They gathered at the Argentine Pavillion in Manhattan on Wednesday to tell the world about the upcoming WBC welterweight title fight between Arturo “Thunder” Gatti (40-7, 31 KOs) and Carlos Baldomir (42-9-6, 12 KOs) set for July 22 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Of course, we already knew that.
But that’s OK because it’s all part of the fight game business, part of the allure of what could be a pretty good fight.
What makes this fight intriguing is that it holds more story lines – plots twisting and turning, characters winning and losing – than a Paris Hilton pajama party.
You remember Carlos “The Spoiler” Baldomir. He’s the guy we didn’t hear too much about until he unceremoniously started WBC and IBF champion Zab Judah on his present losing streak. Baldomir beat him in January, but only got Judah’s WBC title because Baldomir, probably strapped for cash, didn’t pay sanctioning fees to the IBF.
Still, since Judah lost, it only seemed right that the IBF title be ruled vacant, maybe the title belt tucked away on a back shelf until someone actually came forward and won it.
But that’s not quite how the IBF works. Vacancies don’t look good in the standings. Leaves a big hole. Everyone gets confused at IBF headquarters. People talk. Chaos reigns.
That’s why Zab got to keep the title belt despite stumbling to a loss against Baldomir, only to lose the belt to Floyd Mayweather last Saturday night.
Old news flash: Baldomir wasn’t supposed to beat Judah in January.
Baldomir was supposed to be more of a tune-up fight, a training exercise, a patsy, someone to beat up on and make the days pass quicker while Judah stayed sharp waiting for this big-money title fight with Mayweather.
So what happened to Judah? How’d he choke in the Big Apple? Or does Baldomir have a secret we don’t know about, maybe an “S” on his chest and a cape tucked under his coat.
Maybe Gatti is in for a tougher scuffle then he expects.
On top of everything else, the Baldomir fiasco was Judah’s New York City homecoming fight, the prodigal son’s grand return, a chance to shine in front of the home boys.
But nothing spoils the celebration quicker than a party crasher.
And that’s what Baldomir was, an unwelcome guest who suddenly bursts into the room and spills your drink, pushes you into the pool and steals your new leather coat.
So now Baldomir gets to defend his WBC title against Gatti, who was stopped by Mayweather last June.
Let’s see. What we have here is one guy who wasn’t supposed to beat Judah but did, taking on a guy who wasn’t supposed to beat Mayweather and didn‘t. But the guy who beat Judah is the underdog while the guy who was stopped by Mayweather is the favorite.
Let me know if I’m going too fast.
As for the all elusive title belts, the IBF welterweight belt stayed with Judah after his loss to Baldomir, but is now under the proud ownership of Mayweather.
Baldomir holds the WBC welterweight belt, which he won from Judah, but there’s a strong chance he could lose it to Gatti on July 22.
Gatti used to own the WBC junior-welterweight title belt, but he lost that to Mayweather last June.
And Mayweather forfeited that belt when he moved up to win the WBC welterweight belt by beating Judah on Saturday.
Welcome to our world.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV