Johnson a better fit for Bute than Pavlik

August, 19, 2011
8/19/11
4:29
PM ET
Your random thoughts ...

• I'm looking forward to seeing Lucian Bute's super middleweight title defense against Glen Johnson. I know Johnson is coming off a loss, but so what? He makes good fights and his loss was a highly competitive decision to titlist Carl Froch in a crowd-pleasing Super Six semifinal bout in June. If Johnson cracks Bute flush with the kind of right hands he nailed the strong-chinned Froch with, Bute will go down. I also love Johnson's attitude and willingness to take relatively short money for the opportunity. Frankly, a lot of fighters could take a lesson from him.

Besides, I happen to think it will be a more competitive fight than if Kelly Pavlik had accepted the generous $1.35 million (minimum) offer he got to face Bute. Johnson will make around $1 million less than that because Showtime drastically cut its license fee to the Bute camp when Pavlik dropped out. Even though Johnson isn't thrilled with his deal, he knows you don't turn down the kind of opportunity he is getting. He'll show up in Quebec and give it everything he has, and Bute will be facing the best opponent of his career.

• I like Amir Khan both personally and as a fighter. He's a good kid and I've enjoyed covering his career. He can be a star and a pound-for-pound-ranked fighter. But he needs to get a grip. After Robert Guerrero withdrew from his Aug. 27 fight with Marcos Maidana on Thursday because of a shoulder injury, Khan tweeted this (and I've fixed the spelling and grammatical errors): "No injury. I reckon Maidana paid off Guerrero step-aside money so he can become the WBA champ, because I have moved up as WBA super champ." Not only did what Khan write make almost no sense, it was simply wrong. After taking a beating on Twitter for the absurd comment, Khan retracted it several hours later, writing, "Guys, I was messing around about the injury of Guerrero, apologies for the tweet, I'm sure he didn't get paid step-aside money." I sure felt bad for Guerrero (as well as Maidana, who has also worked hard training). After the fight was called off, Guerrero said in a statement, "I'm devastated because I worked my whole life for the opportunity to be in a main event on HBO. It's a major blow to my team and family, but I'll continue to keep strong in my faith in Jesus Christ." On that note, I'm sure I speak for Fight Freaks everywhere in wishing Guerrero a very speedy recovery.


• I've been reading about the UFC's new, massive, seven-year, $100 million-a-year deal with Fox. I say congratulations to UFC president Dana White and the whole organization for elevating MMA to that impressive level. That $100 mil a year is nearly three times what HBO approximately spends on boxing license fees in a year and is probably about double what HBO and Showtime spend combined in a year. Boxing promoters should take note and aspire to the kind of deal made by the UFC, which is organized and doesn't feature 745 titles and bogus rankings. But it probably will never happen because there is such a lack of structure in boxing.

• Isn't it about time junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan got a shot at a title? The kid is an undefeated American Olympian, usually makes entertaining fights and has earned his opportunity. Not to mention, he talks a good game and is willing to fight anyone.

• I watched MMA fighter-turned-boxer Kimbo Slice take only 10 seconds to win his pro boxing debut last weekend and think that he probably would have had a tougher test if he had fought a piece of lettuce.

• Seems to me that Jose Sulaiman of the wretched WBC would be the perfect choice to be the next athletic director at the University of Miami.

• I know there has been some discussion about a Tavoris Cloud-Jean Pascal fight later in the year. Bring it on. Please. That's just one of several interesting fights that can be made at light heavyweight. You could also mix and match Zsolt Erdei, Beibut Shumenov, Nathan Cleverly and Ismayl Sillakh and make a bunch of good ones.

• Just for the hell of it, someday I'd like to see a fight between New York welterweight homeys Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah. Reading them on Twitter during the promotion would be legendary and the fight would do some business in NYC. Sounds like a good fight for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn when it finally opens.

• Wouldn't it be great if Brandon Rios fought every month?

• This week's edition of "Friday Night Fights" is the last of the season. I'm bummed already.

• Congratulations to DiBella Entertainment's one and only Meredith Greenberg, who on Saturday will celebrate (OK, I'm not sure "celebrate" is the right word) 10 years of keeping promoter Lou DiBella organized and as calm as possible.

• Happy birthday to the one and only High-Haired One, Don King, who turns 80 on Saturday.

• DVD pick of the week: I love a good shootout with a big knockout to end
matters, so what better fight to pick than the one I covered 11 years ago Friday -- Aug. 19, 2000 -- at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.? Featherweight champ Naseem Hamed tangled with big puncher/no chin Augie Sanchez in a fight that was far more interesting than many had expected. Hamed, as usual, predicted a spectacular knockout and certainly delivered one as he flattened Sanchez with a brutal four-punch combination in the fourth round, which was nasty enough that Sanchez had to be carried out of the ring on a stretcher as a precaution. But although Sanchez was outclassed, he sure got the Prince's attention. In giving Hamed a tough fight, Sanchez stood up to a lot of big shots before the violent end, bloodied Hamed's face, rocked him with a left hook in the second round and then put him on the canvas with a clean punch that referee Michael Ortega instead called a slip. Even Hamed admitted after the fight that it had been a knockdown.

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