The biggest fight of the weekend is of course Vitali Klitschko-Chris Arreola at heavyweight, already covered. But you’ve got to hand it to GoFightLlive for picking up what could be the most fun fight of the weekend, David Diaz-Jesus Chavez at lightweight, AND another noteworthy bout to boot, Jean Pascal’s first defense of his light heavweight alphabet title belt. The Internet broadcaster of fightin’ has a chance of becoming a real force in the sport if it keeps doing stuff like that. It explains why I’ve put their logo up here — it’s my way of saying, “nice.”
- “Fight To Educate,” Wednesday. This card has become as noteworthy now for the bouts that aren’t on it, but you can still catch talented junior welterweight prospect Danny O’Connor and cruiserweight “Contender” graduate Richard Gingras if you live in Manchester, N.H., and it’s for a good cause. The headlining fight was to be Omar Sheika-Antwun Echols at light heavyweight, which is about as grotesque a fight as I can dream up, given how shot both men are, but Echols is out for some reason and Sheika is fighting someone else instead. Middleweight prospect Edwin Rodriguez was to fight on the card, too, but his opponent pulled out. I bet there’s a totally cool feature on him at around page 24 of the issue of Ring magazine that comes out Oct. 1. Just a guess.
- Fight Night Club, Thursday, Versus/RingTV/Yahoo! Sports. OK, this is an interesting concept that’s gotten stale. They just keep showing the same prospects over and over again. I like lightweight Luis Ramos all around; Charles Huerta is a fun featherweight; each will be making their third appearance. Junior featherweight Ronny Rios will be making his second appearance. Huerta’s bouncing back from that 1st round knockout loss, so he’ll be fighting an opponent Rios has already beaten, and Ramos is fighting an opponent who’s lost a ton but has gone rounds with a lot of top prospects. Lightweight Karl Dargan is one of two new faces on the program, along with lightweight Eric Gudoy in his pro debut.
- Jean Pascal-Silvio Branco, Friday, gofightlive.tv. There’s no reason to think the 43-year-old Branco will upset Pascal, but he’s not a total pushover, and soft first title defenses are the norm anyhow. I really really like Pascal, the rare speed merchant who likes to brawl, and you should too, if you don’t already. If Pascal wins as expected, we’d get a Dec. 11 rematch of Pascal’s Fight of the Year candidate with Adrian Diaconu.
- David Diaz-Jesus Chavez, Saturday, gofightlive.tv. I plan on buying this one for $9.99 and trying to watch it at the same time as Klitschko-Arreola. I wish the cards were just at different times, the biggest problem I have with Internet broadcasts of fights — they always seem to be going head-to-head with bigger cards — but I think Diaz-Chavez is good enough that it’s worth trying to divide my attention. Diaz and Chavez are both come-forward sluggers. We don’t know what Diaz has left since he’s just coming back from last summer’s Manny Pacquiao beatdown, and Chavez has become something of a quitter in fights, coming off a recent corner retirement against Michael Katsidis (you throw in the towel once, I usually give you a pass; you quit repeatedly, I wonder if boxing’s the right sport for you). I still anticipate this will be a bombs-away style fight. I’d openly pined for somebody to pick this fight up, and I’m glad GoFightLive did.
- Bernard Dunne-Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, Saturday. Speaking of dudes who are coming off Fight of the Year candidates, Ring mag’s #5 junior featherweight Dunne is going from a difficult slugfest against Ricardo Cordoba straight into a battle with #3-ranked junior featherweight Kratingdaenggym, who’s been knocking out fools left and right. That Dunne right there, that is a MAN. Outside Klitschko-Arreola, this may be the most significant bout of the weekend, and I’m going to guess it could be a good one. The winner of this fight is poised to be the #1 man in the junior featherweight division should Juan Manuel Lopez and Celestino Caballero leave soon as expected, but Dunne wants Israel Vazquez at featherweight if he wins, which sounds like a good fight to me, too. I don’t have any info on Dunne-Kratingdaenggym being broadcast on the net anywhere, but I’ll update this entry if I get it, and if you live in Dublin, get thee to the O2. [UPDATED: Good news, everyone. You can catch Dunne-Kratingdaenggym online: http://www.rte.ie/sport/webcastschedule.html. Tip o’ the pen to Ronan Keenan.]
- Klitschko-Arreola undercard, Saturday. Given that none of it is going to be on television — HBO’s airing a replay of Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez instead — Klitschko-Arreola has a surprisingly good undercard. There are two (other) heavyweight bouts of moderate significance that feature pretty good match-ups, Cedric Boswell vs. Alexander Ustinov and Johnathon Banks vs. Javier Mora. Klitschko-sized Ustinov struck me as terribly clumsy when I saw him live at Madison Square Garden last year, but he can punch; Boswell can punch, too, and his career is an oddity that saw him out of the ring for three years, but he’s back in the picture after beating some trial horses and upsetting prospect Roman Greenberg. Banks is probably more of a cruiserweight, but Mora’s enough of a live body to give us a better idea, having scored 18 KOs in 22 wins. Also on the surprisingly stacked undercard is exciting lightweight John Molina, super middleweight Olympian Shawn Estrada and junior featherweight Salvador Sanchez II, nephew of the Mexican legend.
- Others. For days and stuff, read here: top-10 middleweight Amin Asikainen vs. Matthew Macklin; Takalini Ndlovu vs. Kiko Martinez in an alphabet title eliminator; and lightweight prospect Bayan Jargal, whom I’ve featured at this blog repeatedly, in what ought to be another meaningless fight as he still lacks an opponent — it’s getting close to time that I stop talking about him at all, at this rate.