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|Zab Judah, right, burns to be champ again, which may eventually require a rematch with Amir Khan.|
|Tomasz Adamek was most recently brutalized by Vitali Klitschko, but he should have an easier go of it against Nagy Aguilera on Saturday.|
|If Austin Trout, right, can't pin down Anthony Mundine to fight for the next defense of his junior middleweight title, James Kirkland could step in.|
• The working date for heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko's 12th title defense, a mandatory against Tony Thompson, is July 7, Klitschko manager Bernd Boente told ESPN.com. However, the sides are negotiating the fight, and if they don't make a deal, a purse bid is scheduled for Tuesday at the IBF offices in New Jersey. If it goes to a purse bid, Klitschko is entitled to 85 percent of the winning bid, with Thompson due 15 percent, according to Dan Goossen, Thompson's promoter. Goossen is interested in bringing the fight to Washington, D.C., Thompson's hometown, although that's a long shot. The likely American broadcaster is Epix, according to Klitschko adviser Shelly Finkel. Epix televised Klitschko's March 3 fourth-round destruction of Jean-Marc Mormeck. Klitschko (57-3, 50 KOs), who regularly packs 50,000 into stadiums in Germany, will be facing Thompson (36-2, 24 KOs) in a rematch. He knocked out Thompson in the 11th round of a dominant performance in a 2008 mandatory defense in Germany. Thompson has won five fights in a row, each by knockout, to again become a mandatory challenger.
|Welterweight prospect Jessie Vargas, of Las Vegas, is being lined up to appear on another Floyd Mayweather Jr. undercard at the MGM Grand.|
• Golden Boy Promotions is rounding out the May 5 HBO PPV card headlined by Floyd Mayweather Jr. challenging junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Junior middleweight titlist Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will defend his slice of the 154-pound title against former champ Shane Mosley in the co-feature, while the two other bouts that will be part of the telecast are not finalized but in the works. Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told ESPN.com that he is working to finalize a bout between 22-year-old welterweight prospect Jessie Vargas (18-0, 9 KOs), one of Mayweather's fighters, against Alfonso Gomez (23-5-2, 12 KOs), the former "Contender" star who is coming off a sixth-round knockout loss to Alvarez in September (although he certainly gave Alvarez some problems)."We have a verbal agreement, and it looks like it will happen," Gomez said. "We've sent [Alfonso Gomez's manager] Gary [Gittelsohn] a contract." Said Gittelsohn: "It will happen for sure. We came to an agreement on the purse, and Alfonso is already training. I think it's a very winnable fight. It's a terrific opportunity for Alfonso. I absolutely believe he can win the fight and should win the fight. It's a huge step up on Vargas' part." The other televised bout likely will involve featherweight contender (and former junior featherweight titlist) Daniel Ponce De Leon (42-4, 35 KOs). "We've been trying to come up with the best possible fight for him," Gomez said.
• Top Rank is finalizing two bouts that will be on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. HBO PPV telecast June 9 from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Mike Jones (26-0, 19 KOs) will face former junior welterweight titlist Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs) for a vacant welterweight belt. Jones, who is 28, will have a significant youth advantage against the 37-year-old Bailey. Also, junior featherweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux (10-0, 7 KOs), the two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist who won his belt Jan. 20 by knocking out Rico Ramos in the sixth round, will make his first defense against Teon Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 KOs), who is 0-1-1 in his previous two bouts. Promoter Russell Peltz, who co-promotes Jones with Top Rank and also promotes Kennedy, told ESPN.com that both deals have been agreed to and that he is only waiting on the paperwork.
• Junior lightweight titlist Adrien Broner will make his second title defense on May 19 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, according to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer. The fight, against an opponent to be determined, will serve as HBO's televised opener to the main event rematch between junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan."Adrien is definitely on May 19, and we're in discussions with HBO about an opponent," Schaefer said. "It's a great spot for Adrien to be seen, because that will be a very highly rated show." Schaefer said that if Broner wins, he would return to HBO to headline a "Boxing After Dark" card in his hometown of Cincinnati on Aug. 18, likely against fellow Golden Boy fighter Vicente Escobedo (25-3, 15 KOs). Schaefer said the plan could change, depending on how May 19 goes, but "with a young fighter like Broner, you want to make a plan. I would like to have him fight in May, then in the summer, again in the fall and again in the winter. I want to keep him busy. He's an exciting fighter and has a lot of charisma. I'd like to see him fight five times this year." Broner (23-0, 19 KOs) won a vacant title via third-round knockout of Vicente Rodriguez in November in Cincinnati and made his first defense on Feb. 25, knocking out top contender Eloy Perez in the fourth round of a one-sided fight in St. Louis.
