I know everyone’s really sick of Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., but would you look at that photo? He wasn’t always such a big fat piece of shit — though he did always look creepy. In any case, cast Junior from your mind and let’s concentrate on what’s quite a good week of boxing, with a significant and long awaited heavyweight championship fight, the return of Miguel Cotto and the professional debut of super heavyweight Olympic gold medallist Anthony Joshua. There’s also the premiere of the “Face Off With Max Kellerman” segment for Mike Alvarado and Ruslan Provodnikov’s junior welterweight fight on HBO immediately following the live fights.
- Miguel Cotto vs. Delvin Rodriguez, Saturday, HBO, Orlando Fla. The man, the legend, the boss of this site Tim Starks will have a full preview of Cotto’s junior middleweight return against Delvin Rodriguez (28-6-3, 16 KO). It’s the first fight for Cotto (37-4, 30 KO) with trainer Freddie Roach, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes for him. I thought his former trainer Pedro Diaz was doing a great job, it’s just that Cotto isn’t as fresh as he once was. Anyway, we’ll see whether there are any new wrinkles in his game. Basically I don’t think Cotto has fallen far enough for Rodriguez to threaten him, which isn’t to say that Rodriguez is a bad fighter, it’s just that even a diminished Cotto beats most of the junior middleweights going around. On the undercard highly fancied lightweight prospect Terence Crawford (21-0, 16 KO) takes on Andrey Klimov (16-0, 8 KO). If I were a matchmaker, I wouldn’t be putting Crawford in with Klimov. Not because he’ll lose (I think Crawford’s speed and skills will be way too much for the well drilled but not particularly dynamic Russian) but because it won’t be very exciting. Klimov is a jabber and high handed boxer, Crawford is a counterpuncher. Crawford will take it by unanimous decision in a fight that seems longer than the scheduled 10 rounds.
- Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alexander Povetkin, Saturday, HBO, Moscow. This bout is one of the most anticipated heavyweight fights in recent memory and will be for the legitimate heavyweight championship of the world, as recorded by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and pits two super heavyweight Olympic gold medallists against one another. Despite that, I don’t expect it to be competitive. The younger Klitschko (60-3, 51 KO) has an impeccable system for avoiding punishment and at this point, I’m not all that convinced that Povetkin (26-0, 18 KO) doles out much punishment. He hasn’t stopped anybody who even resembles a legitimate heavyweight contender since 2008. And it’s not like the division is swimming with sharks, either. I expect a relatively typical Klitschko fight that is perhaps a little more competitive in early, with Wlad gradually accumulating punishment and stopping his Russian opponent in the late rounds.
- Anthony Joshua vs. Emanuele Leo, Saturday, London. While the current top heavyweights do battle in Moscow, the man many consider the future of the division, Anthony Joshua, makes his professional debut in London. He’s fighting Emanuele Leo (8-0, 3 KO), a man with a more impressive-looking record that your standard first fight opponent. That said, he’s from Italy and his eight opponents have an impressive combined record of 37-170-19. The undercard features some good fights, including TBRB #8 junior featherweight Scott Quigg (26-0-1, 19 KO) taking on undefeated Cuban Yoandris Salinas (20-0, 1 KO). Salinas looks great but hasn’t fought much of anyone (at least in the pros – he had over 300 amateur fights), so who knows what will happen. There’s also the potential for action when Commonwealth featherweight champion Lee Selby (16-1, 6 KO) takes on Ryan Walsh (16-0-1, 8 KO).
- The Rest. There’s not a whole lot else going down, thought you can get a boxing fix on Friday night by tuning into Telemundo, where you’ll find a fight between undefeated junior bantamweights Matthew Villanueva (10-0-1, 8 KO) and Daniel Lozano (11-0, 8 KO)… Also George Tahdooahnippah (31-1-1, 23 KO) AKA Comanche Boy, last seen in an insanely brave losing effort to Delvin Rodriguez, fights in Oklahoma Friday.