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Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN.com's boxing writer, Dan Rafael, will log on to take your questions on all the latest news and notes from inside and outside the ring.
Rafael began writing for ESPN.com in March 2005 after working for five years as the boxing writer for USA Today.
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Dan Rafael: Greetings Fight Freaks to our weekly discussion. It's a big week with some good fights this weekend, including Agbeko-Darchinyan, and the announcement of the Showtime super middleweight tournament. So there is plenty to discuss. Please check out the new big notebook, which is posted, as well as a number of blogs and news stories from the week. There will also be a new blog posted shortly. So let's get to it.
Charles (Philly): I know Showtime has been feast-or-famine lately, but they deserve MAJOR props for putting this 168 tournament together. Wow!
Erik (Atlanta, Ga): D$$$$ cant chat long had surgery yesterday and the painkillers are kicking in but who you got in the Vic/Agbeko fight
David (Orland Park): I know you hate MMA, but will you check it out this weekend.
Wilson (Bronx ): No Bute and Green But we get Taylor :(
robpalmer135 (London): What is Pavlik going to do now. Strum and Bute seem to be the only fights out there for him until 2011, and HBO will not be big on either. They would flat out reject Balaszay.
Chris (Nashville): Let's face it. Taylor is still a name. He can put butts in seats.
Joel (NY): Hey Dan, you mentioned a few weeks back, there would be regional coverage on tape delay of Adamek-Gunn, what station and what time will be on ?
Briks (Philly): Does this tournament make a Pavlik-Paul williams fight more likely?
Taylor (NC): Are you suprised Andre Ward's first fight is with Kessler?
Justin (St. Louis): Ever thought about becoming a manager or promoter? What about your own web page?
Shane (Selah, WA): Dan, I agree with you. Sure the Tourney isn't perfect, but it's still the best tournament this sport has seen for a long time. I for one am pumped. I still can't beleive Ward and Dirrell will be in it.
Joel (NY): Dan, great to hear boxing will be on ESPN Classic tomorrow night at 11pm, are they expecting this to be entertaining?
Dan (Brooklyn, NY): Now that it looks like Vitali is fighting Haye and Wlad is fighting Potvekin, what does Arreola do next? I think it's a blessing in disguise for Cris. Let him get another fight in - hopefully against a contender.
Charles (Philly): It doesn't feel right to pick a bone with Showtime today, but why is the U.S.S.-Big Truck fight not being televised tomorrow? For once, they could have had a legitimate triple-header....
Greg (Los Angeles): Dan have their been talks about Mosley-Judah or is this just a gut feeling you had?
jay (Vermont): BOOOO!!! we want it on classic
Don (Buffalo, NY): Whatever happened to the proposed James Toney / Liakovich fight?
Eric (North Hollywood): The freaks are really whiny today...
Tim (Des Moines, IA): Not seeing that lasting yet on ESPN Deportes. I am seeing a listing on Azteca America on Saturday night though. Could that be the same card do you think?
Chris (Los Angeles): $ - Junama vs. Mtagwa! Wow. Don't leave the couch when that one starts.
Jake (Rockville, MD): D-Sizzle, this 168pd tourney is great exposure for the sport and all those involved. It gives the casual fan a chance to get familiar with the fighters in a tournament format which everyone eats up. Who do you have as the favorite? Who is your dark horse pick?
Berndawg (Chicago): Sounds like JUANMA stays on 9/26 at the small room at MSG?
Johnnie (NJ): Can you tell us Freaks a little more about Agbeko? His record on boxrec looks more built up than Tye Fields. Yet many consider him to be very good. What gives?
Tony (Houston, TX): Will they find a replacement if somebody drops out? If Taylor goes and gets knocked out by Abraham who's to say he won't just retire.
CHris (Columbus, Oh): What were the advantages that made Showtime go for a round robin tourney as opposed to single-elimination?
Benny T (DC): Dan,Who do you see as the next possible opponent for Paul Williams? His career is wasting away with all of this forced inactivity.
JNA (Bittersville, USA): People are too quick to dismiss Taylor, methinks. He's a solid, supremely skilled fighter who's had two tough losses. This hardly makes him washed up!
Hayato (Japan): There is no chance in hell that Showtime did not offer Bute into the tournement.
Tony (Tampa): Taylor's been stopped by Froch and Pavlik. Not exactly pushovers plus he had both badly hurt. His resume' is the strongest out of any fighter in the tourney.
Doug (Dallas): any scheduled fights for Lara or Rigondeaux???
JQ (NM): Who would be your pick right now for least likely to win the tourney?
