Your random thoughts ...
• I know times are tough economically, but I believe Saturday afternoon's Integrated Sports pay-per-view card (4 ET) from Manchester, England, is worth the $24.95 asking price. The main event is as much of a crossroads fight as you will ever see, as all-time great Marco Antonio Barrera, near the end of his career, tries to stave off the end against Amir Khan, the super prospect about whom there are so many questions after his stunning first-round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in September. I think it's a fascinating main event. If Khan loses it's a total disaster. If Barrera loses, his already fading career is probably over. But if Khan wins, it's huge. And if Barrera wins, he's back in business for at least another fight.
The supporting fights on the pay-per-view are also interesting. I think Nicky Cook's junior lightweight title defense against Roman Martinez could be a terrific action fight and Enzo Maccarinelli's match with Ola Afolabi for an interim cruiserweight belt could produce some fireworks.
One thing that ought to enhance the telecast is that the U.S. pay-per-view feed will use the same one being used throughout the United Kingdom, where the card will also be televised on pay-per-view by Sky Box Office. I've been watching Sky Sports and Sky Box Office telecasts for years on DVDs, and its broadcast team of Ian Darke and Jim Watt is top-notch. Having them call the action from ringside should make the telecast a whole lot better than having it called in some studio off a monitor somewhere in the United States, where the broadcasters try their best but can't capture the atmosphere or excitement in the same way as if they were ringside.
• Did anyone notice that after each round of Joel "Love Child" Julio's taking more and more leather from James Kirkland on Saturday that Julio's corner kept telling him he was doing well? Either they were blind or just lying to him.
• I've probably said this before but it is worth repeating: I need to see a fight between Kirkland and Alfredo Angulo.
• Victor Ortiz, who was sensational in destroying Mike Arnaoutis on Saturday night on HBO, likely will be back May 2 on the Ricky Hatton-Manny Pacquiao HBO PPV undercard. However, I am not all that psyched about one of the proposed opponents, Steve Forbes. Sure, he's a durable fighter and a hell of a nice guy, but come on. That's not a fight that will excite anyone. The undercard of such a big show should be better. Golden Boy and Top Rank, which inflicted one of the worst pay-per-view undercards upon us in December (under Pacquiao-Oscar De La Hoya) owe us fights that HBO would buy for live HBO, especially since the promoters want our $50 in the worst way.
• Let's be honest: Robert Guerrero, despite a cut in the second round, simply quit against Daud Yordan.
• It's been quiet, but I sure hope that means that Golden Boy and Main Events are busy trying to get a fight between cruiserweight champ Tomasz Adamek and Bernard Hopkins worked out. The more I think about the fight, the more I like it.
• Point blank: Vernon Forrest is ducking Sergio Martinez and it's time for the WBC to order the long-overdue mandatory already.
• I love that Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey are going to fight, probably on HBO on June 13. You can rest assured that Madison Square Garden, hosting the fight the night before New York's annual Puerto Rican Day parade, will rock.
• I can't stop watching the Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz fight from Feb. 28. I was in Houston and I remember looking around during the first round and virtually the entire crowd was already on its feet. I think about that when I watch the HBO telecast over and over and hear Jim Lampley call it perfectly when he said during that incredible first round, "This is going to be a hellacious war."
• If you missed Mike Alvarado's sick 10th-round knockout of Emmanuel Clottey on Azteca America on Saturday night, go to YouTube.com and view it immediately. It was as crushing a knockout as you will ever see.
• I almost threw up when I received a press release from John Ruiz's publicist the other day. It said that Ruiz had again been named the mandatory challenger for the winner of the eventual heavyweight title bout between Nikolai Valuev and Ruslan Chagaev. I think this is about the 54th time Ruiz has been made mandatory by the WBA, an increasingly ridiculous organization that has had a fetish for Ruiz for a decade. Ruiz is a nice guy but seeing him in yet another undeserved title bout is just depressing. Enough is enough.
• When I heard that promoter Irish Ropes had canceled its March 16 pre-St. Patrick's Day card at the Madison Square Garden Theater I wasn't surprised. The reason given was that ticket sales were sluggish because of the economy. I would submit that perhaps ticket sales were awful because the card stunk. Andy Lee, who is not an attraction yet, against the totally shot Antwun Echols in the main event and Wayne McCullough, who has lost four of five, against the less-than-formidable Alex Becerra isn't a card I can envision many paying to see even in a robust economy. I'm not even sure New York officials would have licensed Echols or McCullough.
• So Edwin Valero changed trainers, parting ways with Kenny Adams and hiring Robert Alcazar. Talk about a weird move. It's like trading in a brand-new Lexus to get back your old Camry with 180,000 miles on it.
• DVD pick of the week: A Fight Freak in one of my chats last week made this suggestion and I went with it, delving into the archive for a fight from 19 years ago this month, March 17, 1990, to be exact, in Las Vegas. On that night Meldrick Taylor and Julio Cesar Chavez met to unify junior welterweight titles in what turned out to be one of the most memorable and controversial fights in boxing history. In a terrific action fight, Taylor was taking hard shots all night from Chavez but clearly winning in impressive fashion. But what separates boxing from all other sports is the ability for a fighter, no matter how badly he is trailing, to come back and win with one punch. You can't hit a 10-run homer in baseball or sink an 8-point shot in basketball. But Chavez hit the equivalent in boxing, knocking Taylor down in the 12th round. Although Taylor rose, referee Richard Steele, in a move still debated to this day, stopped the fight with two seconds left, giving Chavez the victory. For the record, I felt like Taylor should have been allowed to continue to claim his decision win.