Before I give you an expert breakdown of this week’s Fight Night Club that will, frankly, intimidate you, I must beseech your support, fair reader.
In my wildest dreams, I never imagined I would be nominated for a Bloguin Award, yet I am nominated for some, in part thanks to friend of the site cardscott5 nominating me and me seconding my own nomination. (BTW, even if you don’t care about the University of Cincinnati, I must also beseech you to check out cardscott5’s lovely blog here on the network. It always amuses and informs me, despite my own lack of interest in the University of Cincinnati.)
I don’t know if I get an actual statue like the one in the above image — a Bloguiny, I guess it would be called? — but if there’s the slightest chance I can win a golden penguin statue to put on my bookshelf, I MUST HAVE IT. So, please, help me get it by voting for me here in the assorted categories where you think I might deserve a Bloguiny.
And you know what? Even if you don’t want to support me, it’s really just important that you vote. Use it or lose it, people.
Now, on to the schedule, which has a couple blips of activity this week before we go into overdrive next week. Stuff that’s on the TV or the Internet in the United States gets most of the priority attention, with a couple exceptions.
- Fight Camp 360, Saturday, Showtime. Fight Camp 360 has taken over as the best ongoing documentary-style series about boxing events, lapping HBO’s 24/7 not only on its own merits but also as HBO’s series has become far too predictable. This episode features an interview with super middleweight Andre Dirrell and his team, the first since he pulled out of the Super Six tournament. That’s sure to generate some controversy, given how some folk think he faked an injury to pull out for some inexplicable motive. For a preview of some of the rest of it — like the humorous, heated trash talk between Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch — watch here.
- Margarito/Pacquiao 24/7, Saturday, HBO. The good news is, these two shows won’t overlap. 24/7 is booked from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Fight Camp 360 is booked for 10:45 p.m. If the show is going to give something to hardcore fans — and, as we discussed recently, it’s more aimed at sucking in new viewers who’ll fork over $50 for the junior middleweight pay-per-view main attraction — it’ll be any real insight into whether Manny Pacquiao is too distracted now that he’s moved to Los Angeles or whether he’s back on track to beat the tar out of Antonio Margarito. Pacquiao will also be on Jimmy Kimmel Live Monday.
- Roman Karmazin-Daniel Geale, Sunday, Sydney Australia. TQBR contributor Alex McClintock will be covering this one as credentialed media for us, for which we are grateful. It could be a nice bout, I think. Karmazin had a good showing in his last attempt at a title, when he fought to a draw against Sebastian Sylvester. But against Sylvester and in the eliminator against Dionisio Miranda — both bouts this year — he also showed signs of age. Geale, meanwhile, is most famous for giving a difficult bout to Anthony Mundine in a split decision loss last year. Was he a flash in the pan? They’ll meet in a title eliminator on Geale’s home turf, with the winner lined up for a shot at Sylvester’s belt. The middleweight division’s talent depth hasn’t been too impressive lately, but like any division in need of an injection of excitement, the best way to make it happen is for the best guys to fight each other, and this falls on the low end of that spectrum — Ring magazine ranks Geale at #6 and Karmazin at #8. On the undercard, hard-hitting Ji-Hoon Kim returns in a lightweight title eliminator against Aussie Leonardo Zappavigna for the first time since getting outclassed by Miguel Vazquez for that very title in August.
- David Lemieux-Hector Camacho Jr., Friday, ESPN3, Montreal Canada. Match-ups like this are hard to come by: a surefire knockout artist against a guy who at least acts like, even if he isn’t, an insufferable jackass. Camacho once had the nerve to say Fernando Vargas was a “bum with a name,” which ticked me off something awful since Camacho wouldn’t get any attention if not for his dad’s name and has had a far more bum-like career than Vargas. Anyway, Lemieux is as exciting a power puncher as exists in boxing at this moment, so even if he wasn’t fighting Camacho, you’d want to tune in. One bit of confusion is whether the bout will also be on Seconds Out TV online or ESPN3 online, which still lists it as a free upcoming bout. I’d say if you don’t see it one place, go to the other. [UPDATE: Friend of the site Arthur Billette tells us in the comments section below that it’ll be on ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes, at least.]
- Sebastian Sylvester-Mahir Oral, Saturday, Rostock Germany. Oral was reasonably competitive against Abraham last year, and Sylvester has been in some close scraps, so I’d give Oral a modest chance in this one. But you’ll notice I listed it after I listed the eliminator, cuz it’s a less interesting fight to me. And it’s not on TV or the Internet. But Sylvester’s the #4 man in the middleweight division, and it’s a full title fight, so there you go.
- Raul Garcia-Luis De La Rosa, Saturday, Fox Deportes, Cartagena Colombia. Did you know Fox Sports en Espanol was now Fox Deportes? Me neither. Confused me at first when it showed up that way on ESPN’s boxing schedule in recent weeks. Anyway, Garcia lost his strawweight strap earlier this year against Nkosinathi Joyi, but remains Ring’s #3 man in the division. He’ll fight for an interim belt against 14-0 Luis De La Rosa.
- Gary Russell, Jr.-Guadalupe De Leon, Thursday, Fox Sports Net/RingTV/Ustream, Los Angeles. Russell takes a step up in this special edition of Fight Night Club dubbed Fright Night Club — cuz, like, Halloween’s soon, hardy har! — against De Leon. Russell, a featherweight and 2008 Olympian, hasn’t fought anyone like De Leon yet. De Leon has lost nine of his last 10 fights, but one was an upset win over Derrick Wilson and another was a close majority decision loss to Charles Huerta. Also, he has been very, very sturdy, and Russell’s been knocking people out with ease. This is the kind of fight this series was supposed to be giving us, by the way, and hasn’t given us often enough. At its best, it’s like a sub-ShoBox, but again, it’s an option I’m happy to have.
- Jorge Diaz-Emmanuel Lucero, Saturday, GoFightLive, Atlantic City. All-action featherweight Diaz takes on a man who has been knocked out by Jason Litzau, Rocky Juarez, Daniel Ponce De Leon and even Pacquiao. I guess you can say that makes him “experienced.”
- Troy Ross-Carl Handy, Saturday, Seconds Out TV, Rama Ontario. The #4 cruiserweight in the world needs to stay busy in the ring if he’s not going to be a part of any cruiserweight tournament. That’s what Handy, who’s been knocked out by super middleweights, is for.
- The Rest. On Saturday, Vusi Malinga and Michael Domingo fight in a bantamweight eliminator for a chance at Yonnhy Perez or whoever has his belt after the Showtime bantamweight tourney, and Hassan D’Dam N’Jikam and Avtandil Khurtsidze fight over who has the better name as well as for a vacant interim middleweight belt… On Monday there’s a junior welterweight eliminator between Ali Chebah and Ajose Olusegun for a shot at Devon Alexander… Friday, cruiserweight Brian Minto fights online at NESportsTV… And in the Philippines, three prospects still recovering from losses — featherweight Rey Bautista, junior featherweight A.J. Banal and welterweight Mark Melligen — fight on the same card Saturday.