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December 30, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Dan Rafael

Dan Rafael
  (12:00 PM)

Greetings Fight Freaks and welcome to our final chat of the year. Hope everyone had a Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas. The annual ESPN boxing awards have been coming out day by day this week with one more to go, today's round up of the fights of the year. Also been some news stories and we've got one TV card tonight, the return of Jermain Taylor and Andre Dirrell on ShoBox. So check it all out and let's get to it.

Mitch (Memphis)

Why is it only Chavez that gets flack for wearing a paper strap?

Dan Rafael
  (12:01 PM)

He's by far not the only one, but in his case there is more pushback because everyone knows Martinez is the real champion who was forced, essentually by HBO, to give up the wretched WBC title. And Martinez was also made mandatory for Chavez and Chavez, Top Rank and, seemingly HBO, are trying to get out of the fight.

Quinn (Pittsburgh,PA)

Hey Dan,I've enjoyed this week's specific rankings, however I was a little bit surprised that Seth Mitchell did not get any recognition as prospect of the year. I feel that his win over Ibragimov really put him one step closer to the move up from prospect to contender status, however I still definitely consider him a prospect, and an exciting one at that. A promising American Heavyweight, that's a fighter who has been more rare than hen's skin for the past decade.

Dan Rafael
  (12:03 PM)

The Ibragimov win was a good one and Seth was on the list. But what some folks fail to realize is that I name a prospect of the year not just for a guy who has a good year, but for the guy I see with best longerm championship potential. At this point, as good as Seth has looked, he has not yet shown that.

Greg (Columbus Ohio)

any updates on if Cotto is gonna leave Top Rank? I dont see many lucrative fights by staying with the Bobster other than Chavez and Pacquiao... GoldenBoy has sooooo many more good options including Floyd

Dan Rafael
  (12:05 PM)

All indications are, including what Cotto has said, is that he has no intention of leaving Top Rank. Why would he? Top Rank has nurtured his career from Day 1, they are comfortable with each other and made a ton of money with each other. Could Cotto change his mind? Sure, but it seems like he is staying put. I hope he does stay. The way they have been together for so long it seems like it is only right that he stay there for the rest of his career, the way a Don Mattingly was a Yankee for his whole career or Cal Ripken an Oriole for his whole career.

Geoff (Burlington, ON)

Do you think the posturing this week by Martinez gets him closer to Chavez? As improved as Chavez is, he seems to be losing mainstream credibility by ducking Martinez and calling himself a champion.

Dan Rafael
  (12:07 PM)

I dont think it gets him closer whatsoever. Top Rank has no intention of making that fight, for obvious reasons.

Damien (Portland, OR)

If not Bute, who does Ward fight next? Magee (WBA) or Anthony Dirrell (WBC)? Wouldn't fighting either look bad considering his talk of Bute needing to not fight B-Level?

Dan Rafael
  (12:07 PM)

I dont know but I would not be shocked if it was Anthony Dirrell in a homecoming fight in Oakland.

David (Nashville)

Dan, what if Taylor looks as sharp as ever tonight and wins another fight convincingly, say vs a Peter Quillen, Andy Lee or someone. Would you give him a shot vs Martinez then?

Dan Rafael
  (12:08 PM)

Way to early to speculate. I want to see how he looks and who he fights. The jury is totally out.

Gino (Morgantown, WV)

Dan, if you had to guess, does Vitali fight beyond 2012?

Dan Rafael
  (12:09 PM)

Good question. First off, I'm not sure Vitali continues fighting beyond 2012 but if he does, there are not a lot of top candidates that is for sure. I think he'd still like to fight Valuev, if he ever comes back.

Jeff (Greensboro)

Dan, in you opinion can a boxer be a big star even if he never develops into a PPV attraction like say an Andre Ward?

Dan Rafael
  (12:11 PM)

Depends on what you mean by "big" star. If that means generating huge money then, no, you cant be a "big" star without PPV. Can he be a staple of Showtime or HBO and make seven figures per fight and fight good opponents for years to come? Sure. Look at a guy like Pernell Whitaker. Was he a "big" star? He was a great fighter, p4p No. 1, made millions but fought virtually every fight on HBO in his prime except for two PPV fights where he was the B-side, against Oscar and Chavez. Could Ward live on premium cable and have a PPV fight here or there against the right guy? Sure.

Ry (OH)

While blatantly disregarding the rules of your OWN sanctioning body is highly critical, I don't consider it to be a major crime or sin.

Dan Rafael
  (12:11 PM)

Pay the man, Shirley.

Lupe (bay city texas)

Any news on Juan Manuel Marquez ?

Dan Rafael
  (12:12 PM)

Nothing, although I think he drank some yellowish egg nog this week.

Davey (Southshore, FL)

Danuary, did you see the UK doc on Benn/McClellan? Relevant to tonight, I noticed Jermain Taylor doing a lot of blinking in his last few bouts. After seeing this...is he safe to fight?

Dan Rafael
  (12:13 PM)

I have heard a lot about this docu and have not seen it yet but the good news is that I received a batch of DVDs from one of the guys I trade with literally yesterday and I plan to check it out this weekend.

Richard Sterlin (New York, NY)

What's your prediction for Ortiz vs Berto II? And do you know if there will be a Fight Camp 360 show?

Dan Rafael
  (12:14 PM)

No predictions yet but Showtime does plan to do a Fight Camp for the fight, although it has not been decided as of yet how many episodes. But Stephen Espinoza, the new guy who runs Showtime Sports, said there would be during the media roundtable I was at a couple of weeks ago in Atlantic City.

