IS MIKE JONES READY FOR THE BIG-TIME?
Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum has declared Jones a candidate to face eight-division titleholder Manny Pacquiao should Jones get beyond Lujan, and Pacquiao, past a defense of his WBO welterweight belt against Juan Manuel Marquez on Nov. 12.
Jones-Lujan is an IBF title eliminator for the right to challenge IBF welterweight beltholder Andre Berto.
"There are some guys there who we could match Pacquiao with. There's Timothy Bradley, who is on the card there on Nov. 12, and also, there are welterweights out there. Now Mike Jones and Sebastian Lujan are going to be fighting here at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3 for the No. 1 mandatory position against Berto," said Arum.
"And the winner of the fight will get to meet Berto down the road, or if that doesn't come about for any reason, will be ready to meet Manny Pacquiao down the road. But this fight is a very, very important fight for Mike Jones."
Jones is coming off a second-round knockout of Raul Munoz, which was accomplished in June before his hometown fans at the South Philly Arena.
Prior to that, Jones battled through consecutive majority, and, unanimous decisions over Jesus Soto Karass in February and June.
Jones is ranked first by the WBO, second by the WBA, third by the IBF and fourth by the WBC, whose respective titleholders are Pacquiao, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Berto and Floyd Mayweather Jr., respectively.
"My last few fights have just helped me out for this fight coming up. I'm ready for this. After I win this fight against Lujan, I want for the title against Andre Berto. I think that after win this, a fight against Berto would come at the perfect time," said Jones.
"I think that he's got a lot of speed, I've got speed. He's got power and I've got power. I think that I move my head a lot more than he does, so I see myself edging it out in the end. I've just got to be smart, stick to the jab and keep him on the outside and let the shorter guy run into the shots."
PAWEL WOLAK CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW
Wolak was named by the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as the state's Fighter of The Year, mostly due to his Fight of the Year-caliber match up opposite Rodriguez.
Wolak and Rodriguez battled to a majority draw last July, a clash during which Wolak fought the entire second half of the fight while peering through severely cut and swollen eyes. The right side of his face was marred by a softball-sized hematoma.
As a result, Wolak stepped up to the podium and delivered the best line of Saturday night's press conference to make those in attendance erupt in laughter.
"I'm very excited to be here. I'm very excited to see all of you with both eyes," said the 30-year-old Wolak, whose other job is as a construction worker and roofer, has a record of 29-1-1, with 19 knockouts and is 8-0-1, including five knockouts, in his past nine fights.
"Mr. Bob Arum, thank you. Top Rank, thank you. Delvin, thank you. This is is unbelievable. I've got 10 weeks. No more roofing for me. I love my job, and it makes me tougher and stronger mentally and physically. This is an amazing card that I'm going to be on. I'm very excited and I'm going to be in the best shape of my life. This is going to be an awesome fight."
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com