JNA (Bittersville, USA): Urango vs. Bailey has major barn-burner potential. Two guys whose "defense" consists of throwing as many haymakers as possible. It's entirely possible we'll have a Rocky II simultaneous dual knockdown gimmick in this fight!
CHris (Columbus, Oh): I think a lot of the comments on Taylor demonstrate why he was a good pick for the tourney. He's the kind of guy you just want to root for.
LeQentez (Waterbury, CT): Come on Dan, Taylor's your least likely opposed to Dirrell?
Charles (Philly): Any word on Kirkland's legal situation?
Alex (Clev, OH): Dan-o, Is it still possible that Winky will fight on the Floyd undercard like was mentioned on the previous date?
Wilson (Bronx ): Taylor's great as long at the fight does not go past 8 rounds
Hugo (Tallahassee): How impressed were you with Fast Eddie's beatdown of Dimitrenko? He looked good, but Dimitrenko looked really bad too What is his next move?
Brendan (Queens,N.Y.): Dan, did you gave a chance to see that disgrace of a sham job in the Dibb-yamaguchi fight? What a hometown jobbing yamaguchi got..
Marques (Utica, NY ): Dan, great blog on Sugar Shane the other day, but Berto take that fight? Seems like quite a step up for such a young fighter -- see Victor Ortiz about moving too fast.
Rob (Atlanta): Danaconda! Did us boxing fans make it a week without an injury delaying a significant fight?
Luke (PL): Hello Dan. Do you know anything about Adamek - Hopkins fight for january 2010?
Howard (RI): Speaking of 'don't jinx it', you've made it through over half an hour without erasing all of the questions.
cleo (Omaha,NE): While not favored... I think Andre Dirrell is the most talented super at the moment I would be most happy if he comes out on top what say you?
R$ (Yay Area): Andre Berto posted the following on his Twitter page on Monday: "i just got word that Shane has a Nov 14th date in Vegas and i am the first canidate for that spot. u heard it first!!!! from the kid himself" Do you think it actually happens on the day Pacquiao vs Cotto is suppose to go down?
Robert (Marlborough): I saw that Lou DiBella signed Marcus Too Much Johnson. Saw him go toe to toe with Ward in the amatuers. What do you think of him?
JNA (Bittersville, USA): I like you "pick of the week" classic fights section. Which of these two all-time classic fights would you say is most underrated: Azumah Nelson vs. Wilfredo Gomez, or Ike Quartey vs. Crisanto Espana?
Brad (Fayetteville, AR): How freaking sick would it be (I know I'm dreaming) if somehow we got a double feature of Mosely-Berto and Cotto-Pacquiao!!!!? I would pay $100 for that broadcast for sure!
Zach (MPLS): No analysis on Sturm-Gevor in the notebook today, pretty big fight two top 10 middleweights who ya got?
blake (ark): are these tourney fights PPV or on regular showtime?
Eric (North Hollywood): If it makes you feel better, I have been knocking the crap out of Billy Dib in Fight Night Roud 4
Brian (Philadelphia): Dan, as a loyal reader of your chats, can you please talk to someone over there and have them fix the archive? You can't see any of your replies!
Aaron (Hartford): So is Mora def Pavliks next fight in the fall ?
Armando (Nj): Dan - just got back in town from a biz trip to south america - my local colleagues are big Ricardo Torres fans - what's been up with him - it seems like he fell off the map - that dude can throw with the elite in the division.
Jr (San Jose,Ca): Would Khan versus Hatton be the biggest fight ever to happen in England? You have to figure the fight would fill a soccer stadium and the European pay per view numbers would be pretty big.
hr (illinois): Whats the word with Librado Andrade?
Julio (Korea): If Marquez somehow pulls off the upset against Mayweather, what will this do for Marquez legacy as a mexican fighter? Would it put him up there in JCChavez Sr. Status?
Bry (SF): Any news on the Peterson bros. and Alvarado?
Joel (Love Child): Dad. Why don't you love me!?
Matt ((Naperville, IL)): Any chance of CBS showing the fights on CBS through tape delay?They should go for trying to put the whole tourney on CBS, the finals anyway
Brian (Anaheim, CA): Do you think Donaire/Darchinyan II happens anytime soon??? Like other fans, this is one rematch I've been waiting for. It would be nice if it could materialize early next year - one can only dream unfortunately.....
JNA (Bittersville, USA): Benn - Eubanks was pretty big too, as I recall. Crazy, electric atmosphere that filtered through the TV broadcast. It was like watching a soccer derby.
