Of all the weeks leading up to New Year, this week has the weakest boxing schedule. So if you’re planning that winter vacation or have something you’ve been meaning to do on a Friday or Saturday night, do it now, for God’s sake! Because after this, there’s really no break. If you go out, you will miss quality boxing and we will shame you in the comments section. Not really. We’re very understanding like that.
Not that it’s a terrible week. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is fighting on HBO, but in a fight that not everyone believes should be on HBO. Wasted talent Joan Guzman is on ESPN Deportes on Friday night, along with underrated junior lightweight Argenis Mendez. There are also a few other cards, the first episode of 24/7 Cotto/Margarito and the replay of Saturday’s contentious pay-per-view. Feast your eyes on the delicious awkwardness and confrontation of Margarito and Cotto’s “Face Off” and let’s get to the fights.
- Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Peter Manfredo Jr., , Saturday, HBO, Houston. The biggest show of the week, which Tim will have a larger preview of, isn’t really that significant. But then again, it is. It looks like Julio Cesar Chavez “Hijo” will be in the second biggest fight in boxing, against fellow Mexican Saul Alvarez, if he gets past Manfredo. Providence Rhode Island’s Manfredo (37-6) shouldn’t be too much of a problem. In fact, he’s probably more of a club fighter at this point in his career. Chavez (43-1), has his share of detractors though, alternating as he does between crude and (a bit) skilled, motivated and lazy. If Manfredo Jr. somehow manages to eke out a victory, then he really will have upset the apple cart. Still, it’s difficult to see how that would happen. Chavez has been improving, works the body hard and can use his jab when he wants to. Manfredo is much the same fighter who’s lost to Sakio Bika, Alfonso Gomez and Jeff Lacy, if not a worse one. On the non-televised undercard, Joshua Clottey returns from a long break after his non-effort against Manny Pacquiao to take on Calvin Green, who he will almost certainly beat.
- Joan Guzman vs. Florencio Castellano and Argenis Mendez vs. Samir Torres, Friday, ESPN Deportes, Santo Domingo Dominican Republic. It’s a Dominican extravaganza on ESPN Deportes, with Joan Guzman and Argenis Mendez doing their thing(s). Guzman (30-0-1) is the great wasted talent of boxing, in case you didn’t know. He’s a great boxer but an unprofessional douchebag, consistently failing to make weight and dudding his opponents. His guy this time round, Florencio Castellano (17-4), is not in Guzman’s league, talent-wise. Guzman is talking some good talk about being focused and getting his career back on track but frankly, we’ve heard it all before. He could potentially be a player at junior welterweight but never will be, because no big promoter will ever trust him. Would you? On the undercard, the Ring’s number eight rated junior lightweight, Argenis Mendez (18-2), is facing unheralded Columbian Jose Palma (14-4-2). Mendez is a very good fighter and deserves a gimme fight like this after going to war with Juan Carlos Salgado (now rated number two) in September and losing a decision that had even the Mexican commentators screaming “Robo.”
- Selcuk Aydin vs. Jo Jo Dan, Saturday, Trabazon Turkey. Aydin and Dan put on a good scrap in June 2010, which Turkey’s Aydin won by controversial hometown decision. There was really very little in it, with Aydin (22-0) applying constant pressure and Dan (29-1) backing up but countering well and landing harder. Not really sure how this one goes any differently but there have been a few recent instances of hometown rematches, like Celestino Caballero vs. Jonathan Victor Barros and Ulises Solis vs. Luis Lazarte, where the hometown judges have got things right the second time round. Since it’s an alphabet title eliminator, the fight might have interesting repercussions for the welterweight division, but it probably won’t. The alphabet gang have a way of not caring about their own rules when they involve fighters from Turkey and Romania who don’t make much money.
- Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez 3 PPV replay and 24/7 Cotto/Margarito, Saturday, HBO. HBO has a whole bundle of extra stuff linked in with Boxing After Dark on Saturday. First up, there’s the first episode of the 24/7 series for Miguel Cotto vs. Antonio Margarito. If their Face Off segment is anything to go by, the series should be very interesting. At a minimum, there’s a whole lot of crazy psychological business going on there. There’s also the replay of the pay per view from last Saturday, so catch up with that if you’ve been living under a rock/didn’t buy it. It’s good marketing for Cotto/Margarito from HBO, which will get big time Mexican eyeballs watching Julio Jr. and the PPV replay.
- The Rest. Fernando Montiel (31-2-1) continues on the comeback trail in Mexico Saturday after being on the wrong end of a Knockout of the Year candidate earlier in the year against Nonito Donaire. His opponent in this junior featherweight bout is Victor Terrazas (31-2-1), a somewhat limited but handy brawler… The Ring’s number four rated junior bantamweight, Hugo Cazares (35-7-2), keeps that division busy by taking on Adan Garcia (17-5-1) in Mexico on Saturday in a fight that shouldn’t be too much of a challenge… Australian frustrater and Ring Magazine’s number ten featherweight Billy Dib (32-1) faces Italy’s Alberto Servidei (31-0-2) in Sydney on Saturday. Servidei has never fought outside of Italy, so who knows what to expect. Certainly not a fun fight… On Friday on Telemundo, past it junior welterweights Antonio Pituala (52-5-1) and Cosme Rivera (33-14-3) are doing a rematch of their September draw that probably should have gone to Rivera. They also fought in 1999, with Pituala winning. It’s tempting to mock the epicness of their trilogy, but they’re honest prizefighters… There’s a show on Azteca America on Saturday that involves various under the radar types, including junior welterweight prospect Chris Algieri (11-0).