Commentary

Andrade-Brewer to cap FNF season

Updated: August 12, 2011, 2:31 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Grady BrewerAl Bello/Getty ImagesGrady Brewer, right, will try to pull off another upset on FNF, against Demetrius Andrade on Aug. 19.

With junior welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov out of his rematch with Mauricio Herrera because of a shoulder injury, promoter Artie Pelullo and ESPN boxing programmer Doug Loughrey have come up with an equally interesting new main event for the Aug. 19 season finale of "Friday Night Fights" at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind.

Blue-chip junior middleweight prospect Demetrius Andrade (13-0, 9 KOs), a former world amateur champion and 2008 U.S. Olympian, will take a big step up in competition to face spoiler Grady Brewer (28-12, 16 KOs), the 2006 winner of "The Contender" reality series.

Brewer, 40, of Lawton, Okla., has faced numerous top fighters and has already scored a major upset on FNF this season. He stopped former amateur standout and undefeated prospect Fernando Guerrero (21-0 at the time) on June 17.

"Brewer is a tough opponent, but I am just too fast and too strong for him, and everyone will see that [on] fight night," Andrade said. "This is a huge fight for me, as a win will propel me into the world ratings and put me in line to start facing the top fighters in the junior middleweight division."

Andrade, 23, of Providence, R.I., has been featured on FNF several times, but this will be his first main event.

"Demetrius has practically grown up as a pro on ESPN," said Pelullo, who co-promotes Andrade with Star Boxing's Joe DeGuardia. "We think he's the top young prospect in boxing and a future world champion, and it's fitting that his first big test as a pro, and in his first 10-rounder, be on 'Friday Night Fights.' Grady Brewer is a very dangerous fighter who has real ability as a puncher and the tenacity that is needed to win big fights."

In the co-feature, lightweight Hank Lundy (20-1-1, 10 KOs) will face former titlist David Diaz (36-3-1, 17 KOs) of Chicago, which is just over the state border from Hammond.

Although this card is the season finale for FNF, there is likely to be more boxing on the network in the fall to take the place of some NBA telecasts that would fall by the wayside in the likely event that the league lockout continues through the start of the season.

Rodriguez, Trout both want Wolak

In the wake of their 10-round majority draw in New York on July 15 on ESPN2/ESPN3, junior middleweights Delvin Rodriguez (25-5-3, 14 KOs) and Pawel Wolak seemed destined to meet in an immediate rematch to settle the score. Both fighters said they were interested, and surely there would be interest from the networks as well as bigger purses for the fighters, who each earned about $20,000 for their first encounter, which was a fight of the year candidate that was so good that ESPN2 replayed it the following week.

[+] EnlargePawel Wolak
Mark Ralston/Getty ImagesPawel Wolak, right, would have done well for himself in an anticipated rematch with Delvin Rodriguez, but he may get something even better: a title shot.

However, Wolak (29-1-1, 19 KOs) signed with a new manager, Cameron Dunkin, and they have made it clear they are hunting bigger game. Wolak, who made a name for himself in March with his surprisingly easy TKO win against former titlist Yuri Foreman, would like a title opportunity.

Rodriguez, who was coming off a one-year layoff and moving up in weight, still wants to do it again.

"I am reading all these different reports that Wolak has signed with a new manager and he is speaking about other fighters and fights, but I really haven't heard him say anything about our rematch," Rodriguez said. "This guy was supposed to be one of the roughest, toughest guys in the sport, and we have a fight of the year like we did and it ends in a draw, and now he doesn't want to have a rematch? Everyone has been asking when the rematch will take place, but by the looks of it, he doesn't want it. I even read one report that said he ultimately decided to fire his [former] manager [Ivan Edwards] because his manager suggested he take the rematch with me and Pawel was 'annoyed that he would even bring that up.'