Julio (Korea): Any news on Prescott, the guy who knocked out Amir Khan?
Luke (PL): Dan, what do you think on Demetrius Andrade? IMO he has a huge potential, but his last fight was a little disappointment.
Mike (Vancouver, WA): Any updates on Vernon Forrest? Thanks Dan!
Eric (North Hollywood): Who do you think will pull out the victory from the Johnson/Solis fight? I'm leaning towards Johnson.
Frank (Houston, TX): Was Pavlik offered a spot in the tourney?
James ((Athens, GA)): Dan, what are the odds you get on Twitter to feed us freaks all the breaking news we need?
John (Ottawa): Dan, let's say that Billy Dib is on the undercard of Mayweather-Marquez in September, will you leave your seat at press row during Dib's fight?
Charles (Philly): Dude, you posted a story ON THE 4TH OF JULY! You don't need no stinking Twitter to get the word out to the freaks!
Jonesy (Dallas): D$, I created a fighter that looks just like you on Fight Night Round 4, his name is Dan "The Tomato Can" Raphael. He's actually pretty good.
Mike (Manila): Dan, Smackdown is here in Manila and it's my first time watching them live, who's your favorite wrestler?
hr (chicago): Dan, Who is Edwin Valero's madatory challenger for the WBC belt?
Derek (Edmonton, Alberta): Dan, any word if the Ring will drop BHop from #1 due to inactivity so that Dawson/Road Warrior will crown a new world champ at 175?
Joe (San Francisco, CA): My main concern about the tournament is what happens if Ward or Dirrell gets KO'd in their first fight. Especially Dirrell. If he gets KO'd by Froch, are his handlers really going to put him in with Abraham next only 3 months later? That has the potential to be a career ruining scenario for a young prospect.
Joel (NY): Dan, do you think since Golden Boy is mainly an HBO thing, that Bute-Andrade 2 could turn up on a Golden Boy PPV?
Mike (Fairfax, Va.): If Judah gets the Mosley fight, what kind of chance do you give him to unseat Sugar? Thanks.
Juan (Miami, FL): Dan, any word on Sergio Martinez's next fight?
Dennis (Miami): any news on what Ricky Hatton will do next?
JO (Nashville,TN): When is Pacquiao-Cotto official?
sk (Arlington, VA): Is Adjaho a live opponent for DiMarco?
Chris (Boston): Dan, what happened to Manfredo as an opponent for Jacobs on 8/22?
Craig (Monrovia Ca): Dan do you know where the Donaire fight is being held?
Jorge ((East Los Angeles)): Dan, It's been a rough month or so with all the cancellations in boxing, but great job breaking the 168lb tourney on Showtime. I never thought they would get all the promoters to agree, but props to all of them for taking a risk, and as a fan you have to be pumped. I know we are 3weeks away, but which way are you leaning for the Alexander/Witter and Bradley Campbell fights?
Romeo (Dc): 10 or 12 round fights in the preliminary stage of the super middleweight tourney?
Dustin ((West Palm Beach)): Dan, I have to respectfully disagree about USS Cunningham vs. Big Truck, to me, that spells all action with Big Truck's power and Cunningham's stamina/chin issues. It's KILLING me that I can't make the fight in person. A while ago you said you like Cunningham, still the pick?
Aaron (Hartford): Duddy and JCC Jr for the fall ?
Bry (SF): Why are the remaining HBO dates filled w/ GBP and Haymon's fighters?
Undefined: You're an idiot. Last I checked, Vitali Klitschko was not with either. Kelly Pavlik, who may be on HBO in the fall isn't either. And, now that I think of it, neither is Chad Dawson or Glen Johnson. Or Cotto and Pacquiao. Stop drinking the Kool Aid.
Shower Door (Las Vegas, NV): Forget Judah, I should get Mosley!
Miguel Melendez (California): What other options does Miguel Cotto have if the proposed fight with Manny Pacquiao doesn't get done because of contract demands by Manny?
Harry (Tucson, AZ): What are the chances of a Mosley-Williams fight happening in the fall?
Greg (Texas): Dan,If Showtime comes through with the tourney, do you see HBO doing anything special in response?
Chris (Kalamazoo, MI): Hey Dan! Kudos to ESPN for picking up the Cruz-Solis fight. That a network giving the fans what they want. Nice work.
Isaac (Oxnard, Ca): The WBA makes me want to vomit. How the hell can they have three "Champions" at lightweight and do the fighters take these belts seriously?
Doug (Tampa, Fl): Dano, how much does a 2lb weight drop really make? I guess my question is... Is dropping to 145lbs really a big deal for Cotto when he fights Pacman?
