Here’s boxing in 2014, in a nutshell: Showtime, which had cast its lot with Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer prior to the company’s split with him, has aired trash almost exclusively this year, yet is putting on a quality welterweight bout Dec. 13 between Devon Alexander and Amir Khan. The undercard bout between junior middleweights Demetrius Andrade and Jermell Charlo is also quality, although both bouts stand a decent chance of being under-exciting. Hey, look, better than trash! Improvement, right?
Not entirely. It just so happens that HBO was already airing an event that night just down the street in Las Vegas, headlined by welterweight Timothy Bradley against Diego Chaves, and with a solid undercard bout of Andy Lee vs. Matt Korobov (middleweight).
Soooooooooo even on the rare occasion when some decent boxing happens, the sport cannibalizes itself. 2014, y’all.
Round And Round
Alexander Povetkin, coming off a big knockout win over Carlos Takam, wants Tyson Fury. That’s a dynamite heavyweight match-up and if Fury is as much fighter as he is mouth, he’ll sign the bout.
Flyweight champion Roman Gonzalez is due up against Rocky Fuentes on Nov. 22, a nice fight while we wait for one of the best fights in the whole sport, Gonazlez-Juan Francisco Estrada II. Tyson Marquez wanted the Gonzalez fight, and Gonazlez’s team said it was one they’d be down for (and it would be good), you gotta cross your fingers that they do it after Gonzalez-Estrada II.
The Carl Froch-Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. super middleweight bout remains alive for an HBO date (probably pay-per-view), despite Chavez’s promotional/managerial drama and Froch’s possible domestic match-up with James DeGale. Both Froch-DeGale and Froch-Chavez are sexy, but I’ll vote for Froch-Chavez as a better action fight and a bout where Chavez probably gets a pretty severe comeuppance.
Coming off his career-making victory over Nonito Donaire, Nicholas Walters is pining for Jhonny Gonzalez or Evgeny Gradovich, both excellent fights. Yet the best match-up at featherweight is probably Walters-Vasyl Lomachenko, a fighter whose name Walters didn’t mention so prominently. Meanwhile, junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux’s team has been sending mixed signals about moving up to feather for the likes of Gonzalez or Lomachenko. Really, there’s no losing with any combination of any of these dudes.
Now that bantamweight Tomoki Kameda has beaten Alejandro Hernandez, he’s targeting Jamie McDonnell. Helluva nice meeting, if it happens.
It’s not that Erislandy Lara-Ishe Smith is an un-worthwhile get-together of junior middleweights, because they’re both worthy 154-pound contenders. It’s just… who’s going to want to watch it? Mark your calendars for Showtime on Dec. 12, I guess.
Light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson continues to waste his time and everyone else’s, facing the anonymous and undeserving Dmitry Sukhotsky Dec. 19 on Showtime. He could’ve faced Jean Pascal in a useful and big-money Canadian clash, but priced himself out of it. Pascal is instead facing Donovan George Dec. 6, assuming George gets past his suspension for a failed drug test.
Speaking of Canadian fighters doing battle on Dec. 6, HBO has signed a triple header for that date headlined by junior welterweights Thomas Dulorme and Hank Lundy (not bad), with an undercard of David Lemieux (the Canadian!) vs. Gabriel Rosado in an OK-to-good middleweight bout and Hugo Centeno-James De La Rosa (light middleweight, and, purely OK).
An underrated aspect of one of the few truly unimpeachable televised boxing events of 2014, next weekend’s Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight fight on HBO, is Sadam Ali vs. Luis Carlos Abregu on the undercard. Ali is stepping way the hell up against a gritty welterweight. If he beats Abregu, he belongs.
In addition to Khan-Alexander and Andrade-Charlo, that Dec. 13 Showtime card will feature Keith Thurman-Leonard Bundu at welterweight, which enthuses me not one bit, and the returns of welterweight Victor Ortiz and featherweight Abner Mares against opponents undetermined. Overall, edge to that card vs. the HBO card.
The aforementioned Lemieux is touting himself as the next coming of Gennady Golovkin at middleweight, but it would be better if he was trying to prove it by actually fighting Golovkin. Sergio Mora has been critical of Golovkin’s matchmaking, and is trying to back it up by getting a fight with GGG.
Javier Fortuna is calling out Mikey Garcia, saying he’ll face him at any weight, as Garcia has talked about going all the way up from junior lightweight to junior welterweight. This is putting the cart before the horse. First, Garcia has to actually get in the ring, something he hasn’t done much lately due to a feud with his promoter Top Rank.
File under rematches not much anybody wants but that there’s some cause for: Sam Soliman, eager for part II with Jermain Taylor at middleweight; and Arthur Abraham vs. Paul Smith II, with part I a bout Abraham won but that not everyone agreed he deserved to win.
(Round And Round sources: BoxingScene; RingTV)