Commentary

Alexander aiming for Ortiz-Berto winner

Updated: March 2, 2012, 3:17 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Alexander/MaidanaTom Hogan/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsDevon Alexander encountered little trouble in a 10-round decision win against Marcos Maidana.

Former junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander certainly didn't need any hometown decision in St. Louis given the way he dominated Marcos Maidana in a near shutout last Saturday. But he did need stitches to fix the cut Maidana opened over his right eye in the third round.

Alexander, who moved up to welterweight for the fight (as did Maidana) needed five stitches to close the cut, trainer and manager Kevin Cunningham told ESPN.com.

"Nothing serious," Cunningham said. "We will be ready to fight in July or August. The problem is, no one is available."

Ideally, Cunningham said, Alexander (23-1, 13 KOs) will get the opportunity to fight the winner of the June 23 rematch between former welterweight titleholders Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto -- but the winner won't be ready until the fall.

"Devon has earned the right to face the Ortiz-Berto winner," Cunningham said. "The winner of that fight is not getting [Floyd] Mayweather or [Manny] Pacquiao, so why not?"

Besides the boxing aspect, in which Devon was obviously far superior, we were so disappointed by the way Marcos' body responded. He trained almost 90 days, but training didn't work, which tells me that we have to change a few things -- methods and probably some people.

-- Sebastian Contursi, adviser to Marcos Maidana, on the fighter's performance in a loss to Devon Alexander

Cunningham also said Alexander would be interested in facing junior welterweight titlist Erik Morales if Morales defeats Danny Garcia on March 24, because Morales would be available in the summer.

"If Morales wins, I'd like [Alexander] to fight him at a catchweight of 145 in July," Cunningham said.

Cunningham also said he would be willing to match Alexander with former titleholders Jan Zaveck or Carlos Quintana.

As for Maidana (31-3, 28 KOs), the loss to Alexander will send him back to junior welterweight, where he still holds a world title.

"We think, for now, Marcos has to go back to defend the title next," Maidana advisor Sebastian Contursi said.

Expect some changes to Maidana's team as well.

"Besides the boxing aspect, in which Devon was obviously far superior, we were so disappointed by the way Marcos' body responded," Contursi said. "He trained almost 90 days, but training didn't work, which tells me that we have to change a few things -- methods and probably some people. Maidana's style is too physical, so if he is not at his best condition, his chances against slick and fast boxers decrease."

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who promotes both Alexander and Maidana, said he would like to match Maidana later this year with the winner of Humberto Soto-Lucas Matthysse, the co-featured fight on the Ortiz-Berto II card. Soto is a former lightweight titlist, and Matthssye is a slugger from Argentina in the Maidana mold.

Campillo protests decision against Cloud

Former light heavyweight titlist Gabriel Campillo has asked the IBF to order an immediate rematch of his highly controversial decision loss to titleholder Tavoris Cloud.

Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs) retained his 175-pound belt via split decision against Campillo (21-4-1, 8 KOs) on Feb. 18 on a Showtime card in Corpus Christi, Texas.

[+] EnlargeTavoris Cloud/Gabriel Campillo
Esther Lin/ShowtimeGabriel Campillo, right, gave Tavoris Cloud all he could handle in February 2012.

Although Campillo was knocked down twice in the first round, it's hard to find anyone other than judges David Robertson (116-110) and Joel Elizondo (114-112) who thought Campillo didn't do more than enough over the next 11 rounds to deserve the decision. Judge Dennis Nelson scored the fight 115-111 for Campillo.

IBF president Daryl Peoples said Campillo's handlers submitted a formal request this week asking for an immediate rematch. The IBF is planning a hearing on the matter, Peoples said.

Sampson Lewkowicz, Campillo's promoter, remains outraged by the decision.

"The precedent set in the Paul Williams-versus-Erislandy Lara fight [in New Jersey in July] needs to be followed here," Lewkowicz said.

Williams was awarded a majority decision against Lara in that fight, which was so controversial that New Jersey officials suspended the three judges indefinitely.

"The two judges who scored the fight for Cloud need to be suspended indefinitely," Lewkowicz said. "I think the Texas Commission needs to do the right thing for the sport and make sure these two judges don't work again. What they did to my fighter should never happen again to another."

Campillo's team has also appealed the decision to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, which oversees boxing in the state. Attorney Leon Margules, who represents Campillo, told ESPN.com that in the request to Texas officials it was asked that the judges be disciplined and that the decision be changed to a no-contest.

