Class of 2004 takes center stage

Kevin Iole
Yahoo! Sports

You can follow Kevin Iole on Twitter at @KevinI

Short shots about the world of professional boxing:

• Andre Berto was impressive Saturday in his win over Carlos Quintana in their bout for the World Boxing Council welterweight title. Berto is the world's third-best welterweight now, behind Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.

Berto was a member of the 2004 Haitian Olympic team. When you look at the number of quality pros those Games produced, it's kind of stunning. Among the many quality professionals who were 2004 Olympians are Andre Ward, Andre Dirrell, Alexander Povetkin, Odlanier Solis, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Amir Khan and Vicente Escobedo. That has to be one of the strongest Olympic classes in recent years.

• I don't buy that Antonio Margarito had no idea that he had illegal wraps on his hands prior to his Jan. 24, 2009, fight with Shane Mosley. However, even if I give him the benefit of the doubt and accept that he did not, it would have been nice to hear him apologize on Tuesday for the fact that his ex-trainer, Javier Capetillo, tried to let him fight with loaded gloves.

Had Margarito basically said, "I didn't know, but I'm sorry to everyone who was harmed by this and by all the expense and trouble this incident caused," he'd have won over some fans. Instead, he insisted he knew nothing and disgustingly tried to paint himself as a victim. He ought to be booed, and booed resoundingly, every time he steps into the ring. And he doesn't deserve a dollar of your pay-per-view money.

• Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik defends his belt on Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J., against Sergio Martinez. The fight will give Pavlik the opportunity to disabuse many, even some in the media, that Pavlik was ducking Paul Williams. Nearly as intriguing as the fight itself is the ongoing war of words between Pavlik trainer Jack Loew and Martinez promoter Lou DiBella.

• Here's a shocker: Bernard Hopkins went off on Golden Boy in this column on Hopkins essentially says he's being blackballed because of his race. My stance is that I am happy to see Hopkins fight quality opponents, like Chad Dawson. I just had no interest in seeing him against washed up, over-the-hill opponents like Roy Jones Jr. I'd be very interested if Hopkins took on Dawson or Glen Johnson. Or if he moved up to cruiserweight and took on Steve Cunningham. But when he sells snake oil packaged as a bout with Jones, I have less than zero interest.

• What I don't understand is why boxing reporters continue to quote Evander Holyfield about winning the undisputed heavyweight title again. It's as ridiculous as if he said he'd make a run at the middleweight belt.

• The Nevada Athletic Commission ought to be embarrassed, having sanctioned Jones Jr. one week and then Holyfield and Francois Botha the next. It's just awful.

• I can't wait to see the HBO series, "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," on Tuesday. It examines the 2009 deaths of boxers Arturo Gatti, Vernon Forrest and Alexis Arguello.

• Boxing has lost one of its greats. The legendary referee, Arthur Mercante, died in New York Saturday at 90. He was a classy man and a fabulous referee. He's notable for being the third man in the ring in the epic first bout between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in 1971 in Madison Square Garden. He also worked George Foreman's second-round knockout of Frazier in Kingston, Jamaica. Sympathies to his family.

• Long-time promoter Lorraine Chargin, who was one of my favorite people in the game, died Tuesday of cancer. She loved the fighters and the fight business and the sport will be less for having lost her. Her husband, Hall of Famer Don Chargin, is not only one of the greatest matchmakers ever, he is also a world-class human being. My deepest condolences to all who knew and loved Lorraine Chargin.

• Kudos to Gary Shaw Productions and Golden Boy Promotions, as well as to HBO, for getting a fight done on June 19 in Rancho Mirage, Calif., between Timothy Bradley and Marcos Maidana. That should be a scintillating 140-pound title bout.

• I'll go with Bradley, because I believe he's the better overall boxer and the class of one of boxing's deepest divisions. Maidana is a vicious puncher, but whether he'll be able to land those hammering blows against a thinking man's fighter like Bradley is another matter entirely.

• Assuming Khan gets past Paulie Malignaggi on May 15 – which is hardly a sure thing – I'd love to see Khan meet Devon Alexander and then have the Bradley-Maidana winner face the Khan-Alexander winner.

• There's still time to change my mind, but I'm expecting the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Shane Mosley fight on May 1 in Las Vegas to sell between 1.5 million and 1.75 million on pay-per-view.

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