Steve (Hartford)

Final ppv #'s in yet for Pacquiao/Marquez III?

Dan Rafael
  (12:15 PM)

No, Top Rank refuses to announce them officially but Top Rank and HBO seem to be in agreement that it will fall in the 1.4-1.5 million range.

Charles (Ogden, Utah)

Seeing your list of prospects this week I wonder which fighter in the past you are most surprised didn't pan out? (Bojado, Julio, etc.)

Dan Rafael
  (12:16 PM)

Definitely Bojado. He had all the attributes you look for but turned out he had a 5 cent head.

Jason (Atlanta)

So, Andre Dirrell waited 8 months so he could be on TV? On a Shobox? Couldn't he have been put on an undercard somewhere (he's on one here, you'd think he could take an off TV fight). Reading stuff like that just reaffirms how much I dislike that guy as a fighter.

Dan Rafael
  (12:16 PM)

I did think that was a weak answer for why he hadnt fought for so long.

Steve (Hartford)

Any progress on Hopkins/Dawson II?

Dan Rafael
  (12:17 PM)

Zip.

Besim (Staten Island, New York)

I say that Fight Freak of the Year goes to Lou Dibella, for hundreds of caps-locked, candid, enthusiastic tweets about the fight game.

martin (anderson)

How probable is a cotto, pacquiao rematch? Do you think their is enough public interest?

Dan Rafael
  (12:20 PM)

I think it is definitely possible and of course there would be fan interest. Other than Mayweather, strictly from a $$ point of view it makes as much money or awfully close to any other Pacquiao fight you could do right now.

tom (kansas city, ks)

worth the drive to st louis to see the devon alexander and adrien broner card. not familiar with their opponents. Would like to see Broner, but not a big alexander fan.

Dan Rafael
  (12:21 PM)

It is a nice card. Alexander-Maidana is a solid match. Broner is fighting Eloy Perez, who is a good 130 contender from Salinas, Calif. He is not a big KO guy but has scored some nice ones in recent fights. And the tix are priced right so I think it's worthwhile.

Greg (Los Angeles)

Any chance Cloud gets a Showtime date in Feb? Any possible opponents?

Dan Rafael
  (12:21 PM)

Showtime is hoping to have Cloud on and I hear February is a good possibility, maybe against Campillo from what I hear.

Ryan (Willowbrook)

Have you seen Jermaine Taylor in training? If so how does look?

Dan Rafael
  (12:21 PM)

I have not.

Homer (OH)

Dan, has Gossen considered Wlad vs. Arreola, and Vitali vs. Thompson? I'd rather see fresh fights than mandated rematches of blowouts.

Dan Rafael
  (12:24 PM)

It's not up to Goossen. Thompson is a mandatory for Wladimir so that fight figures to happen again. Arreola is a good possibility as another 2012 opponent for Wladimir.

Lee (Salisbury, MD)

Any thoughts on tonights opening fight? Does the kid from MD (Johnson) have any future, was Garcia as decorated as other Cuban defectors?

Dan Rafael
  (12:25 PM)

Garcia has not fought for a year. He says fights fell out or that nobody would fight him. But he is a terrific prospect with crazy fast hands for a big guy. I've watched some videos and was quite impressed. The only reason I left him off this year's prospect list was because he hadnt fought for about 13 months.

Dan Rafael
  (12:25 PM)

Here's the prospect list by the way. I think you will find it informative about the best young guys in boxing and who some of the bigger names will be in the next couple of years: http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/7391948/gary-russell-jr

Power Pellets (Las Vegas)

Dan don't tease us about the award we are all looking forward to. Who got the 2011 Winky Wright School of Business Valedictorian this year?

Dan Rafael
  (12:26 PM)

LOL!!! There are always several good candidates!

AL M (NYC)

Is there any chance Sergio Gets the same type of money from showtime as he is from HBO?

Dan Rafael
  (12:27 PM)

If they make a deal at Showtime it would be for similar money.

Austin (Brockton, MA)

Dan, when you go to live shows, how do you decide which ring girl you are going to hook up with?

Dan Rafael
  (12:27 PM)

Trade secret. Sorry.

Fred (MT)

Any word on Brandon Rios' next fight?

Dan Rafael
  (12:27 PM)

He is penciled in for March on HBO on a card with Gamboa but no opponent yet. They're talking to England's Kevin Mitchell.

IRS (DC)

Congrats to Floyd Mayweather on his 1 million dollar bet..we'll come by to say hi before the 6th.

Richard (New york ny)

Timothy Bradley recently said he'd like to fight Marquez. Any chances of that happening? I'd love to see that fight.

Dan Rafael
  (12:29 PM)

I think there would be an outside shot of that, why not? It's a good fight, Top Rank has Bradley and could work with Marquez. It's not bad.

Steve (Hartford)

DO you have any info on Delvin Rodriguez's return?

Dan Rafael
  (12:29 PM)

Nothing going on with that yet. He just fought three weeks ago.

Pot Kettle (Delusionville)

Jose Sulaiman calling Bob Arum out about 'his best friend: green'. This would be like Mayweather criticizing Derrelle Revis for being too money-orientated.

Jordan (South San Francisco, CA)

El Presidente says its OK to hit a woman. I elect he tries to hit Ann Wolfe and sees what happens.

Dan Rafael
  (12:30 PM)

Exactly.