'Fight Night' card added to schedule

Pleased with the performance of its first card and equally pleased with the lineup on tap for the second one, NBC Sports Net added an additional date, June 1, to the schedule of its new Main Events-promoted "Fight Night" series.

The series was originally slated for only four dates this year -- the Jan. 21 kickoff show, March 24, June 16 and Dec. 8. The first of what could be even more dates added is June 1 in Bethlehem, Pa., where Gabriel Rosado (19-5, 11 KOs), a junior middleweight from Philadelphia, will face Joel "Love Child" Julio (37-4, 31 KOs), a native of Colombia based in Miami.

"Obviously, we are delighted that NBC Sports Network has already decided to start adding boxing dates to their original schedule of four shows," Main Events promoter Kathy Duva said. "Rosado-Julio is exactly the kind of intriguing and explosive matchup that we plan to present on each of the NBC Sports Network 'Fight Night' events."

Rosado, who looked very good knocking out Jesus Soto Karass on the undercard of the series debut, will move up to the main event against Julio.

"The executives at NBC told us that they are very happy with the ratings from the first show and the lineup we have planned for March 24," Duva said. "They specifically asked us to bring back Rosado. Main Events and Peltz Promotions are very happy to accommodate them."

Julio had his issues at junior middleweight and returned to welterweight for his most recent fight, a decision win last May against Anges Adjaho. But after a long layoff, he is moving back up to 154 pounds to face Rosado.

"The weight is 154," Duva said. "It was Julio's preference, as well as Rosado's."

The March 24 card in Brooklyn, N.Y., will include at least three televised bouts: former junior welterweight and welterweight champ Zab Judah against Vernon Paris in a 140-pound title eliminator in the main event, plus two heavyweights fights in former titleholder Sergei Liakhovich facing Bryant Jennings (the main event winner of the first 'Fight Night' card) and top contender Tomasz Adamek against Nagy Aguilera.

If Adamek, who is from Poland but lives in New Jersey, is successful, he likely will headline the June 16 "Fight Night" card in Newark, N.J., where he has a tremendous fan base among the large Polish community in the area.

Huck: Heavyweight or cruiserweight?

Cruiserweight titleholder Marco Huck (34-2, 25 KOs), who lost a debatable majority decision to heavyweight titlist Alexander Povetkin in a tremendous action fight last Saturday, is in the midst of his 10-day grace period before he must notify the WBO if he intends to remain at heavyweight or return to cruiserweight, where he has made eight title defenses.

[+] EnlargeMarco Huck and Alexander Povetkin
AP Photo/dapd/Daniel MaurerWill he stay or will he go? Cruiserweight titleholder Marco Huck has only days to decide whether he'll remain at heavyweight or return to 200 pounds.

Saturday's fight between Ola Afolabi (18-2-3, 8 KOs) and Valery Brudov (39-3, 28 KOs), which will occur on the Wladimir Klitschko-Jean-Marc Mormeck undercard in Germany, is slated to be for the interim cruiserweight belt.

WBO president Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel outlined the situation in a statement:

"Marco Huck's representatives have informed me that he has yet to decide if he will stay at [cruiserweight] or choose the heavyweight division, but that his decision is imminent during the upcoming week. As I will be in Germany for the Klitschko and Afolabi bouts, I will be meeting with Marco Huck's representative, Chris Meyer from Sauerland Events, regarding this matter.

"If Marco Huck decides to stay in the [cruiserweight] division, he will face the winner of the AfolabiBrudov bout within 120 days of said bout. If he decides to stay in the heavyweight division, the winner of the Afolabi-Brudov bout will automatically become the WBO champion."

Quick Hits

• Middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s third title defense will take place June 16 on HBO, according to manager Billy Keane. Chavez (45-0-1, 31 KOs), who is coming off a dominant decision win against Mexican countryman Marco Antonio Rubio on Feb. 4 in San Antonio, likely will return to Texas for the fight. Keane said Top Rank is working to put the fight (against an opponent to be determined) in El Paso's Sun Bowl. It's the same venue where Top Rank once promoted an Oscar De La Hoya welterweight title fight in 1998 and drew more than 40,000 fans. Originally, Chavez's next fight was being discussed for June 2 or June 16 in Los Angeles. Before any fight is finalized, Chavez faces a March 16 hearing in Los Angeles pertaining to his Jan. 22 drunk driving arrest. Whomever Chavez faces in June, it won't be Andy Lee, the top contender whom Top Rank promoter Bob Arum mentioned as a leading candidate after the Rubio bout. Lou DiBella, Lee's promoter, told ESPN.com that Top Rank is no longer interested in Lee. It is the second time Lee has been mentioned prominently as a potential Chavez opponent only to be dismissed because he is a southpaw.

