Khan Fight Off, But Busy Sked Continues Including UFC
Prizefighting steps forward into the breech of its busiest season as a number of match ups in both professional boxing and mixed martial arts await fight delirious fans.
One unexpected detour took place last week when a random drug test revealed that junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson tested positive for performance enhancement drugs known as PEDs. Thus his welterweight world title rematch with Amir “King” Khan was canceled for this coming Saturday May 19, in Las Vegas.
Despite that hiccup, the cavalcade of elite prize fights continues the following week with Ultimate Fighting Championship 146 in Las Vegas. The MMA fight card takes place at the MGM Grand on May 26. Five heavyweight bouts are included in the event including UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos defending against Frank Mir.
Ironically, the scheduled opponent for Dos Santos was supposed to be Alistair Overeem, but he failed a drug test too. Mir has replaced the British heavyweight.
“Apparently he (Overeem) got suspended for nine months. He got caught for taking anti inflammatory drugs. It was pretty simple the rules are cut and clear,” said Dana White, president of UFC while in West Hollywood. “He’s going to have to do a suspension and they are going to test him. He probably thought they were testing him a lot now, it’s going to be worse. I’m just pissed off.”
Cancellation of a fight card whether it’s the Khan-Peterson boxing card or the Overeem-Dos Santos MMA card can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars of marketing expenses.
“It’s a huge pain in the (butt),” says White.
Drug testing for PEDs is taking place in Major League Baseball, National Football League and National Basketball Association. Perhaps it should be mandatory in all states for boxing and MMA.
UFC 146 will proceed on May 26 with a number of captivating bouts such as former champion Cain Velasquez facing Antonio “Big Foot” Silva; Roy Nelson against Dave Herman; Mark Hunt clashing with Stefan Struve; and Stipe Miocic targeting Shane del Rosario. Plus, there will be several other bouts. The heavyweight showdowns will be televised on pay-per-view.
Three boxing cards by Southern California’s Golden Boy Promotions take place simultaneously on June 2.
IBO cruiserweight titleholder Antonio Tarver (29-6, 20 KOs) defending against undefeated Lateef Kayode (18-0, 14 KOs) at the Home Depot Center in Carson. On the same venue WBA junior middleweight titleholder Austin Trout (24-0, 14 KOs) defends against Delvin Rodriguez (26-5-3, 14 KOs); and East L.A.’s Leo Santa Cruz (19-0-1, 11 KOs) meets Vusi Malinga (20-3-1, 12 KOs) for the vacant IBF bantamweight world title.
On the same day in Indio, Andrew Cancio (13-1-2, 11 KOs) of Blythe faces former world title challenger Rocky Juarez (28-9-1) in the main event. Though Juarez has lost five consecutive bouts all came against top contenders and the Houston native was never hurt in any of those fights. It should be a tough match up.
Finally, in Las Vegas, Golden Boy and Don Chargin Productions have a world title match at the Hard Rock Hotel where WBA and IBA light heavyweight titleholder Beibut Shumenov (12-1, 8 KOs) defends against La Habra’s Enrique Ornelas (33-7, 21 KOs).
The Las Vegas-based Top Rank Promotions brings former middleweight world champion Kelly Pavlik (38-2, 33 KOs) to face Scot Sigmon (22-3, 12 KOs) at the Hard Rock Hotel on June 8. Also, Riverside’s Saul “Dinamita” Rodriguez (4-0, 4 KOs) fights Arizona’s Cesar Valenzuela (2-1-1) in a junior lightweight fight.
The following down Palm Spring’s undefeated Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) faces super star Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) for the WBO welterweight world title. Their huge fight takes place at the MGM Grand on June 9 and will be shown on HBO pay-per-view. Also, WBA junior featherweight titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 KOs) fights Teon Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 KOs) and undefeated Mike Jones (26-0, 19 KOs) meets Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs) for the vacant IBF welterweight title.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 6 p.m., Karim Mayfield (15-0-1) vs. Raymond Serrano (18-0).
Sat. Telefutura, 11 p.m., Odlanier Solis (17-1) vs. Konstantin Airich (23-5-2).