Wladimir Klitschko doesn't lack for motivation (cont.)
"I am very disappointed in Cotto. He has no balls to face me."
-- Lineal middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, to ESPN.com's Dan Rafael. Martinez had been chasing a lucrative showdown with Miguel Cotto, a junior middleweight titleholder. The fighters' relationship has been strained since Cotto refused to shake Martinez's hand at an event in Mexico earlier this year.
"The sad thing is @AmirKingKhan gotta pay for y'all Big mouth's. Sorry Amir thank ya fans 4 this one."
-- Zab Judah, who will face Amir Khan in a junior welterweight unification fight on July 23.
Five upcoming under-the-radar fights that interest me.
Deontay Wilder vs. Damon Reed (Saturday): Wilder's raw -- OK, he's really raw -- but with the heavyweight division starving for an American contender, the 6-foot-7 bronze medalist from the 2008 Olympics might be its best shot. Reed, 39, is a former world title challenger who has been in with fringe contenders James Toney and Hasim Rahman. It's a (very) small step up for Wilder, who is being moved along incrementally by Golden Boy.
James Kirkland vs. TBA (June 24): No, Kirkland -- the heavily hyped prospect who was inexplicably drilled in the first round by Nobuhiro Ishida in April -- doesn't have an opponent yet, and odds are whoever it is won't be very good. But Kirkland, 27, is back training with Ann Wolf and at one time was thought to have the style and power to be a big star.
Cornelius Bundrage vs. Sechew Powell (June 25): This junior middleweight title fight is on the undercard of the HBO show headlined by Devon Alexander and Lucas Matthysse -- but won't be televised. Bundrage has done everything he can to avoid, you know, actually defending the title he took from Cory Spinks last August. Powell was a once-promising prospect with solid power. Whoever wins, it would be nice to see him defend the belt against one of the top titleholders (Cotto, Sergei Dzinziruk) in the 154-pound division.
Felix Sturm vs. Matthew Macklin (June 25): Sturm has had a stranglehold on the WBA version of the middleweight belt since 2006, a fact few are aware of because he rarely fights outside of Germany. He has a stiff test in Macklin, a heavy-handed Brit eager for this opportunity. Even better: Sturm-Macklin will be shown on Epix, creating some of the kind of American exposure that Sturm needs to make a fight with Martinez happen.
Tyson Fury vs. Dereck Chisora (July 23): Chisora (14-0) has been penciled into showdowns with Wladimir Klitschko twice, only to have Klitschko pull out with an injury. The 6-9 Fury (14-0) has great size but questionable skills. The winner of this fight could emerge as a reasonable candidate to face either Klitschko or Haye later this year.
10. Nice to see Martinez shun overtures from other promotional companies and re-sign with DiBella. Lou doesn't have the resources of the promotional giants (Top Rank, Golden Boy), but he has done a nice job developing Martinez, who was a complete unknown three years ago.
9. I don't know who has made worse business decisions: Timothy Bradley or Nonito Donaire.
8. If Austin Trout really did test positive for marijuana, as boxingscene.com reported this week, then he is an idiot. Did he not think it would show up in a urine test?
7. I absolutely, positively don't want to see Peter Manfredo-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Manfredo has done nothing to earn that kind of fight/payday. I would rather see DiBella face Bob Arum and Carl Moretti in a handicap ladder match.
6. Learn from your mistakes, Bob Arum: Make Yuri Gamboa-Mikey Garcia before one of them gets beat up.
5. I love Epix's commitment to showing European fights. American boxing may be down, but there are some quality shows in Europe. Keep it up, Mark Greenberg.
4. Brandon Rios is a young, exciting fighter. But his mocking of Freddie Roach's Parkinson's disease -- and subsequent weak apology -- hasn't been forgotten by anybody.
3. Manny Pacquiao went from being the most underexposed sports superstar to exposed everywhere. You can't avoid his AT&T commercials. Now, longtime boxing reporter Michael Marley reports that Pacquiao will meet with executives at Nike later this month.
2. On a non-boxing note: Congratulations to Sports Illustrated's Alex Wolff, who will receive the Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Media Award for outstanding journalism. No honoree is more worthy.
1. My only regret about going to Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sunday was missing the Boxing Hall of Fame's induction ceremony in Canastota, N.Y. What a class: Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Kostya Tszyu. Those are some absolute giants in the sport.