Your weekly random thoughts ...
• It's no shocker that in their first year of eligibility, Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez are on the International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot that voters recently received. After so many years of fighting on Tyson's undercards, it seems only appropriate that Chavez's induction will come on a day when Tyson will again be the main event.
I plan on casting my ballot over the weekend, and while I'm on the subject of the Hall of Fame, I don't quite understand why some guys haven't even made the ballot. Fighters become eligible for the Hall five years after their last fight, but several who were among the best of their day -- some holding an array of titles and participating in memorable fights -- aren't listed.
Now, I'm not saying I would necessarily vote for these guys, so don't take it like that. But I absolutely think the following fighters, in no particular order, at least deserve to be put to the electors for a vote: Dariusz Michalczewski (who should have made this year's ballot in his first year of eligibility), Junior Jones, Steve Collins, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Paulie Ayala, Genaro Hernandez and Yuri Arbachakov, among others.
According to the HOF's induction criteria sheet that accompanies each ballot, a screening committee selected by the Hall's board prepares the ballots. The criteria specifically notes that there is "no set number of nominees" that the ballot must be limited to. This year, 45 fighters are on the ballot, nearly all of them holdovers. Only Tyson, Chavez and Kostya Tszyu -- deservedly -- are on it for the first time. But there are several others who deserved to at least make the ballot.
• HBO is paying $1.25 million for the Andre Berto-Freddy Hernandez fight. Insert your own joke here.
• Here is just one of the many reasons I don't give Shannon Briggs a serious chance to upset Vitali Klitschko on Saturday: He was dominated in a loss to Sultan Ibragimov. Guys who lose pathetically to Ibragimov don't beat Klitschko.
• There has been much hand-wringing about the withdrawal of Andre Dirrell from the Super Six. There are many who believe his medical issues have been fabricated, because it is no secret that he and good friend Andre Ward didn't really want to fight each other. Talk to just about anyone in the business and they will tell you that Al Haymon, Dirrell's manager, engineered it. Giving the doubters even more fuel is the fact that Sakio Bika is likely to take Dirrell's place and fight Ward on Nov. 27. Haymon just so happens to also manage Bika. But can somebody please offer me a motive for Dirrell to pull out? Not just postpone the fight, mind you -- pull out of the tournament altogether. Here's a young man in his prime getting a shot at a world title for a seven-figure payday (or darn close to it), and he instead chooses not to fight and not be paid -- and it's not like Dirrell has already made millions. On top of that, why would he make up a head ailment of all injuries? Even if Dirrell comes back fine and it was all fake, he's giving every commission a reason to scrutinize him more closely. What would be the point of that?
• Best of luck to the Philippines' Gerry Penalosa in retirement. Following a fourth-round knockout in his home country against Yodsaenkeng Kietmangmee on Sunday, Penalosa, 38, announced his retirement. Penalosa (55-8-2, 37 KOs) won two world titles at junior bantamweight and bantamweight in a distinguished 21-year pro career and he has one of the greatest chins I've ever seen. The only time he was ever stopped in his 65-fight career came in fight No. 63, when trainer Freddie Roach pulled him out of a junior featherweight title fight after the ninth round against young gun Juan Manuel Lopez. Although it was a humane stoppage by Roach, I dare say Penalosa would have made it to the final bell. He lost some controversial decisions during his heyday, but it doesn't change the fact that Penalosa was a damn good fighter and a little guy with a huge heart.
• Memo to Fernando Montiel: Riding a dirt bike a month before a fight -- not so smart.
• Speaking of Montiel, he ought to be healthy and ready to defend his bantamweight belts against Nonito Donaire on Feb. 19 on HBO, which recently made a deal with Top Rank's Bob Arum for the fight. I love the fight and I'm glad it's on the books. However, does anyone else find it more than coincidental that after years of ignoring quality fights in the small weight divisions, HBO showed interest in the match about five seconds after Showtime announced it was doing a bantamweight tournament? HBO did the same thing with Lucian Bute, snapping him up right after Showtime announced its Super Six super middleweight tournament.
• The new season of "Friday Night Fights" can't get here soon enough.
• DVD pick of the week: I get bummed sometimes by the lack of interesting heavyweight fights. That was the case this week, so I delved into the archive and pulled out my copy of one of the greatest heavyweight fights ever. It was Nov. 13, 1992, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, where Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield waged a championship fight for the ages, the first of their epic trilogy. (For pure action, I view it as a better trilogy than Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier because all three fights were sensational; the second Ali-Frazier fight was nothing special.) Bowe and Holyfield slugged it out for 12 rounds -- including in the all-time-great 10th round, when Holyfield took insane amounts of punishment, nearly got knocked out and then came back to hurt Bowe. In the end, Bowe won the undisputed title on a unanimous decision and would go on to win the series 2-1.