Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Schedule in flux as Maidana balks
By Dan Rafael
There was one big subtraction from boxing's ever-changing schedule on Monday, plus some additions. A rundown:
• Junior welterweight titlist Marcos Maidana (31-3, 28 KOs), coming off a virtual shutout decision loss to Devon Alexander in February, was slated to remain at the welterweight division and face untested Keith Thurman (17-0, 16 KOs) on the Adrien Broner-Vicente Escobedo undercard on July 21. Thurman was somehow approved for an HBO telecast despite zero credentials and a padded record that includes wins against 10 opponents with records of .500 or below. But Maidana saved us the trouble of the ridiculous fight by declining Golden Boy's offer.
Although HBO and Golden Boy talked as though the fight was made, Maidana's adviser, Sebastian Contursi, told ESPN.com that it was not finalized. Contursi said Golden Boy presented Maidana with three options for July: Alfonso Gomez, Shawn Porter and Thurman.
Contursi said they couldn't agree on money for the Gomez fight. He said that although they accepted Porter (for the July 14 Amir Khan-Danny Garcia undercard), Golden Boy told him Porter's side turned down the fight, leaving Maidana with the even more unknown Thurman.
"We accepted [Thurman] in principle, but we never even finalized negotiations," Contursi said. “In fact, we were supposed to fight July 14 in Las Vegas, and out of nothing, we were told it was gonna be on July 21 in Cincinnati. We wonder who might be that interested in seeing that fight take place when Thurman is an unknown fighter but naturally much bigger than Maidana [physically]. Maidana is under contract with [Golden Boy] and Thurman is not, so what is the point of making that fight in the first place?"
(That's easy: Thurman is with powerful adviser Al Haymon, who usually gets what he wants at HBO and Showtime.)
Contursi added: "Even though we admit that Maidana looked bad and lost his last fight, we don't think he should be facing an eight-round [fighter]. Can you think of any other case where a world champion that has earned his name has faced an eight-round fighter?"
So Maidana-Thurman, thankfully, is off. But Maidana's next move is up in the air, and Golden Boy and HBO are stuck trying to make a new fight for Thurman, who never should have been approved to be on the network in the first place.
• HBO announced that a new installment of "2 Days" will debut Saturday night immediately following the Nonito Donaire-Jeffrey Mathebula fight at approximately midnight (ET/PT). The new, 15-minute edition will feature junior lightweight titlist Broner (23-0, 19 KOs), who will defend his belt in his hometown of Cincinnati against Escobedo (26-3, 15 KOs) on the July 21 edition of "Boxing After Dark." HBO's cameras followed Broner for 48 hours before his February title defense against Eloy Perez. Get your hair brushes ready.
• Thanks to one of this season's "Friday Night Fights" dates dropping off the schedule because of NBA playoff action, the FNF fall hiatus won't be quite as tough to take. That's because, to make up for the lost date, there will be a special Thursday night ESPN2/ESPN3 card on Sept. 13 at the Hard Rock resort in Las Vegas. Top Rank will promote the show just two days before its big Sept. 15 HBO PPV middleweight championship fight between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Because it's Mexican Independence Day weekend, the card will be headlined by a Mexican-themed fight (even though the specific main event isn't set) and serve as a nice appetizer for the big fight two days later.
• Promoter Lou DiBella has announced one of the strongest main events in the history of his "Broadway Boxing" series. On Aug. 2 at the Roseland Ballroom in New York, super middleweight contender Thomas "Tommy Gun" Oosthuizen (19-0-1, 13KOs) of South Africa will meet Rowland Bryant (16-1, 11 KOs) in a 12-rounder, while all-action light heavyweight "Irish" Seanie Monaghan (14-0, 9 KOs), a top ticket seller in New York, will face an opponent to be determined in the co-feature. "Tommy is a fight or two away from competing for a world championship, and we are looking forward to showcasing him to our New York audience," DiBella said. Oosthuizen is coming off a dominant 10-round decision win in April against Marcus Johnson (21-2, 15 KOs), whose status as a top prospect has slipped. Bryant is coming off his best victory, a third-round knockout of perennial contender (and three-time title challenger) Librado Andrade on April 21.
• Showtime has added an Aug. 24 "ShoBox: The New Generation" card to the schedule. The card, due to take place in Hidalgo, Texas, will feature exciting junior welterweight prospect Omar Figueroa (18-0-1, 15 KOs) -- no opponent yet -- and a nice matchup of lightweight prospects Mike Perez (16-1-1, 10 KOs) and Fidel Maldonado (13-1, 11 KOs). Welterweight prospect Antonio Orozco (15-0, 11 KOs) could open the telecast.