Now that’s an action figure. Wait, are we meant to be talking about “Action Heroes?” What is an action hero anyway? I don’t know. All I know is that the action figure-sized action heroes, Giovanni Segura and Hernan Marquez, heroically gave us some action last week. Now I’m confused. Let’s talk about what’s happening this week instead.
The big show is the HBO pay-per-view headlined by Marcos Maidana and Eric Morales. That fight really sucks, but the undercard, featuring Robert Guerrero vs. Michael Katsidis, James Kirkland and Paulie Malignaggi somewhat compensates. On ESPN, stubby-armed Canadian killing machine David Lemieux takes on his toughest test yet in Marco Antonio Rubio. Tomasz Adamek is staying busy for a Klitschko against Kevin McBride and double H (Hozumi Hasegawa) takes on the annoyingly spelled, but big punching, Johnny Gonzalez in Japan. There’s also a ShoBox card and a TeleFutura mismatch. To the fights!
- Marcos Maidana-Eric Morales, Saturday, HBO PPV, Las Vegas. Tim’s going to do a proper analysis of the only really meaningful fight on this card, Michael Katsidis and Robert Guerrero’s lightweight bout. Lucky bastard. So I’m left with the rather unpalatable leftovers. Maidana (29-2) is one of the hardest punchers in the sport, even if his middle name is Rene (I wouldn’t say anything to his face about it though). Morales (51-6) is a faded Mexican veteran fighting well above his best weight at 140, with rumoured neurological problems. So naturally they should not only fight, but headline a PPV show. If I were to play devil’s advocate, I would say that “El Terrible” hasn’t looked terrible (see what I did there?) in his comeback, and that maybe there’s something left of the offensive machine that beat Manny Pacquiao in 2005. I would say maybe that, mixed in with some crafty veteran defence, could upset Maidana. But you wouldn’t believe me. I don’t believe me. If Maidana can track down, and badly hurt, a 24-year-old, prime Amir Khan, then he can do a lot worse to the slower, older, smaller, weaker Morales. I just hope the Mexican doesn’t get badly hurt, takes the money from this and has a nice life that involves no more head trauma.
- James Kirkland-Nobuhiro Ishida, Paulie Malignaggi-Jose Cotto, Danny Garcia-Nate Campbell, Saturday, HBO, Las Vegas. The remaining fights on the undercard of “Action Heroes” aren’t that great either. Wild man James Kirkland (27-0) is continuing his comeback with a middleweight bout against Japan’s Nobuhiro Ishida (22-6-2). Kirkland, who wore a Japanese cap in support of tsunami victims in his last fight, will not be feeling quite so charitable to Ishida. The Osakan has never been stopped, but was probably selected for his lack of power (only seven KOs from his 22 wins), after Kirkland’s lack of defence got him hurt against Jhon Berrio. Fellow comebacker Paulie Malignaggi (28-4), fresh off a SAVAGE KNOCKOUT VICTORY, faces Jose Cotto (32-2-1). Cotto’s not his little bro (I bet he hates people saying that), but he’s not that bad either. He managed to give Saul Alvarez a bit of a shock before getting bundled, so he figures as a pretty good test for DJ Paulie M at welterweight at this point. Wouldn’t expect it to be too fun though. Then finally, in keeping with the theme of the main event, we have young junior welterweight gun Danny Garcia (20-0) taking on formerly retired Nate Campbell (33-7-1). “The Galaxxy Warrior” will always be loved round these parts for his creative trash talk and amazing nickname, but his instincts were right to retire after losing to journeyman Walter Estrada. Most likely his enduring money problems have convinced him to take this fight, which is truly sad. Again, lets hope he doesn’t take too much of a beating and can walk away (again) under his own power.
