(A cast of thousands, from left: Anthony Peterson; Devon Alexander; Lamont Peterson; Lee Purdy; Anthony Ogogo)
If you're headed to Atlantic City this weekend for one of the year's best main events — the junior welterweight scrap between Lamont Peterson and Lucas Matthysse — or even if you're just trying to figure out how much of the Showtime/Sho Extreme broadcasts you want to catch, here's a handy guide to the men on the TEN-FIGHT UNDERCARD. The one that begins at THREE THIRTY P.M. It walks a fine line between, "Wow, lots of boxing for my money!" and "Uh, is it worth it to be at the fights for the equivalent of a full workday, and what happens if there are a bunch of early knockouts, won't I just be sitting around for hours anyway?" But there are some worthwhile fights and fighters on the undercard, and I believe they'll run in the order I listed below, latest to earliest. I'll change it around if I find out differently later.
Devon Alexander vs. Lee Purdy (welterweight): This one's airing on Showtime proper, but it's hard to get enthused about it. It's an attempted salvage job for a better fight, Alexander-Kell Brook, that fell through. Not that any Alexander fight is all that great these days anyway. As much as Alexander is defending his last skittish, contact-free performance against Randall Bailey as fighting smart against a dangerous puncher, I'd be more inclined to give him a pass if his bouts in recent years haven't ranged from "not horrible" to "no more Alexander on TV, please." Purdy wasn't the worst option Alexander and Golden Boy Promotions were looking at to replace Brook, but he's near it. He'll fight hard but he's very hittable and doesn't have a truly notable win on his resume. Between Brook, Purdy and apparently, next, Amir Khan, GBP seems to think Alexander vs. Brits is the key to what ails him, somehow.
Shawn Porter vs. Phil Lo Greco (welterweight): That's more like it. Porter-Lo Greco will air on Sho Extreme and ought to entertain. Lo Greco loves getting knocked down and hurt and coming back to win. Porter was once an acclaimed prospect who's had a bumpy ride of it more often than not lately, and he can be in some awkward bouts, but he typically throws his share of punches. When I saw Lo Greco on the undercard of Adrien Broner-Antonio DeMarco, he didn't disappoint, but it's not clear if he has all that high a ceiling, so he'll either help Porter right the ship or prove he's pretty good, and give the fans something to cheer about along the way.
Anthony Ogogo vs. Edgar Perez (middleweight): GBP is giving 2012 Olympians and Brits a big push on this undercard. Ogogo is both. He's in just his second bout as a pro, so don't expect this to tell us more than nothing. Ogogo was solid, if unexceptional, in the Olympics, and rode a high work rate to a bronze medal. Ogogo-Perez will air on Sho Extreme.
Haroon Khan vs. Vicente Medellin (bantamweight): Khan is also British, the brother of Amir, and like his brother's habit, he was said to have tried to hard to impress in his pro debut. This is fight #2, so the same thing that goes for Ogogo goes here — it won't tell us much. But the bout will air on Sho Extreme, "time permitting," according to Showtime's news release.
Thomas Williams vs. Otis Griffin (light heavyweight): Another D.C. guy on the card to go along with Peterson, Williams has looked every bit the goods so far, with speed, power and versatility — but he hasn't fought anyone, either. The prospect faces his first opponent with any real name, but at this juncture there's not much else left there for Griffin, who won "The Next Great Champ" reality show long ago. He's lost six of his last seven. It's probably about the right fight for Williams' development, but it's hard to get excited about, even if I'm relatively high on Williams.
Anthony Peterson vs. Dominic Salcido (lightweight): Last I talked to Anthony, he was looking to headline a Friday Night Fight show, but apparently that fell through. The main thing is, he needed to get back in the damn ring — he hasn't fought in about a year and a half, so that he's on any card anywhere is a good thing. I wonder about his focus, and not just because of the low-blow DQ vs. Brandon Rios. Salcido, described by the news release as a slick boxer who's happy to trade, had been out of the ring for nearly two years himself after losing a close decision to Eloy Perez in 2010, then returned in 2012 to be the odd non-knockout victim of Omar Figueroa. A rusty Peterson plus a maybe-tricky Salcido spells potential trouble, which in turn spells a fight I want to watch. Peterson, too, is usually focused on power punches, so if Salcido trades it could be a crowd-pleaser.
Rau'shee Warren vs. Angel Carvajal (bantamweight): I just don't buy three-time Olympian Warren as a pro prospect. He couldn't win in the Olympics despite being one of the United States' top gold hopes all those years, and he definitely can't punch. I don't remember anyone being all that impressed about his pro debut last fall, but I kind of root for him to make a little money in the game anyway, just because, hey, three times he went to the Olympics for the United States.
Jamel Herring vs. Victor Galindo (lightweight): Herring's a former Marine and former Olympian, so I root for him, too. Back in the Olympics, the knock on him was that he was too raw. He and Warren are on just their fourth pro bouts, so, again, expect very little information to be conveyed in these bouts.
Cesar Seda vs. Miguel Tamoyo (bantamweight): Back in 2011, Seda had one of those "good losses" against Omar Narvaez in a bout that some thought was closer than the scorecards indicated. Since, he's kind of dicked around against nondescript competition, and Tamoyo — despite a gaudy knockout ratio — continues that trend. Not sure what the story is here: Seda stepped up to 10 round bouts back in 2007, but since the Narvaez loss he's had a six-rounder and this will be his third straight eight-rounder.
Robert Easter, Jr. vs. Antoine Wright (lightweight): Not that I went 10-deep through the Google search pages, but Easter hasn't gotten very much pub at all as a prospect. Apparently he's got deep amateur experience, and he's been paired on cards with some of the Golden Boy Olympians. He's also only on his fourth fight.