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After Mayweather could be an Andre

Jun 17, 2008 7:02 PM

Pulling No Punches by Michael Katz | It truly was "Goodbye, Money."

One of the best bets of 2008 evaporated when Floyd (Money) Mayweather Jr., a gentle -285 favorite, announced his retirement rather than play with Oscar de la Hoya again.

Mayweather was probably sincere, but of course he will eventually unretire, though by then it will be too late for Oscar, who is talking instead of finishing up his career by facing Miguel Cotto. That, of course, is provided Cotto lives up to his 2-1 favoritism July 26 against Antonio Margarito.

Margarito’s solid chin gives him a solid chance against a superior fighter, yet I expect Cotto to pass this test and then cash in against Oscar. De la Hoya actually has more of a chance against Cotto than he would have had against Mayweather. The old man’s counter-punching style would be productive against Cotto, but that’s not going to happen, if it does, until December.

We have more pressing matters at hand.

Next weekend there are again fights on both Showtime and HBO, though the latter’s off-the-board card is strictly for future edification.

Andre Berto could be the next big star in the welterweight division abandoned by Mayweather, who never did face any of the others at 147 pounds except for Zab Judah coming off his loss to Carlos Baldomir. Berto, 21-0 with 18 knockouts, has already beaten such as Cosme Rivera, David Estrada and Michael Trabant.

Now, in Memphis, he faces Miguel Angel Rodriguez (29-2 with 23 KO’s), who in 2005 lost a spirited 12-round decision to Baldomir.

To me, the more interesting HBO matchup should determine the "next"

American heavyweight contender. It’s East vs. West, a pair of undefeated 6-foot-4 specimens with the loser, whom I expect will be Chazz Witherspoon, simply going back on line again.

The winner, whom I expect will be Chris Arreola, will automatically become a major player in the wasteland division.

That could be a problem because the kid (he’s actually 27) is still rough and could use some defensive refinements. Nah, what the hell, he’ll be all right against the retreads out there – even against the winner of the old-timers match between Hasim Rahman and James Toney next month.

The only betting fight of next weekend is on Showtime (no, I don’t consider Amir Kahn, 15-1 over Michael Gomez in England, a betting proposition) is a somewhat highly anticipated rematch between King Arthur Abraham, a German-based Armenia, and the Colombian lion, Edison Miranda.

In their controversial Sept. 23, 2006 meeting for Abraham’s IBF middleweight belt, Miranda broke King Arthur’s jaw in two places in the fourth round. Actually the breaking was done in one place (Wetzler, Germany), but the jaw was undone in two.

Randy Neumann, the former New Jersey heavyweight champion who refereed the bout, deducted five points from Miranda for various infractions Give those points back to the "Pantera" and Miranda still would have lost, though by majority decision, not unanimous.

Abraham, 26-0 with 21 knockouts, is being talked up as a possible major challenge for the real middleweight champion, Kelly Pavlik.

The King needs some major opposition and I’m not so sure he’s ready for Pavlik unless he is impressive against the Colombian.

Miranda, 30-2 with 26 KO’s, gave Pavlik a fight, before being stopped in the seventh round last year. After looking at Abraham’s past performances (going the distance against Kofi Jantuah, Shannon Taylor, Kingsley Ikeke and Howard Eastman) those 21 knockouts on his ledger look rather suspicious.

Abraham is about a 2-1 favorite against Miranda. The lean, if any, has to be toward Miranda. There is no question that he can punch.

His ability to take one, however, is in dispute. He was dropped by hard-hitting Alan Green, but got up to win.

This is Abraham’s American debut and the loud-mouthed Miranda is worried that not too many people here will give him credit for knocking out the titleholder and remember him only "as the guy on my highlight reel."

Abraham can talk, too.

"Had I failed to beat a man who has his jaw broken twice," he said, "I would have retired immediately and gone to work as a night watchman."

At least it’s a lot more light-hearted than the dreary pronouncements from the Mayweather clan.