News, notes and observations as we head into weekend where cruiserweights take center stage …
- ESPN reported this week that Canelo Álvarez is weighing a pair of offers for his next fight: A one-fight deal with PBC that would see Álvarez defend his super middleweight titles against Jermall Charlo and a two-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing. It would begin with a light heavyweight title fight against Dmitry Bivol and end with a showdown against longtime rival Gennadiy Golovkin. Álvarez isn’t in any rush: he doesn’t intend to fight until May and he will likely be keeping an eye on Saturday’s cruiserweight fight between Junior Makabu and Thabiso Mchunu. And there’s a chance Álvarez could split the proverbial baby, accepting a one-fight deal from PBC before moving back to Matchroom to face Golovkin. A Charlo-Canelo fight is marketable, and a third fight with Golovkin remains one of the biggest fights in boxing. Stay tuned.
- Middleweight titleholder Demetrius Andrade intends to move up to 168-pounds, sources familiar with the situation decision told Sports Illustrated. Andrade, who has held a version of the middleweight title since 2018, has been frustrated by an inability to secure a top flight opponent. Faced with being forced to face mandatory challenger Janibek Alimkhanuly Andrade will instead move up. Andrade’s team is attempting to work out a deal to face Zach Parker, a top ranked contender at 168, with the winner becoming the mandatory for one of the super middleweight title held by Canelo Álvarez. It’s unclear if Andrade will be forced to immediately vacate his 160-pound title, though Alimkhanuly’s team plans to pursue either an interim or a vacant title, with his team preferring a matchup with Chris Eubank Jr., who will be in action in the UK on February 5th.
- Sergio Martinez is now 4–0 since his return to boxing in 2020 after a lopsided decision win over Macaulay McGowan. Martinez, 46, is eyeing another run at a middleweight title and says he wants a fight against Gennadiy Golovkin. As compelling as Martinez’s comeback as been, a showdown with the heavy handed Golovkin would be a bad, bad idea.
- Officially, Trevor Bryan is a heavyweight champion. But Bryan, who owns the “regular” version of the WBA title, is not considered a true champion, with the WBA’s “super” version belonging to Oleksandr Usyk. Earlier this week I asked Bryan, who will defend his belt this weekend against Jonathan Guidry, how he felt about the WBA’s messy title situation.
“Well you got to understand, the regular WBA belt is the original belt,” Bryan said. “The super belt is something new. My belt, all the greats have had it. And I'm not going to argue and say which belt is more important. They put more value on the super belt right now, but hey, listen, man, I'm the heavyweight champion. I'm coming to collect all the belts. So Usyk can say what he wants to say, but once I get in that position where I have to fight him, we'll finish that fact there.”
- Talks for a lightweight title fight between Devin Haney and George Kambosos have stalled, sources familiar with the negotiations told SI. Officials involved have struggled to come up with a financial package that will satisfy Haney, the undefeated titleholder who is coming off a win over Joseph Diaz Jr. last month. While Kambosos’s team, promoter Lou DiBella and manager Peter Kahn, continues to discuss with Top Rank a deal to face Vasyl Lomachenko—negotiations for a two-fight package there have been relatively seamless—there is some momentum building towards a deal with Ryan Garcia. Representatives of Kambosos and Garcia have discussed the framework of a two-fight deal that would see Kambosos and Garcia take interim fights in the first half of 2022—Garcia is penciled in to return in April while Kambosos prefers to fight in June—with the two colliding in the second half of the year.
In a text message on Wednesday, Kambosos reiterated to SI that he only wants the biggest fights.
“Things are progressing great here in Australia,” Kambosos said. “The Australian and Greek fans are in a frenzy as you may have seen yesterday at the Australian Tennis Open. They are all awaiting the mega stadium fight announcement in Australia. Like I have said countless times I want the best challenger to give the world the best fights possible. Haney, Matchroom Boxing, Lomachenko, Top Rank, let’s get this done.”
- Count me among those giddy about the official announcement for Katie Taylor’s lightweight title defense against Amanda Serrano, which will take place on April 30th in New York at Madison Square Garden. Taylor and Serrano, No. 1 and 3, respectively, on SI’s pound-for-pound list, have circled each other for several years and their spring clash isn’t just the biggest fight in women’s boxing—it’s the biggest fight in women’s boxing history. The build up will be intense—Jake Paul, the social media star turned boxer, promotes Serrano—and a fight between the skilled Taylor (20–0) and the heavy handed Serrano (42-1-1) is close to can’t miss.
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