"I had a lot of respect for Pawel before we fought, and him continuing the way he did in our fight with his eye [badly swollen], I had even more respect for him. Not a lot of people would have fought through that. But now he seems to be avoiding me. If he is the real warrior he says he is, and all about pleasing the fans, then let's make this rematch happen. The other fights can wait; we have business to finish."

It seems that Wolak can have a title opportunity versus Austin Trout (23-0, 13 KOs), who made his first defense on June 11 by easily outpointing David Lopez in his native Mexico.

"I'll put my belt up against [Wolak]," Trout said. "He's not winning it, but I'll put it on the line so he can say he fought for a title."

Said Greg Cohen, Trout's promoter, "If they [Wolak and Dunkin] want a title shot, look no further. Wolak just had a tremendous battle on national TV and his stock is way up, so for Austin to fight him at this point in time would be terrific."

Must-win for Cintron

Former welterweight titlist Kermit Cintron (32-4-1, 28 KOs) is in desperate need of a victory when he faces Antwone Smith (20-2-1, 12 KOs) in a junior middleweight bout that headlines this week's "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2/ESPN3, 9 ET) from the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Mo.

[+] EnlargeCintron vs. Molina
Chris Farina/Top RankKermit Cintron, left, is facing a make-or-break fight against Antwone Smith on Friday, with even Cintron's trainer calling it a "career-changer."

Cintron has lost back-to-back fights. Carlos Molina upset him on July 9 in a fight in which Cintron barely did a thing. Before that, Cintron was heavily criticized for not continuing when he fell out of the ring in a fight with Paul Williams that was ruled a four-round technical decision win for Williams.

How important is the fight for Cintron's career? Trainer Ronnie Shields pulled no punches.

"This is going to be a career-changer," Shields said. "It's either going to change his career for the better, or his career is over. Everything is on the line for Kermit in this fight -- everything."

Smith is looking forward to the opportunity to face a name opponent. "This is a big fight for me," he said. "It's a golden opportunity. I saw Cintron's last performance. I know when I come ready, I can beat him. I'm going to come in, be a little sharper, use speed, take my time and work my way into the fight. In my head, I know what I'm capable of doing, and that's winning by any means necessary."

Busy August schedule for 'Top Rank Live'

Top Rank has three "Top Rank Live" cards (Fox Deportes/FSN) scheduled this month.

The first comes Saturday night from Bally's in Atlantic City, N.J., where Philadelphia junior featherweight prospect Teon Kennedy (17-0-1, 7 KOs) will face Mexico's Alejandro Lopez (21-2, 17 KOs) in the 12-round main event.

The other two shows will come from Mexico. On Aug. 20 in Ensenada, former bantamweight titlist Fernando Montiel (45-3-2, 35 KOs) -- in his second bout at junior featherweight since losing his belts on a massive second-round knockout loss to Nonito Donaire in February -- faces former bantamweight title challenger Alvaro Perez (18-3-1, 9 KOs) of Nicaragua in a 10-rounder.

On Aug. 27 in Guadalajara, there will be a pair of world title bouts. Junior flyweight beltholder Ulises "Archie" Solis (33-2-3, 21 KOs) makes the first defense of his second reign against Jether Oliva (17-0-1, 11 KOs) of the Philippines in the main event. Oliva took the fight this week, replacing Argentina's Adrian Miranda (13-1-1, 7 KOs), who had travel issues.

"Any contender becomes dangerous right now," Solis said. "They want my belt. Argentine or Filipino, I will go into the ring to defend my world title with pride and be motivated by my people."

In the opener, strawweight titlist Raul Garcia (30-1-1, 18 KOs), who is from Ensenada, will defend his belt against countryman Moises Fuentes (13-1, 6 KOs).

Seth Mitchell
Chris Cozzone/Fightwireimages.com Top American heavyweight Seth Mitchell will get some quality camera time in his next fight, albeit against an opponent with questionable credentials.

