Battle Lines: Victor Ortiz the Golden Boy PPV Savior? Gamboa Free, Tarver's Steroid Bust
Tonight, Victor Ortiz holds the pay-per-view hopes of his promoter Golden Boy and stable mate Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in his hands when he faces Josesito Lopez on Showtime.
Should Ortiz win impressively, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer plans to move forward with a pay-per-view showdown at 154 pounds pitting Ortiz against Canelo on September 15 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand.
Ortiz will be coming into the ring with one of his longest career layoffs (10 months), having fought last September against Floyd Mayweather and seeing his Andre Berto rematch fall through after Berto’s steroid bust. Josesito Lopez is coming off a very close decision loss to Jessie Vargas.
While there’s still a high possibility Golden Boy moves their date (rumors allege to October), Ortiz should do his part handily tonight. Lopez is tough, but he’s a career junior welterweight, as evidenced by the fact he weighed in yesterday at 144 pounds. On the other hand, Ortiz was huge at junior welterweight and still packs on a lot a weight during fight night. He came into the ring against Mayweather weighing close to 160 pounds.
Look for both guys to have some nice toe to toe action early with Ortiz’s size and power having a noticeable effect. Prediction is Ortiz by seventh round stoppage.
The Show-Stealer: Humberto Soto vs. Lucas Matthysse
The main event is solid, but don’t be surprised if Soto and Matthysse bring the house down on tonight’s undercard. Soto already notched a Fight of the Year contender in 2010 with Urbano Antillon. And Matthysse is a heavy-handed stalker that dropped both Zab Judah and Devon Alexander and should have got the nod in at least one of those fights.
Tough pick here. Soto is the more skilled boxer, but he also has more wear and tear on him. Just because I think Matthysse is finally due a signature victory, I’ll go with his harder punches giving him a tight decision win.
Will Tarver Speak Tonight on His Steroid Bust
Antonio Tarver became the latest name fighter to get busted for performance enhancing drugs yesterday when the California State Athletic Commission announced a pre-fight urine sample tested positive for the anabolic steroid drostanolone. The sample was taken before Tarver’s June 2 fight with Lateef Kayode, a bout that ended up being a draw. For his part, Tarver is claiming innocence and requesting a “B” sample to show his initial results were a false positive.
“Today’s news of a false positive caught me, as well as my family and supporters by surprise. I apologize for the embarrassment it caused,” said Tarver on his official Twitter page. “I’ll appeal and submit to the California commission everything that I’ve consumed prior to June 2 that could of caused this honest mistake.
“I have always been a proponent of a clean sport and an advocate for the most rigorous drug testing in boxing. … I am confident that my fans will see that I was not at any time attempting to gain an unfair or illegal advantage in my performance.”
Tarver is still scheduled to work this evening’s Showtime telecast, and if that holds there’s no way he can stand up there without making a similar on-air declaration. At 43 years old and hoping for a heavyweight run, Tarver would definitely have the motivation to cheat. Still, he deserves due process before being condemned.
Should that “B” sample come back positive, it’ll be interesting to see how Showtime handles it. Obviously the execs there are big on the former champ; they amazingly paid Tarver a cool $1 million for that Kayode bout. I think they’d have no choice but to can him considering the hot-button topic steroids have become in addition to the fact Tarver actually competed with the unfair advantage.
Who wants to take a bet that we see at least two more busts before the end of the year?
GAMBOA-TOP RANK REACH SETTLEMENT
Yuriorkis Gamboa appears to have done the improbable in getting out of his Top Rank contract. Top Rank made it official yesterday that an agreement was reached and their lawsuit, stemming from Gamboa no-showing the press tour for a proposed April 14 bout with Brandon Rios, will be dismissed.
Gamboa is one of the game’s most talented and explosive fighters, so to have him pretty much waste away a year was very unfortunate. However, it is ironic he was able to accomplish what Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire were unable to do in trying to leave Top Rank.
With Mayweather being close with Gamboa, it’s an easy call that the Cuban phenom will end up with Golden Boy. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Gamboa and Adrien Broner locking horns next year.