It’s busy out there in the boxing world this week, starting tonight, even if there’s nothing that bowls one over.
- Nathan Cleverly-Karo Murat, Saturday, Birmingham England. This card has a ton of England’s biggest stars on them, so if you’re in the U.S. and you’re interested in checking out some of the talent over there, this is the one for you if you can find a stream: middleweight Matthew Macklin, super middleweight James DeGale, etc. Cleverly-Murat is probably the most meaningful, with Cleverly ranked #8 at light heavyweight by Ring magazine and Murat ranked #6, although Kell Brook-Michael Jennings at welterweight is, like Cleverly-Murat, a title eliminator. What might turn out to be the best bout is a potential slugfest between heavyweights Derek Chirosa and Sam Sexton.
- Jhonny Gonzalez-Jackson Asiku/Miguel Roman-Tyrone Harris, Wednesday, Integrated Sports Pay-Per-View, Las Vegas. By the current standard of pay-per-view shows, this is a decent doubleheader for $25. Gonzalez is hard-punching and not-hard-punch-taking-very-well, which equals “never boring,” and his featherweight opponent Asiku has beaten a few journeymen types to build a modestly respectable resume. Roman is a junior lightweight brawler who was on the losing end of a Fight of the Year candidate with Antonio Escalante earlier in 2010, and Harris is a mercurial talent who has bounced from a knockout loss to Urbano Antillon to a knockout win over Marvin Quintero to a knockout loss to Ji-Hoon Kim. There’s a chance I’ll buy this card as a result, because my calculus is that I could buy two mixed drinks (at DC prices, with tip) or see a couple decent boxing matches.
- Saul Alvarez-Carlos Baldomir/Victor Ortiz-Vivian Harris, Saturday, HBO Pay-Per-View, Los Angeles. I’ve already weighed in on the overall card and a couple of the fights, but here are the two main other bouts. Alvarez is an action-oriented Mexican prospect with a smoking hot gf and a big following. Baldomir is an over-the-hill tough guy who nonetheless two fights ago lost a very close to decision to borderline top-10 welterweight Jackson Bonsu, although it must be said that was in 2008. This is a developmental bout for Alvarez in that he’ll be fighting the most experienced, accomplished pro of his career, and given both men’s fighting styles, it probably won’t suck. But the truth of the matter is that, as a minor Baldomir fan, I fear this should be a one-sided beat down. Likewise, Ortiz-Harris serves a developmental purpose. Ortiz hasn’t faced a decent puncher since he suffered that knockout loss to Marcos Maidana in a 2009 junior welterweight bout. Harris is the heaviest-handed man he’s faced since then. I expect this to be a bit one-sided, too, and probably less appealing aesthetically than Alvarez-Baldomir, but I “get” why these fights are happening. (As far as whether these two can reach their star potential: I’m a bit more skeptical than most of Alvarez and a bit less skeptical than most of Ortiz. But each will be taking important, if small, steps Saturday.)
- Jorge Arce-Lorenzo Parra, Saturday, Fox Sports en Espanol, Culiacan Mexico. This is Arce going for a belt in a new division, junior featherweight. Parra, Arce’s opponent in the title eliminator, is best known (recently, anyway) for losing his ugly bout in 2008 with Celestino Caballero, and hasn’t done anything worth touting lately. Arce isn’t what he once was, but he remains fun to watch until further notice. Also on the card, long-time no-risk time-waster Humberto Soto takes a no-risk time-wasting lightweight bout with Fidel Monterrosa (Munoz), who’s never done anything worth touting.
- Freddy Hernandez-Mike Anchondo, Friday, Showtime, Primm Nevada. Hernandez is a slow, not that young welterweight prospect who won me over a bit in his last fight, a destruction of minor TQBR favorite DeMarcus Corley, although it must be said that Corley is a true junior welter. Anchondo got a favorable take from BoxingScene earlier this year for a “quiet comeback,” but it must be said that he’s two divisions north of where he made his name and his last two wins were in less-than-unanimous-decision verdicts with unknown foes. Also on the ShoBox telecast is a junior lightweight bout pitting Cuban 2004 Olympian Luis Franco (who may be lower profile than some other Cubans owing to knocking out but getting dropped by Yogli Herrera, usually an easy target for prospects) against Wilton Hilario (who endured his first loss to Martin Honorio this year as part of Honorio’s hot streak but who showed a ton of toughness).
- Edrin Dapudong-Wilbert Uicab, Friday, ESPN3.com, Cancun. OK, there’s really not much to this card, and nobody who’s written about it spells either of the main combatants’ names the same, but I wanted to make a point about it. Dapudong has some alphabet strap or the other at flyweight, and I guess ESPN wanted some kind of Mexico-related boxing programming near Mexican Independence Day. It would be hard to say this was a gift from the gods or anything. But would you rather have the option of watching it, or no option of watching it? Because if ESPN3 doesn’t pick it up via the web (where I found the stream for Felix Sturm-Giovanni Lorenzo the other week less reliable than I would like), you don’t. That’s what’s good about the trend I spotlighted in Ring mag a couple months ago. There are eight televised or webcast cards this week in the United States, something that wouldn’t be happening in 2009. More boxing available to more people, however much you aren’t interested in some of the cards or the crappiness of the outlet, is a good thing. ESPN Deportes will broadcast this one the next day.
- Jose Navarro-Nestor Rocha, Friday, Telefutura, Los Angeles. For what has been a usually lackluster slate of Solo Boxeo cards since the program was revived, this passes as a decent show. Navarro and Rocha are two bantamweights who have lost recent title shots but have enough juice left that they can head back toward contention with a win against the other.
- The Rest. Junior middleweight prospect Demetrius Andrade heads up a card on NESportsTV.com Wednesday… Ring’s #8 junior flyweight Ulises Solis stays busy in a Wednesday bout himself… Ring’s #6 middleweight Anthony Mundine, already got a win on Wednesday in Australia, continuing his trend of never fighting anyone who’s much of a contender… on the untelevised ShoBox undercard Friday, rebounding bantamweight Chris Avalos and super middleweight Anthony Dirrell return… Telemundo has a Friday card… middleweight former-prospect Andy Lee starts to up his competition just a little Friday in an untelevised bout against Michael Walker… Saturday, slightly revived welterweight Lovemore N’Dou takes a fight… Monday, Ring’s #4 junior lightweight Takashi Uchiyama defends his belt, and also on the card Tomas Rojas and Ring’s #5 junior bantamweight Kohei Kono duke it out for a vacant belt.