Monday, May 21, 2012
Maidana a fit for Ortiz, Khan?
By Dan Rafael
Marcos Maidana, right, says he'd welcome the chance at an Amir Khan rematch -- but not on July 7.
Junior welterweight titlist Marcos Maidana is ready to put February's lopsided decision loss to Devon Alexander behind him.
Maidana moved up to welterweight for the fight, as did Alexander, and was toyed with. Now back at junior welterweight to defend his belt, Maidana (31-3, 28 KOs), the big puncher from Argentina, has been in Oxnard, Calif., working with new trainer Robert Garcia and looking forward to a return to action later this summer against an opponent to be determined.
"I've felt very good in my first week training with my new team," Maidana said through translator (and adviser) Sebastian Contursi. "There are great fighters and a great atmosphere around here. Obviously, it will take me some time to adjust and get [into] great physical condition, but we'll get there with hard work."
When Andre Berto failed a drug test and was bounced from his June 23 welterweight rematch with Victor Ortiz, Maidana's name was at the top of the list as a possible replacement, according to Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer. Maidana, after all, made Ortiz quit in the sixth round of a sensational, knockdown-filled junior welterweight brawl in June 2009.
Golden Boy and Showtime are keeping the show in place, but Berto has been replaced by Josesito Lopez. With Maidana only a week into his new training camp, he said he wouldn't have had enough time to get ready for the date.
"The news caught me by surprise, of course," Maidana said. "My advisor, Sebastian Contursi, let me know that Golden Boy Promotions asked him whether it was possible for me to be ready for June 23. But, of course, I cannot do it in only five weeks. It's a shame that the time frame does not fit, as I would've loved to face Ortiz again.
"I know this is the second postponement [of the Berto fight] for Victor, and I feel bad for him. Maybe if Golden Boy Promotions can secure a new date, then we could talk about the rematch, because I know people want it."
Former junior welterweight Amir Khan is also looking for a new opponent after the cancellation of his May 19 fight against titleholder Lamont Peterson, who also flunked a random urine test. Maidana pushed Khan to the limit in a December 2010 title bout before losing a decision in a fight that was voted fight of the year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Khan likely will fight a new opponent on his rescheduled date of July 7, and Maidana's name has been raised for that spot, too.
"That's another rematch that I'd love to take," Maidana said. "Everybody knows that I've been asking to face Amir again, for more than a year now. But again, time-wise it does not work, as apparently Khan needs to fight on July 7. In any case, if either Ortiz or Khan are willing to fight me, I'll be ready for any of them by the end of July. I know Amir Khan is looking for his former belts to be given back to him after the Peterson case. If he wants a belt, let's move his date two or three weeks and try to get it from me in the ring."
Many suggested that because Khan and Ortiz were both looking for new opponents that they ought to have faced each other. Great fight, but it wasn't going to happen, at least not in their next bouts. Ortiz is locked into Showtime for the June 23 date. Khan, who has said quite clearly that he is planning for his next fight to be at junior welterweight before moving up in weight, is under contract to HBO. That rendered the possibility of an Ortiz-Khan fight this summer impossible.
Besides, even if they were free, it would make absolutely zero business sense for Golden Boy. Each date is worth seven figures, so why in the world would Golden Boy give up one of them?