BoxingTalk's News, Notes and Insider Info

By George Willis


BoxingTalk's News, Notes and Insider Info

Passionate almost to a fault.  That’s how I would describe  boxing fans. I’ve covered just about every sport there is: football, basketball, tennis, baseball, golf even bowling.  The boxing fan is special. Most fans will analyze a game or match and hope their team or favorite athlete will succeed.  The boxing fan will tell you emphatically who’s going to win a fight and no amount of debate or discussion is going get him or her to change their minds. Most football fans will watch football even if it’s being played by two bad teams. Same with baseball fans.  True golf fans watch golf even if Tiger Woods isn’t playing.  If boxing fans don’t like a proposed fight, they not only won’t watch it, they’ll tell you why they aren’t going to watch it and make you feel like an idiot if you choose to attend or tune in. It’s because of that passion I’ve agreed to contribute to Feel free to agree and disagree with anything you read in this space…as if you weren’t going to do that anyway. Now let’s talk boxing:

**HBO boss Ross Greenburg is holding private meetings with several top promoters in hopes of persuading them to agree on staging a mini-tournament to unify the heavyweight championship. Greenburg, Don King and others have been calling for such a tournament for more than a year, but now HBO is being proactive.  Maybe, just maybe, something will come to fruition this time for two reasons: money and money. With all four major belts being held by champions not born in America, American fight fans and viewers are spending their money on lower divisions.  HBO may start doing the same.

This Saturday night is a prime example. Welterweights Floyd Mayweather and Carlos Baldomir meet on HBO PPV, while on the same night WBO heavyweight champ Serguei Liakhovich defends his title against Shannon Briggs on Showtime.  You’ll have to pay $49.95 to watch Mayweather-Baldomir, while Liakhovich-Briggs is free to subscribers of Showtime. Nonetheless, Mayweather-Baldomir is attracting way more interest and will generate millions more dollars.  IBF heavyweight title holder Wladimir Klitschko goes the following week on HBO Live when he defends against unbeaten Calvin Brock at the Garden.  But the fight isn’t making the kind of money or splash it would make if Klitschko were the unified champ.  And who is going to spend dollars to see WBA champ Nikolay Valuev or WBC champ Oleg Maskaev?  Promoters love to make money and love to be part of big events.  The heavyweight division is creating neither.  “The promoters realize you can’t sell these guys individually forever,” Greenburg said. “We’ll give it our best shot and see if they can come to some kind of mini-tournament to settle it. If they can’t I don’t know what we’ll do with the heavyweights. Maybe we’ll concentrate on other divisions. “   I hope that’s a threat.

I thought it was a joke when I heard James Toney’s reps approached conditioning guru Mackie Shilstone about working with the habitually out-of-shape Toney.  That’s kind of like Dr. Phil being asked to tame Dennis Rodman.

With Emanuel Steward prepping Wladimir Klitschko for his Nov.11 title defense at Madison Square Garden, promoter Lou DiBella plans to take a more hands on approach during Jermain Taylor’s training camp in Miami.  Taylor defends his middleweight title against Kassim Ouma Dec. 9 in Little Rock. “I want to be proactive to make sure I pick the right sparring partners, etc., since Emanuel is not going to be there,” DiBella said.  Taylor elected to train in Miami instead of joining Steward and Klitschko in the Poconos because, he didn’t want to “feel like he was second fiddle,” a source close to Taylor said.  Taylor’s long-time coach Ozell Nelson is leading the camp for now, but don’t discount the possibility of another trainer showing up before Steward arrives. Ronnie Shields is available and recently split with Ouma.

Super middleweight king Joe Calzaghe says he can’t wait to fight in the States, can’t wait to show American boxing fans his talent, and can’t wait to be as popular here as he is in Europe?  Hmmm.  How’s that working for Ricky Hatton?


Send questions and comments to: