Some quick jabs …
• I have to admit, I was bitterly disappointed when Golden Boy, on behalf of undefeated heavyweight and former Olympic bronze medalist Deontay Wilder, turned down an offer to fight rising heavyweight prospect Bryant Jennings last week. In case you missed it, Wilder and Jennings have been in a Twitter beef, during which Wilder called Jennings out. Jennings’ promoter, Main Events, responded by offering Wilder the slot opposite Jennings on its next NBC Sports Network show on Dec. 8. Yet Wilder’s team quickly shot it down, saying the money (likely around $25,000, though there was room for negotiation) wasn’t enough for that kind of fight.
Now, I understand that a year from now, Wilder-Jennings could be a pretty big fight. But that’s only if both continue their respective ascents. The fact is, neither Wilder or Jennings has fought anyone notable and there is a strong possibility one or both will get beating which would take much of the shine off of a matchup (see: the vaporized Juan Manuel Lopez-Yuri Gamboa megafight). The winner of a showdown in December would take a big step in the heavyweight division, probably vaulting himself up in the rankings and certainly becoming more attractive to the higher-paying premium networks. Unfortunately, Wilder, who frankly has accomplished nothing in his four-year professional career, sees it a little different.
• Here’s why Wladimir Klitschko may never fight in the U.S. again: More than 16,000 tickets have already been sold for Klitschko’s title defense against Marisuz Wach in November in Hamburg, Germany.
• Speaking of hot tickets, Top Rank reports that 13,000 seats have already been sold for Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV in December. It seems despite the lukewarm response the fight received from pundits, there is still a strong interest from fans to see these two future Hall of Famers in the ring.
• Looks like Gennady Golovkin will return to the ring on Dec. 8, when he will defend his WBA middleweight title somewhere in Europe. Golovkin hoped to land an HBO date, but the network is booked solid in December and Golovkin is determined to fight before the end of the year. Main Events lobbied Golovkin hard to fight on either its Dec. 8 or Dec. 22 shows. However Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, believes he can get a better deal fighting in Europe.
• There is some debate over when Wladimir Klitschko owes a mandatory defense of his WBA title. Sauerland Event, which represents WBA “regular” titleholder Alexander Povetkin, claims Klitschko must face Povetkin by the end of February. Klitschko’s manager, Bernd Boente, says the fight isn’t due until next July. My opinion: Who cares? Klitschko has chased Povetkin for years and, after Wach, doesn’t have any viable opponents on the horizon. Cut a deal — March sounds pretty good — and make the fight.
• Sign me up for more Kubrat Pulev. Pulev’s 11th-round knockout of 6-foot-7 Alexander Ustinov on Epix last weekend — which followed a knockout of 6-foot-7 heavyweight prospect Alexander Dimitrenko before that — has established the Bulgarian as a legitimate heavyweight contender. Pulev will likely face the winner of Tomasz Adamek-Odlanier Solis in December, with a win positioning him as the IBF’s No. 1 contender for Wladimir Klitschko’s title.
• Let me join the chorus of those who think Don King’s $1.1 million purse bid for Chris Arreola-Bermane Stiverne is nuts. Neither Arreola or Stiverne has done much of anything lately, certainly not enough to warrant that type of payday. There is a good chance Arreola-Stiverne on HBO or Showtime but there is no way King is going to get his money back in the license fee. It’s simply not that significant a fight.
– Chris Mannix