You can only celebrate the zeal with which Itchy and Scratchy try to kill each other. We might not want boxers to go to their lethal extreme, but some of them (Tim Coleman, anybody?) could learn something from the cat and mouse’s commitment. Though it’s a bit depressing that the Simpsons have been on TV so long that that compilation runs for 48 minutes.
This week’s boxing schedule is full. There’s a little bit of a lack of quality on Friday night (you can read my carping further down the page) but Saturday more than makes up for it. There’s a great show on the new NBC Sports Network featuring Vernon Paris and Zab Judah as well as an action-guaranteed card on HBO and various other offerings. Oh so exciting!
- Erik Morales vs. Danny Garcia and James Kirkland vs. Carlos Molina, Saturday, HBO, Houston Texas. Everything’s bigger in Texas. This doubleheader on HBO is no exception, with two excellent bouts. Tim will have the usual previews, but we’ll go into it briefly here because that’s just the way we do things. Up first, Texan badass James Kirkland (30-1) proves his badassness by taking on veteran former journeyman turned contender Carlos Molina (19-4-2) in a junior middleweight scrap. Molina is riding a winning streak that stretches all the way back to 2007 with the only blemish since then being a draw to Erislandy Lara that pretty much everybody thought Molina won. He’s crafty and he can fight in and outside. What he doesn’t have is outstanding power. Still, Kirkland’s chin is iffy that he might not need it, as long as he’s accurate. Will Molina be able to stand up to the Kirkland wrecking ball is the question. Whatever happens, like all Kirkland fights, it will be fun as long as it lasts. The main event is between comeback king and Tijuana tough guy Erik Morales (52-7) and rising contender Danny Garcia (22-0). Garcia is a genuine, fast, strong junior welterweight with knockout power. Morales has shown in his comeback that he still has the heart and perhaps the timing of a legend, if not the skills and speed. Can he take Garcia to a place he hasn’t been yet? Honestly I have no idea, but I don’t like betting against the man.
- Zab Judah vs. Vernon Paris, Saturday, NBC Sports, Brooklyn N.Y. What ESPN and ShoBox lack this week, NBC Sports’ Fight Night has in spades. In the junior welterweight main event, former welterweight champ Zab Judah takes on rising contender Vernon Paris. Judah (41-7) never lacked anything physically, but was held back in his prime by his lack of mental fortitude. Some saw that lack of backbone on display last year when, at the height of his comeback, he went down from a borderline low blow against Amir Khan and refused to get up. He’ll need whatever toughness he possesses against Detroit’s Paris (26-0) who’s as tough as they come, both in and out of the ring. Paris is a big, strong junior welter who isn’t afraid to get into a bit of back and forth, while not being a bad boxer. In a lot of ways, he’s kinda similar to Lucas Matthysse, who Judah only scraped by at the end of 2010. Paris also knows how to go to the body, which Judah apparently doesn’t like (though who does?). I’ve got Paris by late stoppage, probably involving Zab quitting in some way. On the undercard, Tomasz Adamek (44-2) continues his heavyweight dream against veteran trial horse Nagy Aguilera (17-6). The real test will be to see whether Adamek can knock Aguilera out on the way to a possible rematch with Cris Arreola. An interesting and enjoyably symetrical heavyweight fight opens the broadcast, with Philadelphia’s Bryant Jennings (12-0) taking on Siarhei Liakhovich (25-4), whose spot he took on the opening Fight Night broadcast when Liakhovich’s opponent, Eddie Chambers, dropped out injured. Jennings is pretty damn raw and was gassed at the end of that fight with fellow prospect Maurice Byarm. Is he on the level of a faded contender like Liakhovich? Maybe, considering Liakhovich wasn’t that great to begin with.
- Diego Magdaleno vs. Eduardo Lazcano, Friday, Showtime, Tucson Ariz. This was going to be a decent ShoBox, considering the quality of recent offerings. But Eduardo Lazcano, Diego Magdaleno’s original opponent, dropped out with a rib injury and has been replaced by Fernando Beltran Jr. (36-7-1). Las Vegas’ Magdaleno (21-0) is a blue chip, southpaw junior lightweight prospect/contender. Beltran Jr. has had a better than decent career but he’s obviously on a slide. You’d have to go back to 2008 to find a really quality win. Perhaps fighting a fellow southpaw will bother Magdaleno, but that’s not what ShoBox is meant to be about. Magdaleno has talked about facing Adrien Broner, though that seems unlikely to happen due to promoter conflict. Perhaps he’d be better off facing some other top ten names in the division before calling out “The Problem.”
- Antwone Smith vs. Roberto Garcia, Friday, ESPN2, Pharr Texas. I was going to put this mofo in “The Rest,” since it’s continuing the trend of poor quality Friday Night Fights cards. Instead, I’m putting it here so that I can write about said trend. Last week’s match up between Tim Coleman and Kendall Holt was pretty defensible beforehand, it just turned out that Coleman didn’t come to fight. But that decent match up was a blip in what has been a pretty terrible season so far. This week it’s welterweights Antwone Smith (21-3-1) and Roberto Garcia (30-3). Smith was on his way to becoming a proper upset artist/contender before he got stopped by Lanardo Tyner in 2010 and dropped a decision to Kermit Cintron last August. Garcia is probably best known for being the guy with the decent record that Antonio Margarito pummelled in his first comeback fight after his suspension for illegal hand wraps. I just don’t really see why I should care about this fight.
- The Rest. Enzo Macarinelli (34-5) has apparently given up on his light heavyweight experiment, but not his career as perhaps he should, and is returning to cruiserweight to face Shane McPhilbin (8-2) in Wolverhampton on Friday… Polish heavyweight Mariusz Wach (26-0) takes on former prospect/contender Tye Fields (49-4) in Atlantic City on Saturday in a show that’s available as an Integrated Sports PPV… Welterweight Jan Zaveck (31-2), who gave Andre Berto a bit of hell last year, returns home to Slovenia to face Bethuel Uushona (25-1-1), also Saturday. It’d be nice to see him back on American TV… Well-named Dominican junior welterweight fringe contender Victor Cayo (27-2) faces Nate Campbell (34-9-1) in his home country on the same night. Campbell should retire, again… Also Saturday, Gary Buckland (24-2) defends his British Featherweight Title against Paul Truscott (18-2) in a bout that TQBR’s Andrew Harrison will do a full write up of… Hernan “Tysoncito” Marquez (32-2) faces flyweight veteran Rodel Mayol (30-5-2) in Mexico on the same night in what should be a very fun scrap… And just to add to the Saturday madness, South Africa’s Takalani Ndlovu (33-6) takes a hometown junior featherweight fight against Jeffrey Mathebula (25-3-2). Whew.