A Saturday press conference is in the works for smack-talkers Adrien Broner and Paulie Malignaggi.
Q&A: Shafikov eyes Broner, Peterson
Unbeaten Denis Shafikov says that Lamont Peterson and Adrien Broner have "never faced anyone like me."
Russian southpaw Denis Shafikov is good enough as a junior welterweight to be ranked No. 8 in the division by THE RING, but small enough in stature at 5-foot-5 to consider fighting as a lightweight in his next bout.
Shafikov (31-0-1, 17 knockouts) will face 35-year-old countryman Alisher Rahimov (25-1, 12 KOs) in Noginsk, Russia, on March 16 in a clash of 135-pounders.
Shafikov, 27, who is coming off December's unanimous decision over Albert Mensah, is also ranked highly in the 140-pound ratings of the IBF, whose beltholder is Lamont Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs).
Peterson is coming off last month's eighth-round stoppage of ex-beltholder Kendall Holt, and Broner's fifth-round knockout of ex-beltholder Gavin Rees on HBO last month represented his sixth consecutive stoppage.
"Right now, his next fight will be at lightweight. He's trying lightweight for the first time," said Steve Bash, Shafikov's co-promoter with Ural Boxing, Russia.
"Depending on how he feels and how he looks, he's thinking about staying at lightweight. The only thing is that he's in line for the No. 1 eliminator fight for the IBF at 140."
But Shafikov would prefer a shot at WBC lightweight titleholder Adrien "The Problem" Broner (26-0, 22 KOs), who is rated No. 6 among THE RING's pound-for-pound best fighters.
"He's always fought at 140, but he's pretty small for a lot of the top guys at 140," said Bash of Shafikov, whose manager is Oleg Bogdanov.
"So after the fight with Mensah, who was pretty big, you know, he dropped him but he couldn't wear him down and knock him out. My guess is that he's going to be a lightweight and fight Adrien Broner. Hopefully, he can get that shot."
RingTV.com caught up to Shafikov, who also expressed his thoughts on former two-division beltholder Amir Khan, RING WBA and WBC 140-pound champion Danny Garcia and RING No. 1-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse. Shafikov's words were translated by Bash.
RingTV.com: Would you rather face Broner or Peterson?
RingTV.com: What did you think of what you saw in Peterson's fight against Holt?
But then, clearly, he turned it on and sort of flipped the switch and certainly looked good later on in the fight and got the knockout.
RingTV.com: What did you think of what you saw in Broner against Rees?
DS: I thought that Broner looked really good, but the only thing that is negative about watching that fight, and the first thing that came to my mind was that his opponent was of a different class.
Broner's opponent was just a B-level fighter compared to what Broner was. I think that as good as Broner looked, it was a combination of his skills and the quality of opponent that he faced.
I don't think that Broner, in looking at that fight and a couple of his other fights, would feel as comfortable in there with a different type of fighter.
RingTV.com: How do you rank Peterson, Matthysse, Khan and Garcia?
DS: I think that all four of those guys are on the same level. They're mostly champions or former champions, and it's hard to say who is better than the other with those four guys.
RingTV.com: What do you think they would find difficult about fighting you?
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com