|Juan Manuel Lopez is still picking himself up after being stopped by Orlando Salido on March 10 and then making serious (and unfounded) accusations against the referee in the fight.|
• Facing a possible one-year ban by Puerto Rican boxing authorities, former featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez apologized for a second time to referee Roberto Ramirez, whom Lopez accused of stopping his March 10 fight against titleholder Orlando Salido because he had wagered on the fight. Salido badly hurt and dropped Lopez early in the 10th round, and when Lopez got to his feet, Ramirez stopped the fight because Lopez was in bad shape, prompting the fighter to make the accusations in his postfight interview with Showtime's Jim Gray.In his latest apology, Lopez held a news conference in Puerto Rico and said, "I want to apologize again, now in public, to Roberto Ramirez for the comments I made after the fight against Salido. I'm embarrassed for all that happened and I want Ramirez to forgive me. I don't remember what I said, I'm ashamed. I saw the fight, and really, I was hurt. Roberto made a good job in stopping the fight. I apologize again to Ramirez and to all the fans in Puerto Rico and around the world." The 28-year-old Lopez (31-2, 28 KOs), who has won titles in two weight classes, said if he is banned by the Puerto Rican commission for a year, it will "advance my retirement. Boxing is my job. I couldn't go a year without fight."
• Cruiserweight titlist Marco Huck will meet interim titleholder Ola Afolabi in a mandatory fight on May 5 in Erfurt, Germany. The sides agreed to a deal Wednesday, and a purse bid was called off. Huck (34-2, 25 KOs), who will be making his ninth defense, will be facing Afolabi (19-2-3, 9 KOs) in a rematch of his first defense in 2009. He narrowly outpointed Afolabi, who has won five fights in a row since, including a fifth-round knockout of Valery Brudov to claim the interim belt on March 3. The interim title was available because Huck had gone up to heavyweight to challenge Alexander Povetkin on Feb. 25. Huck lost a controversial decision and elected to return to cruiserweight to make the mandatory against Afolabi. Sauerland Event's Chris Meyer also said the vacant European heavyweight title bout between Alexander Dimitrenko (32-1, 21 KOs) and Kubrat Pulev (15-0, 7 KOs) has been shifted from the March 31 undercard of super middleweight Arthur Abraham's bout against Piotr Wilczewski in Kiel, Germany, to the May 5 card. Meyer said the reason was "to allow both fighters a proper preparation time," noting that Dimitrenko is coming off an elbow injury.
• Featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez (51-7, 45 KOs) of Mexico will make his fourth defense against the Dominican Republic's Elio Rojas (23-1, 14 KOs) on April 28 in Mexico, in a bout that had originally been scheduled for April 14 but was pushed back two weeks. Rojas is a former titleholder who was stripped of his belt after long stretches of inactivity and was declared a "champion in recess." He won a belt in Japan in 2009 when he outpointed Takahiro Ao. He made one defense, a decision against former titlist Guty Espadas Jr. in February 2010, but injuries forced him into a long layoff. Rojas returned for a tuneup -- an eighth-round knockout victory against Arturo Gomez in September -- setting him up for the mandatory shot against Gonzalez. "Jhonny's looking to get past Rojas and re-establish himself as a major champion on HBO or Showtime," promoter Oswaldo Kuchle said.
• England's James DeGale (11-1, 8 KOs) will make a mandatory defense of his European super middleweight title against former world titlist Cristian Sanavia (45-5-1, 13 KOs) of Italy in Frederikshavn, Denmark, on April 21, Sauerland Event announced. DeGale, a 2008 British Olympic gold medalist, recently announced that he had left promoter Frank Warren. DeGale, 26, will be making his first European defense since claiming the title via majority decision against Piotr Wilczewski in England in October. Sanavia, 37, has twice held the European title and held a world title in 2004. He is vastly experienced and counting on that edge against a much younger opponent. "DeGale had a great amateur career, but he has never been inside the ring with somebody as experienced as me," Sanavia said. "This is my last chance to get back to where I belong, which is the very top of the super middleweight division. I will win on April 21."
|Diego Magdaleno got a new foe for Friday's fight -- and no pushover -- when Fernando Beltran Jr. stepped in for the injured Eduardo Lazcano.|
• Junior lightweight contender Diego Magdaleno (21-0, 7 KOs) of Las Vegas has a new opponent for Friday night's "ShoBox: The New Generation" main event (Showtime, 11 ET/PT). He will face former two-time junior featherweight title challenger Fernando Beltran Jr. (36-7-1, 20 KOs) of Mexico at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz. Beltran stepped in for Eduardo Lazcano late Tuesday, after Lazcano suffered a rib injury. Beltran was able to be ready on short notice because he had a fight scheduled last weekend in Mexico that was canceled when the opponent dropped out. In the opener, welterweight Yordenis Ugas (11-0, 5 KOs), a 2008 Cuban Olympic bronze medalist, will square off with Johnny Garcia (11-0, 8 KOs) in a scheduled eight-round bout.
