The Week’s Boxing Schedule, Featuring Saul Alvarez Vs. Matthew Hatton, Zab Judah Vs. Kaizer Mabuza And More

That’s a sweet scene of one of this weekend’s combatants, Zab Judah, hittin’ the circus recently with his kiddo, courtesy Main Events.

I wouldn’t dare mock such a scene.

Your not-quite-good-enough-to-warrant-full-previews weekend of boxing:

  • Saul Alvarez-Matthew Hatton, Saturday, HBO, Anaheim Calif. Alvarez is the junior middleweight who rules Mexico right now with his red hair and good looks and exciting style, but in ‘Merica we’re not sure if he’s the second coming or a snail. Hatton is a sideways move as sideways as sideways moves get — he’s worked himself from “little brother of Ricky no one takes seriously” to “fringe contender,” but he not too long ago had a draw with Alvarez’ most recent opponent, Lovemore N’dou. I’d buy it as a competitive fight a bit more if Hatton was also a junior middleweight, but he isn’t, yet somehow this is for a WBC belt despite Hatton not being ranked at 154 by them. I say “somehow” but I know how: Alvarez draws big purses, so the WBC wants its cut. Anyway, this one doesn’t figure to be boring. That’s a good thing. What it tells us about Alvarez will be, probably, nothing, but if there’s some way in which it’s not a sideways move it’s that Alvarez is fighting a young guy instead of an old one. So far he’s stuck to “really old and smaller” or “really old,” but Hatton’s “young and smaller.”
  • Zab Judah-Kaizer Mabuza, Saturday, Integrated Sports Pay-Per-View, Newark N.J. This is Judah not getting a piece of Amir Khan, so he might as well fight whoever the weakest belt challenger is at 140. Meet Mabuza, who stopped a lackluster and seemingly unmotivated Kendall Holt to get said title shot. Mabuza has a bit of speed, but he’s more a pressure fighter than anything, and on the crude side. That might not be such a bad thing. For all we’ve heard about Judah getting his act together, for all his physical talent, he still doesn’t handle it well when things get dicey late. Mabuza can take a shot and I think he’s going to stay on top of Judah. If I had any guts I’d call the upset, but instead I’m going to say I won’t be remotely surprised if Mabuza gets this one. Expect a ringside report from our Mike Coppinger.
  • Adrien Broner-Daniel Ponce De Leon, Saturday, HBO, Anaheim Calif. This fight makes perfect sense for Broner, who’s a physical talent if nothing else. But this is a quick cash out for De Leon, moving up in weight to 130 to take on a faster, more skilled young prospect. He’d only recently established his power at 126, and if De Leon isn’t crushing you, he probably isn’t beating you. And I guess since the two big names at 126 are with Top Rank, which refuses to do business with De Leon’s promoter Golden Boy, he might as well take this. Despite the size advantage, this is a legit step up in competition for Broner. Check out his resume — there’s nothing close. And last I looked at him on Friday Night Fights, he has some flaws. We’ll get a better sense of how legit he is after this.
  • Ismayl Sillakh-Yordanis Despaigne, Friday, ESPN2, Kissimmee Fla. This might be the most interesting fight of the weekend. Sillakh is a light heavyweight prospect who looks like he could really be something. Despaigne is also a prospect who’s come out of Cuba and doesn’t look like quite as good a prospect but shows signs of potentially being a legit top-10 contender. Both are pretty aggressive. It’s brave matchmaking by both sides. Too bad the horribly faded Freddie Norwood is on the undercard. I’m told that our Corey Erdman is working on something about Sillakh this week, so look for that.
  • Humberto Soto-Fidel Monterrosa II, Saturday, Fox Sports Net/Fox Deportes, Tepic Mexico. The first encounter was an unexpectedly difficult one for Soto, so this is about righting that wrong and maybe about staying sharp in advance of a more worthwhile rematch for Soto against Urbano Antillon. All I know is that I’m happy I don’t have to crap all over Soto anymore for taking a fight like this. After producing the TQBR Fight of the Year in 2010 in his lightweight brawl against Antillon, he made up for all the tire-spinning he did for a couple years there.
  • The Rest. What’s the latest Solo Boxeo mismatch on TeleFutura? Do you care? It’s Friday and it’s lightweight Vicente Escobedo against Walter Estrada, who at least isn’t literally a corpse. Also, exciting junior featherweight prospect Randy Caballero fights… Otis Griffin and Yusaf Mack are in a light heavyweight title eliminator Friday… On the untelevised portion of the HBO undercard, super middleweight (? !) James Kirkland returns against a soft touch… and welterweight Sadam Ali, the most entertaining of the 2008 U.S. Olympians, appears on the undercard in Newark.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.