Random thoughts for your reading pleasure ...
• I always figured if David Haye pulled out of his June 20 fight with Wladimir Klitschko it would be because he blew out his jaw from talking so much smack, not because of a different injury.
Haye had already annoyed Klitschko more than any of his other opponents because of his disrespectful rhetoric and over-the-line T-shirt that showed him holding the severed heads of Wladimir and his heavyweight title-holding brother Vitali Klitschko. This pullout surely won't dampen Wladimir's desire to pummel Haye.
The Haye camp hopes to reschedule the fight for July 11, although Klitschko, who has already been out of the ring since December and only waited until June in the first place because of Haye, would like to fight someone on June 20.
There's nothing like an injury to send the heavyweights scrambling like roaches when the lights come on. Numerous heavyweights inquired about the possibility of filling in for Haye. They ranged from the logical (Ruslan Chagaev, whose own heavyweight title bout with Nikolai Valuev has been called off) to the laughable (Roy Jones) to the horrific (John Ruiz) to the shot in the dark (Odlanier Solis, Chazz Witherspoon, Brian Minto and Kevin Johnson).
• Try as he might, we all know Shane Mosley isn't going to get a fight with Manny Pacquiao. Trainer Freddie Roach isn't going to allow it unless he can force Mosley to suck all the way down to 142 pounds, which would make Mosley a walking dead man.
• Who knows if mandatory light heavyweight challenger Tavoris Cloud will ever win a world title. But Cloud can rest assured that he and his team have won something even more prestigious already: A full scholarship to the Winky Wright School of Boxing Business. Their decision to press their mandatory status and pass on a spot on the HBO-televised undercard of Chad Dawson-Glen Johnson II in the fall (a fight that would have paid Cloud more than $100,000) was absurd. The fight guaranteed Cloud would get the next title shot on HBO (probably for at least $500,000) as long he and Dawson both won. Instead, when Cloud and Co. declined the offer, Dawson vacated his belt and will fight Johnson anyway. Cloud will wind up fighting for chump change, likely against Clinton Woods, for the vacant belt. If Cloud wins, there is no defense for him worth nearly what a Dawson fight would have paid him and no guaranteed spot on HBO. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.
• Can we get some more episodes of "Legendary Nights" from HBO already? It's time.
• If welterweight titlist Andre Berto was going to get a shot at one of the big three -- Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto or Mosley -- he'd have to take it. But since I don't see any of those fights realistically happening in his next fight, I'd like to see him give Luis Collazo a rematch.
• What happened to boxing on Showtime? There was no "Showtime Championship Boxing" in May or June. There is no "ShoBox" scheduled in June or July at this point. Doesn't that make Showtime calling itself "America's No. 1 Boxing Network" look pretty dumb?
• I'm really disappointed that there is no American television outlet for the June 27 Andreas Kotelnik-Amir Khan card in London, not even on pay-per-view.
• I really like the idea of the Juan Diaz-Paulie Malignaggi fight that is in the works for HBO on Aug. 22. That is a true crossroads fight if there ever has been one. Both guys desperately need the victory and I think it will be a good fight.
• If anyone thinks Victor Ortiz is in easy when he faces Marcos Maidana on June 27 on HBO they are sadly mistaken.
• How can you not be happy for Israel Vazquez after he was medically cleared to fight?
• It was a terrible call by Ring Magazine to drop undefeated junior flyweight champion Ivan "Iron Boy" Calderon from its pound-for-pound rankings, especially when someone as undeserving as Celestino Caballero is in the top 10. Calderon has been off since August 2008 because of an injury, and he has a title defense scheduled against Rodel Mayol next week on the Cotto-Joshua Clottey undercard. Typically, fighters on my ESPN.com rankings and Ring's are allowed a year of inactivity before they are removed, longer if the layoff has been caused by an injury. Shouldn't Ring have waited to see how Calderon fares next week? Vazquez and Rafael Marquez both retained their pound-for-pound positions on Ring's list despite more than a year of inactivity. Vazquez is idle because of a specific injury, but Marquez did not have an injury that kept him out. It's inexcusable for Calderon to have been dropped.
• Felix Trinidad, who still has delusions of a $15 million payday for a rematch with Bernard Hopkins, suffered a fracture in his right wrist during a basketball game in Puerto Rico recently. When Trinidad is better, I hope he keeps playing hoops instead of thinking about boxing.
• Three months ago, one of the most exciting potential fights on the horizon was a match between junior middleweight sluggers James Kirkland and
Alfredo Angulo, rising contenders moving up the rankings at the speed of light. How times have changed. Kirkland, already a convicted felon, now sits in jail on gun charges that threaten to keep him behind bars for a long time. Angulo suffered his first loss in a disappointing performance against Kermit Cintron last week.
• Memo to Jermain Taylor, who was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest Memorial Day weekend while partying in Miami: Next time a cop tells you to move your car, just keep your mouth shut and do it.
• This is not a misprint: promoter Lou DiBella has signed Isiah Thomas. I did a double take when I saw the news release. No, the New York promoter didn't sign the man who helped drive my beloved New York Knicks into the ground as one of the all-time worst coaches and general managers in NBA history. Not that I would have minded seeing him take a few punches to make up for all the heartache he caused Knicks fans. Actually, DiBella was touting that he had signed a Detroit light heavyweight with the same name but no relation to the former Pistons star. The fighter Thomas (3-0, 3 KOs) is only 20, had a solid amateur career and has won all of his fights in the first round.
• There was a boxing card in Baltimore last week. One of the fights scheduled on the club show was a welterweight fight between Tim Coleman and Jason Thompson. The fight was canceled at the weigh-in because Thompson was 165 pounds, 18 over the contractual weight. Now I don't know about you, but don't you think Thompson knew at least a couple of weeks before the fight that he had no prayer of making weight? Don't you think maybe he should have let someone know he was going to be a super middleweight? We're not talking a pound or two over the limit in a close call. We're talking about 18 pounds! Sort of makes Jose Luis Castillo look good.
• DVD pick of the week: I was in the mood for this one, so I dipped into the archive and went back to Dec. 2, 1992, to Tortoli, Italy, where Kennedy McKinney and Welcome Ncita put on one hell of a fight. When they met, McKinney, a 1988 U.S. Olympic gold medalist, was one of the more exciting smaller fighters of his day, and Ncita was a fine champion from South Africa making the seventh defense of his junior featherweight belt. It was a rousing battle, but McKinney was trailing on all three scorecards entering the 11th round. Ncita had him pinned along the ropes when, out of nowhere, McKinney unloaded a short right hand that caught Ncita dead on the chin for a spectacular knockout. McKinney scored an improbable comeback as Ncita went down flat on his back, spread eagle in the center of the ring. Sixteen months later they met in a rematch. It was another excellent fight that McKinney won, this time via majority decision.