(photo by official TQBR dodgy Photoshop consultant @georgemclintock)
Sorry, facefolded Sergio Martinez can’t be unseen. But it’s a big fight week, so we’ll try and distract you as best we can with a jam-packed schedule. Obviously there’s the big HBO Pay-Per-View between Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto for the middleweight championship of the world. Then there’s its undercard, such as it is, and many other televised fights besides. ESPN is going all in with its Cotto/Martinez coverage, as per its marketing agreement with HBO. Various bits and pieces will be on regular old Sports Center, but ESPN Deportes will be doing most of the heavy lifting, befitting a fight between a Boricua and an Argentine. They’ll be covering the weigh-in live, have a special pre- and post-fight show and are showing classic fights throughout the week. For the non-Spanish speaking plebs out there, you can watch the weigh-in on ESPN3 and access a lot of goodies online.
Sergio Martinez Vs. Miguel Cotto Undercard
- Marvin Sonsona Vs. Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. Let’s not beat around the bus and pretend that this is some kind of PPV-worthy undercard. I can’t even be bothered to waste more words criticising it further. I’m willing to at least consider the possibility that this is actually some “crazy like a fox” matchmaking that will lead to some good fights, even if they aren’t at a high level. The main supporting act is a featherweight rematch between the Philippines’ Marvin Sonsona (18-1-1, 15 KO) and Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Vazquez, Jr. (23-3-1, 19 KO). Vazquez stalked and stopped Sonsona at junior featherweight four years ago, but things have changes since then, with Sonsona obviously filling out his 23-year-old frame and Vazquez losing three fights. Vazquez will stalk again, but he may walk into some serious return fire from Sonsona.
- Andy Lee Vs. John Jackson. In a contender for the lankiest match-up of the year, junior middleweight Andy Lee (32-2, 22 KO), a protege of the late Emmanuel Stewart, faces John Jackson (18-1, 15 KO), son of feared 80s/90s puncher Julian Jackson. Expect Jackson to be the aggressor and Lee to try and crack him his typically straight Kronk Gym power hand. Jackson has nowhere near the experience that Lee does at the top level, but the Irishman has traditionally had a problem with pressure. If Jackson can apply consistent pressure, he might be able to ding Lee, but I don’t think he’ll be able to pot-shot his way to a win.
- Jorge Melendez Vs. Javier Francisco Maciel. In a mirror image of the main event, Argentine junior middleweight Maciel (28-3, 20 KO) takes on Puerto Rico’s Jorge Melendez (28-3-1, 26 KO). It should get the crowd going, and not just because of the ethnic rivalry. Both men are aggressive and good boxers who aren’t good enough to not get hit all the time. Melendez should make the fight, and I don’t think Maciel will waver about acquiescing in front of the Madison Square Garden Crowd.
- Felix Verdejo Vs. Engelberto Valenzuela. For all the Latino magic that is the name “Engelberto,” Mr Valenzuela (8-1, 3 KO) is here to showcase the talents of Mr Verdejo (12-0, 9 KO). Kind of gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to see the anointed successor to Cotto fighting on a Cotto undercard, though.
The Rest Of The Week’s Boxing Schedule
- Yudel Jhonson Vs. Norberto Gonzalez, Friday, ESPN2, Verona N.Y. Junior middleweight Friday Night Fights staples Jhonson (15-1, 9 KO) and Gonzalez (20-3, 13 KO) are the other New York fight this weekend, but they don’t really hold a candle to Cotto and Martinez. Jhonson should take this fairly easily, methinks; he’s just a class above Gonzalez in terms of technique.
- Hugo Centeno Jr. Vs. Gerardo Ibarra, Friday, Showtime, Indio Calif. People are high on junior middleweight prospect Hugo Centeno, Jr. (20-0, 11 KO), and perhaps for good reason. He’s tall, has fast hands and throws natty combos. On the other hand, he’s defence has holes in it, and he tends to get hit around the gloves, even in fights against overmatched opposition. The only footage I could find of Ibarra (14-0, 8 KO) was his pro debut, and he looked crude (but who doesn’t?). Centeno needs a lightbulb moment to make him work on some things, hopefully Ibarra will provide that. Former US Olympian Terrell Gausha (9-0, 5 KO) fights on the undercard.
- The Rest Of The Rest. On Fox Sports 1 on Thursday junior lightweight prospect Emmanuel Gonzalez (14-0, 7 KO) fights Tevin Farmer (15-4-1, 3 KO)… While on Friday heavyweight interview king Tony Thompson (39-4, 26 KO) aims to claim another improbable scalp when he takes on Carlos Takam (29-1-1, 23 KO) in Paris… Cult favourite “Comanche Boy” George Tahdooahnippah is fighting in Oklahoma on Friday… There are British fight in Newcastle on Saturday, with Paul Butler (15-0, 8 KO) stepping up to take a shot at Stuart Hall’s (16-2-2, 7 KO) bantamweight strap… Light Heavyweight Juergen Braehmer (43-2, 32 KO) fights Roberto Feliciano Bolonti (35-2, 24 KO), an Argentine who lost on his only other trip outside Argentina in Germany the same night… Meanwhile, Fox Deportes is has featherweight junior lightweight hardman Daniel Ponce De Leon (45-6, 35 KO) against Mickey Roman (45-11, 34 KO), who he should be able to handle despite his recent knockout loss.