Charles (Ogden, Utah)

I'm curious, when you interface with MMA writers do they generally have a mutual respect for boxing conceding it and MMA are two different sports or are they typically like many MMA fans who think UFC is the only "fight" sport in the world these days?

Dan Rafael
  (12:31 PM)

The only MMA writer I ever "interface" (LOL!) with is my buddy Kevin Iole, who I cover fights with all the time. He also covers MMA for Yahoo! Obviously, he loves both sports. He knows they are two different sports.

JD (Inside the mind of El Presidente Jose)

Any chance showtime show highlights of the Cuban heavy Mike Perez tonight Dan? Interesting to see if he can get Friday 13th out of there.

Dan Rafael
  (12:32 PM)

I suppose it is possible but I have heard no plans for Showtime to do that.

Jimmy (OKC)

So after this new stuff on Pavlik is he still planning on going to Cali?

Dan Rafael
  (12:32 PM)

His manager says yes, but I will believe it when I see it.

Marc (Malden, MA)

I'll ask again, why do these fighters continue to deal with the alphabet soups? Why not just tell them to go to hell?

Dan Rafael
  (12:34 PM)

For many of the fighters getting one of the belts is their lifelong dream so it's hard to tell them not to go for it. Also, those belts help the younger, less known guys generate bigger purses. For a guy like Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto, Hopkins, even Martinez, they dont need the belts to make money or gain television exposure. But for a young guy it is imperitive.

Rudy (L.A.)

Any news on the Ortiz-Berto undercard?

Dan Rafael
  (12:34 PM)

Lara-Hearns and Russell-TBA (maybe Bernabe Concepcion) on the Showtime televised triplheader.

@vicmatic_TKO (north jersey)

so is sergio heading to Showtime?

Dan Rafael
  (12:35 PM)

Possibly.

Robert (Dayton)

Is it possible that a deal for Martinez-Macklin was already reached for Showtime? It just seems like bad business for Martinez to cut out HBO now without already having a deal in place, as Showtime could then simply lowball him.

Dan Rafael
  (12:37 PM)

DiBella has been negotiating the deal with HBO and says he is having a very hard time so Showtime could get the fight. If Showtime wants the fight it wont lowball him. It will make a legitimate offer. If I'm running Showtime I'd love to have Martinez, especially in a solid fight like Macklin from NYC on St. Patrick's Day. It will be a great atmosphere and get good media coverage. And it's a good fight.

Damien (Portland, OR)

I want to see Kelly Pavlik fight Paul Spadafora...over a 12 pack

Dan Rafael
  (12:37 PM)

Ouch.

Tomer (New York, NY)

How big of a hit to Showtime's budget would locking in Martinez be? I know they have only a fraction of HBO's budget...

Dan Rafael
  (12:38 PM)

It is smaller than HBO's but if Martinez is a guy you want maybe you go up stairs to the boss and make your case for a little more money to close the deal.

Joe (Vancouver, Canada)

Why is Vitali Klitschko so anxious to fight David Haye? Haye would just run for 12 rounds and then come with a lame excuse afterwards. I actually like Chisora-Vitali better because Chisora will come to fight.

Dan Rafael
  (12:40 PM)

Vitali doesnt much like him and would love to drill him. But he probably also wants to fight Toe because it's easy money against a big-mouth heavyweight fraud.

jeremy (oakland ca)

who do have as the best lightweight.. Joe Gans, Benny Leonard, or Roberto Duran?

Dan Rafael
  (12:41 PM)

Duran.

Drew (nj)

I was surprised that Arreola didn't get any mention in your fighter of the year rankings. While his competition hasn't been all that tough, he was by far the busiest and seemingly most rededicated of the fighters who have fairly established names.

Dan Rafael
  (12:42 PM)

Busy is great for Arreola but you dont get FOY for busy against stiffs. He didnt have one meaningful win this year. I love that he was active and love to watch him but FOY means you gotta do something special. Even being honorable means you have to do something notable.

Charles (Ogden, Utah)

I really enjoyed Max and Larry on the same broadcast. Think there is any shot to see that again?

Dan Rafael
  (12:42 PM)

I did too, but I think it was a one-shot deal.

Jeff (Dearborn, MI)

Happy new year DTM. Do you think Mike Alvarado-Lucas Matthysse is a possibility in the near future?

Dan Rafael
  (12:43 PM)

Would be a good fight but I doubt it. Top Rank and Golden Boy seem to be at it again, so it's unlikely.

Charles (Ogden, Utah)

In your years as a boxing scribe have you ever gotten to meet Meldrick Taylor? If so, is his condition as bad as some say?

Dan Rafael
  (12:43 PM)

I've actually never met him in person.

Besim (Staten Island, New York)

Are Mark Taffet and Kerry Davis going to be on top of Hershman on the HBO totem pole, or vice versa?

Dan Rafael
  (12:44 PM)

Ken Hershman is president of HBO Sports and the buck stops with him. Everyone else in the department reports to him.

frank (nj)

Dan whats the p4p top 5 youv ever seen??

Dan Rafael
  (12:45 PM)

In person, in no particular order, I would say Roy Jones, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley.

vic (dallas)

would you take lopez in his rematch against salido?

Dan Rafael
  (12:46 PM)

Tough fight but I think Lopez can win the rematch, yes, especially after seeing how bad Salido looked in his recent fight.

Jim (PA)

Do you think Rahman will prevent Huck vs Povektkin?

Dan Rafael
  (12:47 PM)

No. Povetkin-Huck is happening regardless of the crying from the Rahman camp.

Rick (Knoxville)

Happy Holidays Dan. 5/5 appears to be out for Mayweather. But, how long will he actually serve? The full time?

