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Bad call, Joel

Daddy is a little down on his Love Child.

I'm not down on junior middleweight contender Joel "Love Child" Julio as a fighter. Why would I be?

He's won seven fights in a row since his only loss, a 2006 decision to Carlos Quintana in a welterweight eliminator in which he knocked Quintana down but was outboxed for most of the fight. And in his past two fights, he's shown improvement and diversity in his game. In April, he won a decision against Ishe Smith in a fight in which many favored Smith, the better boxer, to win. On Aug. 13, Julio pulverized game Jose Varela, knocking him down five times until he retired on his stool after the sixth round. Keep in mind that Varela had gone the distance with noted puncher Edison Miranda in a 2005 middleweight fight.

I'm down on the decision-making of Julio and his team.

Sometimes in boxing you hear about deals that don't make seem to make sense. One of the reasons for that is because, in fact, they really don't. That's all I think it can be when it comes to the latest on Julio, the big hitter from Colombia whom I fell in love with the first time I saw him on a Telemundo undercard fight, his first in the United States, in 2004.

Sine then, I have driven his bandwagon, often at the ridicule of others (like I care?). I named Julio the 2005 ESPN.com prospect of the year (I was by no means alone in the thinking that he was one of the best young fighters around). I gave him his nickname. And I have taken abuse from some because he hasn't yet lived up to the expectations that I, and others, heaped on him.

But I have never abandoned the bandwagon either. I still believe firmly that Julio, who is as entertaining to watch as anyone, can win a world title and have some big fights.

So that's where I'm coming from when I say that the decision to send Julio (34-1, 31 KOs), who is still only 23, to Germany to challenge titleholder Sergei Dzindziruk (35-0, 22 KOs) on Oct. 18 makes absolutely no sense. Frankly, I think it's dumb, although I do hope I am wrong.

Here were the choices facing Julio, manager Hernan Gomez and co-promoters Main Events and Tuto Zabala Jr. :

&#8226; They could have taken a fight with Spain's Sergio Martinez (43-1-1, 23 KOs) on Oct. 4, which would have been the main event on HBO's "Boxing After Dark" in Temecula, Calif. They would have fought for the WBC's vacant interim 154-pound title with the winner putting himself in a mandatory position to fight the winner of the Sept. 13 rematch between full titleholder Sergio Mora and Vernon Forrest. For fighting Martinez, the Julio camp would have received a financial package of about $150,000, the same as Martinez.

Keep in mind that if Julio had beaten Martinez, HBO was willing to televise his bout against the Mora-Forrest II winner. If the sides could not make a deal for that fight, Julio, as an interim titleholder, would be due 40 percent of a winning purse bid instead of only 25 percent given to a No. 1 contender.

Also, had the Mora-Forrest II winner refused to fight Julio, he would have been elevated to full WBC beltholder and HBO would still have had interest in doing Julio against another opponent in his next fight.

This was an excellent scenario all the way around for Julio.

&#8226; The other option, which the Julio camp took, was to pursue a mandatory fight with Dzindziruk, the WBO's junior middleweight beltholder. Had the money been big, it would be hard to blame Julio for going in that direction. However, it's not big. Not even close.

So here is what Julio elected to do: accept the results of a purse bid held last week, which Dzindziruk's promoter, Universum, won for $276,000. That means that Julio, as the mandatory challenger, is entitled to 25 percent. That translates to a purse of $69,000, way less than he was offered to fight Martinez.

In addition, Julio will have to travel to Dzindziruk's turf. If you talk to fighters who have ventured to Germany to face the hometown fighter, it's extraordinarily difficult to win. Also, the fight has no U.S. television outlet, whereas the Martinez fight was going to be a main event on HBO, the biggest platform the sport has in America. This scenario makes no sense for Julio.

If you speak privately to some on the Julio team, he and Gomez were encouraged to accept the Martinez fight, but the fighter and manager wanted the Dzindziruk fight.

Why? I have no idea, especially for all of the negatives -- purse, venue, TV -- surrounding the fight.

Then there is the actual boxing aspect. I have seen both Dzindziruk, 32, and Martinez, 33, fight several times, Dzindziruk many times on tape, and Martinez live and on tape. While they are both southpaws and each poses a serious threat to Julio, I believe he has a better chance to beat Martinez, especially because he would have faced him on neutral territory, not in a place where the deck is stacked against him from the start.

Dzindziruk, 32, is just the kind of fighter who gives Julio problems. He's a skilled boxer, has a good jab, he's faced better overall competition than Martinez and he seems like he takes a decent shot (take a look at his fight with Daniel Santos, whom he beat for the title in 2005). Martinez, by the way, was stopped in his only loss in 2000 by Antonio Margarito down at welterweight.

To review: Against the advice of some on his promotional team, the Love Child accepted a tougher fight overseas that is off U.S. TV and worth less than half the money of the other offer on the table.

If you are scratching your head, you are not alone.

The Love Child, his manager and those on the team who supported the decision should all be grounded and sent to their room without dinner.

Daddy says so.