[UPDATE: I’m bumping this post up in case people didn’t see that it was Prediction Game-applicable. First deadline begins at noon Friday! But don’t overlook Alex McClintock’s post, either.]
This week’s schedule includes an HBO doubleheader that may not be too competitive and a ShoBox tripleheader that’s as competitive on paper as any I can recall, basically ever. That’s the tip of the iceberg, though, as there’s much more on tap. None of them rise to the level of their own preview or prediction blog entry, so we’ll do it all at once.
(If you’re playing TQBR Prediction Game 3.0, read closely for which ones will apply and which ones won’t, and also deadlines deadlines deadlines. [Hint: It’s the first four.])
- Timothy Bradley-Luis Carlos Abregu, Saturday, HBO, California. First we were going to get Bradley-Abregu, then it switched to Bradley-Marcos Maidana in what would have been one of the highlights of the summer, and now it’s back to Bradley-Abregu. As an HBO headliner, it’s disappointing. Abregu’s chances depend on Bradley’s chin giving out to a big shot from a big puncher in a division – welterweight – one north of his natural 140 pounds, because Abregu is slow and mechanical where Bradley is fast and multi-dimensional. If the idea was that HBO wanted to introduce the talented and hard-nosed Bradley to its viewers with something of a gimme fight, I wish it had happened earlier in the year, instead of waiting until the seventh month of 2010 to give us a look at Bradley and thereby likely delaying the sight of Bradley in a significant fight before 2011. If the idea was to set up Bradley for a fight against welterweight Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, I wish Bradley would wait until he’s finished business in the top-heavy junior welterweight division Still, let’s play the TQBR Prediction Game on this one. Deadline: Friday at 11:59 p.m. EST.
- Alfredo Angulo-Joachim Alcine, Saturday, HBO, California. Angulo, a heavy-fisted and lead-headed Mexican brawler, is as fun as they come. The junior middleweight is, however, about as lead-handed and heavy-footed as they come, so forget for now the notion of him fighting someone who boxes very craftily, even if his team is working on his speed. Alcine amounts to a better technician than some recent Angulo opponents, but he doesn’t have depth on his resume to suggest he can hang with someone like Angulo, especially after Alcine was knocked out brutally by Daniel Santos. Alcine had his moment in the sun in 2007 when he took a title belt from Travis Simms, although that belt hadn’t been held by anyone for more than one defense for four years: Simms took it from Jose Antonio Rivera who’d taken it from Alejandro Garcia, and Alcine lost it to Santos who lost it to Yuri Foreman who lost it to Miguel Cotto. Alcine has won two fights against small-time opposition since the Santos knockout. Angulo might have some spots of trouble, but Alcine is probably going to be the one with his hands full. Still, let’s play the TQBR Prediction Game on this one, too. Deadline: Friday at 11:59 p.m. EST.
- Fernando Guerrero-Ishe Smith, Friday, Showtime, Mississippi. The ShoBox headliner is a bit of bold match-making for Guerrero, an exciting but somewhat limited middleweight prospect. Sure, Guerrero’s amateur peer Daniel Jacobs beat Smith, but Jacobs has length and can box; Guerrero only can box a little, and he’s kinda stubby. Smith has shown he can dole out technical lessons to hard-hitting fighters not in his IQ range. One of the things that makes this ShoBox card is that the prospect for upsets is more real than even the usual high chances. Guerrero should be the favorite, but don’t count out Smith. Because of that competitiveness factor, let’s play the TQBR Prediction Game here. Deadline: Friday at noon, EST. It normally would be Thursday evening, but I want to give everyone a day and a half to think about this one.
- Fernando Montiel-Rafael Concepcion, Saturday, Fox Sports Net/Fox Sports en Espanol, Mexico. As with Bradley-Abregu, this bantamweight bout is a downgrade competitively from the originally-slated fight, with Montiel’s original opponent, Eric Morel, bailing. Morel said he was injured, but given that he’d been bitching about the terms of the contract, I have my doubts. Morel’s replacement, Concepcion, is a dirty-fighting, weight-cheating meanie who’s lost to Jorge Arce by knockout and came in well above the divisional limit in a decision loss to Nonito Donaire but also beat Filipino prospect A.J. Banal. Montiel was sensational in closing the show in the win of his career during his last appearance, a knockout of Hozumi Hasegawa, but he’s wildly erratic. A loss, and Montiel could be out of a big fight with Donaire. Let’s make this the last of the weekend’s TQBR Prediction Game entries. Deadline: Friday at 11:59 p.m., EST.
- Shawn Porter-Ray Robinson/Lanard Lane-Mike Dallas, Friday, Showtime, Mississippi. These two fights round out the aforementioned stacked ShoBox tripleheader. My instinct says Porter-Robinson is the least competitive of the three, but here’s some stuff for you to think on in this junior middleweight clash. Robinson’s only loss is to then-unproven Brad Solomon, but it was a close fight, and in his next bout, Solomon upset a heavily-hyped prospect Kenny Galarza with ease. So maybe Robinson’s better than his resume looks. Porter is undefeated and is the puncher in this fight, but he struggled against Russell Jordan, and Robinson’s a bit of a beanpole like Jordan but more talented. I think Lane-Dallas at junior welterweight figures as competitive regardless. Dallas is tall, quick and skilled, and might hit harder than his knockout record indicates, while Lane is also quick but perhaps a bit more proven in the grit category. I lean toward Porter and Lane, which is the way it’s meant to be, but these fights are as well-matched on paper as ShoBox gets.
- David Tua-Monte Barrett, Saturday, Integrated Sports Pay-Per-View, New Jersey. TQBR’s own Scott Kraus will be at this heavyweight fight in Atlantic City as credentialed media. Tua hits hard and Barrett doesn’t take a punch very well, so expect this one to be short. I wish Tua would get in there with some real contender; he’s too exciting to be doing these kind of bouts anymore. On the undercard, junior welterweight prospect Bayan Jargal – a D.C.-area fighter featured on TQBR a couple times – takes a fight.
- Zab Judah-Jose Armando Santa Cruz, Friday, ESPN2, New Jersey. Few boxers provoke me to roll my eyes as much as Judah. He hasn’t beaten anyone good in years, he keeps talking about fighting top opponents then turning down offers, he keeps talking about moving down to junior welterweight then doesn’t, blah blah blah. Santa Cruz should’ve been the lineal lightweight champion of the world a few years ago after getting robbed by the judges against Joel Casamayor, then he got crushed two fights later by power-punching Antonio Pitalua. Santa Cruz is taller than Judah but unproven at welter and is days slower, so it’s hard to imagine Santa Cruz pulling a Carlos Baldomir-style upset on Zab despite a swarming style.
- The Rest. TeleFutura airs a Solo Boxeo show Friday featuring fun featherweight prospect Carlos Velasquez against Eduardo Arcos, who was halted in his last fight by Christopher Martin, not exactly a knockout artist… Matthew Hatton gets into a welterweight scuffle with Yuri Nuzhnenko Friday… Light heavyweight titlist Jurgen Brahmer defends against Alejandro Lakatos and Alexander Alekseev squares off against Denis Lebedev in an eliminator for Marco Huck’s cruiserweight belt.