Quick jabs: Victor Ortiz eyes Freddie Roach, Gabriel Rosado's rise, more
Some quick jabs ...
• Victor Ortiz, who parted ways with longtime trainer Danny Garcia after last June’s loss to Josesito Lopez, has reached out to Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. Roach says he will meet with Ortiz once the former welterweight titleholder recovers from the broken jaw he suffered against Lopez.
• With Emanuel Steward battling a serious illness, Wladimir Klitschko will begin training camp for his Nov. 10 heavyweight title defense against Mariusz Wach without a chief cornerman. Klitschko’s manager, Bernd Boente, says that Klitschko is hoping Steward will be able to join camp in late October and work his corner for the fight.
• A dark horse candidate to face super middleweight kingpin Andre Ward: Denis Grachev, who will face Lucian Bute in November. Grachev (12-0) is coming off a stunning knockout win over top prospect Ismayl Sillakh last April. If Grachev beats Bute, he will likely become a very appealing possibility for Ward.
• I still think Kelly Pavlik is the most realistic big-name opponent for Ward.
• Miguel Cotto picked a dangerous tune-up opponent in Austin Trout. Trout isn’t exciting -- his win over Delvin Rodriguez in June was as dull as it was decisive -- but he is slick and savvy in the ring. If Trout isn’t overwhelmed by the moment, he has a great chance at an upset.
• What a wasted year this has been for Gary Russell Jr. For Andre Dirrell, too.
• While Cornelius Bundrage’s IBF junior middleweight title defense against Andre Berto isn’t done yet, I’m told it’s very close to being finalized for Nov. 24 on HBO. On paper, Berto, who has not fought in over a year after testing positive for a banned substance during training for his scheduled rematch against Victor Ortiz, would appear to be a big favorite. But Berto will be moving up in weight to face Bundrage, whose aggressive, awkward style could give Berto problems.
• The winner of Berto-Bundrage will be obligated to defend the title against Gabriel Rosado, who earned the position of mandatory challenger with a knockout win over Charles Whittaker last Friday. A year ago, high-profile opponents would have done everything they could to avoid Rosado. But because Rosado’s profile has risen considerably on the heels of three straight knockout wins on NBC Sports Network -- wins that have sparked interest from the better paying premium networks -- expect him to get that shot early next year.
• I like Main Events plan to focus on moving fighters up the IBF rankings. The IBF is regarded as the most respectable of the sanctioning bodies, which is to say if a fighter is ranked No. 1, he is going to get his title shot.
• Ricky Hatton has sold more than 18,000 tickets to his comeback fight in November -- and he doesn’t even have an opponent yet. Incredible.
• Roy Jones-Kimbo Slice? Pass. Pass, pass, pass.
• Thoughts and prayers are with the family of former heavyweight champion Corrie Sanders, who according to police was shot and killed while celebrating a family member’s 21st birthday party in Cape Town, South Africa. Sanders was 46.
-- Chris Mannix