Justin (St Louis): Buy or Sell? The chances of that lame Joe Calzaghe comes out of retirement?
Chris (Denver, CO): But, Dan-O, Cotto weighed in @ 146 for Clottey, surely another pound won't make much of a difference?
Tyler (Memphis, TN): Doug, ask Jose Luis Castillo how big a difference 2 lbs is. Ruined his career.
JNA (Bittersville, USA): I second the sentiments re. the WBA. It's like they're purposely trying to alienate their sport's fan base. Next thing you know, they'll make John "The Sominex Man" Ruiz ranked as a top-3 HW contender. Oh, wait... never mind. (Barfs copiously.)
Marc (Philly): How about the best Heavyweight in the world, "Fast" Eddie Chambers
bernie (philly): DTM, are you going to be on the FNF broadcast tonight? Any chance of a midsummer RAD on Saturday?
jd (monrovia): Dan, Who is ur top 5 fighter rite now?
Billy (Patchogue, NY): He may be content in retirement, but he doesn't having the lasting legacy an undefeated champion should have. Not that he cares, but it's worth noting.
Ochs (Webster, NY): Dan, been out of the loop due to work/classes on Fridays; first time with the new chat format. Sneaking in a chance to thanks for the excellent sausage making coverage of the tourney. Should be great to watch.
Jonathan (Northern VA): This software is absolutely horrendous. I look forward to this chat every Friday, and it's being ruined!
WBA (Dreamland): We appoint John McCain as President of the United States. We promote Barak Obama to Super President.
Andrew (Toronto): Why do you think Vitaly will thump Haye more so than his little bro?
Joe Biden (white house): But I thought I was next in line to become president!
Bing (Philly): Everyone hates the new chat yet they still participate therefore ESPN has no need to fix it. You have to boycott before they'll do anything
Sarah Palin (Alaska): Im folksy.....how bout me for president in recess....
Brock (Usually Belleville but this week Outer Banks): This will sound a little crazy but does Cory Spinks have anything lined up? He is always the best chance that a relevant card comes to St. Louis.
Bing (Philly): Shhh. Keep it down. The WBA might hear you and make someone a champion emeritus, thus making 4 "champs" in the same division.
Garbage Collector ((PBF's Dumpster)): If you run in to Floyd "Needs Money" Mayweather, can you tell him I'd like to get paid?
Miguel (Puerto Rico): There has been a lot of speculation in the Puertorican newspapers of Cotto maybe joining Golden Boy after his contract ends with Top Rank of the year. Is there any truth to this?
Ryan (Cleveland): How can I start a boxing association? What are the steps after: Be Corrupt?
Mark Sanford (South Carolina): Forget the Presidency, Anyone want to go to Argentina?
John Edwards (Training): I lost in two consecutive elections. Accordingly, I am the new WBA mandatory challenger for the Presidency.
WBA ((Because we can)): We also name George W. Bush "President-in-Recess" and George H. W. Bush "President Emeritus".
Matt (Philly): That john edwards comment is the best one of the day!
Sam (NJ): Do you think a fight between Arreola and Chambers would be more helpful or hurtful to American heavyweight boxing?
Frank (Houston, TX): Dan I heard the ratings for the Klitschko fight on espn classic for horrible? Is that true? Does it concern you that espn may become less likely to show boxing?
Aaron (Hartford): I know the belts mean alot to the boxers....but can they look in the mirror and say I am a world champion..... oh yeah...along with 2 other guys at the same weight ....
Steve (NYC): Is Pavlik-Sturm still a possibility on HBO?
Nick (Harrisburg, PA): Dan, I'm on twitter and happen to follow top rank. I got a message yesterday that they are working out details of a pavlik-froch fight. Must be b.s.?
Jeff Fenster (NEW YORK): Hey Dan, I was wondering what you think the chances are of the SHOWTIME tournaments FINAL match being aired on CBS is?
Tommy (Detroit): Drove to Chicago this week and listened to all four solo albums again from KISS and have decided Ace's is the best. What is your favorite album of the four?
Edwin (mahwah nj): will there be a 24 7 if cotto vs manny happens.
Ryan (Cleveland): "They were better than a normal taped program." The fight was for the Heavyweight Championship of the world.
WBC (Hell): I absolutely hate this idea for a tournament.