Dan Rafael
  (12:47 PM)

My understanding is that the earliest Floyd could be released is March 11.

Dan Rafael
  (12:48 PM)

Dont forget to check out the Fighter of the Year story: http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/7390341/andre-ward

Mike (Los Angeles)

Cotto/Marquez on May 5th I say! I think that date is cleared up.

Dan Rafael
  (12:49 PM)

That is very unlikely because the weight is such an issue. Cotto is not going down to welter and to ask Marquez to go up more than 147 is not realistic.

Steven (Chicago)

Any news on rescheduling the Don George fight?

Dan Rafael
  (12:49 PM)

Nothing yet. I need to check on that. Thanks for reminding me.

Matt (Naperville, IL) [via mobile]

Is there any possibility of Kirkland having an in between fight between now and march? I know he likes to stay active and I don't think it could necessarily hurt him if they match him soft

Dan Rafael
  (12:49 PM)

No, he wont.

Joe (Atlanta)

Hey Dan, I saw a commercial on another netowrk the other day with Brian Kenny speaking as the host of the show. Is he no longer going to be the host of Friday Night Fights?

Dan Rafael
  (12:50 PM)

Correct. Brian left ESPN when his contract expired in the fall and took a deal at MLB Network.

Scott (NYC)

At 135, Duran was the equivalent of Jordan. Not only did he beat you..... he crushed your will to fight.

Dan Rafael
  (12:50 PM)

Great analogy.

Lee (Salisbury, MD)

You expect Sadam Ali to step up his level of competition this year, was he even considered for your prospect list?

Dan Rafael
  (12:51 PM)

I hope he does. He was considered and I would say just missed the cut. Sadam needs to get a promoter, get a clear direction and stay a little more active.

Mike (NY)

Is Paul Williams/Ishida a go for 2/18 on Showtime?! Pass. Rather they give that date to someone like Tavoris Cloud.

Dan Rafael
  (12:51 PM)

Williams-Ishida is the fight being planned but I am not sure of the specific date yet, it keeps moving around.

Richard (Bronx NY)

have you had to chance to speak to Ellerbe about Mayweather prison time?

Dan Rafael
  (12:51 PM)

Leonard has not been returning calls, so I haven't spoken to him for a few weeks.

Mike (Vancouver, WA)

Dan, with Mayweather going to prison, do you believe that a major fight will still take place on May 5? Thanks, and Happy New Year!

Dan Rafael
  (12:52 PM)

I do believe there will be something of significance on May 5. That weekend is a big weekend every year for a fight so I think for sure there will be something of note.

Richard (Bronx NY)

what was your upset of the year?

Dan Rafael
  (12:53 PM)

Kirkland getting whacked by Ishida in 1 round.

Ray (Texas)

Hey Dan, ho do you kow Chavez Jr himself doesnt want to fight Martinez? He seems to get more blame than he deserves. Isnt Uncle Bob the one scared to fight Martinez?

Dan Rafael
  (12:53 PM)

Maybe so, but at some point it is up to the fighter to put his foot down and say, "Make the fight."

Hugo (Margate)

Where does Andre Ward current form fall in with the prime Roy jones, Toney, B-Hopkins and prime Monzon

Dan Rafael
  (12:54 PM)

He's more athletically gifted than Hopkins and Monzon. Nobody was faster than the prime Roy Jones, but Ward is better technically than Roy.

Jim (PA)

Any idea if Holyfield plans to fight in 2012 and whom against?

Dan Rafael
  (12:55 PM)

I'm sure Holyfield will try to fight in 2012. Against whom? No idea. I just hope whomever he faces that if it's on PPV there are no live musical interludes and trapeze artists.

Dan Rafael
  (12:56 PM)

Here's the link to the rounds of the year story: http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/7393818/kirkland-angulo-round-1

Jeff (Dearborn, MI)

Is Salido vs. Juan Manuel Lopez finalized for San Juan Puerto Rico? I could have swore I remembered them trying to have the fight be in Mexico.

Dan Rafael
  (12:57 PM)

The fight is made and will be in Puerto Rico on March 10.

nico (argentina)

Whats your opinon of Sergio Martinezs press conference yesterday, and his idea to fight Andre Ward??

Dan Rafael
  (12:58 PM)

Sergio was saying what he believed about Chavez, Arum, the wretched WBC and HBO. Good for him for speaking his mind. As far as him against Ward, I love it and am glad he seems interested.

Mike (Sacramento)

What do you think about The Ring magazine readers calling Pacquiao-Marquez 3 "Robbery of the year"?

Dan Rafael
  (12:59 PM)

They obviously didnt see Paul Williams-Erislandy Lara or Robert Helenius-Derek Chisora or Felix Sturm-Matthew Macklin.

Besim (Staten Island, New York)

I could see Andre Ward doing a commentating/fighting gig on HBO, similar to what Roy Jones did in the past

Dan Rafael
  (1:00 PM)

Andre has done a little commentating filling on ESPN2 and also for the World Series of Boxing cards that Versus carried. He'll be very good at it if he pursues that field.

Patrick (Boynton)

Hypothetical....lets say there is a crazy KO or beyond awesome Round in either the Taylor or Dirrel fight tonight. Something head and shoulders better than anything else this year. Would you roll it over to next year's candidates for KO/Round of the year?

Dan Rafael
  (1:00 PM)

I wouldnt change anything because you cant do that but I might write a blog about it or something.