Quick hits

• Seth Mitchell (22-0-1, 16 KOs), a former Michigan State linebacker and the top American heavyweight prospect, will get some serious television exposure when he opens HBO's "Boxing After Dark" telecast on Aug. 27 from San Jose, Calif. Mitchell, 29, of Brandywine, Md., is riding a seven-fight knockout streak. He will face Mike Mollo (20-3-1, 12 KOs) of Oak Lawn, Ill. HBO and Golden Boy battled for weeks over Mollo as Mitchell's opponent before HBO relented and agreed to buy the fight. Mollo, 31, is coming off a draw and a one-year layoff. He is best-known for losing a unanimous decision to Andrew Golota in an all-action fight on the Roy Jones Jr.-Felix Trinidad HBO PPV undercard at Madison Square Garden in January 2008. Mollo next dropped a decision to former contender Jameel McCline in November 2008 and has fought only twice since the McCline fight, an eight-round decision win against Bill Zumbrun in March 2010 and an eight-round draw against Gary Gomez last August. Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs), in his move up to junior welterweight, will headline the card against Marcos Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs) for a vacant 140-pound belt, which became available when the WBA declared unified titlist Amir Khan its "super" titleholder.

• While Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said he still plans to put on a rematch between featherweight titlist Orlando Salido and former titlist Juan Manuel Lopez, it probably won't happen this year because HBO and Showtime don't have dates or money left in their budget to make it happen. "We'll try to get a date this year, but probably it will have to push into next year," Arum said. He said Lopez (30-1, 27 KOs) instead would fight Oct. 1 in his native Puerto Rico on a small pay-per-view show there; American TV coverage is up in the air. Salido (36-11-2, 24 KOs), who upset Lopez via eighth-round knockout in April, made his first defense on July 23 in his hometown of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, knocking out Japan's Kenichi Yamaguchi in the 11th round. Arum said he was unsure if Salido would fight again before the rematch, noting that it would be up to Zanfer Promotions' Fernando Beltran, Arum's partner on many Mexican fighters.

• Arum intends to put on another Mexico-versus-Puerto Rico rematch, between junior featherweight titlist Jorge Arce of Mexico and Puerto Rico's Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Arce (57-6-2, 44 KOs) stopped Vazquez (20-1-1, 17 KOs) in the 12th round on the May 7 Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley undercard to claim the 122-pound belt in an upset. "We're looking to do that rematch in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3; that's what we're working on," Arum said. The bout would take place on the pay-per-view undercard of the rematch of another Puerto Rico-Mexico rivalry fight: Miguel Cotto's junior middleweight title defense against Antonio Margarito. Arum said the Cotto-Margarito undercard is still being put together but could also include featherweight star Yuriorkis Gamboa (who first will fight on Sept. 10) and junior middleweight contender Pawel Wolak, who has a fan base in New York.

• Top Rank is also working on the undercard for the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight on Nov. 12 (HBO PPV). Arum said the promoter is still deciding on the specifics, but he said that Puerto Rican junior lightweight Luis Cruz (18-0, 14 KOs), who recently signed with Top Rank, would be in one of the televised bouts. That is assuming he comes out clean from a fight against Antonio Davis (28-6, 13 KOs) on Sept. 10 on the Yuriorkis Gamboa-Daniel Ponce De Leon undercard. Welterweight contender Mike Jones (25-0, 19 KOs) is also ticketed to be on either the Nov. 12 or Dec. 3 PPV cards. Arum said he hopes to match Jones with top-10 contender Sebastian Lujan. Russell Peltz, who co-promotes Jones with Arum, said it was possible but "it's all about the Benjamins." Peltz knows Argentina's Lujan (38-5-2, 24 KOs) would be a very tough opponent, saying, "You have to be in the best shape of your life or he'll simply wear you down and walk through your firepower. He is what he is: a fire hydrant with arms, nearly impossible to hurt and tough as hell. And he wouldn't know how to back up if you put a gun to his head." Lujan, a former title challenger, scored a very impressive ninth-round knockout of Mark Melligen on "Friday Night Fights" on July 1.

