As Mitchell woke up that Thursday morning, he thought he was going through his final preparations leading up to August 27th. By the afternoon, he was given the bad news.
"I had just finished a short, two-mile run. I had come home and at some tilapia and some salad, set up my alarm clock for taking my nap from 12 o’clock to two. I wake up at two, get ready to go to the gym at three o’clock and my manager called me at about 1:42 and he told me that the fight had been scratched because of an injury and I said, ’You’re joking, right?’ He said, ’No,’" recalled Mitchell. "So I mean it was shocking; it was disappointing. It’s the nature of the business."
This was supposed to be Mitchell’s coming-out party of sorts, as he was scheduled to open up this “Boxing After Dark” broadcast on HBO, his first appearance on the network. He stated, "I was extremely excited; I believe that as a fighter, you reach levels and you want to get to one of the highest levels and that was just the start, me being a co-main event on HBO and working my way up to being the main event. I was excited at the same time but I didn’t want it to cause me too much anxiety or too much pressure to where I couldn’t perform. That was one of my main focuses, be grateful, be excited that I was on HBO but knowing why I was on HBO- and that’s because of what I’ve been doing thus far in my career- and I knew I had to go out there and put on a good show, so I could continue to get those calls."
The question is, just when will that come about? One of the problems nowadays when suffering the cancellation of premium cable network fight cards is that the shows are now essentially slotted months ahead of time. Now as we head into the last quarter of 2011, does HBO have any available dates left to fit either of these two fights into their schedule?
Eric Gomez, matchmaker for GBP says, "We’re trying to reschedule; we’re waiting on HBO to see if they can give us another date what’s available. The problem is there’s no dates. Obviously, it frees up some money because of what they were going to spend on this show but their schedule is pretty full till the end of the year. So we’re trying to see if there’s an available date and obviously, they’re working on their schedule. They’re trying to adjust it, so we’re kind of on hold right now. We’re on hold and we’ll wait and see what happens."
Golden Boy is staging pay-per-view cards on September 17th and October 15th but all the televised slots for those shows have been filled.
Right now, Mitchell is in limbo.
"It’s tough," he admitted, "but I have faith and I believe in my promotional company, my management team, Al Haymon and Sharif Salim. They’re going to get me a date soon- sooner than later. That’s what makes it easier for me- that I know I’ll be fighting soon- but it is disappointing."
Yeah, all the work for nothing but really, for a boxer who first stepped into a gym several years ago, this time spent learning and honing his craft is still invaluable. Only thing is, you don’t get paid for just training. However, Mitchell won’t take too much time off. "I didn’t go to the gym today. I’m not going to go tomorrow," he said last week, "but I’ll be back on Monday. Hopefully, I’ll have a date by then but we’ll be back Monday. We might not be full-throttle unless they tell me my fight is in like three weeks but I always stay in the gym. Since I’ve been boxing, four years, I’ve never taken more than two-and-a-half weeks out of the gym. That’s the God’s honest truth, so I’m always in the gym. We’re just not going to go full-throttle."
So what’s Mitchell doing this weekend? Well, he’ll be going back to his roots and watching exhibition football like many of us.
"Absolutely, I’ll be watching pre-season football," he said, laughing. "It’s disappointing but I’m cool though. Anything can happen; it could’ve been me that got hurt. I just gotta look at the positive side. I was able to have a healthy training camp. I didn’t get injured and have to pull out, so I can still fight and if a date comes up real quick. So I just try to be optimistic about the situation."
As for Guerrero, not too much is known about his condition. According to his publicist, Mario Serrano, he will go in for further examination on his left shoulder on Monday. So where does that leave Maidana?
According to Gomez, "He’s telling us, ’We’ll fight anybody. I’ll fight anybody. I don’t want to go back to Argentina; it’s f**king cold over there.’" It seems as though Golden Boy’s preference would be to re-schedule Guerrero-Maidana as quickly as possible, health permitting, of course. "If it’s nothing serious, then yeah, if we can postpone it for a month or two, that’s the fight we want to make," Gomez confirmed. "It was such a good fight and it was an exciting fight. A lot of people were very excited about it and into it and that’s what we’re going to try to do. But at this point, we’re on hold until we know exactly what’s up with Guerrero."
With the IBF justifiably mandating an immediate rematch between Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko by mid-December, Showtime, which televised their first encounter on August 13th, has every intention of making room for it by the end of the year.
