By Robert Morales
It appears there is a good chance welterweight champion Timothy Bradley will not be fighting after all Dec. 15 in Miami, promoter Bob Arum said Wednesday.
"Bradley may not fight this year, that's what we're hearing from his manager," said Arum, who was on hand at Fortune Gym in Hollywood to play host to a workout for the fighters involved in Saturday's card at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. where Nonito Donaire will defend his super bantamweight title against Toshiaki Nishioka (on HBO).
"It may be his foot or whatever, but he may wait until next year to fight. That's up to him."
Cameron Dunkin, Bradley's manager, confirmed the news that the foot injury Bradley sustained during his controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao in December is an issue. Dunkin said he would know any day if Bradley will be able to make the December date.
Arum said there would still be a show at Marlins Park in Miami that night, even if it does not involve Bradley, whose opponent was also up in the air. First it was thought that Robert Guerrero could get the nod, then those negotiations apparently went awry and Lamont Peterson's name surfaced for a possible rematch of a fight won by Bradley in December 2009.
We asked Arum if there were truly any serious negotiations for Bradley-Guerrero. It's a legitimate question because Arum's Top Rank Inc. and Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Guerrero, are bitter enemies and rarely do fights together.
Arum unloaded on Golden Boy and its CEO, Richard Schaefer.
"HBO interceded," Arum said, "and they offered Schaefer $1.2 million. And Schaefer offered Guerrero $600,000 out of the $1.2 million. Now, anybody who does that is reprehensible. But worse than that, somebody who professes to have formed this company to aid the fighters and not take advantage of them - that's even worse. So it wasn't the fact that Guerrero was being greedy, he wanted his fair share of the $1.2 million."
Schaefer, who arrived back from a London news conference Wednesday afternoon, could not be reached for comment.
Arum Wasn't Done There
Both Donaire and fellow super bantamweight champion Abner Mares have made it clear they would like to get it on in a title unification bout should they get past their immediate tasks at hand - Mares defends his belt against Anselmo Moreno on Nov. 10 at Staples Center (on Showtime).
Since Top Rank and Golden Boy were at least talking about Bradley-Guerrero, we asked Arum if the two companies can get together to make Donaire-Mares.
"No, they can't work together because Schaefer is owned by Showtime," Arum said. "Abner Mares has to make a decision. A Donaire-Mares fight can happen after Mares's contract runs out next year with Golden Boy."
Kizer Talks Marijuana, Steroids
When Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. tested positive for marijuana following his Sept. 15 fight with Sergio Martinez, it made a lot of people in the industry - fighters, promoters and fans alike - wonder what the big deal was, that there is no way marijuana enhances one's performance.
In other words, why should anyone care?
Marijuana of course does not have the chemicals in it steroids do.
Also, anyone familiar with marijuana knows that if anything, it can bring on lethargy to one high on it. Surely, it's not something a fighter or any other athlete would use to medically enhance his or her performance, right?
We spoke with Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, about just that during a recent telephone conversation. We asked him straight out if the commission looks upon marijuana the same way it does true performance-enhancers. His response was intriguing.
"Not necessarily," he said, "But I know athletes who use marijuana have said it is a performance-enhancer. It helps them focus better because they have less anxiety. When you go into the ring and get hit in the head, there is some anxiety to that.
"And, there is a sort of pain management to you. It's going to help in pain management."
That said, Kizer suggested the commission has to take a stance against marijuana for obvious reasons.
"Fighting under the influence is something that might dull your reflexes," he said. "Same way why marijuana is illegal to smoke and drive, and alcohol is illegal to drink and drive."
Besides the obvious strength advantage one gets from steroids, there is another strong reason to take a harder line on them. Without having been queried about that directly, Kizer voluntarily pointed out the obvious, that when it comes to the real performance-enhancers - "You are going to totally mess up your hormones and die early like Lyle Alzado."
From a penalty standpoint, a softer line is taken against marijuana.
"I can tell you, honestly speaking, for a first offense on steroids its been about nine months (suspension), since I've been around for the past six years," Kizer said. "It's only six months for marijuana. Obviously, something like fake urine, it's been like 12 months because we don't know what it's in there aside from the overt factor of fraud."