• Mexican lightweight Marvin Quintero (24-3, 20 KOs) will travel to the Philippines to face fellow southpaw Al Sabaupan (18-0-1, 13 KOs) in a title elimination bout on April 14. The winner of the bout will become the mandatory challenger for titlist Miguel Vazquez (30-3, 13 KOs) of Mexico. "Quintero is a very hard puncher, as is Sabaupan, so this fight is going to be a slugfest," said Gary Shaw, Quintero's promoter. "Marvin has four consecutive knockouts, and I expect he'll come out swinging for the fences when he steps in the ring. If he is victorious, then I'll move quickly to get him in the ring with the IBF champion, Miguel Vazquez." Said Quintero: "I've worked very hard to get in position to fight for the IBF lightweight championship. My dream of becoming a world champion is very close, and I'm not going to let anything stop me from accomplishing my goal. After I step in the ring with Sabaupan, my hand will be raised." Quintero said he isn't concerned about going to the Philippines for the fight. "I'm a warrior and I'll fight anyone, anywhere," he said. "My game plan is to get the knockout early and call it a night."
• Former junior welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi (30-4, 6 KOs) may be going all the way to Ukraine for his mandatory shot against welterweight titlist Vyacheslav Senchenko (32-0, 21 KOs) in his hometown of Donetsk, Ukraine, on April 29, but the fight will be available in the United States. Integrated Sports' Doug Jacobs told ESPN.com that he had secured American rights and the fight will headline a live 1 p.m. Sunday pay-per-view card.
• Promoter Frank Warren announced light heavyweight titleholder Nathan Cleverly's next fight, which is scheduled to come against Robin Krasniqi on April 28 at the famed Royal Albert Hall in London. However, at the moment, Warren hasn't received a sanction from the WBO, which recognizes Cleverly as its titleholder. WBO president Paco Valcarcel said he wouldn't sanction the fight because when he sanctioned Cleverly's optional defense against Tommy Karpency on Feb. 25, part of the deal for doing so was an agreement that the winner's next fight would be against the mandatory challenger within four months. Cleverly (24-0, 11 KOs), in a homecoming fight in Wales, scored a shutout decision win against Karpency, but Krasniqi (37-2, 13 KOs), born in Serbia and living in Germany, isn't the mandatory challenger and, like Karpency, has never beaten anyone resembling a top opponent.
• Promoter SES Boxing won the recent purse bid to stage Robert Stieglitz's mandatory super middleweight title defense against England's George Groves. SES Boxing, which promoter Germany's Stieglitz, bid $792,000, beating the only other offer, which was $782,000 from Frank Warren, Groves' promoter. SES Boxing said the likely date of the fight would be April 28, in one of two German cities, Dresden or Dessau.
"I am so pumped up for the fight and I've got to give Lucian Bute credit. I've given him stick in the past for not fighting the top opposition. He didn't enter the Super Six, but he beat who was put in front of him. He's not often fought out of his hometown, so to put his title on the line in my backyard, he's either very confident or very stupid -- I think he's very confident, and he's the champion, so why not be confident? I'm coming into the fight on the back of a loss, and when I did that after the Kessler defeat, I was so tuned in to beating Arthur Abraham, and it was a whitewash -- and that's how I feel about this fight."
-- Former super middleweight titlist Carl Froch, on challenging titleholder Lucian Bute, who wasn't invited into the Super Six but is now going to Froch's hometown of Nottingham, England, to defend his belt May 26, at this week's kickoff news conference
"I would like to thank Carl for accepting the fight and stepping in the ring with me. Big fights take time to negotiate, but I'm glad that this fight has come. Both Carl and I have had similar careers so far. For me, it's the right time to come away from home and defend my belt, and in my heart I believe I will be victorious. I've been criticized for not fighting away from [Quebec]. I remember when Joe Calzaghe fought away from home at the end of his career, he received the respect he deserved for doing that, and that's what I am looking to do. Carl is a good, strong, aggressive fighter. He will have 9,000 cheering for him, and not many for me. It has all the ingredients for a great fight."
-- Bute, on going to England to defend his title against Froch