[+] EnlargeNonito Donaire
Ray Kasprowicz/FightWireImages.comNonito Donaire won't face Jorge Arce until the fall, but he'll likely take a summer bout in the interim.

• The proposed fight between junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire (28-1, 18 KOs) and former titlist Jorge Arce (60-6-2, 46 KOs) -- a classic kind of Philippines-versus-Mexico rivalry fight -- had been talked about for the summer but will be put off until the fall, according to Top Rank president Todd duBoef, who promotes both fighters. Because the bout is ticketed for HBO, which doesn't have a spot for it this summer, it likely will wind up happening in the fall. So Donaire and Arce are planning interim bouts. Donaire could return July 14, the date duBoef said he is holding with the pay-per-view industry. Nothing, however, is set yet, duBoef said. "We're going to talk to [Donaire's manager] Cameron [Dunkin] and Donaire about the schedule. We're looking to do a Donaire-Arce fight, and they both want to fight each other, but not until the fall, so we're looking to bridge the gap with something else for both guys. We're going to meet and set up a map to see what we can do." There is a chance that Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) could headline the proposed July 14 pay-per-view card in a junior welterweight bout.

• The fight between former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs) and former unified featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs), who will meet for a vacant lightweight belt on April 14 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the year among die-hard fight fans. Tickets for the HBO "World Championship Boxing" card, priced at $250, $150, $100, $50 and $25 (excluding any service charges), go on sale at Ticketmaster locations and at www.mandalaybay.com on Friday at 1 p.m. ET. Tickets are limited to eight per order. The HBO co-feature will pit junior welterweights Mike Alvarado (32-0, 23 KOs) and Mauricio Herrera (18-1, 7 KOs). Top Rank is taking a two-city media tour to promote the fight, which is highly unusual for a non-pay-per-view bout. The fighters will meet the media on Monday in Miami, where Gamboa (a Cuban defector) lives, and on Tuesday in Los Angeles, where Rios is based.

• Middleweight titlist Dmitry Pirog (19-0, 15 KOs) likely will be back in action for his third defense in "late April or the first part of May," promoter Artie Pelullo told ESPN.com. Pelullo said Pirog's team is working on an opponent and that the bout will take place in Pirog's native Russia. "Dmitry will fight in the United States again, but for now we just want to keep him busy," Pelullo said. "We're going to bring him over [to the U.S.] to be at the Sergio Martinez fight [against Matthew Macklin in New York on March 17]. You know he would like to fight the winner of that fight." Pirog won a vacant belt in Las Vegas in an upset when he knocked out hot American prospect Daniel Jacobs in the fifth round in July 2010. Pelullo also said that former junior middleweight titlist Sergiy Dzinziruk, whom he co-promotes with Gary Shaw, would return in July on HBO, which is overdue to air a fight it owes him as part of the deal Dzinziruk (37-1, 23 KOs) had with the network when he moved up to middleweight to challenge Martinez for the lineal title last March. Dzinziruk, who was dropped five times in the eighth-round knockout loss, hasn't fought since.

• Jorge Linares will return to the ring March 31 in Cancun, Mexico, for what is supposed to be a tuneup fight before his mandatory rematch with lightweight titleholder Antonio DeMarco later in the year. Venezuela's Linares (31-2, 20 KOs), a former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist, will face Cancun's Sergio Thompson (21-2, 19 KOs) in a scheduled 12-round bout, according to Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz. Linares was well ahead of DeMarco when they met for a vacant 135-pound belt in October, but DeMarco came roaring back and stopped the badly cut Linares in the 11th round. A rematch was ordered, but DeMarco (26-2-1, 19 KOs) was given permission to take an optional defense first, which he will do March 17 against Miguel Roman (37-9, 28 KOs). So Linares, who is back training at Freddie Roach's Wild Card gym in Hollywood, Calif., is also taking an interim fight, against Thompson.

[+] EnlargeBrian Viloria
AP Photo/Pat RoqueBrian Viloria, right, will meet Omar Nino on March 31 to complete their trilogy -- and this time before a worldwide audience.