Dan Rafael
  (1:01 PM)

By the way, because I've been asked so often, I started a boxing Facebook page that you can check out here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dan-Rafael-ESPN/320596341293700

Power Pellets (Las Vegas)

Speaking of FNF who is going to be the new host?

Dan Rafael
  (1:01 PM)

Good question. I'm not sure. For real.

Mike (Los Angeles)

Did you see Floyd making the May 5th date a clear bluff as he knew he'd be going to jail?

Dan Rafael
  (1:03 PM)

There is virtually no chance whatsoever that Floyd will fight on May 5. Even if he gets out the earliest possible date of March 11 (no guarantee) that means he fights less than two months later. He needs a training camp (especially after being locked up), needs to sign an opponent, needs to do a proper promotional tour. How does the promoter of the event line up sponsors or sell international TV rights when the star of the show in behind bars? It is simply not realistic for him to fight on May 5.

Besim (Staten Island, New York)

I think a lot of fight fans need to learn how to distinguish between a "robbery" and a "close fight."

Lucian (Portland OR)

Will Nathan Cleverly finally fight a top LHW in 2012?

Dan Rafael
  (1:04 PM)

One can only hope.

Gerardo (AZ)

Didn't know Lopez vs. Salido was finalized! Nice. Will there be a U.S. outlet?

Dan Rafael
  (1:04 PM)

It's Showwwwwwwwwtime!

Besim (Staten Island, New York)

Sergio Martinez proves to me, time and time again, that he is among the classiest in the business. Him being a great champion and a greater person is why I'm going to see him live, in March, at the Garden.

JraK (Boston)

Has a fighter or promoter ever asked you not to write about an injury they sustained during the bout?

Dan Rafael
  (1:05 PM)

Not that I can recall.

Richard (Bronx NY)

Hysterical moment of the year? Hayes Toe, Larry Merchant or Broner's hair brush?

Dan Rafael
  (1:06 PM)

Tough call.

Charles (Ogden, Utah)

Have you ever been asked to do the press row scoring for Showtime...and if so, have you ever regretted it?

Dan Rafael
  (1:07 PM)

I've done it multiple times before. I was thrilled in retrospect to have done it for Corrales-Castillo 1, the greatest fight I have ever covered. I've never regretted it although I declined to do it for Ward-Froch when asked. Too much of a pain to move my seat after I was already set up.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Thanks for starting the boxing facebook page.

Dan Rafael
  (1:08 PM)

I wilted under the pressure. :)

Jason (Atlanta)

I don't get this whole Martinez - HBO business. What's not to like about Martinez? That he's not a draw? Was Paul Williams ever a draw? EVER? And he certainly seemed to get conceded to. Pretty sure he was your #3 p4p at one point to. I see almost no difference outside of you-know-who. Haha

Dan Rafael
  (1:12 PM)

You're right and even after Sergio knocked Williams DEAD HBO shoved Dzinziruk down his throat and paid Dzinziruk side an obscene $850K, taking money out of Martinez's pocket and essentially forcing him to get stripped. HBO said that it would not buy Zbik (the mandatory) and that Zbik woukd never appear on HBO. Ross Greenburg, then the HBO Sports prez, told me to my face he would never put Zbik on the air. Said, and I quote, "He's terrible." So Martinez was stripped when he took the Dzinzirik fight because that was all HBO would buy. Then HBO turned around and bought Zbik vs. Chavez, thus creating the situation that's a problem now.

Tim (London)

You should of done it. The guy they had doing it had froch ward a draw.

Dan Rafael
  (1:13 PM)

I dont know who that guy was but he had it something like 116-116 which was incredible. I cant even think of anyone who ever had such a totally rancid scorecard. How many even rounds did he score?

Amaury (Miami, FL)

Dan, what kind of shot do you give Marco Huck in pulling out the upset against Alexander Povetkin?

Dan Rafael
  (1:14 PM)

I dont give him a big chance.

Charles (Ogden, Utah)

Do you have any input into which fighters are nominated for ESPYs?

Dan Rafael
  (1:14 PM)

None.

Tomas (Tx)

Do you consider body shots when doing your KO of the year awards? For example Jones ko Hill or Hopkins ko De La Hoya or Gatti ko Dorin? And speaking of Dorin, did he retire after that loss?

Dan Rafael
  (1:15 PM)

Absolutely. Dorin did retire.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Was Andre Berto a good draw because I've always thought he's overrated as a fighter.

Dan Rafael
  (1:15 PM)

Berto has never been a draw in terms of selling tickets.

Mike (Los Angeles)

Which is what I don't get; why does HBO have this negative thing Sergio? I'd think they'd welcome a fan friendly fighter who would boost their ratings. Is it me or Sergio leaving HBO is huge?

Dan Rafael
  (1:17 PM)

I have no idea. If Showtime grabs Sergio good for Showtime and bad for HBO. Sergio is a class act who has fought whomever HBO has insisted and often been treated likea second-class citizen in doing so.

Joe (Somewhere)

You need to re-read Mike from Los Angeles' question again, "Did you see Floyd making the May 5th date a clear bluff as he knew he'd be going to jail?"

Dan Rafael
  (1:17 PM)

My bad. I dont think so. I dont think they ever thought he would get any real jail time.

Chris (Seattle)

Mike Dan-toni, my friends and I were tossing around the scenario where if Berto beats Ortiz, he could be in line to face Floyd sometime in the summer, thoughts?

Dan Rafael
  (1:18 PM)

I think it is possible if Mayweather were to take a fight against somebody other than Manny.

