Business cat really has nothing to do with this blog post. I’m just trying to cement our reputation as the coolest hipster nerds on the boxing block.
There’s nothing on that’s super compelling, but there are certainly some interesting fights. Along with those you’ve got one of your garden variety Mexican TV mismatches and some weird stuff going down in South Africa. To the fights!
- Yuriorkis Gamboa-Jorge Solis, Saturday, HBO, Atlantic City. Tim’s going to do the full rundown on the HBO featherweight headliner, so I’ll keep this brief and pretty. Solis (40-2-2), who was an in between opponent for Pacquiao back in the day, is probably the best opponent Gamboa (19-0) has ever faced. He’s moving down from junior lightweight, where he’s had his last few fights. Still, it’s doubtful that he’s got the stuff required to really test Gamboa. I, for one, doubt this fight will be all that interesting. Mind you, you never know with YURIORKIS GAMBOA! Tune in later for Tim’s sexy analysis.
- Mikey Garcia-Matt Remillard, Saturday, HBO, Atlantic City. For yours truly, the 10-round co-feature between undefeated featherweight prospects Garcia (24-0) and Remillard (23-0) is the more interesting fight. Garcia, the younger brother of trainer extraordinaire Robert, is more the puncher in this match up. He’s also fought the much better opposition. Remillard hasn’t fought anyone of note and has had a much slower schedule than Garcia, though he did beat my new favourite Journeyman, Jose “Loco” Hernandez, way back in 2006 (ask me how to join the “Loco” Hernandez Appreciation Society, LHAS). Remillard will need to use all his patience and skill to avoid getting hurt by Garcia. For such young guys (Garcia is 23 and Remillard 24), both boxers have great ring presence, so this will be interesting even if it’s tactical (which Remillard will try and make it).
- Erislandy Lara-Carlos Molina, Friday, ESPN2, Las Vegas. Lara’s development has really stalled. Molina (17-4-1), who hasn’t fought since 2009, is the fall guy here. Molina held Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to a draw back in 2006 and had put together a nice winning streak before becoming inactive. He’s only got five KOs from his wins, and all were at the start of his career. I don’t see what beating him does for Lara’s (15-0) confidence, career or skills. I don’t begrudge guys the occasional gimme fight early in their career, but at this stage, shouldn’t he be facing people that test him or grow him? Either he’s under confident, his handlers are useless or there’s a big hole in his game that I haven’t spotted. Either way, his last few fights have sucked bum, and I don’t see this one being any different.
- Yudel Jhonson-Richard Gutierrez, Friday, ESPN2, Las Vegas. Cuban party on ESPN! Jhonson (9-0) wasn’t quite as decorated or celebrated an amateur as most of the rest of the current crop of defectors (he only won a silver medal, what a n00b), but that might be a good thing. He really hasn’t fought anyone in the pro game yet, but this fight should tell us something about him. Columbia’s Gutierrez (26-5-1) is gritty and has been in the ring with a who’s who at junior middleweight, including Antwone Smith, Josh Clottey, Luis Carlos Abregu and Alfredo Angulo. Gutierrez probably won’t win, but unlike Lara, this is a solid step up for Jhonson.
- Dmitry Pirog-Javier Maciel, Saturday, ESPN3, Ekaterinburg Russia. Pirog (17-0) won a middleweight strap and a legion of fans when he KOd Danny Jacobs in July last year. The love the herky jerky Russian gets is part because of the awesome KO, part because of his crazy style and part because people just hate Golden Boy and overhyped prospects. I wouldn’t expect this fight to be much of a barometer of how good Pirog actually is; Argentina’s Maciel (18-1) may have a Latin American-style padded record, as this is his first overseas adventure. Should be fun to watch Pirog in action anyway.
- Antonio Escalante-Alejandro Perez, Friday, TeleFutura, Fairfield Calif. Escalante (14-2-1) is really, really fun. He’s trying to bounce back from his KO loss last year to Daniel Ponce de Leon by facing Perez (14-2-1). Perez also hasn’t fought since 2009 (a magic number for “opponents” this week!), when he lost a unanimous decision to Rico Ramos. This could be your standard Mexican TV execution. But Escalante manages to make every fight way harder than it should be. His dogged determination, exhibited when he was getting tagged up by Ponce de Leon, means he’s always going to be a great TV fighter, and he’s got a bit of a fan base in the South West. Still, if he does struggle with Perez, his days as a real contender are over.
- The Rest. Junior featherweight Steve Molitor inexplicably travels to South Africa to fight a guy he’s already beaten twice. Nobody asked for this, but alphabet body craziness led to Ndlovu being the guy’s mandatory challenger again… The untelevised undercard for the HBO show has a couple more fights of note: the prospect vs. prospect matchup between lightweights Jorge Diaz and Teon Kennedy, and the latest fight featuring heavyweight/NFL player Tom Zbikowski, with HBO to air highlights of the Zbikowski bout… Heavyweight Alexander Dimitrenko fights Albert Sosnowski in Hamburg… There’s a card from Chicago on gofightlive.tv on Friday too.