As funny as last week’s video was, this one tops it. Really. Only it’s intentionally funny, unlike last week’s unintentionally funny clip. Who knew our heavyweight champion had such comedic chops?
But let’s stop talking about last weekend. For serious. Besides the men in the headline, we have Rico Ramos, Chris Arreola, Rico Ramos, Mercito Gesta and others in action THIS weekend. Starting tonight, for some of ’em.
- Lucian Bute vs. Jean Paul Mendy, Saturday, Bucharest Romania. Bute might be one of the best talents in the world, but this is his latest fight against a borderline top-10 super middleweight, making for a years-long streak. Again, I don’t entirely blame him — he was left out of the Super Six, and that’s robbed him of the best available opponents. But then, he’s also not totally blame-free for the failure to make a fight with Mikkel Kessler. Mendy isn’t half-bad, but he probably isn’t going to be much of an obstacle to an eventual Bute-Kelly Pavlik fight, which, given how crappy Pavlik has looked above 160, doesn’t thril me either. In his last fight, Mendy basically was on his way to a 1st round knockout loss against Sakio Bika, before Bika got all stupid and got himself disqualified. I bet Bute makes short work of him in a fight in his native country; Bute is the biggest draw in Canada these days, but he’s wanted to stage a fight where he was born for a long time now. Showtime, by the way, will air highlights of this fight, according to a news release from not too long ago.
- Akifumi Shimoda vs. Rico Ramos, Saturday, HBO, Atlantic City. Ramos is trying to make the transition from prospect to contender so he’s fighting Ring Magazine’s #2-ranked junior featherweight, Shimoda, for one of the alphabet straps in the division. I’d historically liked Ramos, but he really struggled with Alejandro Valdez in his last fight — a bout where Valdez was considered a risk to his own health. There are some who think Ramos is biting off a bit more than he can chew in Shimoda, a boxer I haven’t seen much of but who beat Ryol Li Lee to get his belt, the man who in turn toppled Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym. There are two other notable fighters on the untelivised undercard for Paul Williams-Erislandy Lara, both action heroes on the boxing scene these days: still-remarkably-focused-seeming heavyweight Chris Arreola, taking on Friday Ahunyana, whose days as a useful veteran gatekeeper are now behind him but who’s better than some recent Arreola opponents; and featherweight Jhonny Gonzalez, taking on Tomas Villa, the journeyman who gave us a Fight of the Year candidate with Rogers Mtagwa in 2008 then lost by 1st round knockout to Mikey Garcia two fights ago only to upset Salvador Sanchez II in his most recent bout.
- Kermit Cintron vs. Carlos Molina, Saturday, SHowtime Carson Calif. On the televised undercard of Brandon Rios-Urbano Antillon, Cintron is making his debut under the Top Rank promotional banner. In Molina, he’s not taking on some pansy. Molina’s on a five-fight streak where he has either beaten modestly notable names (semi-prospect Ed Paredes, James Kirkland war companion Allen Conyers) or deserved to beat a bigger one (the draw with Lara). Molina is a hard-nosed guy with a few tricks up his sleeve. Cintron is obviously the superior physical talent and has beaten better guys than Molina has, yet this could be a tough fight for him. It’ll be at junior middleweight, but Cintron is planning a return to welter. Also making his Top Rank debut on the untelevised portion of the card is lightweight Mercito Gesta, one of the better-looking young prospects to come out of the Philippines in a while, against Jorge Pimental, who has a decidedly unspectacular record.
- Francisco Sierra vs. Jesus Gonzales, Friday, ESPN2/ESPN3/ESPN Deportes/ESPN 3D, Phoenix. Sierra was riding high on his big upset win over Don George last year, one of the most brutal stompings you’ll ever be unfortunate enough to witness, but then he ran into Dyah Davis earlier this year, who fought him to a draw. Now the super middleweight is in against the last man to beat Andre Ward — when Ward was age 12 — and in Gonzales’ backyard. FWIW, dude lost to Jose Luis Zertuche in 2005, disappeared from boxing a few years back for a little while and has wins over some folk you’ve heard of, like Darnell Boone This has the makings of a fun fight.
- Jesse Vargas vs. Walter Estrada, Friday, TeleFutura, Primm Nev. I’m a believer in junior welterweight prospect Vargas not necessarily as a future elite talent but as a guy who can make some noise as a real contender one day. When I first saw he was fighting Estrada, I thought of my boy YURIORKIS GAMBOA! slaying him in one round. But Estrada’s been doing pretty well for himself all things considered after a stretch where he lost nine of 11 fights, several of them by knockout. He beat the husk of Nate Campbell last year and most recently beat sorta-prospect Tyrese Hendrix. Vargas is a better fighter than those guys, so he’ll win, but Estrada has pulled the rare feat of going from “easy night’s work” to “legitimate opponent.”
- The Rest. Not a whole lot. Junior bantamweight brawler Hugo Cazares is in action Saturday, but it doesn’t look too meaningful, despite his opponent’s gaudy record. Cazares is a guy I’d like to see in an important fight soon…