Ron (Long Beach, CA)

What's your opinion on the future prospects for heavyweight prospect Deontay Wilder?

Dan Rafael
  (1:19 PM)

Great right hand power, great size, needs strength and to bulk up a little. Very raw though and still needs work.

jonathan (los angeles)

What up DAn???.... How come you have Donaire-montiel as a KO if technically it was TKO. yeah the leg twitching was trippy and the punch was out of this world, but montiel did get up after the fact.

Dan Rafael
  (1:20 PM)

TKO's qualify. No big deal. I apparently am not alone in the pick because I have seen numerous outlets also pick it as KO of the year. It was sensational. I was ringside and everyone was just like, HOLY F'N YOU KNOW WHAT! DID YOU SEE THAT?

Lucian (Portland OR)

When Hershman officially takes over, will he be able smooth things over with Sergio?

Dan Rafael
  (1:21 PM)

Unless Showtime signs him before then. Hershman doesn't start until Jan. 9 (although, technically, I think he can start dealing on Jan. 2 as per the expiration of his Showtime contract). So if Showtime moves quickly who knows?

Chris (Seattle)

Montiel should have NEVER been allowed to continue

Dan Rafael
  (1:22 PM)

I agree with you but that has nothing to do with it being KO of the year or not.

Keith (Clifton Park NY)

You've said before Lennox Lewis was a tough guy to interview. Why so? Was he rude, late, boring? All of the above?

Dan Rafael
  (1:25 PM)

I like Lennox a lot and have gotten to know him a bit over the years. But when he was active, he was stoic, didn't particularly like doing interviews and never had much to say. And he was always so serious, rarely smiled or seemed to have any fun. It wasn't that Lennox himself was rude, but many of the people he surrounded himself with that you had to deal with were very rude and unprofessional. When Lennox was just starting to call fights on HBO I once ran into him at Caesars Palace when we were out there for a fight I was covering and one he was calling. And he was great. He was joking around and just really cool to hang with. I told him basically, "Lennox, where was this side of you when you were champ? You have such a great personality. If you had shown it I think you would have been a lot more popular in the US than you were." He said that when he was champ he always had to keep the guard up with the fans and media so he could keep his edge.

Ruben (Houston, TX.)

Any truth to Gamboa vs Juarez? Really, Juarez? I swear, the kid has nine lives. HBO will continue to put him on but not Martinez?

Dan Rafael
  (1:26 PM)

Zero truth. Bad internet rumor.

Roy (Reno)

Dan, I am surprised at the sense of entitlement you have for Sergio. He is a better Andre Berto. Can't sell tickets, second rate promoter, getting enormous pay days from HBO. I think HBO is finally doing the right thing by ditching their old model.

Dan Rafael
  (1:28 PM)

I dont agree at all. He did a $500,000 gate or so in AC for the Barker fight and they did a solid gate for the Williams rematch too. Not a lot of guys do that much. And his ratings have been solid as well. And it's not entitlement it's being treated fairly compared to others. HBO has paid Sergio a lot and he has fought the best. But, for example, they paid Berto crazy money and he fought nobody until Ortiz and sold less tickets than Martinez. Berto fought not far from his hometown in Florida and sold litterally 932 tickets (or thereabouts, less than 1,000). HBO paid him $1.5 million and the gate was about $130,000.

Rob (Denton, Tx)

I was kind of surprised to see the Mayweather knockout of Ortiz on the honorable mention list. Anybody in the world could have knocked out a man that wasnt even looking. I did not consider that a great knockout.

Dan Rafael
  (1:31 PM)

It was on the list for the overall situation with the knockout, including the KO itself.

Chris (Vancouver BC)

Just watched the KO's of the year and all the prospects of the year that I hadnt seen before. Delorme is a beast and that Pier-Olivier Cote looks like a fun guy to watch! Hope they get some tv time next year.

Dan Rafael
  (1:32 PM)

Cote and Dulorme are both scheduled for different ShoBox dates in February.

marc (Huntsville)

Any chance Cleverly fights bhop next? Your thoughts on that fight...

Dan Rafael
  (1:33 PM)

I would there it's possible. BHop would probably have to go to the UK for the fight but I think it's possible.

Rob (Denton, Tx)

I dont agree with Roy from Reno at all. Sergio had a great fight against Pavlik in AC, had 2 great performances against Paul Williams there and had a bigger crowd there for the Barker fight then the Super 6 Final.

Dan Rafael
  (1:34 PM)

You're right, Sergio drew better in AC than the Super Six final.

Tomas (Tx)

Did you consider Rios/Murray for fight of the year consideration? That was a straight up brawl most of the fight

Dan Rafael
  (1:34 PM)

It was a good fight but I did not consider it. It was not THAT good to me.

dantheboxingfan (flanders NJ)

Dan in your opinion, who is the single person or entity doing the most damage to boxing's legitmacy today?

Dan Rafael
  (1:38 PM)

A lot of people are to blame but the sanctioning organizations must take a lot of the blame. It's one thing to have four major organizations giving out titles (and a lot more who would like to become more known) but for three of them to regularly have multiple titlist in the same division is horrible. And the ratings that they all have are all very suspect. And some of the mandatories they force are ridiculous and there are others they dont enforce. They make up their rules as they go along and that is bad for everyone.

Nick (Denver)

Is Lamont Peterson vs. Manny also a rumor or is that being seriously talked about?

