I’ve drawn you a bath full of nice hot boxing, so settle in and relax. The sport is back from its usual August lull and I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that there are some very big fights on the way. This week should be a great appetizer for the big fight next week (related: the third episode of Showtime’s documentary/infomercial series “All Access: Mayweather vs. Canelo” will be out on Saturday).
- Seth Mitchell vs. Cris Arreola, Saturday, Showtime, Indio Calif. I don’t see how this won’t be a good fight for as long as it lasts, but I also have no idea what Mitchell’s people were thinking when they signed. Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 KO) has been crossed off the “next great American heavyweight” list by most fans due to the fragile chin he showed in fights against Johnathon Banks and Chazz Witherspoon. Arreola (35-3, 30 KO) is nothing if not a come forward puncher with a great chin. I see absolutely no way for Mitchell to win this. On the undercard, Rafael Marquez (41-8, 37 KO) faces Efrain Esquivias (16-2-1, 9 KO) in a junior featherweight bout. I wouldn’t say Marquez is a shadow of his former self, but he’s definitely a little worn. The idea here, I suppose, is to pair him with an active but not particularly powerful (six of Marquez’ losses have come via KO) fighter in Esquivias, who will make him look good, setting up fights with Golden Boy junior featherweights Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz down the road. That makes me feel a bit icky.
- Ricky Burns vs. Ray Beltran, Saturday, AWE, Glasgow This might be the fight of the week (it will last longer than Mitchell/Arreola, if nothing else). Burns (36-2, 11 KO) is the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s #2 lightweight contender, a masterful boxer at range. Beltran (28-6, 17 KO) is their #7, an old school Mexican-American fighter with an unpolished record. A former Manny Pacquiao sparring partner, Beltran will be coming at Burns all night and setting up a classic boxer vs. stalker fight. That’s not to say that Beltran is crude, he’s just not as polished as his heavily tattooed Scottish opponent. In the end, I think Burns will be nifty enough to keep Beltran at range for the majority of the bout and tough enough to survive his attacks when he does get inside.
- The Rest. Tuesday brings a pair of bantamweight fights from the orient (can we still call it that?) with Daiki Kameda (28-3, 18 KO) facing Rodrigo Guerrero (19-4-1, 12 KO) in Tokyo and Nobuo Nashiro (19-5-1, 13 KO) fighting Denkaosan Kaovichit (61-3-1, 26 KO) in Bangkok.