The Hottest Boxing Storylines to Watch in Week of Sept. 23
The hangover effect from Floyd Mayweather's clash against Canelo Alvarez last weekend is in full swing. Luckily for us fight fans, there are several good matchups on tap this weekend to help keep us distracted.
None of them will come close to the unprecedented hype and drama of "The One," but they will have to do.
Add that to—what's sure to be intense and growing—speculation about who will be next for the pound-for-pound king, and we'll have some intriguing storylines to keep us busy this week.
These are just a few you'll need to pay attention to for the week of Sept. 23.
Who's Next for Floyd Mayweather?
The speculation began literally seconds after Jimmy Lennon Jr. announced a ludicrous majority-decision verdict for Floyd Mayweather in his Sept. 14 bout with Canelo Alvarez.
It was ludicrous, and not just for the atrocious card turned in by CJ Ross. Her scoring the bout a draw was ridiculous, but Dave Moretti's 116-112 wasn't a hell of a lot better. You can let Craig Metcalfe somewhat off the hook at 117-111, but to most observers at ringside it was hard to find a single round where Mayweather didn't exhibit his dominance.
But that's in the past, and the future is where we must now zoom in our focus. Mayweather was so dominant that he might have done himself more harm than good. There is simply nobody out there—short of a possible move to middleweight—that provides anything close to a compelling opponent and story.
Danny Garcia is the name being mentioned most prominently as the next guy to cash in boxing's lottery ticket. He was certainly impressive in overcoming the odds against Lucas Matthysse, but Floyd Mayweather is on an entirely different plane. There's nothing to indicate he wouldn't get shut out like so many before him.
Amir Khan would've been compelling if he hadn't been beaten three times in fights where he was an overwhelming favorite. His likely opponent in December—IBF Welterweight Champion Devon Alexander—is a good fighter, but he has no drawing power, and there really isn't much else left in the cupboard.
Short of a move to middleweight—or compelling Sergio Martinez or Gennady Golovkin to drop to 154-pounds—it's going to be a tough sell for whomever Floyd chooses as his next opponent.
Is Adonis Stevenson Legit or Did He Land a Lucky Punch?
Adonis Stevenson's power was well-known before his June bout against reigning light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson. He has huge power in both hands, and if he lands clean, he has the power to put pretty much any fighter to sleep.
Dawson didn't seem worried heading into the fight, describing Stevenson as a "tune-up" and saying he needed to Google him because he hadn't heard of him before.
All it took was one one huge left cross to knock Dawson out and to give Stevenson the lineal light heavyweight championship. That made him the legitimate top dog at 175 pounds—he beat the man who beat the man—and positioned him for a lucrative stretch of fights.
His first big test will come this weekend when he faces former IBF champion Tavoris Cloud in Montreal.
Cloud—who's had a rough two-fight stretch—lost his title in a wipeout against the ageless Bernard Hopkins in March at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. But he's is powerful in his own right, and he'll provide a dangerous challenge for the new champion.
Prior to his knockout of Dawson, Stevenson was considered something of an enigma. He had huge power—that much was never in doubt—but he was also 35 years old and had been knocked out by journeyman Darnell Boone in 2010.
The question remains whether his 76-second demolition of Dawson was him coming into his own as a fighter or simply his taking advantage of a diminished opponent.
Cloud will be sure to find out on Saturday night.
Can Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Resurrect His Career?
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. spend 11.5 rounds being outclassed, outpunched and embarrassed by recognized middleweight champion Sergio Martinez last September.
Up until the final 90 seconds of the bout, it was one of the biggest big fight mismatches you've ever seen. And then Chavez Jr. nearly landed the miracle shot, flooring Martinez and nearly finishing him off in a dramatic scene reminiscent of when his father rallied to stop Meldrick Taylor in the final seconds of a bout he was badly trailing.
But it wasn't to be, and in the aftermath, many felt Chavez Jr. had been exposed by the loss. It didn't help matters that he tested positive for marijuana after the fight and was subsequently suspended.
His lax training regimen and seemingly disinterested attitude toward preparing for the fight called into question his commitment to the sport, and he'll need to show something when he faces the rugged Brian Vera on Saturday night.
Vera may look like a journeyman if you browse his record, but he's won four fights in a row (two of them upsets) and he's extremely dangerous. You know he'll be prepared for this fight, and he'll be coming to win.
You can't definitively say that about Chavez Jr., and that gives this bout a certain amount of intrigue, which makes it worth watching.
Can Jean Pascal Still Be a Factor at 175 Pounds?
It wasn't that long ago that Jean Pascal was one of the top fighters at 175 pounds. He captured the WBC Light Heavyweight Championship in 2009, and he successfully defended it four times (including a disputed majority draw against Bernard Hopkins in 2010) before dropping the title to him in a 2011 rematch.
He's only fought once since—a whitewash unanimous decision against the little-known Aleksy Kuziemski—and that was nearly a year ago. Injuries to both Pascal and his opponents have pretty much derailed his career since.
Pascal will return to the ring for his latest comeback attempt on Saturday when he takes on the unheralded George Blades on the undercard of Stevenson vs. Cloud. The 39-year-old is little more than an opponent, and a win would pave the way for the former champion to face former super middleweight champion Lucian Bute early next year.
That'd be a pretty significant fight, but to get there, Pascal will need to take care of business this weekend.
Will Khan vs. Alexander and Broner vs. Maidana Finally Be Signed?
Two of the biggest fights remaining on boxing's calendar for 2013 haven't been signed yet.
A pair of welterweight title clashes—Amir Khan vs. Devon Alexander and Adrien Broner vs. Marcos Maidana—have been rumored for months and appear to be all but signed, but the problem is that they haven't been finalized yet.
They've been held up for various reasons—including issues about money and location—but it's time to pull them together.
Both of these matches have big-time implications—both for the welterweight division and the Floyd Mayweather sweepstakes—and it's amazing it's taken this long to make them official.
Khan needs a big win to justify his inclusion in the Mayweather conversation, and Broner needs to remove the bad taste from his harder-than-expected win over Paulie Malignaggi this June.
Both fights are important and potentially highly entertaining, so let's hope they get done rather than later.
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