By Robert Morales
A promotional company pitting two of its best fighters against each other is not exactly a common occurrence. But that's what Golden Boy Promotions is doing with James Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo, who Saturday will square off in a WBC junior middleweight title elimination fight in Mexico (on HBO).
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy, was asked why he is doing something a lot of promoters would not.
"It's one of those fights people get excited about," Schaefer said of what is almost a can't-miss barnburner. "If you look at 154 pounds, I think this is one of the most exciting punch-for-punch fights one can put together. It's not easy to please HBO to get these dates as they have very high standards on who they accept as fights; that is one of the fights they wanted.
"I talked to the fighters and they were willing to do it. It's a high risk for either one of those fighters and for us as well. And talk about excitement, this fight has excitement written all over it."
Schaefer agreed boxing needs more of this.
"Yeah, I think that is what people want to see," Schaefer said. "Boxing is entertainment and people want to be entertained with action fights. They want to watch boxing, they don't want to see dancing. Otherwise they can go watch Dancing with the Stars."
Would Winner Face Alvarez?
Since Saul "Canelo" Alvarez - also promoted by Golden Boy - is the WBC junior middleweight champion, it would seem that he would fight the winner of Kirkland-Angulo. But Schaefer said he wasn't sure - in this case - if the rules stipulate Alvarez must immediately face the winner.
That said, Schaefer said there is no way Alvarez is looking past Kermit Cintron to anyone else. Alvarez will defend his belt against Cintron on Nov. 26 in Mexico City (on HBO).
"You look at Alvarez and where he stands, he's taking on Cintron in what is going to be a very difficult and very dangerous fight," Schaefer said. "Cintron is a big puncher and if you remember, he beat Angulo."
Schaefer went on to say there is a possibility that Alvarez will next take on middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.; he said he has already talked to Arum (Chavez's promoter) about such a fight. Schaefer said he could definitely see Alvarez perhaps taking on the winner of Angulo-Kirkland after that.
"Absolutely," Schaefer said. "Canelo wants to be in big fights, he wants to be in exciting fights. But we don't want to look too far ahead, especially with Canelo facing such a dangerous opponent like Cintron. That would be ill-advised to think about who is next after that.
"But Canelo is not going to be the type of guy who is going to duck anyone."
Cintron, 32, does have a fine record of 33-4-1 with 28 knockouts. He did defeat Angulo via decision in 2009 and even had a draw with Sergio Martinez that year. But Cintron's lackluster performance in a one-sided loss to Carlos Molina in July at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., had reporters on press row wondering if Cintron had anything left.
Cintron came back from that setback to defeat Antwone Smith via unanimous decision in August in Missouri.
Mora on Last Legs?
Sergio Mora is only 30, but the way his career has gone one has to wonder how much he has left to offer the sport. The light-hitter from East Los Angeles won the junior middleweight title with a majority decision over Vernon Forrest in June 2008. Including a wide-decision loss to Forrest in a rematch, Mora has gone 1-2-1 since.
He did stop Calvin Green in the seventh round after the rematch with Forrest, but he fought to a draw with aging "Sugar" Shane Mosley in September 2010. He then lost a split-decision to journeyman Brian Vera in February in Texas.
Now Mora (22-2-2, 6 KOs) is slated to take on Jose "Shibata" Flores on Friday at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. (on Telefutura). Not only is Flores (45-11, 26 KOs) 39 years old, he retired for more than seven years before coming back last year.
Mora is promoted by Golden Boy. Schaefer disagreed when asked if Mora is spent.
"No, I mean, I don't think so," Schaefer said. "I think what Sergio needs is he needs to have some exposure on national television, which he will get with this fight here with Telefutura. He needs to have some exciting and compelling performances.
"In boxing you are always sort of as good as your last fight and when he was in that fight with Shane Mosley a little over a year ago he had an opportunity to win and he didn't capture that opportunity, which was kind of a big setback. Then he fought in Texas and lost that fight."