• Former welterweight titlist Luis Collazo, who signed last month with Golden Boy Promotions, will make his debut with the company Sept. 17 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on the untelevised portion of the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz HBO PPV card, according to Nirmal Lorick, Collazo's trainer. Collazo, 30, rolled to an easy win against a journeyman opponent in April, but it was only his second fight since losing a close decision to then-titlist Andre Berto in January 2009. Lorick said that Collazo (31-4, 16 KOs) would fight an eight-rounder against an opponent to be determined at a weight of 151 or 152 pounds. "We're definitely on the card, but I'm waiting for them to find an opponent," Lorick said. "It's a good card to be on regardless of if we're on TV. Luis is looking forward to getting back in the ring and going where the best opportunity is" at welterweight or junior middleweight.

[+] EnlargeJuan Diaz and Paulie Malignaggi
Joe Cordova/Fightwireimages.com Paulie Malignaggi, right, will try to overcome his recent hand injuries -- and Orlando Lora -- on the Oct. 15 Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson undercard.

• Former junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi (29-4, 6 KOs) will face Mexico's Orlando Lora (28-1-1, 19 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round welterweight bout on the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson HBO PPV card Oct. 15 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, according to John Beninati, matchmaker for Lora promoter Gary Shaw. Beninati said Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told him Malignaggi accepted the fight, which Lora also accepted. Malignaggi, 30, has been nursing injured hands since his lopsided decision win against Jose Miguel Cotto on April 9. Lora, also 30, has won two in a row since his only loss, a lopsided eighth-round knockout to David Estrada in April 2010. If the fight is finalized, it means all four televised bouts would match Golden Boy fighters against Shaw fighters, with Hopkins (GB) against Dawson (Shaw), lightweight Jorge Linares (GB) facing Antonio DeMarco (Shaw) for a vacant belt, and junior welterweight Danny Garcia (GB) squaring off with former titlist Kendall Holt (Shaw) in a title eliminator. Golden Boy and Shaw had discussed a fight between blue-chip featherweight prospects, 2008 U.S. Olympic Gary Russell Jr. and 2004 Cuban Olympian Luis Franco (10-0, 6 KOs), but when they couldn't make that, they went with Malignaggi-Lora for the broadcast.

• Epix, the premium cable network that is new to the boxing business, made a deal with Sauerland Event to carry live coverage of a heavyweight doubleheader from Erfurt, Germany, on Aug. 27. The featured bouts match top-10 contenders Alexander Povetkin (21-0, 15 KOs) and Ruslan Chagaev (27-1-1, 17 KOs), a former titleholder, who will meet for a vacant belt; and rising contender Robert Helenius (15-0, 10 KOs) against former titlist Sergei Liakhovich (25-3, 16 KOs). Epix is also talking to promoter Don King about doing a card from the United States in October, although discussions about specific bouts are just beginning.

• Former super middleweight contender Allan Green (29-3, 20 KOs) will try to rebound from those defeats when he faces club fighter Craig Gandy (7-4-1, 6 KOs) in a cruiserweight eight-rounder on Saturday night at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla. Green, of Tulsa, Okla., lost both of his Super Six World Boxing Classic bouts as an alternate (by shutout decision to titlist Andre Ward and eighth-round knockout to Glen Johnson). The fight will take place on the undercard of former MMA fighter Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson's boxing debut. Ferguson will meet James Wade (0-1) in a four-round heavyweight bout.

• Featherweight titlist Chris John (45-0-2, 22 KOs) -- the longest-reigning active titleholder in boxing, having held his belt since 2003 -- was supposed to make his 15th defense against Japan's Satoshi Hosono (21-1, 15 KOs) in Singapore on Oct. 8. But Sampson Lewkowicz, John's adviser, told ESPN.com that the fight would be postponed to a date to be determined and moved to either John's native Indonesia or Hosono's native Japan. "We're looking for another site, probably for sometime in November," Lewkowicz said. "The sponsor we had in Singapore did not come through with the money, so we have had to postpone the fight."

