to claim an interim belt at 130 pounds on the Juan Manuel Marquez-Manny Pacquiao IV undercard.
Gamboa sees the fight with Perez as a steppingstone to winning another world title, this one at lightweight.
"I keep looking to prove my worth and will now do so in trying to win a fourth world title in a third weight class, the lightweight division," Gamboa said. "I like challenging myself [and] June 8th I plan on showing my best yet again."
But Khan (28-3, 19 KOs), who has heard the talk and listened to Brook trash-talk him, said forget about it. Khan said he is not interested and has bigger fish to fry. He is looking for a world title fight and/or a shot against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and doesn't plan to "waste his time" with Brook (29-0, 19 KOs).
I spoke to Khan on Monday and he said he has no interest in fighting Brook, who should have been challenging welterweight titlist Devon Alexander on Saturday night in Atlantic City, N.J., but pulled out for a second time because of a foot injury.
Khan will be at the card, but not in action. He'll be there to support his kid brother, bantamweight Haroon Khan, in his second professional fight.
"A lot of people want to see me fight Brook but when we put that fight to HBO and [later] Showtime, they weren't interested," Khan said. "So if they're not interested, I'm not interested."
But Khan said his lack of interest goes deeper than just simple television business. He said he has felt disrespected by Brook's constant insults whenever he is mentioned to him.
"I don't want to give him that payday," Khan said. "He talks so much crap. I might never give him the opportunity to fight me. He's not worth it. It's waste of time and it has gone further than personal. I don't even want to beat him up now. I just don't even want to step in the ring with him because I don't gain anything from it and I don't want to fill his pockets. If he wants to do it for free, fine. I'll beat him up and he doesn't have to get paid. But I got my own path and my own goals and I don't need to be wasting my time with him. He hasn't even accomplished anything. All he does is irritate me.
"He's a fellow countryman and keeps dissing me and has never shown me and support or respect. All he had to do is say, 'Amir Khan, he's a good fighter,' and maybe we can fight someday. His promoter, Eddie Hearn, is OK. I have no problem with Eddie but Kell Brook, all he does it talk bad about me. If he was respectful, maybe it could happen. But he just says nasty stuff. It's like he's desperate for the fight and the payday. He's just looking for the big payday I would bring him and I won't give it to him."
Khan said even if he was interested, nobody in the United States is, and that is where Khan primarily fights.
"Only in England would that fight make sense, but nobody in the States cares about that fight," Khan said. "They want to see me fight the big names over there, not a nobody like Kell Brook, who hasn't done anything. Let him win a world title or fight a top opponent. Right now he has not done anything whatsoever to shout about. And if I did [agree] to fight him maybe he'd pull out twice on me like he's done to Devon Alexander."
AP Photo/The Canadian Press/Ryan RemiorzLucian Bute's left hand injury postponed his fight with Jean Pascal, but Canada's two brightest boxing stars eventually will meet at Montreal's Bell Centre.
They announced on Monday that the fight will be rescheduled at the Bell Centre, but not until either Dec. 7 or Jan. 25. They said two dates are on hold in order to afford HBO, which is responsible for most of the money going toward making the match, options when it comes to making its winter schedule.
The promoters said they will discuss the date options with HBO executives in the coming weeks before announcing the specific date.
Pascal (27-2-1, 16 KOs), 30, hasn't fought since easily outpointing Aleksy Kuziemski in a 10-round fight on Dec. 14, so he will have remained idle at least a year by the time the bout with Bute takes place.
Bute (31-1, 24 KOs), 33, who lost his title by fifth-round knockout to Carl Froch last May, hasn't fought since struggling in his comeback fight, a 12-round decision win against Denis Grachev on Nov. 3. Bute will have gone at least 13 months between fights by the time he faces Pascal.
Fans who bought tickets for the May 25 card -- which would have been a sellout -- will be able to use them for whichever new date is selected for the fight.
Gonzalez, who had never fought anyone of remote consequence and was fighting outside of his Puerto Rican home for the first time, had traveled to the lion's den of Glasgow, Scotland, where Burns is a hero, and he took the hero to school Saturday at Emirates Arena.
Burns' title was clearly slipping away -- just listen to the crowd grow quieter and quieter, round after round -- when, suddenly, Gonzalez simply quit on his stool after the ninth round.
The British television commentators, who also had Burns way behind, said it might have been a hand injury. Whatever it was, that's the sort of pain you sign up for when you become a prizefighter. If you want to be a champion, it goes with the territory. Gonzalez (22-1, 17 KOs) couldn't take it, did not have what it takes to be a champion and quit. Poof. Just like that, he gave up the opportunity of a lifetime to win a world title.
But for most of the nine rounds, Gonzalez befuddled an ineffective Burns (36-2, 11 KOs), who was as lucky to keep his title (in his third defense) as anyone is to hit the lottery. This fight wasn't so much about Burns winning it as it was about Gonzalez losing.
Burns, the heavy favorite, showed very little and had me thinking he should be thankful he (and former promoter Frank Warren) turned down multiple overtures from fellow titleholder Adrien Broner. I always thought Broner would manhandle Burns. After seeing Burns against Gonzalez, I'm sure of it.
By the third round, Burns was bleeding from the nose. He was being easily beaten to the punch as Gonzalez showed a really nice variety of punches -- uppercuts, body shots and right hands. He didn't even really use his best punch, the left hook, much.
Gonzalez had big fifth and sixth rounds, backing Burns into the ropes and hurting him with repeated blows. At this point in the fight, it seemed not really a matter of whether Gonzalez would stop him, just when. But I will give Burns a bit of credit here. He is experienced and has heart and obviously knew he was trailing. He let it all hang out in the seventh round, which will go down as a round of the year candidate.
They went toe to toe. They were both hurt and they were both in trouble at different times. It was a blistering round, and it clearly took more out of Gonzalez than Burns.
"He caught me with a few good shots, and I just decided to stand my ground and trade back with him. That's all I could do," Burns said after the fight about Round 7.
Burns mounted a comeback in the eighth and ninth rounds, his best of the fight, as Gonzalez, perhaps his hand already hurt, looked dead tired and did not do very much. Still, Burns was in a deep hole when the ninth ended. And then, out of nowhere, Gonzalez quit, giving Burns the improbable victory.
Eddie Hearn, the Matchroom Sport promoter who signed Burns before this fight after he dumped Warren, seemed relieved Burns had pulled this victory out of the fire.
"Unbelievable courage," he said of Burns' ability to hang in there despite a very tough night.
Then Hearn said they would be back in Scotland for Burns' next title defense in September -- a title he is very, very lucky to still call his own.