A cocky Adrien Broner has already irritated opponent Gavin Rees before their Saturday bout. (SAUL/Landov)
• Unified heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin continue to do a maddening dance around each other. While Klitschko-Povetkin is one of the few legitimate heavyweight fights that can be made today -- Povetkin is undefeated and owns a minor piece of the heavyweight crown -- it doesn’t appear to be close to happening anytime soon.
From Povetkin’s point of view, Klitschko is using the media to create an appearance that Povetkin doesn’t want the fight.
"For a long time I've wanted to fight with Klitschko,” Povetkin said. “They have a strong team and because of that factor they manipulate the public and make it appear that they want to fight me and I'm the one avoiding him. Klitschko is a strong opponent and it is difficult to predict the outcome of our fight, but every Russian boxer enters the ring to win and does not feel fear from anyone. For me, what counts is that my coach , Kostya Tszyu, believes in me.”
Klitschko, as you might expect, disagrees. In an interview with Boxing Scene, Klitschko cited the fact that Povetkin has had two chances to fight him, and both times found a way out.
"The statements that they make just show they are not serious,” Klitschko said. “I am really concerned again that I will waste my time. We will negotiate and then we are going to win the purse again. Then again nobody is going to show up at the press conference. I really am kind of frustrated with this but like I said I am really looking forward to this fight.”
“I think and I hope that it is eventually going to happen. Boxing fans know the history of Povetkin and me, and as I said before I respect him as a fighter, he is an Olympic champion and WBA regular champion. I am just really concerned about the team that works for him. I was frustrated last time but I hope the fight is going to happen of course.”
• On Saturday, Adrien Broner will defend his lightweight title against... OK, raise your hand if you know who he is fighting. The truth is, Saturday night in Atlantic City is the Broner show, another HBO-televised showcase for a flashy fighter many believe will inherit the mantle from Floyd Mayweather as the next great American boxer.
Gavin Reese -- that’s who Broner is fighting, by the way -- is trying to derail the Broner train. Rees (37-1-1) is a former junior welterweight champion whose lone loss came to Andriy Kotelnyk in 2008. Rees, 32, has a big edge in experience and has shown a good chin, albeit against largely average competition.
It’s safe to say Broner’s act -- which included repeatedly claiming to not know Rees’s name at a press conference on Tuesday -- has gotten under Rees’s skin.
"I'm going to knock this [expletive] out Saturday night and I can't wait,” Rees said. "His attitude stinks. He shows fighters no respect, but he hasn't even earned the right to do that. What has he done? I've been in the States for five weeks now and American boxing fans don't like him. They tell me they hope I beat him and shut him up. I think he acts like a fool for no reason and no one really likes that.”
“I've seen his fights and half of those guys just stood in front of him letting him dictate the pace of the fight. I'm not going to let him do that. This is the first fight that I have trained away from home because I'm going to show him I'm no walk in the park. I've never been stopped. I can take him out in the first round, but I am ready to go into deep water if I have to. Either way, I have trained hard and will be ready to dictate the pace of the fight and not let him get away with a lot of what other fighters have let him do.”
• Tough break for Jayson Velez, who suffered an ankle injury and had to pull out of his March 2 featherweight title fight with Daniel Ponce De Leon. Velez-Ponce De Leon was an interesting fight. Ponce De Leon is an old warrior with a title while Velez is a rising prospect.
According to Golden Boy Promotions, the Showtime-televised card at the Apollo Theatre in New York will go on. Richard Abril (17-3-1, 8 KOs) will face Ugandan Sharif Bogere (23-0, 15 KOs) for a vacant title and hyped prospect Gary Russell Jr. (21-0, 13 KOs) will meet Russia’s Vyacheslav Gusev (20-2, 5 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round featherweight fight.
• Hey Don King: Stop making purse bids. Now.
• It has been 14 months since Lamont Peterson has been seen in the ring, a result largely due to a positive test for synthetic testosterone before his rematch with Amir Khan. Peterson (30-1-1) is back in camp preparing to defend his IBF junior welterweight title against Kendall Holt on Feb. 22, and says he has not missed a beat.
“The layoff did not hurt me because I've been in the gym training like I was going to fight for the past year," Peterson said. "I don't believe in ring rust. A fighter fights and that's what I do. But one good thing with the time off is that I have been able to rest my body and work on fine-tuning my skills. I'm ready to fight now.”
• Yahoo! Sports reported this week that it’s looking more and more likely that Manny Pacquiao’s next fight will be outside the U.S., with Macau and Singapore emerging as early favorites. I don’t doubt Pacquiao’s desire to avoid paying U.S. taxes, and no promoter has as much experience as Bob Arum in promoting fights abroad. But Arum isn’t going to push for an overseas fight, for no other reason than it will cost him money. And because of that, I still believe Pacquiao’s next fight will be in the U.S., either in Nevada or Texas.
• Good move by Leo Santa Cruz moving up to junior featherweight. Bigger fights for him there, or at 126-pounds, where he could eventually wind up.
• Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux may only be a big fight to the diehards, but it’s a much better fight than Donaire-Vic Darchinyan. Rigondeaux doesn’t have much of a fan base but he is a tremendous talent. Darchinyan, on the other hand, would get squashed.
— Chris Mannix