1.) With the heavyweight division in such a state of stagnation (Evander freakin' Holyfield is getting a title shot against Nikolai Valuev on December 20 -- and his last significant win came in 2002 against Hasim Rahman), it was good to see David Haye make a definitive statement in his full-time heavyweight debut against Monte Barrett. Barrett isn't exactly a title contender, but he's a solid enough fighter to debut against. Haye knocked Barrett down five times before the fight was stopped in the fifth round. I don't know what Haye's ceiling is as a heavyweight, but I look forward to his eventual contest with Valuev and/or one of the Klitschko's. Haye has already challenged Vitaly, but he'll have to wait in line for at least one more fight. Hopefully he doesn't move too soon -- but you bet I'll be watching when he gets his shot at a title.
2.) Another heavyweight who might get some notice is Denis Boytsov. He's undefeated at 23-0 with 18 KO's, and so far has only been ranked by the WBA and WBO. At some point I'm guessing he'll get some love from the WBC and IBF. That recognition will come if he starts beating some bigger names. He beat Vinny Maddalone on Saturday night.
3.) The big fight of the week was between Jermain Taylor and Jeff Lacy in a WBC super middleweight eliminator. Taylor won big on points, but now might not pursue the title fight against an as-yet-to-be determined champion. The reason? ESPN's Dan Rafael reports that Taylor wants a piece of Joe Calzaghe at light heavyweight. Ironically, the belt Taylor would be fighting for if he accepted the fight he's earned would be a belt vacated by Calzaghe when he moved up in weight. I understand why Taylor wants Calzaghe -- it's all about the payday, and he could undoubtedly make more bank against Calzaghe than he would against the winner of the fight between Carl Froch and Jean Pascal. I don't begrudge him that; boxing is a violent sport that messes up competitors, and grabbing the cash while you can makes sense. It's frustrating, however, that so many boxers have to ignore weight classes and mandatory fights (or, in Taylor's case, possible title fights) to go make money in one-off challenges. In some cases, this impulse gets us freak-show fights like the looming disaster that will be De La Hoya-Pacquiao. In other cases, it just means good fighters aren't identified with a particular weight class. Either way, it's frustrating. I wish there was a solution, but I doubt there is.
4.) Next week, undefeated IBF junior featherweight champion Steve Molitor faces WBA junior featherweight champion Celestino Caballero in a unification fight. The fight also has ramifications for The Ring rankings, as Caballero is the Ring #2 and Molitor the Ring #4 in that division. My dream would be for the winner to face WBC/Ring champion Israel Vazquez in a further unification sometime in April or May -- but we'll see what Vazquez has in mind coming off of three straight fights against Rafael Marquez.
5.) Next week will also see Ring junior welterweight champion Ricky Hatton defending his title against Paulie Malignaggi. Both fighters have one blemish on their record -- Hatton's is a 2007 loss to Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Malignaggi's a 2006 loss to Miguel Cotto. Malignaggi enters the fight as the #1 contender to Hatton's belt, so this should be a heck of a fight. My guess is that Hatton will retain, but I guess I wouldn't be surprised either way.