Your weekly random thoughts...
• Don King and HBO PPV have not finalized the undercard for the Jan. 19 Roy Jones-Felix Trinidad fight and I have some suggestions, so His Hairness and HBO PPV chief Mark Taffet better listen up. I would like to see heavyweight Mike Mollo in one of the televised fights. On last week's King undercard in suburban Chicago, Mollo was impressive dusting Art Binkowski in two rounds. I don't know how good Mollo is going to be, but he comes to mix it up unlike too many heavyweights these days. There's no way he won't be in a good fight, and he's calling out Andrew Golota. That's a perfect fight for the telecast and one that would help King sell tickets at Madison Square Garden. While I'm on the subject, I'd also like to see junior welterweight prospect Devon Alexander get some TV love. He fought the first fight of the night last week, a ridiculous six hours before the main event. Barely anyone was there to see his first-round TKO win besides me and the Illinois boxing officials. Alexander, who is just 20, is a blue chip prospect that King needs to pay some attention to. Alexander and his top-notch trainer/manager Kevin Cunningham want to step up in competition by facing former titlist DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley, who is also with King. That's a meaningful fight and the perfect pay-per-view opener.
• King says he'll stage fights at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 19 (Jones vs. Trinidad) and Feb. 2 (Oleg Maskaev vs. Samuel Peter) while heavyweight titlist Wladimir Klitschko has the arena on hold for a Feb. 23 defense against an opponent to be named. Does anyone really believe that MSG is going to host three major boxing events in the span of five weeks? Don't count on it.
• Did you hear about how Evander Holyfield is going to become undisputed heavyweight champion again before retiring?
• When you travel for boxing events like I do, invariably there is some down time in each city. One of the things I like to do when I go somewhere for a fight is to try to do at least one thing non-boxing related. My activities over the years have included touring the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis (which is built in the now-closed motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated); bowling with fellow reporters and Showtime personnel in Louisville; visiting friends in South Florida and family in Boston; seeing various shows in Las Vegas (may I recommend comedian/singer Danny Gans at The Mirage?); sitting by the beach in San Juan; going to Bill Clinton's presidential library in Little Rock; and exploring the French Quarter in New Orleans. Last Saturday, while in the desolate Chicago suburb of Hoffman Estates, Ill. -- where there is nothing whatsoever to do -- my good buddies Tim Smith of the New York Daily News and Kevin Flaherty of HBO and I decided to take a ride to nearby Oak Park for a little culture. For $8 each, we visited the Ernest Hemingway museum and birth home. The museum was pretty cool, but we bailed on the birth home tour after the elderly tour guide spent the first 20 minutes talking about two photos hanging in the foyer. That was a bit much. As much as I enjoyed the museum, I must confess that while I was walking around, a friend was calling my cell phone to offer updates throughout Sultan Ibragimov's win against Holyfield. Don't worry though. I had the ringer on vibrate so as not to disturb the other patrons. I do have some manners.
• How did Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban survive on "Dancing with the Stars" this week but Floyd Mayweather Jr. got voted off? Mayweather and partner Karina Smirnoff deserved to stay. Mayweather had been getting better every week, as pointed out by the judges, and his point totals were rising. It could turn out to be blessing in disguise because now he can concentrate full time on training for his Dec. 8 showdown with Ricky Hatton. After Mayweather got the boot, he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night talk show like each eliminated dancer does. During the appearance, Kimmel came up with the one of the funniest questions I've ever heard, asking Mayweather: "Did you ever in your wildest dreams imagine one day that you'd be defeated by Marie Osmond in anything?" Classic.
• I am constantly asked about what pay-per-view cards are worth buying and which ones are not. I can say without hesitation that the best card of the year is on HBO PPV on Nov. 10. The main event, Miguel Cotto-Shane Mosley, could be the fight of the year. On top of that, the three additional televised fights are excellent. Lightweight world champion Joel Casamayor is coming back from a 13-month layoff against Jose Armando Santa Cruz, a legitimate top-10 contender, and an upset is quite possible. Former welterweight titlist Antonio Margarito returns from his July loss to Paul Williams to face Golden Johnson in a fight that should be entertaining and set Margarito up for a possible shot at the main event winner. And prospect of the year candidate Victor Ortiz, a 20-year-old junior welterweight, faces the best opponent of his career in former titlist Carlos Maussa. In my book, it's a can't-miss show.
• I knew he couldn't stay quiet forever. Trash talker extraordinaire Edison Miranda, silenced by a massive knockout loss to Kelly Pavlik in May, is back. Miranda is making his super middleweight debut Oct. 30 against Henry Porras and when Miranda gets ready to fight he can't help but chatter. Of his return, the knockout artist said: "I feel like a completely different fighter at super middleweight and I can't wait to show my fans the new 'Pantera' on Oct. 30th. My only concern is that none of the champions will want to fight me in 2008 after they see how much stronger and faster I am at 168 pounds. But I guarantee that I will hunt them down and take their belts."
• Say what you want about "The Contender" franchise, but the two live fights on Tuesday night, Sergio Mora's surprising draw with spoiler Elvin Ayala on ESPN Classic followed by Alfonso Gomez's grind-it-out decision against Ben Tackie on ESPN, were both highly entertaining bouts. It's just a shame that the attendance looked so horrible at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. But what can you expect for a boxing card at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday in Southern California that had very weak promotion? As for the broadcasts, it would have been nice to see a few advertisements for it on ESPN so people actually knew it was happening. Where I live in Northern Virginia, the Mora-Ayala fight suffered the indignity of not even being listed on my cable system's programming guide. Listed instead was a rerun of a previous "Contender" episode.
• Oh, how I hate spin. In Golden Boy's news release this week announcing Kassim Ouma's Nov. 2 Telefutura fight with Saul Roman it was noted that Roman's last four wins have come by knockout. That is true, but what the release didn't mention was that Roman has lost his last two fights via knockout inside four rounds.
• For the record: No, I didn't fall asleep at ringside during John Ruiz's comeback fight last Saturday night. Truth be told, Ruiz actually looked good blowing out Otis Tisdale.
DVD pick of the week: After covering Juan Diaz's brilliant ninth-round TKO performance against Julio Diaz in their lightweight unification fight last Saturday, I decided to refresh my memory on just how far the "Baby Bull" has come in his career. In order to do that, I broke out his Showtime-televised split decision win against journeyman Ubaldo Hernandez from Sept. 1, 2001. Diaz, in only his 12th pro fight, was just a couple of weeks shy of his 18th birthday when Hernandez pushed him to the limit in what remains the toughest fight of his career. Diaz was so overwhelmed by emotion that he broke down in tears after the decision was announced. He's come a long, long way since that unsettling moment.