Dan Rafael
  (1:39 PM)

It's been thrown out there but I don't think it's a serious possibility. If you're Arum how do you sign Peterson to fight Manny when you have already signed Bradley and he easily beat Peterson? You think that goes over well with Bradley and his manager, Cameron Dunkin? No.

Harry (Long Island)

Dantonio Holmes, what were the purses for the Ward-Froch fight?

Dan Rafael
  (1:40 PM)

Ward's purse was $900,000, Froch's official purse was $600,000 but he made much more based on UK TV, about the same as Ward.

E-man (Newark, Nj)

I've seen a lot of people criticizing Martinez for calling out Pac, Floyd, etc. because they say he is to big for them. I personally think that he has every right to call out these guys. What are ur thoughts about it?

Dan Rafael
  (1:41 PM)

Couldnt agree with you more. Sergio is a small 160 (could still make 154). Plus it's not like there is a super PPV fight for him at 168. Ward or Bute are not PPV fights at this point.

Tomas (Tx)

Do you personally have the slightest interest in a fourth Pacquiao/Marquez fight or a Pacquiao/Cotto 2?

Dan Rafael
  (1:42 PM)

I'd be OK with either of them even though my preference is obviously to see Pacquiao-Mayweather. The reality is that other than Pacquiao-Mayweather there are not many opponents out there for Manny to get excited about. I have no interest in a Bradley or Peterson fight at this point, at least not yet.

Mike (Los Angeles)

When do you think Diego Magdeleno will step up in competition and fight someone good, especially in a weak 130 div?

Dan Rafael
  (1:43 PM)

I think there's a good chance he gets to fight for a belt in 2012.

Chris (Irvine)

Is the Jan 20 Shobox with Rigondeaux v. Ramos a go? I didn't see it on your schedule but it's on Showtime's website.

Dan Rafael
  (1:44 PM)

The schedule has not been updated yet but here is the story I wrote on the fight yetserday. It's on: http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/7400959/rico-ramos-guillermo-rigondeaux-bout-now-set-january-20

brian (ca)

why no interest in manny vs bradley? I'm more interested in that fight than manny vs cotto.

Dan Rafael
  (1:44 PM)

Just not interested. Bradley ducked Khan and has not, in my opinion, done anything yet to make me want to see that fight.

E-man (Newark, Nj)

One more thing, just to get it out the way. How's the Love Child?

Dan Rafael
  (1:45 PM)

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the Love Child. He fights on Jan. 21 on the Main Events NBC Sports Net debut card headlined by Eddie Chambers-Sergei Liakhovich, althouh the LC's fight is not slated for television.

JG (Houston)

What happens to boxing after Pac and Mayweather happens? Besides the rematch is there a fight in boxing left to be made that would get casual fans interested?

Dan Rafael
  (1:45 PM)

The world explodes and we all die.

Chris (Vancouver BC)

Atta boy Dan! I've always thought that too about Bradley and secretly think its because he ducked Khan. You just said what ive been thinking for a while.

Dan Rafael
  (1:46 PM)

He did. It's fact.

Joe (Dallas)

No love for Kendall Holt's sweet KO on FNF this year? Figured it would get an honorable mention

Dan Rafael
  (1:46 PM)

It was nice but I thought there were a lot that were better.

Kelby (Omaha)

I'd like to see Cotto fight the winner of Berto/Ortiz 2. Both guys appear to have the size to go up to 154.

Dan Rafael
  (1:47 PM)

AT 154 I'd rather see Cotto-Canelo.

JG (Houston)

I will go ahead and stockpile goods for the coming apocalypse.

Roy (Reno)

Bradley did not duck Khan. He was fighting with his second rate "promoter." If and when they do fight, Bradley takes him to school.

Dan Rafael
  (1:49 PM)

So? That "second-rate" promoter was going to pay him by far his biggest purse and it was a major HBO fight. And had Bradley won he could have still walked away and signed with Top Rank. Remember -- REMEMBER -- it was Bradley who called out Khan. And when Khan was interested Bradley turned down the deal multiple times until Khan offered him straight up 50-50, including half his UK money which is UNHEARD of. That, my Freak, is a duck if ever there was one. That is certainly Bradley's call to make, which is fine. But it is exactly what it is.

Nick (Denver)

Turning down a couple million dollars in this economy to fight khan would be ducking.

Gerardo (AZ)

Speaking of Canelo-Cotto...any chance that actually happens? Would love it, and the exposure for both would be tremendous.

Dan Rafael
  (1:50 PM)

Very doubtful at this point. If Cotto did actually leave Top Rank that might improve the chances.

Chris (Seattle)

Miss Jackson being left off the Knockouts of the Year list is absurd!

Dan Rafael
  (1:51 PM)

LOL.

Dan Rafael
  (1:51 PM)

LOL.

Gerardo (AZ)

Dan, many have expressed what a great season FNF had in 2011. I think ShoBox also had a stellar season, especially in the 2nd half. Much better than 2010.

Dan Rafael
  (1:52 PM)

They have been both consistently putting on good shows -- and doing it on very small budgets.

Van (Phoenix)

To that guy earlier this year who turned down his prom date to watch Ortiz vs Berto, could you give him some kind of freak award, Dan?

Dan Rafael
  (1:53 PM)

LOL, I forgot about that, but that is quite Freakish.

Ry (OH)

Dan, I'm sure it's a tough list to compile, but how close to making the cut was Dannie Williams' sick one punch KO of Cervantes on FNF?

Dan Rafael
  (1:53 PM)

It was a good knockout and it could have been on there I just didn't use it.