• Integrated Sports announced that it will carry live coverage of flyweight titlist Brian Viloria's second title defense, against Omar Nino, from Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City in the Philippines on March 31 (9 p.m. ET, $29.95). Besides being available on cable and satellite services in the United States, it will also be available via online pay-per-view at U-stream.tv. "These are two of the top smaller-weight-class boxers in the world, who have five world titles between them. This show, of course, continues the heated Filipino-versus-Mexican boxing rivalry that is one of the most intense in the sport today," Integrated Sports president Doug Jacobs said. Undercard bouts will also be part of the telecast, although they haven't been announced yet. Viloria (30-3, 17 KOs), a Filipino-American, and Mexico's Nino (30-4-2, 12 KOs) will be meeting for the third time. They met twice in 2006, with Nino taking Viloria's junior flyweight title via lopsided decision followed by a draw that was later changed to a no-decision after Nino tested positive for a banned substance and was stripped of the title.

• Former middleweight titlist Arthur Abraham (33-3, 27 KOs) has an opponent for his March 31 super middleweight bout in Kiel, Germany. He will face Piotr Wilczewski (30-2, 10 KOs) of Poland, who lost the European title to James DeGale by majority decision in October and rebounded for a win on Feb. 17 in Poland. "It's all or nothing for Arthur," promoter Kalle Sauerland said. "He needs to beat Wilczewski to put himself back in a position to fight for the world title." Following Abraham's disastrous performance in the Super Six World Boxing Classic -- Abraham knocked out Jermain Taylor in his first bout and then lost his final three tournament fights -- he returned on Jan. 14 to knock out Pablo Natalio Farias in the fifth round. "I know there is a lot of pressure, but I will make a good fight and beat Wilczewski," Abraham said. "I have high goals. I want to be world champion again." Ulli Wegner, Abraham's trainer, added, "We don't fight any pushovers or easy opponents. It's very simple: I expect a good fight from Arthur and a victory."

• A week after the announced of an HBO "24/7" series that will follow the build-up to the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. fight June 9 on HBO PPV, the network announced during this week's media tour for the May 5 HBO PPV fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto that it will also produce a four-episode "24/7" series following the lead-up to that fight. The Mayweather-Cotto series debuts April 14 at 9:45 p.m. The second and third episodes will air on subsequent Saturday nights, April 21 (10 p.m. ET/PT) and April 28 (9:45 p.m. ET). The finale will air May 4 (8 p.m. ET/PT), on the eve of the fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. HBO also announced that, besides network replays, the series will also replay on Time Warner sister networks CNN and TNT, although the specific schedule wasn't announced. "'24/7' is all about high energy, great drama, revealing characters and unrestricted access," HBO Sports president Ken Hershman said. "We are grateful to both Floyd and Miguel and their camps that they will allow our cameras to chronicle their journeys to May 5."

• Jim Lampley's boxing talk show -- with a working-but-not-final name of "Jim Lampley's Scorecard" -- is set to debut on HBO on May 12 with the second of four initial one-hour episodes slated for June 16. ... Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com that although the proposed middleweight fight between Winky Wright and Peter "Kid Chocolate" Quillin won't take place on the Mayweather-Cotto HBO PPV undercard, as originally discussed, he plans to keep it alive and try to place it on another card. ... Strawweight titlist Moises Fuentes suffered a hand injury and withdrew from Saturday's defense in Tijuana, Mexico, against Michael Landero (15-5-4, 5 KOs). Instead, Landero will face former titleholder Raul Garcia (31-2-1, 19 KOs) in a nontitle bout.

Quotable

Hopkins

"Chad Dawson can say whatever he wants, but I am not going to trash talk this one. Everyone knows what I am capable of in the ring. They have seen it over 50 times before in the last 20-plus years. I will say that I am really happy that this is on HBO so that all of my fans from across the country can see me continue this unprecedented path. I absolutely want to prove that I can beat Chad Dawson, another guy that is almost two decades younger than me, and I am confident I will on April 28." -- 47-year-old light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins, on his rematch with Chad Dawson at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

Dawson

"The first fight did not go as planned, but I'm confident I was going to win that night. Hopkins is going to have to face his fears. Bernard tried to run away from me, but here we are again. I'm thrilled about the whole situation. I'm very excited to fight on the East Coast because a lot of my fans will be there to see me live. I know I'll be ready come fight night." -- Dawson, on the rematch with Hopkins, which follows their controversial two-round no decision in October

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