- David Lemieux-Marco Antonio Rubio, Friday, ESPN2, Montreal. Canadian middleweight prospect Lemieux (25-0) is pretty scary, even though I can’t help but find his French name adorable. He’s facing the best opponent of his short career in Rubio (49-5-1), an experienced Mexican who’s been in with Kelly Pavlik and a who’s who of middleweight fringe contenders of the last few years. Rubio’s crafty and not without power himself (he’s got 42 KOs to his credit, and not all against stiffs). What he doesn’t possess is a world class beard, something that could come in handy against Lemieux (though he does have a world class moustache). Still, he survived Kelly Pavlik for nine rounds before retiring, so maybe he’ll be able to test the Canadian, who hasn’t really fought anybody.
- Tomasz Adamek-Kevin McBride, Saturday, Integrated Sports PPV, Newark N.J. Adamek (42-1-0) is staying busy for his next fight, most likely against one of the heavyweight brothers Klitschko. It’s really a terrible match, with McBride (35-8-1) having lost four of his last five fights — not to mention that he wasn’t that good to begin with. What he brings to the table is the name recognition of being the man who retired Mike Tyson and his Klitschkoesque height, 6′ 6”. Still, if there’s anyone in boxing who can take fights like this without me complaining, it’s Adamek. The guy loves to fight a bunch of times a year, and you can’t do that against consistently world class opposition. If people are willing to pay to go see him KO guys like McBride, then that’s pretty cool, too. On the undercard, much touted welterweight prospect and former Olympian Sadam Ali (11-0) takes on Javier Perez (8-4) to get some added seasoning. Kathy Duva is trying to turn him into a draw near New York, so we’ll see how that goes.
- Marcus Johnson-Dyah Davis, Friday, Showtime, Laredo Texas. Undefeated super middleweight prospect Johnson (20-0) does battle with Dyah Davis (18-2), in a quintessential ShoBox fight. Johnson is pretty damn exciting, and would be further along in his pro career by now if Don King hadn’t left him sitting on the shelf for most of 2009 (familiar story?). I suspect he’s too much for Davis, who will be looking to rebound from drawing his last fight and getting owned in his last ShoBox date against Aaron Pryor Jr. He didn’t exactly sizzle in that outing, so he could be in for another rude shock against Johnson, who’s more aggressive and harder hitting than Pryor. The other televised bouts feature undefeated junior welterweights Gabriel Bracero and Danny O’Connor going head to head in their first real challenge, and 6’3” undefeated welterweight Willie Nelson (the other Willie Nelson!) taking on once beaten Vincent Arroyo. People may start making Paul Williams comparisons soon. Just saying.
- Hozumi Hasegawa-Johnny Gonzalez, Friday, Kobe Japan. Hasegawa’s leap to featherweight continues against big punching Johnny Gonzalez (47-7) in Japan on Friday. Hasegawa (29-3) was on many pound-for-pound lists before he got shocked in the 4th by Fernando Montiel last year. I reckon that there was a bit of bad luck in that, especially since afterwards he moved straight up to feather and got a unanimous decision over the larger and undefeated Juan Carlos Burgos. Maybe the shock of losing was just what he needed after a big winning streak. Gonzalez isn’t as crafty as Montiel, who he once defeated. If Hasegawa can stay out of range of his bombs, which are more obvious than Montiel’s, and put his usual crisp combinations together, he should be able to do quite a bit of damage. On the undercard Toshiaki Nishioka (37-4-3) is defending his junior featherweight strap against Mauricio Munoz (21-2), who has never fought outside of Argentina (OK, that’s a lie, he fought in Uruguay once). Difficult to predict with these South Americans, but with his nine knockouts, I don’t think he poses much of a threat. Takahiro Aoh is also fighting.
- The Rest. More of this week’s theme, with Vivian Harris (29-5-1) being sacrificed to Jesse Vargas (14-0) on TeleFutura. It might once have been possible to say that this was a big step up for Vargas, but Harris seems to have no chin left at all, having been knocked down four times in his last bout, against Victor Ortiz… Robert Stieglitz is defending his middleweight title in Germany and Hector Comacho Jr is fighting someone or other.