"We hope so; yes, we’re going to try and make that happen," said “The Czar” Ken Hershman of Showtime. His thoughts on what took place the first time out echo everyone else’s feelings, "I thought that the evening was just bad (the officiating) and it just happened. I guess you have an off night. The referee just definitely had an off night. I don’t know that there’s anything improper about it or untoward but it was clearly a very biased view of what was going on in the ring and I think it led to a disparity in the fight."
What’s interesting is that the uproar over Russell Mora’s performance that night and the competitiveness of the fight have made Mares-Agbeko II a fight with plenty of buzz attached to it.
"Yeah, when we talk about it after the fact, putting the silver lining on it, it made the rematch that much bigger," agreed Hershman. "You take away that knockdown and you take a point away from Mares, it’s a whole different result, right? So it was a very competitive, well-fought fight- other than the low-blows- and I think most people want to see it again."
Hershman says he has spoken to both Richard Schaefer and Don King, "We started the conversations and we’re going to hope to wrap it up quickly- it’s not that complicated - and lock it in."
His hope is to have the fight in mid-December.
"I think so. At this juncture, that’s what I would target. Mares has a cut so he needs some time [to heal properly]."
After all these years, the whole dynamic between Top Rank, Zanfer and TV Azteca confounds me. Another example would be this past weekend, where everyone, including Yours Truly, thought that they were getting the bout between Fernando Montiel against Alvaro Perez. Well, it turns out that those in States got a doubleheader between Jorge Silva and Alvaro “Tyson” Robles (which ended up being an entertaining scrap) and then Aaron Herrera against Carlos Velasquez.
Eventually, I was able to get a stream of Montiel’s third round stoppage of Alvaro Perez but coming into the weekend, I had assumed (and y’ know what can happen if you assume) that this would be broadcast on “Top Rank Live” on Fox Deportes. That ended up being a repeat of the Orlando Salido fight from last month.
Speaking of Spanish telecast, till this Saturday, I didn’t even know I had ESPN Deportes, which showed the return of Alfredo Angulo, whose fight lasted about whole a minute or so as he blasted out Joseph Gomez with a pair of body shots. They got right to the intros and then the fight. So within about five minutes of coming on the air, they were finished with their main event.
Now, that’s being concise and cutting out the fat.
BOXEO DE CAMPEON
For those who are interested in some old-school fights, Fox Deportes has a series called “Boxeo De Campeon” which airs on Saturday nights and is hosted by the always classy Carlitos Avilas. I record this series and in the last month, they aired fights like Carlos Monzon-Jose Napoles, Salvador Sanchez-Wilfredo Gomez and Sanchez-Ruben Castillo.
Again, as always, check your local listings.
By the middle rounds of Demetrius Andrade-Grady Brewer, I was yearning for more tennis on ESPN2...Hearing that there is still a stalemate in regards to the weight limit for Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito II with neither side budging for now...Let me get this straight: David Diaz’s management turns down approximately $150-200,000 to face Juan Manuel Marquez, instead facing Hank Lundy for $15,000? Yeah, not good...Here’s the real irony for Agbeko; if he would’ve won that fight against Mares, he probably wouldn’t have fought for another ten months with the way King moves his fighters nowadays...Bob Arum told me on Friday that Brandon Rios will be given a Showtime date for December but Hershman says those talks are still “preliminary”...So LSU’s erratic quarterback Jordan Jefferson was involved in a bar fight? Did he finally hit his intended target for once?...So what took place in Mexico this weekend gives new meaning to the term “soccer shootout,” doesn’t it?...What’s going on in the world; you have Chinese basketball teams running up on Georgetown and it’s ‘Niner fans shooting at Raider Nation? This truly is Bizarro World...Is Tim Tebow really going to end up as the third stringer in Denver behind Brady Quinn?...On a serious note, I hadn’t mentioned this before but the LA Times sports page will never be the same without the contributions of their NBA/Lakers scribe Mark Heisler, who was unfortunately laid off by the paper earlier this month. His Sunday column during the NBA season was absolutely one of my favorite reads. Heisler’s open letters to Clipper dictator Donald Sterling were also “must-reads.” Mr. Heisler, I salute you for a job well done and I hope you find contentment in your retirement…Don’t forget to check out our new Maxboxing/YouTube videos, courtesy of our outstanding videographer Brian Harty and on-air ace Radio Rahim. They feature Bernard Hopkins on Chad Dawson (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kin_HlUiSUI), Dawson on Hopkins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvkfFBJnuLs) and the press conference touting their upcoming fight on October 15 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cpc2CudCzM)...I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.