This week is one of those weeks that has one great fight and a whole lot of dross. That great fight is the rematch of Hernan Marquez and Luis Concepcion’s April flyweight bloodbath. The dross is various, ranging from prospects against relative no-hopers to Vanes Martirosyan spinning his wheels, as he tends to do.
But geez, this is going to have to be the second week within a month that I rage about the lack of information available to boxing fans about what’s actually on TV. It makes me want to shout at the Internet like a Yugoslav performance artist shouting into the mouth of another.
The rematch of a totally thrilling Fight of the Year candidate is only going to be available on Azteca America, probably the least available network in the U.S.A., maybe the world. Okay, I made the world bit up.
But what’s certainly true is that the only way you can find this out is by going to the Azteca America website and looking at the TV guide. The TV guide does not tell you that Marquez and Concepcion are fighting. All it says is that there’s boxing on. To find out the details, you’d have to go to the Azteca Mexico website. Meanwhile, boxing fans are left to speculate about whether it’s on at all.
It’s not like this is a one-off, either. Just two weeks ago I was raging about this exact same thing. Get your shit together, masters of the boxing universe! This isn’t an unimportant club fight. We’re talking about the number one and two contenders in a division going at it. It’s in Mexico featuring a Mexican fighter, so a more widely distributed Spanish language network might at least have picked it up. If not, then what about ESPN3, Epix or Top Rank Live? These small networks and online outlets are deliberately catering to hardcore fans. And the hardcore fans want to see these little dudes go at it!
- Hernan Marquez vs. Luis Concepcion II, Saturday, Azteca America, Hermosillo Mexico. Now that the rage is over, let’s appreciate just how good a fight this is. Marquez is The Ring’s number one rated flyweight contender, Concepcion is the number two. When they met in April, there were fireworks all over the place and they traded knockdowns before Concepcion got stopped on a cut. Since then, they’ve both won a relatively meaningless fight. I underestimated Marquez (31-2) the first time round. Not again. The kid is not exactly a slick boxer for a flyweight, but he’s not terrible either. He sure is powerful though, befitting his “Tysoncito” nickname. The real question going into the rematch is whether Concepcion (23-2) can box better than he did last time. That, and when will he change his nickname to “Paulito D?” I get the feeling, however, that he’s too macho for his own good. The Panamanian mini-man got gored by a bull during a spot of recreational bullfighting in 2011 and survived. Would you be scared of any 112-pound man after that? So I doubt he uses his awkward gifts and stinging power and instead gets lured into another firefight. All the better for us — at least if you have Azteca America or live in Mexico like yours truly.
- Vanes Martirosyan vs. Richard Gutierrez, Saturday, Fox Deportes/Fox Sports Net, Thackerville Okla. In a sport that features more than its fair share of frustration, Vanes Martirosyan stands out. The junior middleweight contender has been on the cusp of the next level for years. After calling out more fighters than you’ve had hot dinners, Martirosyan (30-0) turned down a shot at Alfredo Angulo on HBO in November and instead is fighting (drum roll please) RICHARD GUTIERREZ. That’d be the same Richard Gutierrez (26-7-1) who’s lost five in a row if you don’t count victories against two blokes with a combined 0-9 record. You know how this one goes.
- Brandon Gonzales vs. Ossie Duran, Friday, Showtime, Atlantic City. This ShoBox main even is the more honest of the two “up and comer vs. veteran” bouts of the weekend. It could have been better; Tony Thompson and Eddie Chambers were meant to be headlining in a clash of American heavyweights. Gonzales (14-0) is reportedly a solid middleweight prospect taking a big step up against gritty vet Duran (26-8-2). Duran went the distance with Fernando Guerrero and James Kirkland at similar stages in their careers and has never been knocked out. That’s the main thing he brings to the table, though he remains the best opponent of Gonzales’ career. It’s likely to be a showcase decision win. Welterweight prospect and decorated amateur Javier Molina (9-0) is on the undercard.
- Eloy Perez vs. Ira Terry, Friday, TeleFutura, Salinas Calif. Junior lightweight prospect Perez is readying himself for a step up to contender level, staying busy against Terry. Perez (22-0-2) is coming off a knockout win against Daniel Jiminez that nobody expected, he’s a total pitty-pat puncher. Still, even Paulie Malignaggi can get knockouts these days and Terry (24-6) has lost his last four by KO, so maybe Perez can continue his fearsome run.
- The Rest. The second episode of 24/7 Pacquiao/Mayweather airs Saturday on HBO… Ivan Calderon (34-2-1) takes an almost Pong-level easy fight in Puerto Rico on Saturday night against Felipe Rivas (9-9-1) at strawweight… On Thursday Venezuela’s 6’1” junior middleweight Alfonso Blanco (6-0) takes on Leshon Sims (5-9) is a showcase on Fox Sports Net/Fox Deportes/RingTV.com/UStream.com… England’s fun Prizefighter one-night tournament has its next installment on Saturday, this time featherweights, featuring Rhys Roberts, Choi Tseveenpurev, Mickey Coveney, Lee Glover, Troy James, George Jupp, Lee Jennings and Ian Bailey… Kind of past it Filipino dudes Bernabe Concepcion (featherweight) and Rodel Mayol (junior bantamweight) are fighting tonight on the same card at Highland California… South African junior featherweight contender Takalani Ndlovu travels to Mexico to take on Giovanni Caro (22-9-4), Saturday… His fellow South African tongue twister Moruti Mthalane (27-2) heads to Italy to fight Andrea Sarritzu (32-4-4) in a flyweight bout on Friday. Can these guys borrow a vowel?… Earlier in the week, Pornsawan Porpramook (23-4-1), the Ring’s number 10 strawweight, lost a reported thriller by TKO in the 10th round to Japanese challenger Akira Yaegashi (15-2). Make your own obligatory porn joke.