In Chavez's case, though this is his first marijuana beef, he tested positive for diuretics in 2009. Which means his suspension could be longer if the commission holds that against him. (He is already temporarily suspended pending his formal hearing).
At the end of the day, marijuana is not looked upon as harshly as steroids and other enhancers. But it's on the banned list for a reason.
"They're all on there because of the risk involved from the person taking it," Kizer said.
Espinoza Wary of Moreno
Mares has a credo of fighting the best available opponent, and that's fine with his manager, Frank Espinoza. But Espinoza admits he has some worry over this fight with Moreno, a very talented southpaw who is difficult to hit. Just ask Vic Darchinyan, who barely touched Moreno when Moreno won a wide decision over him in a bantamweight title defense in December in Anaheim, Calif.
"Yeah, I did because the style that he (Moreno) has is very awkward," Espinoza said, when asked if he had some concern about Mares taking this fight. "But knowing Abner, he wants to fight the best and we're up for the challenge."
Moreno (33-1-1, 12 KOs) went 11-0 in bantamweight title fights before moving up for this fight. He suffered his only loss - to Ricardo Molina - 10 years ago this month. Moreno is 27.
As for Mares, 26, he practices what he preaches when he says he wants to take on all comers, unlike some others who say it but don't mean it. In his past five bouts, Mares (24-0-1, 13 KOs) has squared off with Yonnhy Perez, Darchinyan, Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko twice and Eric Morel. Morel is a little long in the tooth, but still, that's quite a run without the proverbial tune-up bout.
"Nowadays, I've noticed that in boxing people dress nice, people look good, people trying to do a different thing in boxing," said Mares, of Hawaiian Gardens, Calif. "But if you really go back in time, it wasn't about looks, it wasn't about how well-dressed you are, it wasn't about being liked. It was about being respected and fighting the best.
"And I want to bring that back. I want to be one of the guys that has fought nothing but the champions and continue that because that's the way it should be. I mean, if you are a champion, you have to fight the No. 1 ranked (contender); if not, another champion and unify it. I really respect that and I respect my sport."
Goossen: Hunter Good For Khan, Anyone
When you watch someone like Andre Ward perform the way he does, one always wonders how much the trainer had to do with it. In Ward's case, he is so talented, so smart, he could probably train himself.
Well, this might be a good time to find out just how good Ward's trainer, Virgil Hunter is, because Hunter was recently hired by former junior welterweight champion Amir Khan to replace Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
Khan, stopped by Danny Garcia in the fourth round in his most recent bout in July, has basically accused Roach of not stressing defense enough. Roach has never made any bones about being an offense-oriented trainer. Ward, of course, is a defensive wizard.
Dan Goossen, Ward's promoter, probably knows Hunter as well as any promoter. Without taking any shots at Roach, Goossen is of the mind choosing Hunter was a smart move by Khan.
"He can help any fighter," Goossen said of Hunter, last year's Trainer of the Year for the Boxing Writers Association of America.
"But everything's said and done, you know, it's in the fighters' hands when that bell rings. But Virgil has the ability to bring out that something extra that very few trainers are capable of doing.
But it always helps when you've got the fighter with that type of ability."
Goossen said he has seen Hunter make good fighters out of mediocre fighters, fighters who did not have the talent of a Khan.
"So I can see Amir becoming a better fighter because of the training he's going to get from Virgil," Goossen said.
Khan's first fight under Hunter will be against Carlos Molina on Dec. 15 at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, where the Lakers once played long ago. It will be televised by Showtime.
Khan helped play host to a London news conference Tuesday promoting that fight. One of his comments spoke of his mind-set, that basically he believes a lack of ring ingenuity was at the root of his downfall against Garcia.
"We have spoken quite a bit already," Khan said of he and Hunter. "We discussed the fact that I am an offensive fighter but now it is time to be a smart fighter, to win fights with my brain."
It sounds good. But if Khan does have a weak chin, like so many believe he does, it's only a matter of time before he gets cracked on it again and then it might not matter how smartly he had been fighting.
Speaking of Ward
Goossen said it shouldn't be too much longer before he has an idea of the next move for Ward, who is coming off a dazzling 10th-round TKO of Chad Dawson last month.
"We're going to get together next week and then after that we should be able to have some sense of direction," Goossen said.
Ward is 26-0 with 14 knockouts, 6-0 with one knockout in championship fights.
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.