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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Worth its weight in gold

Given the state of the global economy, there are no sure things, but a man looking to maximize the return on his investment today could do worse than buying himself a piece of a 140-pound professional boxer, or a company involved in promoting a junior welterweight.

Three weeks hence, Manny Pacquiao and Ricky Hatton will collide at that weight in a highly anticipated non-title bout in Las Vegas. Last Saturday night in Montreal, unbeaten Timothy Bradley survived two knockdowns to unanimously outpoint Kendall Holt and add the World Boxing Organization title to the World Boxing Council belt he already owned. A night earlier, 34-year-old Randall Bailey, who hasn’t held a title in more than six years, put himself in position to fight for another with a devastating fourth-round KO of Frankie Figueroa in their International Boxing Federation eliminator. (Bailey theoretically becomes the mandatory challenger for Juan Urango, but with the IBF champ scheduled to fight WBC welterweight champ Andre Berto in Florida next month, he could wind up in a bout for the vacant belt instead.)

Throw in the presence of young unbeaten stars like Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander and the fact that this flurry of activity has brought “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather back to the gym, and there’s a lot of money to be cut up among the junior welterweights over the next year or two - and you can now add Amir Khan’s name to that mix as well. The 22-year-old Freddie Roach-trained Brit threw his hat into the 140-pound ring last week with the announcement that promoter Frank Warren had signed on for Khan to challenge World Boxing Association champ Andriy Kotelnik June 27 in the UK. . . .

Bradley, incidentally, won’t be a two-belt champion for long if Jose Sulaiman has his way. The WBC president has warned Bradley he could be relieved of his title if by next weekend he hasn’t both: a) signed to fight Alexander, its No. 1; and b) relinquished the WBO title. Of course, if he complies with the former formality, the latter threat would be unenforceable, and given its track record in lawsuits it seems unlikely that Los Bandidos would want to invite another.

Say ‘uncle,’ kid

Top Rank has scheduled a New York press conference Tuesday to officially announce the June 13 Miguel Cotto-Joshua Clottey welterweight unification fight at Madison Square Garden. It seems a safe bet that trainer Evangelista Cotto won’t accompany his nephew. Reports out of Puerto Rico last week had the Cottos exchanging blows at the trainer’s gym in Caguas. Since Uncle Evangelista wound up in the hospital, it’s probably safe to say that the younger Cotto won the fistfight, but Evangelista appears to have gotten in the most telling blow: According to a police report, he put a cement block through the window of his nephew’s Jaguar. . . .

Harry Joe Yorgey, the Pennsylvania-based club fighter who knocked New Hampshire’s Jason LeHoullier from the rolls of the unbeaten last year, added an even more significant scalp when he knocked out previously unbeaten Ronald Hearns on a “ShoBox” card in Oklahoma March 28. And the biggest loser in that bout may not even have been Hearns, but Craig Hamilton, John Duddy’s new adviser, who may have been the only man in boxing who considered Hearns too dangerous a foe for the Irish middleweight. How wise does that look now? Duddy, by the way, fights Ohio journeyman Billy Lyell April 24 atop Main Event’s card at the Prudential Arena in Newark, N.J. . . .

You can probably forgive promoter Lou DiBella for labeling the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla., his personal Bermuda Triangle. Yorgey’s win over Hearns marked the third time the New York promoter had an undefeated prospect upset there: Two years ago Hartford’s Mike Oliver knocked off Gary Stark Jr., and before that, Bridgeport, Conn., fighter Jaidon Codrington was stretched by super middleweight Allan Green in 18 seconds. . . .

Ten days after Hearns was battered by Yorgey, DiBella took it on the chin again when his vice president and right-hand man, Carl Moretti, jumped ship and defected to Top Rank, where he will take over as head of boxing operations later this month.

DiBella, who promotes the April 25 Carl Froch-Jermain Taylor bout at Foxwoods, has lined up an interesting undercard for the WBC super middleweight title fight. Louisiana heavyweight Johnnie White (21-0) fights outside the Confederacy for the first time against veteran Dominick Guinn (30-6), while the aforementioned Green meets Carlos De Leon Jr. in another 10-rounder. Former IBF junior welterweight champ Paulie Malignaggi, who hasn’t fought since losing to Hatton last fall, tries to rebound against Christopher Fernandez of Salt Lake City. Other prelims showcase a trio of young undefeated prospects - super middleweight Jonathan Nelson (8-0), nephew of Taylor trainer Ozell Nelson, Framingham junior welterweight Danny O’Connor (7-0) and Tyson Fury (4-0), the 20-year-old, 6-foot-7 British heavyweight whose presence remains contingent on his performance last night. . . .

Froch has set up his training camp in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Don’t bet against the Englishman coming into the ring with one of those temporary tattoo/ads on his back, since one of the online casinos is picking up the tab at the White Oaks Resort there.

5-year reign delay

Russian heavyweight Alexander Povetkin and Providence’s Jason Estrada, who managed to miss one another at the 2004 Athens Olympics, finally hooked up last weekend in Dusseldorf, Germany. Povetkin posted a unanimous decision in what was viewed as a tuneup for a mandatory challenge later this year against the winner of IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko’s June 20 defense against David Haye. Originally announced for London, Klitschko-Haye will now take place in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, in the 61,000-seat home pitch of the Bundesliga’s Schalke team. . . .

Fighting for the first time outside New England 10 days ago, Connecticut featherweight Matt Remillard remained unbeaten at 17-0 with a third-round TKO of Jesus Perez in Glen Burnie, Md.

Remillard’s former promoter, Jimmy Burchfield, meanwhile, has a May 22 show on tap at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I., with Providence light heavyweight Joe Spina on top, with Lowell super middleweight Joe McCreedy and Long Island middleweight James McGirt Jr. boxing in the co-features.

When Romanian Adrian Diaconu outpointed Plainville’s Shaun Creegan at the Dorchester Armory seven years ago, he scarcely impressed anyone as a future world champion. Diaconu didn’t appear to have improved much in his plodding effort against journeyman David Whittom at the Bell Centre on the Bradley-Holt card. The over-the-weight match had been arranged on short notice after Diaconu’s WBC light heavyweight title defense against Sylvio Branco collapsed. .

Artie Curry, who coordinated boxer relations for HBO, was one of the sport’s more likable behind-the-scenes figures. Curry, 49, was found dead at his Brooklyn home Wednesday. A memorial service is being planned. . . .


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