We’ll be doing full previews of both Roy Jones-Bernard Hopkins II and David Haye-John Ruiz, but because the boxing schedule gets started early this week with a fight featuring David Tua (pictured above in a pimped-out mini; h/t to friend of the site PJ), we’ll hit everything but Jones-Hopkins II and Haye-Ruiz now.
- David Tua-Friday Ahunanya, Wednesday, New Zealand. Tua theoretically figures into the “heavyweights who won’t beat a Klitschko but are good enough to make the division entertaining” picture, but it’s later this year at the earliest. The compact power puncher is one of the heaviest hitters in the sport. Friday “The 13th” Ahunanya is a pretty good journeyman who’s been in there with some good heavyweights, with his last two fights wins over then-undefeated fighters Shane Cameron and Alonzo Butler. But he last fought in 2008. “The Tuaminator” didn’t weigh in much heavier for this fight than he did for his sensational performance against Cameron, so it looks as though those reports of him slacking off in training like in the old days were wrong. I don’t think this ends well for Ahunanya even though he only has suffered one knockout in his five losses, but then again an upset wouldn’t strike me as especially shocking.
- Erislandy Lara-Danny Perez, ShoBox, Friday, Nevada. Lara is one of those ultra-talented recent Cuban imports, while Perez is tiny step back from Lara’s most recent win, over fellow junior middleweight Grady Brewer. Perez went the distance with the likes of Antonio Margarito, Carlos Molina (most recently) and even Brewer in losses, but he also owns a win over Jose Luis Zertuche. I think it makes sense to keep it at about the Brewer level, because while Lara won convincingly, Brewer tested him real well and Lara needs more seasoning before moving up much past the level of a fighter like Brewer. On the undercard, Puerto Rican Olympian/boxing twin Carlos Velasquez takes a junior lightweight bout against Alejandro Perez, last seen giving Rico Ramos a bit of a scrap. This makes for a rare Golden Boy card on Showtime, let alone ShoBox, and generally I’m in favor of some diversity in the programming there even if Showtime’s fave promoter Gary Shaw usually makes good fights with good fighters on the prospect-oriented program.
- Delvin Rodriguez-Mike Arnaoutis, Friday Night Fights, Friday, Connecticut. Two hard-luck fighters, recently recipients of decisions that could have gone their way but didn’t, against each other. You gotta give the edge to Rodriguez because Arnaoutis is moving up to welterweight from 140, but Arnaoutis looked pretty good his last time out against Tim Coleman, so there’s that. On the undercard: a pair of inexperienced former Olympians, 2008 junior middleweight Demetrius Andrade and 2004 junior featherweight Roberto Benitez (Benitiez spent forever out of the ring with a hand injury, and he’ll be fighting fallen Cuban import Yan Barthelemy), as well as junior middleweight Joe Greene after a long absence.
- Jones-Hopkins II Undercard, Pay-Per-View, Saturday, Nevada. Nothing to be too thrilled about here. Rocky Juarez-Jason Litzau at junior lightweight might have been a good brawl a year or two ago, but Litzau looks shaky every couple fights now. Knowledgeable folk are high on light heavyweight Ismayl Sillakh as a prospect, what with his 10 KOs in 11 fights, and he’s stepping up in class to fight Daniel Judah, who has one knockout loss on his record. And middleweight Sergio Mora returns to the ring after kind of getting dicked around a bunch lately, for all you Mora fans.
- Mikey Garcia-Tomas Villa, Fox Sports Net, Saturday, Texas. This looks to me like a nice main event, and a nice supporting bout, too. Miguel Angel Garcia is the featherweight prospect of whom I’m not entirely convinced, while Villa was the losing fighter in a 2008 Fight of the Year finalist against Rogers Mtagwa. If Garcia’s not legit, Villa’s grit will give him some trouble. On the undercard, junior welterweight prospect Mike Alvarado takes on sturdy journeyman Lenin Arroyo in his first bout since ending a stint in jail — a stint that made it so he couldn’t fight Paulie Malignaggi last year.
- David Lemieux-Walid Smichet, Saturday, Canada. Lemieux, the exciting, big-punching Canadian prospect, keeps moving up in class, and it looks like he’s staying at super middleweight despite not scoring a knockout in the division in his most recent bout, the first fight of his pro career to go the distance. Smichet is the fellow who wrecked John Duddy’s shot against Kelly Pavlik in 2008 by battering and nearly upsetting the Irishman, but Peter Manfredo, Jr. put Smichet on a highlight reel last year with a smashing KO.