Rob (Atlanta): I have to give props in-flight internet, I hate flying as much as you do, but can tolerate it with boxing chat while flying
Scott (CT): Dan, I'm thinking about taking a friend with me to Rodriguez-Hlatshwayo II to try to convert him to a freak. Any fighters of note on the undercard? I haven't been too impressed with Star Boxing's cards in the past, but there doesn't appear to be any big fights of note coming to this area.
juan (san fran bay area): hey dan do you think its possible hbo can have a similar middle weight tourney with williams pavlick bute andrade bute green bika
Mark (NYC): Dan, I dont have Showtime and thinking of subscribing because of the tourney. HBO has to do something to counter them.
travis (boise, id): top rank needs to sign denis boystov he's the best heavy right now
Derek (Brooklyn): Great blog. Nice comments by Schaefer. I really hope Showtime can get Viacom and CBS to get involved, there is great potential to make this a huge mainstream event
Justin (Indianapolis): Joining the chat late, but doing so as I start my work day. I've got to say....I love this tourney being set up by showtime at 168. I only wish it was possible to make it an 8-man tourney so that Pavlik and Bute could be added (assuming they'd want in).
Barak Obama (White House): I am still the only President. The $700 billion stimulus was in fact a sanctioning fee.
Randy (Shanghai): will the tournament fights originating from Europe be show live on Showtime or tape delayed?
Floyd Mayweather (Standing behind an old lady): I will fight anyone they put in front of me.
JJD (Seattle): For all those who want to make a Golden Boy/HBO conspiracy, this is worth repeating. "I think it is great news for the sport of boxing when another network [other] than HBO steps up to the plate and puts together a series of terrific fights," Schaefer said. "It helps everyone involved in boxing. The winner here is the fight fans."
vick (NYC): I think Taylor has a punchers chance in the tourney. U saw urself that both Frock and Pavlik could have just as easily lost in their fights with him. He is strong but has no stamina. I think he will def surprise us all and make it far.
Mark (NYC): Dan, I dont have Showtime and thinking of subscribing because of the tourney. HBO has to do something to counter them.
Steve (NYC): Will any of the tournament fights wind up at MSG? Even though no one is a natural NYC draw it would be great to have some of the later fights at the mecca esp after this thing builds up through the preliminary rounds
JNA (Bittersville, USA): Props to Schaefer
R$ (Yay Area): What US TV networks are being considered for Bute-Andrade II in Mexico?
Sean (SF): Why the hell do the answers keep getting erased?!
Turk (DC): Miki Rodriguez is in a WBC title eliminator tomorrow? Oh boy maybe we can get the sequel the world has been waiting for, a rematch with Berto. Please don't let Berto ever fight whoever wins that fight.
WBA (Amused): The WBC is a bunch of amateurs. Even death is not a final eliminator for us.
WBA (Insanity): We declare all fighters in the tournament to be champions. No titles will be lost and we continue collecting sanctioning fees.
Jamesa (Ottawa): Is ESPN's budget in the negative that they can't get someone to fix this worthless chat program.
Charles (Philly): It seems like the Klitschkos are out to teach Haye a lesson, one way or another. Did he really get under their skin?
Tom Tuttle (Tacoma): Dan, an honest, snark-free question: do you sometimes feel that you're dedicating yourself to a dying, fringe sport? When I was a kid (I'm in my 40s), boxing was a topic of discussion among even casual sports fans, and not just the heavyweight division. Now, I honestly know nobody who follows or cares about boxing or could even name more than one fighter. Is there no hope for the future of a once-great sport?
Freaks (On a rampage): The rippage on the WBA has been spectacular today.
Marcus (CA): I am going to make my bet right now that Taylor wins the tourney. Remember my prediction Dan when he wins
Turk (DC): ugh, this chat software has disappointed me for the past month, sadly it looks like we're stuck with it, too bad it may drive people away.
Rick (Paterson): I agree that boxing is alive and well, but to follow up on Tom's point though, do you think Boxing will ever get back to mainstream relevance again?
Bry (SF): I read in another site that HBO only offered 2 m for Pavlik-Sturm so that fight won't be happening anymore, so who's going to face Pavlik?
Bo (Jacksonville, FL): Had my wife (who is 7 months pregnant) watching Corrales-Castillo I on DVR last night. She got so excited she started having contractions (she's OK, though). Now that's how you know a fight is a classic!
Derek (Edmonton, Alberta): 2 million from HBO, millions more from German TV, plus live gate seems like enough to me.
Chris (Boston): Dan, I guess you missed Peter Manfredo KO of the Year candidate of Smichet. At 160, Manfredo is a contender. Don't hate.
andrew (nyc): what is it ESPN Deportes ?
gre (jersey): Admit it Dan. You would rather watch Dib than John Ruiz..