The rest of June and all of July (at least based on what’s scheduled as of this writing) offer very little in the way of ultra-top-notch boxing cards, with only two weekends currently slated for what I consider fights that are all that important slash competitive. This week is the beginning of that trend. Now that it’s said, it won’t need to be said every week.
- Top Rank Live, Saturday, Fox Sports Net/Fox Sports en Espanol/TRLiveStream, New York. Let’s see if Ivan Calderon can’t make it four fights in a row cut short by head butts. The junior flyweight champion, who still is in some folks’ pound-for-pound top 10, is vowing a knock out (!!!!) against Jesus Iribe. Calderon has six knockouts in 33 wins, and all a sudden he’s going to KO a guy who went the distance with Brian Viloria? I guess he’s trying to hype the fight, which ought to do fairly well by virtue of coming on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, and Calderon is from PR. Iribe has six losses, one by KO, but he has 10 KOs in his 16 wins. With Calderon on the way down, maybe this is his big chance. I doubt it, though. Also on the card: the pro debut of Army helicopter pilot Steven Badgley, a light heavyweight; aggressive junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia, who’s part Puerto Rican; and talented Puerto Rican flyweight prospect McWilliams Arroyo. Check in with Top Rank’s website for the untelevised undercard — I haven’t seen an announcement, but I thought I saw on the site earlier this week that it would be on TRLiveStream.
- Richie Mepranum-Julio Cesar Miranda, Saturday, Mexico. Mepranum, the latest Filipino prospect to add evidence to the notion that everyone in the Philippines is a boxing prospect right now, has fought one top opponent in his career. Three years ago, he lost to Denkaosan Kaovichit, currently ranked #4 at flyweight by Ring magazine — when Mepranum was 20 years old. But he didn’t lose by much. Now, he fights Miranda for a vacant title, who in the last two years has lost to two of the leading lights of the division, lineal champion Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and Moruti Mthalane. Mepranum only has five knockouts in 22 wins, but he did recently decision big-punching Hernan Marquez (Nonito Donaire’s next opponent), so he must have a little pop, or else a lot of skill.
- Friday Night Fights, Friday, ESPN2, Canada. The good thing about this card is that it offers U.S. television exposure to David Lemieux, who has the makings of a very exciting fighter. The super middleweight has all kinds of power, and he’s not a terrible boxer. Let’s see what he does with Elvin Ayala, who fought Sergio Mora to a draw but got KO’d by Arthur Abraham. That Ayala went 12 with Abraham before succumbing to one of the biggest punchers in the sport suggests he might offer some resistance, even if he’s unlikely to win. On the undercard, Sebastien Demers continues trying to estabish himself at super middleweight after losing at 160 to Abraham (yes, by knockout — the 3rd) and Dionisio Miranda (by split decision). It’s not encouraging that Demers was held to a majority decision by a very shopworn William Joppy in his last fight. He’s fighting Brandon Vera, who got that big upset win over Andy Lee, then stubbornly took a beating from James Kirkland that made everyone wince, and since has lost two more to prospects.
- Solo Boxeo, Friday, TeleFutura, California. There isn’t much out there yet about headlining junior featherweight prospect Christopher Martin, who’s 17-0-2 and has five knockouts. He’s taking on Adolfo Landeros, whom Guillermo Rigondeaux victimized last time out in 28 seconds with a body shot, and who has lost seven of his last nine. The co-feature spot is held by 9-0 welterweight prospect Luis Enrique Grajeda, who evidently hits a little harder than Martin (seven knockouts) and takes on Jaime Orrantio, who’s lost 29 fights in his career, all to busted prospects or journeymen.