It’s just three days since 2013’s “boxing season” began in earnest, and the networks are of the impression that we haven’t realised that there’s not much on this week. Oh, we have. We’re just desperate after the long winter of boxing. Winter is a metaphor, because even though it actually was winter, it also wasn’t such a bountiful time for fans of the sweet science, geddit?
- Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov, Saturday, HBO, Carson Calif. A full preview will be along later in the week, but I don’t have that much to say about Bradley vs. Provodnikov [Ed.: Actually, this will do just fine — there's not much to say about this fight overall]. While the two ex-junior welterweights have similar levels of determination, Bradley (29-0, 12 KO) is on a whole different level to Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO) in terms of skills and athleticism. An easy night’s work. On the undercard, Australian based Nigerian welterweight Wale Omotoso (23-0, 19 KO) faces former Floyd Mayweather, Jr. protégé Jessie Vargas (21-0, 9 KO). Omotoso has done nothing to deserve a slot on HBO, apart from beating up the usual Australian suspects in RSL clubs. Nevertheless, this should be entertaining. Omotoso, who super-manager/talent scout Sampson Lewkowicz once told me is the best prospect in the world, is an interesting combination of African style muscularity and stand up boxing. He’ll make Vargas, a light puncher, work very hard. Can he go one better than Josesito Lopez, who dropped a split decision to the Vegas based boxer? I’m not sure. Omotoso hits pretty hard, but he has defensive holes that may allow Vargas to get off and get out of range. I’m going to go with Omotoso out of patriotism/a nagging feeling that Vargas just isn’t that good. [Ed. After the fight, watch for Road To Rios/Alvarado II, a doc on a rematch of last year's junior welterweight Fight of the Year between Brandon and Mike.]
- The Rest. You know it’s a weak week (homonyms!) when there’s only one card above "The Rest"… Out of the closet featherweight and PR success story Orlando Cruz (19-2-1, 19 KO) fights Aalan Martinez (14-1-1, 10 KO) at Kissimmee, Florida on Telemundo on Friday. Between “Aalan” and “Kissimmee” it’s a big night for strange spelling… Mexican welterweight steamroller (in terms of both speed and style) Pablo Cesar Cano (26-2-1, 20 KO) looks to bounce back from losing to Paulie Malignaggi against Manuel Perez (19-8-1, 4 KO) on Fox Deportes on Saturday. Super middleweight puncher Marco Antonio Periban (19-0, 12 KO) fights the same night. Who would have though Caesar and Mark Anthony would fight on the same card?…Featherweights Robert Marroquin (22-2, 15 KO) and Antonio Escalante (28-5, 19 KO) do battle the same night on UniMas… The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s #6 junior flyweight, Filipino John Riel Casimero (17-2, 10 KO) fights Panama’s Luis Alberto Rios (18-1-1, 13 KO) in Panama City the same night.