My God! What a packed week of boxing. I haven’t seen anything like this since at least… July. Some of this stuff is even happening later today. So you don’t even have to wait ’til the weekend for slightly obscure fight action, streaming from around the globe. You certainly don’t have to wait for lots of references to Tasmania. For example, I bet you don’t know what “Map of Tassie” means in Australian slang. Oh dear, did I just bring down the tone?
The big card of the week is on HBO, with top ten welterweights Andre Berto and Jan Zaveck squaring off and ballyhooed prospect Gary Russell Jr on the undercard. Apart from that, we’ve got offerings from afar afield as Tasmania, Tokyo and Telefutura (not an actual place, but felt the need to alliterate).
- Andre Berto vs. Jan Zaveck/Gary Russell Jr vs. Leonilo Miranda, Saturday, HBO, Biloxi Miss. Tim will have a proper preview of this weekend’s big fight, but suffice to say that it stacks up as a competitive welterweight scrap. General carping about Berto’s run of HBO dates aside, Zaveck (31-1) will be the second or third best opponent he has ever faced. Berto (27-1) is coming off a tough loss to Victor Ortiz and Zaveck is Ring Magazine-rated, so this could be very competitive. On the televised undercard, featherweight Gary Russell Jr (17-0) will have a chance to demonstrate his terrifying hand speed against Mexico’s Leonilo Miranda (32-3). Seriously, if Russell ever gets to the point of fighting Yuriorkis Gamboa, it’s going to look like the Tasmanian devil in motion. Just hands and shit flying everywhere. Nobody will have any idea what’s going on. Miranda was last seen severely testing another featherweight prospect, Luis Franco, in a fun and close fight. He’s probably got more pop than Russell Jr and has a pretty awkward style, often throwing some weird-arse overhand bombs. It’ll be fun to see how the former US Olympian handles his first real challenge.
- Koki Kameda vs. Daniel De La Mora/Hugo Cazares vs. Tomonubu Shimuzi, Wednesday, Tokyo. What is it with little Mexican dudes fighting little Japanese dudes in Japan? Who cares? Not me, I loves me a good little people fight. Kameda (25-1) is The Ring’s number eight ranked bantam, while Mexico’s La Mora (23-0) is a completely unknown quantity. As far as anybody knows, this is just as likely to be a war as it is to be a walkover. The real fun here might be the undercard, featuring the number one man at junior bantam, Hugo Cazares (35-6) against Japan’s Tomonobu Shimizu (18-3-1). Cazares loves getting in fun fights and Shimizu has been in with (and lost to) good guys like Daiki Kameda and The Pong (Pongsaklek Wonjongkam).
- Daniel Geale vs. Eromosele Albert, Wednesday, Hobart Tasmania. I don’t even need to make a Tasmania reference in this paragraph, as this fight is actually taking place there. Geale (25-1), who beat Sebastian Sylvester in Germany this year, could be a real player at middleweight if he could just find himself a good fight. This is not it. Albert (24-4-1) does not figure to be much of a challenge. Still, it should allow Geale to show off his developing power and concentrate on not squaring up so much. Anthony Mundine conqueror and automatic folk hero Garth Wood is fighting on the undercard.
- Marco Antonio Rubio vs. Mohammed Akrong/Humberto Soto vs. Jose Alfaro, Saturday, Televisa, Mexicali Mexico. Rubio (51-5-1), The Ring’s number 10 middleweight and Soto (55-7-2) are fighting in a split-site doubleheader from various parts of Mexico. You really have to love both these guys. They’re throwback fighters in the truest sense — just look at their records. Still, this card doesn’t look like it’ll be a barrel of laughs. Soto’s opponent, Alfaro (25-7-0) is of slightly higher quality, having been in there with the likes of Miguel Acosta and Erik Morales (who he now trains with). Akrong (13-3), on the other hand, is pure chum for Rubio, who should be doing better things after upsetting David Lemieux earlier in the year.
- Various Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz Promotional Activities, Wednesday and Saturday, CNN. and HBO. Victor Ortiz and Oscar De La Hoya will be appearing on Piers Morgan Tonight on Wednesday. Not sure what to make of that journalistically, but it’ll certainly be better promo material for their fight than 24/7 episodes airing at midnight. When combined, their Latino nice guy schtick might tear a hole in the space time continuum. Then again, it might come off looking really good or just fall flat. Who knows. The second episode their 24/7 series also debuts on HBO on Saturday. Last week’s was a surprisingly good episode, mainly due to the (seemingly) raw drama of the Mayweather camp. Not sure how they’ll follow it up, hopefully not by following Victor Ortiz to his underwear modeling shoots.
- The Rest. Angry little bantamweight Villain Vic Darchinyan takes on South Africa’s cooly named but inexperienced Evans Mbamba in Armenia, Saturday… The other Chavez brother, Omar (welterweight), fights on the same card as Jorge Paez, Jr. (also welterweight) on Fox Deportes Saturday. Expect little… Luis Lazarte fights a rematch that nobody wanted against Nerys Espinoza in Argentina Friday. If he wins he stands in line for the unholy, bizarro junior flyweight version of the Gatti-Ward trilogy, against Ulises Solis. Yay sanctioning bodies…. Golden Boy’s junior lightweight prospect Eloy Perez continues his march forward on TeleFutura Friday.