The Week’s Boxing Schedule, Featuring Andre Ward, Vitali Klitschko, Antonio DeMarco, Tomasz Adamek, Lucas Matthysse And Tony Bellew

Only Gangnam Style can do justice to how full the boxing schedule is this week. If you’re not as excited as the guy pelvic thrusting over Psy’s head, then you’re not a real boxing fan. Though you are permitted to show your excitement in a non-pelvic manner, if you so choose.

The week’s offerings, almost all clustered together on Saturday night, include an HBO tripleheader with two lineal champions, Andre Ward and Chad Dawson, at the top of the bill; Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham fighting at heavyweight on the same card in Jersey; a plethora of smaller fights; and the premiere of the warmly received Klitschko documentary on HBO.

  • Andre Ward vs. Chad Dawson and Antonio DeMarco vs. John Molina, Saturday, HBO, Oakland. Tim Starks will handle the main preview for this weekend’s interesting but tepidly received super middleweight clash between the division’s kingpin, Andre Ward, and light heavyweight champ Chad Dawson. The tepid reception is mainly due to neither man having a reputation as a crowd pleaser, but might also have something to do with Ward having stacked various advantages (weight, location) in his favour. Nevertheless it’s a fight very worth fighting and I’m excited to see it even if I can’t really picture Ward losing. Whatever Dawson and Ward might lack in action, lightweights Antonio DeMarco and John Molina Jr. should make up. DeMarco (27-2-1) is best known by U.S. fans for his ability to take a revolting beating. His first big shot was a game losing effort to late phenom Edwin Valero, and his second saw him slashed and prodded for 11 rounds, only to emerge from a bloody haze to knock out Jorge Linares. Likewise, the career of Molina (24-1) seemed to have hit a major bump with a loss to Mexican toughie Martin Honorio in 2009, but the Californian redeemed himself with a come from behind knockout victory over Hank Lundy in 2010. Both men, then, bring a similar never-say-die attitude to the ring. But while DeMarco is a rangy southpaw boxer-puncher, Molina is a wild-swinging pressure artist. DeMarco probably has the ability to outbox Molina at range, but I doubt he has the disposition. Molina seems to have a solid chin, having stayed upright against Valero suggests that DeMarco has one of the best chins in all of boxing. I think we’ll see at least one good old fashioned shootout in Oakland and give me DeMarco, based on his slightly better track record.
  • Vitali Klitschko vs. Manuel Charr, Saturday, HBO, Moscow. On tape delay, HBO will also televise Vitali Klitschko’s heavyweight title fight with Lebanese/German “contender” Manuel Charr after airing the aforementioned Klitschko documentary. Charr (21-0) brings very little to the table except a fresh name and seems certain to end up as just another number on Klitschko’s devastating 44-2 record. If big bro retires after this fight in order to pursue politics in his native Ukraine, then Charr will have the distinction of being the final entry on that resumé. What an honour.
  • Ajose Olusegun vs. Lucas Matthysse, Saturday, Showtime, Las Vegas. This junior welterweight scrap could be the fight of the night (or even the year). Argentina’s Matthysse (31-2) proved with his brutal demolition of Humberto Soto in June that he’s one of the men to beat in a crowded division, and definitely the man to watch. Nigeria’s Olusegun (30-0) has been trapped in a sanctioning body nightmare for the last year or so, always fighting for interim titles and never getting a shot at a full belt. That doesn’t end here, but at least he’s in a quality fight with a top contender on premium cable. Matthysse is much more skilled than his fellow Porteño, Marcos Maidana. Unlike the caveman-ish Maidana, Matthysse is quite an astute boxer. He just happens to pack dynamite in his fists as well. Olusegun is a very athletic, very active southpaw that a number people in the business are high on. The thing is, he hasn’t fought anyone near the level of Matthysse before. And based on that, I’ve gotta go with Matthysse. Either way, the winner has some exciting fights waiting down the line with the likes of Danny Garcia and Amir Khan. On the undercard, junior middleweight contender Ishe Smith (23-5) continues his career revival, facing Irving Garcia (17-7-3), who has lost four on the trot against relatively stiff competition. Despite his new connections to the Mayweather gang, Smith may continue to find it hard to get big names in the ring with him because he’s a very high risk/low reward kind of guy.
  • Tomasz Adamek vs. Travis Walker, Saturday, WealthTV, Newark N.J. Former cruiserweights turned heavyweights Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham are fighting on the same card. Does this mean we will see them down the line in a mouth-watering rematch of their 2008 fight of the year candidate? We can dream. As is, we’ll have to make do with both men facing gatekeepers on Saturday. Adamek (46-2) will square off in the main event with Travis Walker (39-7-1). To me, this is actually quite a good fight. Walker can punch and is an OK boxer, while Adamek hasn’t exactly set the world on fire during his run at heavyweight. Walker has a few inches on Adamek in height and reach as well, though the Pole must be used to that by now. Adamek doesn’t have raw knockout power at heavyweight, but his punches seem to sting. Considering his tendency to slog it out, and Walker’s willingness to take punches, this could also be a contender for fight of the week. Cunningham (24-4) has the easier assignment of the two, with Jason Gavern (21-10-4), coming off two KO losses. The light hitting Gavern won’t be the man to test if the underpowered and increasingly iffy-chinned Cunningham belongs with the true big boys.
  • The Rest. Friday’s sole televised offering pits welterweights Kenneth Diaz (5-0) and Rikardo Smith (6-0) against each other on WAPA America. Is it just me, or is Kenneth a strange name for a Boricua?… Lightweight prospect Luis Ramos Jr. (22-0) faces Noe Bolanos (24-6-1) on FSN/Fox Deportes on Saturday night… Eric Morales’ little bro, junior bantamweight Ivan Morales (17-0), takes on Luis Maldonado on TeleFutura, also Saturday… Liverpool light heavyweight Tony Bellew (17-1) faces Edison Miranda (35-7) in London on Saturday a strange but almost certainly entertaining fight. TQBR’s Andrew Harrison will have more in his British Beat column… Saturday will so bring a fight between Mexican middleweight Marco Antonio Rubio (54-6-1) taking on aged Argentine Carlos Baldomir (49-14-6) in Guanajuato. Baldomir already looks like one of the town’s famous mummies… Also, the second episode of Chavez/Martinez 24/7 premieres on HBO after the fights.