Schaefer said Mora came to him and asked for his continued support. Schaefer said he told Mora he has it.
Pacquiao's Focus is Clear
Manny Pacquiao is not one to talk trash before a fight. He rarely boasts about anything.
But he crept outside of those personal parameters recently when discussing his third fight against Juan Manuel Marquez scheduled for a week from Saturday at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).
The first two fights - in 2004 and 2008 - resulted in a draw and a split-decision victory for Pacquiao, respectively. But that last fight was three years and eight months ago, and Pacquiao pointed out at his Wild Card gym headquarters in Hollywood that much has taken place since then.
"I think this fight is a bit different than the last two because that was (over three years) ago and there have been a lot of changes for me - especially my right hand," said
Pacquiao, in reference to the development of a right hook.
"I've got more experience in boxing and it's going to be different. People know I have moved up in weight and fought bigger guys."
Their first fight was at featherweight, their second at super featherweight. This third time around will be at welterweight, although at a catch-weight of 144 pounds - three under the limit. While Pacquiao has fought several times at welterweight, Marquez ventured there only once and he was dominated by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Roach: Transformation Began With Diaz Fight
Freddie Roach - Pacquiao's longtime trainer - believes this fight is going to end with his fighter stopping Marquez inside the distance - perhaps as early as the sixth round. He was asked why he believes that and he came with an interesting synopsis.
Roach said it was Pacquiao's first fight after the second Marquez bout - a lightweight title fight against David Diaz in June 2008 - that began the transformation of Pacquiao from a fighter who relied heavily on a left cross to a fighter who added the right hook to his arsenal.
After experimenting in the gym, Pacquiao utilized the new stuff against Diaz.
"We could try all these moves we've been working on," Roach said. "It gave him confidence to use those moves. He made them work against Oscar (De La Hoya), it worked against Ricky Hatton. We owe David Diaz a big thank you.
"It gave me and Pacquiao the confidence to use all those moves and Manny became a different fighter. He really kind of evolved. He started working both hands and now he can knock guys out with the right, not just with the straight left hand."
Another change has been made, and Pacquiao alluded to that earlier with his remark about having "more experience in boxing."
"Lateral movement," Roach said. "When we fought Marquez the first time, we moved to his right all night long. Now Manny looks to move in both directions. Manny Pacquiao today is a much different fighter than he was back then."
Roach did voice one concern, but then said it wasn't a concern.
"The only thing I'm worried about is, don't fall back into that old style because sometimes people might have your number," he said. "The thing is I'm pretty much over that. I'm not worried about that anymore. What he's doing with his sparring partners, he's got it down. He really wants this fight."
Arum Chewed Out Narvaez Camp
Nonito Donaire shut out Omar Narvaez of Argentina in their bantamweight title fight Oct. 22 in New York City. It was such a poor fight because Narvaez came to survive, not to win.
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Donaire, said that after the bout he went into the ring and asked Narvaez's manager, Osvaldo Rivero, why his fighter fought like a turtle.
"I asked Rivero after the fight, 'What the (expletive) were you guys thinking?' " Arum said. "They said after he (Narvaez) got hit by Donaire he realized there was no way he could beat him, that he was going to get knocked out. He went into his shell."
Arum said he wants to next make a fight between Donaire and super bantamweight champion Toshiaki Noshioka of Japan.
"He's a terrific champion, comes to fight and he's been champion for years and years," Arum said of Noshioka.
Some time back Arum told BoxingScene.com he wants to have Donaire fight in a new arena in Manila, the Philippines. Arum was asked if Donaire-Noshioka could end up there. But Arum said that arena would not be ready until June and besides, the people in charge there don't want that fight.
"I said, 'Let's do Nishioka,' " Arum said of a recent conversation he had with those involved with the new arena. "They said, 'No, no, no.' I said, 'Why?' They said, 'Two Asians, no good.' I said, 'Well, who would you want?' You know what they said? (Jorge) Arce.
"A big fight there, Mexican and Filipino."
Except that Arce would stand little chance.