Your weekly random thoughts …
• The start of 2010 has been just awful for big fights. Other than a nice "Boxing After Dark" card on HBO last week, January has been a complete waste because of the cancellation of HBO's Shane Mosley-Andre Berto fight and the fact that Showtime didn't schedule a prime-time card. HBO will have no boxing at all in February and no live "World Championship Boxing" in March either. And what's with just a one-fight "Boxing After Dark" on March 6, with Devon Alexander facing Juan Urango? Can we at least get a doubleheader? Remind me again why I'm paying $15 a month for HBO?
Although Manny Pacquiao returns to action to fight Joshua Clottey on HBO PPV, we're still settling for second-best because it isn't Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Showtime has the Edwin Valero-Antonio DeMarco fight on Feb. 6, which could be explosive but isn't that big of a fight. Showtime's March schedule includes the resumption of the Super Six, with Arthur Abraham facing Andre Dirrell. But talk about an overall woeful quarter for the premium networks. And while I'm at it, it would be nice if HBO would stop counter-programming Showtime at every opportunity, as it has done on March 6 and will do again April 17. You think it's an accident? If you do, I've got some nice Harry Greb videos for you.
• As much as I would love to see Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa in a featherweight unification fight right away, I understand promoter Bob Arum's reluctance. Arum is right: The fight isn't big enough right now. It needs time to marinate. A couple more wins for each guy and it will be a blockbuster. Arum is 100 percent right when he says he owes it to both fighters, as well as his company, Top Rank, to make the bout as big as possible. So if he wants to take some time and build it up, I'm fine with that -- as long as he follows through with what he said at ringside after both guys looked so spectacular knocking out their opponents Saturday in New York. Arum said he wanted them to clean out the division so that they are the last men standing when they finally meet. Why would anyone have a problem with Lopez and Gamboa not fighting each other next, as long as they are facing quality guys such as Chris John, Elio Rojas, Celestino Caballero, the winner of the Feb. 13 Mario Santiago-Bernabe Concepcion fight or even the winner of Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez IV on May 22, along the way? The trick here is to get Arum to keep his word, which is often the hard part.
• Not sure if the promoters have come up with a title for the Roy Jones Jr.-Bernard Hopkins pay-per-view fight, but I have a suggestion: "Grumpy Old Men." Ace publicist/comedian Fred Sternburg asked me if I think the postfight urine test will check for prune juice.
• It would be nice if some American television network would pick up the March 20 Wladimir Klitschko-Eddie Chambers heavyweight title fight.
• Yes, I am still ticked off that Pacquiao-Mayweather isn't happening March 13.
• What exactly is taking so long for the Mosley-Mayweather fight to be finalized?
• I really hope the Kelly Pavlik-Sergio Martinez fight is finalized, but there are issues. The date is supposed to be April 17. However, Showtime doesn't want Lou DiBella, who promotes Martinez and super middleweight Allan Green, promoting Martinez in a major HBO fight on the same night he has Green challenging Andre Ward in the Super Six tournament. Between that sticky situation and the fact that the DiBella/Martinez, Pavlik/Top Rank and HBO camps aren't on the same page in terms of money, the fight could be in trouble.
• Have to give ESPN boxing programmer Doug Loughrey a tip of the cap for rescuing the Glen Johnson-Yusaf Mack light heavyweight elimination bout. It was supposed to be on the untelevised undercard of Saturday night's Mosley-Berto show. That show, of course, was canceled, but Loughrey found a few extra bucks and somehow managed to fit it into the Feb. 5 show that was already scheduled. We all win by the move. ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" gets an excellent fight, fans besides those who had a ticket to Mosley-Berto will get to see it on television, and the boxers had to delay their bout by only a week rather than have it stuck in limbo.
• I love the proposed Michael Katsidis-Robert Guerrero fight.
• So, who's going to step up and fight Timothy Bradley?
• When Berto resumes training after his humanitarian mission to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, where his family is from, he'll get an HBO date and resume fighting. One fight I really hope that doesn't get made is the proposed match between Berto and junior welterweight Paulie Malignaggi. I love both guys, but I'm not interested in the slightest in seeing that particular match. There are so many more interesting bouts for both guys, especially for Malignaggi, who has never weighed more than 143 pounds for a fight in his career and would face Berto as a massive underdog.
• DVD pick of the week: When I broke the news a few days ago that Erik Morales was coming out of retirement, it put me in the mood to see "El Terrible" in action. He had so many great fights, but I went for his last great moment. It was a junior lightweight fight on March 19, 2005, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Morales, coming off a majority decision loss to rival Marco Antonio Barrera in the rubber match (and 2004 fight of the year) of their glorious trilogy, faced Pacquiao for the first time in what began their own memorable trilogy. It would be Morales' last stand. He would lose his next four fights, including two knockout losses to Pacquiao, before going into a 2½-year retirement. But the first fight against Pacquiao was unforgettable and one of Morales' finest moments. The three-division champ cut Pacquiao badly over his right eye in the fifth round and got a little better of the action throughout most of the all-out slugfest. Although Pacquiao closed strong, rocking Morales in the classic 12th round, Morales got the tight, but well-deserved decision (115-113 on all three scorecards). Pacquiao hasn't lost since. Watching the DVD, however, couldn't replace what should have been memories of the ringside experience. I was set to go to the fight, which would have been my first from ringside for ESPN after leaving USA Today. However, I came down with a nasty flu a couple of days before the trip and wound up watching the fight from my couch while deathly ill.