A variety of cards this weekend, although few that figure to produce fireworks, either literal or figurative.
- Lateef Kayode vs. Matt Godfrey, Friday, Showtime, Santa Ynez Calif. The raw, powerful cruiserweight prospect trained by Freddie Roach takes a big step up against Godfrey, who was a borderline top-10 boxer in his division not too long ago. Kayode clearly has physical tools, but he’s yet to impress me with his skill level, so this strikes me as a bold move, to take a raw guy like him and place him in there with a guy who can box some like Godfrey. And the next step would be even bolder: If he wins, per our Corey Erdman (on Twitter, via sources he and I consider reliable), the next step for Kayode could be Troy Ross, a top-5 cruiser. Apparently Kayode’s team has big confidence in him with this series of moves. I think he needs more development, but OK. I applaud the risk-taking, at least. Also on the card, bantamweight Chris Avalos continues to climb back from his first loss and lightweight Archie Ray Marquez tries to get back on track after a series of shaky outings. Neither are facing opponents that live up to ShoBox’s usual high standards. Mike Coppinger could have live coverage of this show from ringside for us.
- Kenny Galarza vs. Irving Garcia/Thomas Dulorme vs. DeMarcus Corley, Friday, ESPN2/ESPN3/ESPN Deportes, New York City. Last time we got a view of Galarza, the heavily-touted welterweight prospect was getting taken to school by Brad Solomon. The loss was surely a wake-up call to Galarza, whose power had been carrying him in all 14 of his wins, all by knockout. It wasn’t the kind of loss that made me think he couldn’t figure it out, though; it could have helped him to take a loss like that so early. Garcia’s a tough guy who was in that rock ’em sock ’em bout with Luis Carlos Abregu, which he lost, and he since has lost to Mike Jones and Antonin Decarie. It’s a modestly risky bout for Galarza if his confidence isn’t restored. The real show is on the undercard, when Dulorme — THE must-see prospect in boxing right now — takes a massive leap in competition to Corley, who’s on a slide of late after several fights in a row of giving young ballyhooed fighters a tough time, but who still is much better than anyone Dulorme’s faced. If you haven’t had an opportunity to look at Dulorme, whose speed, power and skills are mighty impressive (at least early in his career), here’s your chance, and against a respectable opponent.
- Luis Del Valle vs. Dat Nguyen, Saturday, Showtime, New York City. Our Scott Kraus liked Del Valle pretty good the first time he saw him back on a show in 2009, and I liked him OK when I saw him on the undercard of Sergio Martinez-Paul Williams II. The featherweight is taking on Nguyen, a prospect who disappeared for a while for reasons that I can’t figure out with some cursory research. Either way, Nguyen figures as his toughest opponent on paper by a good bit. I don’t know much about the other major featured prospect, middleweight Johnathan Gonzalez, other than that he has won all 13 bouts by KO and that a Showtime news release says he’s more than a brawler. His opponent is the usually tough Richard Gutierrez, although he’s been getting stopped a bit more these days, even if the last one was a bit premature. Incidentally, this is the second of a joint DiBella/Shaw promoted back-to-back night of NYC cards featuring young boxing talents from Puerto Rico. If you’re from PR or are of PR heritage, it’s a good weekend of lower-end fights for your peeps; all four of these bouts I mentioned are legit, even if the Puerto Rican should almost certainly win them all.
- Austin Trout vs. David Lopez, Saturday, Monterrey Mexico. I still haven’t gotten a look at Trout, a junior middleweight that some really like and whose name has been thrown around for potential big fights. There’s no real footage on YouTube of the fellow. I can tell you that if Trout has any squishiness on his insides, Lopez will find it in him. Lopez is a hard-nosed dude whose record of 40-12 isn’t at all a reflection of the fighter he is today.
- The Rest. Friday: A Telefutura card headlined by woman boxer Holly Holm… Saturday: Junior bantamweight Omar Narvaez makes what is seemingly his one millionth meaningless title defense… Jeffrey Mathebula, who once gave Celestino Caballero a rough night, fights in a junior featherweight eliminator… Junior welterweight mega-prospect Jose Benavidez, Jr. fights for the first time in his home state of Arizona, where some boxers have protested the state’s policies on immigration.