The Weekend Ahead: Mikkel Kessler, Andre Ward, Ivan Calderon, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., More

Honestly, I have no idea why it took me so long to recognize that Liev Schreiber, the narrator of HBO’s “24/7” series, is the same Liev Schreiber who plays Sabretooth (above left). I even watched that tepid “Wolverine” movie on the plane back from Spain. It took until yesterday for me to be illuminated.
“Mayweather/Marquez 24/7” might be the actual highlight of the upcoming weekend in boxing, especially since Juan Manuel Marquez revealed he drinks his own urine to recover his “vitamins.” Suddenly, the series is interesting, although kinda gross. If Marquez upsets Floyd Mayweather, betcha urine-quaffing becomes the new fitness craze.
There’s also a Showtime card, a Telemundo card, a card and two pay-per-views this weekend, plus assorted other cards of note. None of it warrants its own separate preview, except maybe Ivan Calderon-Rodel Mayol II, but… nah. Let’s just hit it all at once.

We’ll go in order of approximate importance/meaningfulness.

  • Integrated Sports pay-per-view, Saturday, Puerto Rico. The junior flyweight rematch between Calderon and Mayol headlines its own ppv. The 34-year old, top-10 pound-for-pound Calderon just looks more and more vulnerable all the time, and Mayol is good enough — as he proved in their action-filled, injury-shortened draw — to cause him trouble. You can say Calderon looked improved in his last rematch, against Hugo Cazares, but you wonder how much longer he can avoid his first loss. Still, fighting on his home soil could be a boost. On the undercard, exciting junior lightweight Roman Martinez takes on a suspect opponent, as he’s had 26 of his 27 fights in his native Argentina and lost the one outside it. P.S., I’m not sure why Calderon, a Top Rank-promoted fighter, is headlining a card that competes with a Top Rank-promoted pay-per-view. Anyone?
  • Showtime, Saturday, split doubleheader in Denmark/California. This double-header serves essentially as a preview show for the network’s Super Six super middleweight tournament, with two contestants, Mikkel Kessler and Andre Ward, taking separate tune-up fights. Kessler, whose fight will be on tape delay from Denmark, has the better opponent: one Gusmyr Perdoma, who narrowly lost in 2007 to Dmitri Sartison, whom Kessler beat with some ease the next year. Ward is fighting one Shelby Pudwill, whose name I’m pretty sure is made up, and who has been knocked out by middleweight hype job John Duddy (in one round!) and Carl Cockerham (current record: 12-18), whose name I’m pretty sure is a punch line to some British joke. I’d normally badmouth such mismatches, but I’m so desperate to see the Super Six tournament go forward that I’m hoping both Kessler and Ward score one-second knockouts so nobody gets cut or injured, as the Kessler-Ward bout may be the most interesting first round tournament fight. Better yet? Showtime wouldn’t have put this card on at all. But I guess Kessler needed to work on some rust, and Ward needs all the experience in the ring he can get before fighting Kessler. Also, the “James Toney should be retired” tour continues on the Ward undercard.
  • Off-television bout, Saturday, Mexico. I never thought Cristian Mijares was as good as some folk who had him top-5 pound-for-pound did, but then, I didn’t think he was bad enough to lose to some unproven bantamweight. He did just that against Nehomar Cermeno earlier this year, and now they’re having a rematch; the first result was a tad controversial. Having seen some highlights and a few grainy rounds, I can determine that the fight would have been hard to score, and that Cermeno wasn’t an easy out. Still, this is a must-win fight for Mijares if he’s to be taken seriously again anytime soon.
  • Top Rank pay-per-view, Saturday, Mexico. I don’t think I’d mind Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. as much if the ads for the guy’s headlining fight didn’t call him “Mexico’s next great champion.” If they were just like, “Mexico’s reportedly undermotivated boxer who nonetheless is often in fun slugfests,” I’d not have such a negative attitude. His opponent is Jason LeHoullier, who lost his last fight, to Harry Joe Yorgey, but he’s as qualified if not more than some of Chavez’ recent opponents. LeHoullier has had a spot of bad luck, scheduled as he once was to fight Chavez before and Forrest, too, although both came down with training injuries (rumor has it Chavez was just fat, though). On the undercard, bantamweight Fernando Montiel continues his spate of fighting guys who have never beaten anyone very good, and his opponent is one of Hozumi Hasegawa’s recent early-fight KO victims. It really would be nice to see Montiel step up against somebody, maybe Eric Morel, his oft-mentioned next opponent.
  • The rest. There are nondescript Telmundo and cards on Friday night… Straweight alphabet titlist Donnie Nietes defends his title Saturday… Tyson Fury, the British heavyweight prospect that has some people excited, is fighting a live body Friday, a decent opponent for a guy with seven fights. It’s way too early for me to get excited about Fury, who hasn’t particularly impressed or disimpressed me from what I’ve seen. But he is in Ring mag’s “New Faces” section this month, saying that he’s as fast as David Haye, which is absurd but hey, ya gotta have confidence, I guess. If I were you, I’d watch for next month’s Ring mag “New Faces” feature. (Hint, hint)… Cruiserweight Matt Godfrey is in a stay-busy Cali fight that looks like a total mismatch, which only gets mentioned here because of the chance he might be the next opponent for one of my quasi-favorites, Steve Cunningham… new episode of Mayweather/Marquez 24/7, Saturday.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.