Franchise Thoughts: Looking at the Second Half of the 2009 Boxing Schedule, Plus the Debut of Shoe Shining

After a pretty hot start to the year in boxing, we hit a bit of a lull during the middle of the summer months. Something similar happened in 2008, but at least then we had Olympic boxing to watch (plus bitch about its ridiculous scoring system).

Anyway, we're past that now, and even if it's not necessarily pedal to the metal for the rest of 2009 - September could still use a few more fights, for one - as Jim Ross would say, business is about to pick up.

With that in mind, here are some highlights for the rest of the calendar year. This isn't intended to be an exhaustive list, and some of these fights aren't set in stone yet, but these are dates to keep in mind moving forward.

Aug. 15 - Nonito Donaire vs. Rafael Concepcion, Steven Luevano vs. Bernabe Concepcion (PPV); Roy Jones vs. Jeff Lacy (PPV)

Dueling pay-per-views are always a bummer, simply because they force you to make a choice. It will be interesting to see who has more (or more properly who has less) left in the tank between Roy and Jeff, and that event will probably sell better because of Jones' name. The little guys will be the better value pick though, and fans on the internets seem to be in love with Bernabe, so the Luevano bout should be a good one.

The Jones PPV also has Danny Green, B.J. Flores and Jason Litzau on the card, which is at least an attempt to give viewers some bang for the buck.

Aug. 22 - Juan Diaz vs. Paulie Malignaggi (HBO)

This is a nice matchup between two eminently watchable boxers; Diaz for his entertaining fighting style and Paulie for his personality. Both men are trying to get careers that kind of came off the rails in 2008 back on track, so motivation shouldn't be an issue.

The rest of the card is also loaded, with Robert Guerrero facing Malcolm Klassen and Daniel "Call me Danny" Jacobs taking on Ishe Smith. The Golden Child has been pretty defensive on Twitter about criticism of Smith as an opponent; maybe he'll channel that aggression into something impressive.

Aug. 28 - Tavoris Cloud vs. Clinton Woods, Juan Urango vs. Randall Bailey (ESPN2)

Friday Night Fights goes out with a bang with two title fights. I think the hard-swinging Cloud is on the verge of making a name for himself, but he's been off for a year and Woods is no stiff, or at least he hasn't been in the past. Urango-Bailey doesn't excite me a ton but is better than most FNF main events.

Sep. 12 - Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward (Showtime)

No, they aren't fighting each other, but tuning up and fulfilling sanctioning body obligations before the World Boxing Classic kicks off (probably, see below!). Nervous Showtime execs will be watching with crossed fingers.

Ivan Calderon also headlines a PPV the same night if pro wrestling-style squash matches aren't your thing.

Sep. 19 - Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (PPV)

So many questions to be answered here. Was Floyd really hurt and will he be rusty after his brief retirement? Will JMM handle the step up in weight? What weight is this fight being contested at, for that matter?

Unlike many HBO PPV cards, this one could end up really stacked. Already on is round two between Chris John and Rocky Juarez. Zab Judah will fight someone. And Dan Rafael has mentioned Allan Green-Sakio Bika as a possibility as well. If you're going to fork over your hard-earned money for just one PPV this fall, you could do a lot worse than this.

Oct. 10 - Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa (PPV)

Again, these two guys aren't fighting each other, but will be in action on the latest Latin Fury card. Juanma is starting to become must-see TV for any boxing fan, and wins for him and Gamboa enhance the chances of a showdown in 2010.

Oct. 17 - Carl Froch vs. Andre Dirrell, Arthur Abraham vs. Jermain Taylor (Showtime)

Anticipation will likely be at a fever pitch as the most exciting concept to hit the sport in some time, the Super Six World Boxing Classic, gets underway. Not much more needs to be said, as every fight in the tournament is worth watching.

Nov. 7 - Chad Dawson vs. Glen Johnson II (HBO)

This is one rematch plenty of fans want to see. Johnson pushed Dawson to his limits last time and hasn't shown signs of aging yet. If Bad Chad wins convincingly, it could go a long way toward reversing some of the negative feelings regarding his lack of killer instinct. And could a certain Executioner be waiting for the winner?

This is also the date that David Haye fights Nikolai Valuev. You know, if Haye actually decides to fight.

Nov. 14 - Manny Pacquiao vs. Miguel Cotto (PPV)

How can you not like this match? It pits two popular fighters with large ethnic followings and styles that usually result in action-packed fights against each other, and it will be an excellent show to attend live.

The rest of the card is still coming together, but Edwin Valero, Humberto Soto and Alfonso Gomez are all likely to be fighting.

Nov. 21 - Mikkel Kessler vs. Andre Ward (Showtime)

Assuming nothing goes awry in September, Kessler and Ward will finish off the first group of round robin matches here. My personal opinion is that S.O.G. drew the toughest initial bout, but the beauty of the World Boxing Classic is that there are no easy fights, so he might as well see how he measures up right away.

Nov. 28 - Lucian Bute vs. Librado Andrade II (HBO)

Bute is the guy who has the most reason for being upset about not being included in the World Boxing Classic, and apparently he wasn't even asked. That should be enough to put a chip on his shoulder, but there's also the fact that he was the beneficiary of some home cooking by the referee in Montreal during his first fight with Andrade.

It's tough to envision a second ending as dramatic as the twelfth round of Bute-Andrade I, but since this could very well be the last significant fight of 2009, maybe these guys will figure out a way to put an exclamation point on another good year for the sweet science.


Any good blog worth its salt needs a cutesy name for links and short commentary not big enough to warrant full posts, and I finally settled on shoe shining. Because who doesn't love a showy burst of uppercuts, right?

And if some boxing blogger out there has already thought of this one, I apologize. Just remember imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. On with the show...

Except for Floyd's dispute of reports that he owes the IRS a boatload of money, thus forcing him to come out of retirement, we haven't had too many appearances from Mayweather family members in the headlines for a bit. That changed over the past 24 hours when Roger Mayweather was arrested on charges of attacking a female boxer he used to train. I'm sure Floyd Sr. will have a comment or two on this one...

From the "say it ain't so" file comes Dan Rafael's blog entry mentioning how a lawsuit from Kessler's former promoter could derail the Super Six before it even gets going. To which I say, oh, hell no...

Here's a good little piece on how the Agua Caliente Casino Resort put a big effort into promoting the Timothy Bradley-Nate Campbell card. It's just nice to see boxing discussed as something to use as a draw for guests...

Andrew Walker at East Side Boxing discusses what it would take for the U.K. to get a TV channel devoted to boxing. My heart says that would be incredible for the U.S. too, but my heart knows that niche channels in general don't seem to be doing that well, and boxing's audience is too small to make that possible.

Posted by The Franchise

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