Dan Rafael
  (1:54 PM)

Here's my preview of tonight's Taylor/Dirrell card: http://espn.go.com/boxing/story/_/id/7402653/jermain-taylor-andre-dirrell-ready-make-ring-returns

Darin (Los Angeles)

DTM--Both Taylor and Dirrell are coming off injuries so undoubtedly their promoters are putting them in the ring with patsies. I'm curious if you have seen either of their opponents fight before--are either of them legit opponents that could possibly give a good fight? Or are they just here to collect a check and get KO'd?

Dan Rafael
  (1:57 PM)

I've seen both opponents. Considering Taylor and Dirrell are coming off long layoffs and injuries they are reasonable opponents. Both are pros who can handle themselves but not A-level guys. They're both underdogs but both are competent, have good records and I know will try. They are appropriate matches considering the circumstances. The lure of the fights to me on this show is not that I expect an ultra competitive fight but that I am interested to see how Taylor and Dirrell look coming back.

kevin (Worcester)

Will Edwin Rodriguez get a title shot in 2012 and if so who do you think the best matchup for him would be??? Happy New year Dan!!

Dan Rafael
  (1:58 PM)

I think Edwin is in a great position for a fight with a top guy in 2012. When and who? Dont know.

Justin (Denver)

What's with the one pound allowance for Taylor and Dirrell?

Dan Rafael
  (1:59 PM)

There is nothing up with that. Normal. It's not a title bout. It is common practice to have a fight over the exact weight limit for that kind of bout. So for Taylor to be 161 was the max he was allowed and same for Dirrell at 169. Nothing unusual whatsoever.

Isai (OKC)

How liking is it that EPIX gets into the Martinez sweepstakes--given that the middleweights are full of Euros, making Martinez their staple fighter would not be a bad investment. Take Martinez vs Macklin for example, fits right in w/ EPIX

Dan Rafael
  (2:00 PM)

I doubt Epix will be involved because it does not spend the kind of money HBO and Showtime do.

Rob (Atlanta)

Sorry I'm late, the boss almost caught me looking at internet Pornsawan

Dan Rafael
  (2:00 PM)

Pay the man, Shirley!!! How epic was that fight????

darryl p (indianapolis)

hey dan, is this a big fight for devon alexander it seems like he still havent recover from the tim bradley fight do he need to come up big agianst maidana?

Dan Rafael
  (2:01 PM)

It's a make or break for Devon. He lost to Bradley. A lot of people thought he lost to Matthysse (although I am not one of them) and so he needs a clean win over Maidana. Very, very tough fight.

Isai (OKC)

Any word if Taylor had trouble making weight--two years ago, he was having trouble making middleweight, hence his move to supermid.

Dan Rafael
  (2:01 PM)

By all accounts he made weight with ease this week and was eating normally the night before the weight in and breakfast the day of the weigh in.

Chris (Seattle)

Can we get a Psyche Out of the Year category? My vote is Cotto bringing in Nazeem Richardson to watch Margarito's hand-wraps.

Dan Rafael
  (2:02 PM)

That was awesome.

E-man (Newark, Nj)

With Dirrell and Taylor fighting on the same card, do u think this is a ploy to show interest in a Dirrell vs Taylor fight?

Dan Rafael
  (2:02 PM)

No. Not at all.

Mike (Chandler, AZ)

I met Lennox in Vegas in 2004. My lady friend knew I was a big fan of this guy when I shrieked his name. Lennox was cool..came over to me to say hello. Was a fun experience. Mets lots of famous athletes and they tend to dissapoint. Lennox was really cool.

Dan Rafael
  (2:02 PM)

Lennox is a good dude.

Isai (OKC)

Should we expect a slew of fights announced next week from HBO given that Hershman is coming in?

Dan Rafael
  (2:03 PM)

No, the first quarter is basically scheduled so no.

Patrick (Limerick, Ireland)

The guy who had Ward Froch a draw (116-116) was Mark Shardlo. Sports editor of BBC Radio Midlands. Nottingham is the biggest city in the East Midlands!

Dan Rafael
  (2:03 PM)

Mark needs to learn a little about boxing I'd say.

Justin (Denver)

Fail of the year: Katsidis to Guerrero "what are you lookin at!?" Proceeded to get pounded for 12 rounds.

Dan Rafael
  (2:03 PM)

YES! That was a good one. Had totally forgotten about that.

jerry (cali)

havent heard anything on the new HBO series. Is this thing ever going to happen???

Dan Rafael
  (2:04 PM)

I'm told HBO would like to kill it but Shaw and DiBella, who have signed contracts, are resistant.

Justin (Denver)

I thought Showtime Extreme was going to start televising the previously untelevised fights? Why not tonight?

Dan Rafael
  (2:05 PM)

It's for Showtime Championship Boxing cards, the bigger shows with bigger production budgets. And it won't necessarily be all of them.

Tomas (Tx)

Welterweight division is starting to look good again with Maidana, Alexander, Berto, Ortiz, Jones, possibly Bradley and Pacquaio of course

Dan Rafael
  (2:05 PM)

Agreed. With many of the top 140s moving up the welterweight division is becoming loaded again.

Chris (Seattle)

Announcer Exclaimation of the Year: OH MY GAWWWWDDDD!!

Dan Rafael
  (2:09 PM)

OK Fight Freaks thanks for chatting as always. This was chat No. 55 of the year. Been a lot of fun and always appreciate the Freaks interest. The fight of the year package should be up later today. Hope you all enjoy the Showtime card tonight and have a safe and happy new year. Talk to you next week. Peace.