• Welterweight contenders Kell Brook (24-0, 16 KOs) of England and Rafal Jackiewicz (38-9-1, 19 KOs) of Poland will meet in a title eliminator Oct. 8 in Sheffield, England, promoter Eddie Hearn announced. "Rafal provides the next step up in terms of tests for Kell, and with both fighters knowing they are on the verge of a world title shot, a slipup here can destroy any dreams, so you can expect an explosive fight," Hearn said. Jackiewicz lost a majority decision when he challenged titlist Jan Zaveck in September 2010, two years after Jackiewicz beat Zaveck via split decision in a European title fight. "Jackiewicz is a tough opponent who has held the European belt and challenged for a world title, so he will provide a great test for me," Brook said. The winner will put himself in position to become the mandatory challenger for the winner of the fight between titlist Vyacheslav Senchenko and Marco Antonio Avendano, who meet Aug. 26 in Donetsk, Ukraine. Hearn said he has also talked to promoter Lou DiBella about matching Brook with Andre Berto if he claims a belt against Zaveck on Sept. 3.

• A pair of notable fighters have been added to the undercard of heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko's defense against Poland's Tomasz Adamek on Sept. 10 (HBO) in Wroclaw, Poland; Main Events promoter Kathy Duva said more than 33,000 tickets have already sold for what will be the biggest boxing match in Polish history. In fights that won't be part of the American telecast on HBO, cruiserweight contender Ola Afolabi (17-2-3, 8 KOs), who is promoted by Klitschko's K2, will face Lukasz Janik (21-0, 13 KOs) in a 12-rounder; and Main Events welterweight prospect and 2008 U.S. Olympian Sadam Ali (13-0, 7 KOs) will face Boris Berg (4-4-1, 3 KOs) in an eight-rounder. Ali is returning from a hand injury that kept him out for the past few months.

• Brothers Librado Andrade and Enrique Ornelas will co-headline a Golden Boy card in Leon, Mexico, on Aug. 27, which will be carried by AT&T's U-Verse service. Andrade (29-4, 22 KOs), a former three-time super middleweight title challenger, faces Matt O'Brien (18-2, 8 KOs) in a 12-round super middleweight bout. Ornelas (31-7, 20 KOs), also a former super middleweight title challenger, will face Alfredo Contreras (10-11-3, 4 KOs) in a 10-round light heavyweight bout. Andrade, a longtime contender coming off an upset decision loss to Aaron Pryor Jr. in May and having lost three of his last five bouts, is in dire need of a victory. It will be the second card in a row on which the brothers will appear together.

• Junior bantamweight titlist Hugo Cazares (35-6-2, 25 KOs) of Mexico has fought three times in Japan, including when he won his belt and made his first defense in 2010. Now he's headed back to make his fifth defense, against former two-time flyweight title challenger Tomonobu Shimizu (18-3-1, 9 KOs) on Aug. 31.

Quotable

"I am coming to the United States to put on a great show. When I get on the plane back to Europe, I will have my title belt."
-- Welterweight titlist Jan Zaveck of Slovenia, on making his U.S. debut in a Sept. 3 (HBO) title defense against former titlist Andre Berto

Bernard Hopkins

Hopkins

"In my career, I have gone 12-1 against southpaws. The only loss was to Joe Calzaghe, a fight which most people say I won. It was what it was. I love fighting southpaws because I am very unorthodox. I don't do things regularly and I am not a regular fighter."
-- Light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins, on defending against former titlist Chad Dawson, a left-hander, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 15 (HBO PPV)

"A lot of people think I can't punch. Oct. 15, I am not going for a decision, I am going for a knockout."
-- Dawson, on his title shot against Hopkins

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at danrafaelespn.