LOS ANGELES -- With Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley ready to throw down Saturday night at the Staples Center -- who isn't pumped for this fight? -- the boxing world has converged here, so, naturally, I've been hearing all kinds of good info.
• Junior middleweight James Kirkland and his trainer, Ann Wolfe, arrived in L.A. on Friday night for a brief break from training camp to attend Margarito-Mosley and also to do a photo shoot for HBO's new campaign focusing on younger fighters. Kirkland, of course, headlines a terrific "Boxing After Dark" card March 7 against Joel "Love Child" Julio. HBO is making the show a tripleheader. Junior lightweight Robert Guerrero will appear on the card (pending a win Saturday night on the Margarito-Mosley undercard) and have the San Jose crowd behind him; he's from nearby Gilroy. Guerrero doesn't have an opponent yet, but Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told me that he offered the bout to Jesus Chavez, but Chavez turned it down.
The third bout on the card will feature Victor Ortiz -- the 2008 ESPN.com prospect of the year -- but not against Vivian Harris as originally planned. Harris, who simply does not understand his market value, played games and made unrealistic demands. He basically drove Golden Boy and his own promoter, Gary Shaw, nuts for the past couple of weeks. Finally, the offer was withdrawn, at which point Golden Boy lined up a better opponent in my opinion -- "Mighty" Mike Arnaoutis. Gomez and Star Boxing's Brad Jacobs closed the deal, after which Harris suddenly had a change of heart and agreed to the fight. By that time the deal was off the table. That served Harris right, but hopefully he learned a lesson. Back to Ortiz for a second. Top Rank's Bob Arum said he won an appeals court decision in his suit, which reinstated Top Rank's promotional contract with Ortiz, who had declared bankruptcy and rejected the promotional contract last year. That allowed Ortiz to accept a $150,000 signing bonus from Golden Boy, with whom he signed. Now, Golden Boy is on the hook for Top Rank's legal bills and may have an issue in putting Ortiz on the card. However, Arum said that Top Rank president Todd duBoef and Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer are working on a settlement that would allow Golden Boy to retain Ortiz. The issue, however, is that Top Rank wants to be bought out of Ortiz's contract for a large lump sum while Golden Boy would prefer to pay as they go on several of his future fights. This could get interesting.
• Top Rank's Arum has been full of info. One thing we talked about was his March "Latin Fury" pay-per-view show, which will be headlined by Julio Cesar Chavez against Carlos Nascimento. It's been moved from March 7 to March 28 and will take place in Cancun. Arum also outlined his plans for the card. He said junior lightweight titlist Humberto Soto will make his first defense against an opponent to be named and that Fernando Montiel, a junior bantamweight titleholder moving up because he can no longer make weight, will face Eric Morel for the bantamweight title that Gerry Penalosa plans to vacate for a shot at junior featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez April 25 (HBO) in Puerto Rico.
• Two weeks earlier, Top Rank is doing a card in Manila on March 15 (March 14 in the United States) on which flyweight titlist Nonito Donaire will defend his belt against an opponent to be named (possibly Raul Martinez) and Ulises Solis will defend his junior flyweight belt against former titleholder Brian Viloria. Originally, Showtime had designs on airing the card as a special edition of "ShoBox," Arum said. However, that was when the main event was supposed to be Donaire moving up to junior bantamweight to challenge Montiel. However, when Montiel said he could not make weight and decided to move up in weight himself, Showtime's interest waned and now Top Rank plans to make it available in the U.S. as a pay-per-view.
• Arum also said his matchmakers, Brad "Abdul" Goodman and Bruce Trampler, have finally worked out the televised portion of their Feb. 21 split-site pay-per-view card. The two main events have long been set with middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik headlining in Youngstown, Ohio, against Marco Antonio Rubio and Miguel Cotto facing Michael Jennings for a vacant welterweight title in New York. The other two TV fights from the New York part of the show are junior middleweight John Duddy -- the Irish community's big draw who recently split with his handlers at Irish Ropes -- against Matt Vanda, and rising lightweight contender Anthony Peterson against Edner Cherry. That leaves welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey, who was penciled in for the card, out in the cold because his opponent, Kermit Cintron, took another fight.
• Promoter Shaw, here for a news conference for the Vic Darchinyan-Jorge Arce fight he's co-promoting with Top Rank, told me that featherweight Gary Russell, the 2008 U.S. Olympian who was so impressive in his pro debut in December, would have his second pro fight Feb. 14. It will be on HBO's untelevised portion of the Alfredo Angulo-Ricardo Mayorga card.
• Since the March 14 fight between Amir Khan and Marco Antonio Barrera in Manchester, England, was announced, I've gotten many questions from Freaks in my weekly chat about whether the card would be televised in the United States. It will be. Integrated Sports will distribute it live on pay-per-view for $24.95. In addition to the main event, Nicky Cook defends his junior lightweight belt against Roman Martinez and former cruiserweight titlist Enzo Maccarinelli is also in action. Good card for a reasonable price.
• It's not a done deal yet, but heavyweight titlist Wladimir Klitschko likely will defend his belts against former cruiserweight champ David Haye in London. HBO, which will carry the fight in the U.S., is holding June 20 for the bout, which could take place at an outdoor soccer stadium.
• Vitali Klitschko's heavyweight title defense against Juan Carlos Gomez on March 21 in Stuttgart, Germany, has no American TV outlet yet, but that will probably change. It's likely to land live on ESPN Classic.
• I ran into Sean "Mr. X" Gibbons of Sycuan Ringside Promotions on Friday night in front of the sports bar in the Grand Wilshire hotel, and he updated me on the proposed Michael Katsidis-Julio Diaz lightweight fight. He said that ESPN2 has agreed to do the fight April 10 on "Friday Night Fights" pending the completion of Sycuan's deal with the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, Calif. This is a terrific fight that I am really looking forward to.
• I asked around this week and learned that everything is on track for Paul Williams and Winky Wright to meet in a middleweight fight April 11 on HBO. The sides are exchanging paperwork. Heavyweight Cris Arreola likely will appear on the undercard. I am told that there are two venues on the short list, the Nokia Theater (adjacent to the Staples Center) and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
• Showtime is in talks with Canadian promoter InterBox about the possibility of televising super middleweight titleholder Lucian Bute's March 13 defense in Montreal against rough and tough Fulgencio Zuniga.
• Two other items of note: I emailed Mosley's wife, Jin Mosley, to ask her if she would be at the fight Saturday night, and she said she wouldn't. The marital problems between her and Shane are that serious. Oscar De La Hoya won't be at the fight either, which I find unconscionable. In fact, De La Hoya has not done anything to help promote the fight Saturday night, even though his company is co-promoting it. De La Hoya didn't appear at the news conference or the weigh-in either. Instead, he has been a few miles away in Anaheim promoting the MMA event Golden Boy is co-promoting Saturday night. I understand he has a business commitment to the MMA show, but for him to blow off 100 percent the boxing event stinks -- especially when he is a Los Angeles icon; it's the first big fight of 2009; it features Mosley (a company partner) and takes place at Staples Center, the city's premier arena, which happens to have a De La Hoya statue out front. Missing the fight in favor of an MMA event is, at least symbolically, a sin.