Greetings from the past! As I write this, it is Friday, and I’m prepping for my vacation. So while I intend this post to fill you in on the week’s other major boxing events in my absence — aside from the stellar upcoming Friday Night Fights card, already previewed (in my future) yesterday — there’s a chance that the lineup has changed by (your) now. You never know when someone will get poison on the face or an acute inflammation of the body and have to pull out of a fight. Double-check my work against ESPN’s calendar of matches to make sure this is all still happening as I say it will.
We’ll hit the televised/Internetized cards first, then the rest of the weekend’s bouts after the jump. As usual, sadly, some of the untelevised bouts are as interesting as, if not more interesting than, the ones on your glowing rectangle.
- Fight Night Club, Thursday, Versus/RingTV.com/Yahoo! Sports. The most advanced and best prospect of the series thus far, bantamweight Abner Mares (pictured above), will headline this card. Good news, right? Alas, I’m not sold on his opponent — and one of the good things Fight Night Club has done so far is matched its prospects fairly tough, and it’s one of the things inherent to any value it has. Maybe Carlos Fulgencio is better than his boxrec entry looks, but he’s certainly a step down from the kinds of fights Mares has had and those has been in the running for, like all that faded noise about fighting Gerry Penalosa. Maybe the idea is to not throw Mares in too tough since he switched trainers and gyms and is coming off an eye injury…? Anyway, it’ll be disappointing if Fulgencio can’t fight a lick. The other main fight on the card features junior lightweight David Rodela. I see very little potential in the lad as a world-class boxer, but he’s all kinds of fun if you like back-and-forth action. His opponent, Gamalier Rodriguez, is a guy who got beat by Rodela’s last opponent. Not a good trend for the Club, unless I’m totally missing something. Since ESPN’s Dan Rafael keeps reporting Versus is likely done with televised boxing after 2009, I wonder what happens to the series — will it go all-Internet? That’d be neat.
- Box Azteca, Saturday, Azteca America. In the headliner, exciting welterweight Jesus Soto Karass is taking what you’d have to be charitable to call a stay-busy fight. His Saturday opponent Edvan Dos Barros, is of comparable tomato can-ness to his recent non-opponent, but I guess putting him in tough could ruin his chance of fighting Nov. 14 against Alfonso Gomez on the undercard of the 145-pound Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto megafight. He was once scheduled to fight Alexis Camacho — who recently beat Soto Karass’ Saturday opponent by 2nd round knockout — on this card, so I’m not sure what happened there. The other biggest name on the Azteca card, 21-year-old featherweight prospect Miguel Angel Garcia, isn’t fighting a total stiff. Carlos Garcia recently beat a decent journeyman in Johnnie Edwards. Last year, The Queensberry Rules had a look at Garcia and liked what it saw, even if Garcia was shaky on D and got dropped in a decision win. All in all, though? I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve been annoyed I don’t get Azteca America.
- Boxing’s Future Champions II, Saturday, PrizeFightTV.com. Seems to be a pattern here: No, nobody on this card is in very tough. Quite the contrary. But if I was in town, I’d buy this card for a mere $4.99. I’m a huge boxing fan and there’s some good talent — most notably, middleweight prospect Fernando Guerrero — on this show, and while I might pick the Box Azteca show over this one if I got that channel, this card is worth $5 to me under the circumstances. Guerrero headlines. The rest: 2008 Olympic alternate Shawn Porter, a junior middleweight; heavyweight semi-prospect Chazz Witherspoon, a boxer I like a little bit; and middleweight prospect Dominic Wade.
And, not on U.S. TV:
- Match-upwise, the non-FNF fight of the weekend is at cruiserweight, where Marco Huck fights Victor Ramirez for Ramirez’ title belt. Huck is a 24-year-old who fights in an exciting style and has but a single loss, to one of the two top men in the division, Steve Cunningham. I’ve only seen Ramirez in an eyesore of a bout against Ali Ismailov, and while he didn’t look all that talented despite a glossy KO record, he at least came to fight, unlike his opponent. This one could be fun while it lasts. If you can figure out a way to get a stream of the German broadcast Saturday — I’d check ard.de first, since that’s the channel broadcasting Huck-Ramirez — it might be worth it.
- For his first junior flyweight title defense, charismatic and exciting Brian Viloria is taking a soft fight Saturday in his home state of Hawaii against Jesus Iribe. Iribe went the distance with Edgar Sosa, so he’s not a total softie, but he only won one round on three scorecards, so there’s that. Even the unmotivated, wrong-headed version of Viloria that Brian seemed to banish with his defeat of Ulises Solis shouldn’t have any trouble beating Iribe.
- Top-20 pound-for-pound fighter Celestino Caballero can’t get fellow top junior featherweight Juan Manuel Lopez in the ring, so he’ll fight Francisco Leal, an opponent who’s gone 2-2-2 in his last six. It’ll go down Saturday and Mexico. I don’t know how much beating Leal helps Caballero’s case for getting Lopez, so I’m not sure what the idea is here.
- The #2 flyweight in the world, Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, is fighting someone in Thailand with a 20-8 record, but Asian fighters (except Filipinos) are my total blind spot. While I’ve been trying to get a better handle, the fact that they hardly ever fight in the U.S. makes it harder than following, say, African, South American or European fighters. I have no idea if this is a dangerous fight or not, although the Bangkok Post says it is. Most importantly, it seems, is that it could set up another fight with Daisuke Naito. That fight would crown a legitimate, lineal, Ring magazine champion of the world.
- Junior middleweight Joachim Alcine, who hasn’t fought in more than a year since Daniel Santos knocked him out to take his alphabet title belt, makes his comeback Saturday in a fight in Canada against Eric Mitchell. Mitchell once knocked out Alejandro Berrio. He also lost his last fight by disqualification for excessive holding.
- Tonight, there’s a Broadway Boxing card in NYC. Heavyweight prospect Tor Hamer, whom I interviewed here, is among the competitors.
- Another TQBR interviewee, lightweight prospect Bayan Jargal, is fighting Carlos Contreras on a Nevada card headlined by super middleweight “Contender” grad Joey Gilbert. Contreras has lost eight of his last nine. Jargal really needs to step up. Guys with his resume have gotten gigs on Showtime and ESPN2, but Jargal can convince ShoBox or Friday Night Fights to give him a chance by beating better competition. Contreras is at least sturdy. Jargal needs rounds, so there’s that. But he’s also undersized, having never fought at lightweight, and Jargal often fights at welter.