If you’re a boxing fan then chances are you’re already excited just seeing those three names in the headline. If you’re not a serious fan, then hopefully I can explain to you why Rios, Alvarado and Golovkin are the power rangers of boxing — synonymous with blood, sweat and action.
There are a few other intriguing shows on, including a very nice WealthTV light heavyweight pick up, so let’s get to it.
- Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado II, Saturday, HBO, Las Vegas. TQBR founder Tim will have a full preview of the junior welterweight rematch of last year’s fight of the year. Rios (31-0-1, 23 KO) stopped Alvarado (33-1, 23 KO) in round 7 of that merciless war, and the major question this time whether anything will be any different. Personally, I think the result from the first fight seems to suggest that Rios is just made of sterner stuff than Alvarado (no mean feat) and will win every time you put these two together. Junior welterweights Breidis Prescott and Terence Crawford fight on the undercard. It's a good step up for Crawford, who's definitely one to keep an eye on – having defeated a who's who of current featherweights-to-junior welterweights in the amateurs.
- Brian Vera vs. Donatas Bondorovas, Friday, ESPN, Verona N.Y. A stay busy fight for middleweight pressure cooker Vera (22-6, 13 KO), who finds himself in something of a late-career renaissance, having racked up two unexpected wins on the trot, against Sergio Mora and Serhiy Dzinziruk. His opponent on ESPN will be Donatas Bondorovas (17-3-1, 6 KO), a Chicagoan by way of Lithuania who has done most of his fighting in the Midwest. On the undercard, Brazilian light heavyweight prospect Jackson Junior Dos Santos (14-0, 12 KO) faces once-beaten Cuban Umberto Savigne (10-1, 7 KO).
- Tony Bellew vs. Isaac Chilemba, Saturday, WealthTV, Liverpool. I really like this fight. Light heavyweights Bellew (19-1, 12 KO) and Chilemba (20-1-1, 9 KO) are both on the up and up and I think their styles will make for an interesting contrast. Liverpool’s Bellew is all blood ‘n guts ‘n powerpunching, while South Africa’s Chilemba is more of a boxer’s boxer. I love a good game of cat and mouse, and that’s what this promises to be. I’m going to pick Bellew – not only is he at home, he’s a much bigger puncher and Chilemba has been chinny before. I also don’t think the Saffa has the snap in his punches to keep Bellew off for 12 rounds. On the undercard, lightweights Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla are having a do-over of their April 2012 war. They’re busy boys, though, having fought, respectively, three and four times since. Neither have come off that well, with Matthews, who won the first fight, getting knocked out by Gavin Rees and Crolla losing in a Prizefighter tournament. Could go either way, but it should be very fun again.
- Gennady Golovkin vs. Nobuhiro Ishida, Saturday, Integrated Sports PPV, Monaco. Golovkin (25-0, 22 KO) is already a legend in some quarters, despite a lack of quality pro competition. An exciting style and rumours of gym wars have built a cult around the middleweight that is almost unrivalled in modern boxing. Ishida (24-8-2, 9 KO) isn’t likely to do anything to upset the applecart. The Japanese journeyman (alliteration!) is nothing if not professional, though, and will take his beating with a stoic look. The undercard fight between Hungarian light heavyweight Zsolt Erdei (33-0, 18 KO) and California based Russian Denis Grachev (12-1-1, 8 KO) might overshadow the main event. Erdei is vulnerable and likely way older than his officially listed 38 years. Many thought Grachev’s power punching and pressure should have earned him a win over Lucian Bute last November, and I don’t think there’s any doubt he’ll try and pull the same trick on Erdei. In fact, I’m going to pick the younger, fresher, tougher Russian.
- The Rest. Bits and pieces here and there – click through the link to find out.