I’ve been telling you, get on to Flickr commons, because it’s full of amazing photos like the one above of Muhammad Ali meeting and greeting in the Netherlands. It has nothing to do with the week’s boxing schedule, but god damn, it’s cool. The schedule is also quite cool, with a few different things happening around the place. Obviously there’s a big show on Showtime with ageless wonder Bernard Hopkins agelessly being a wonder and whatnot, but there are also many other fights taking place, from the ESPN “Boxcino” tournament middleweight semi-finals to some lower weight goodness. Let’s get into it.
- Bernard Hopkins vs. Beibut Shumenov, Saturday, Showtime, Washington, D.C. Light heavyweight Bernard Hopkins really is amazing. It’s easy, as a boxing fan, to forget that. The guy is 48-years-old and still at the top of his game. He turned professional two months after I was born. He is amazing. Anyway, Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KO) is going to beat Kazakhstan’s Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9 KO) because Shumenov is exactly the kind of guy that Hopkins beats: tough, but totally limited. On the undercard, pillow punching veteran turned awesome commentator Paulie Malignaggi (33-5, 7 KO) fights up-and-comer Shawn Porter (23-0-1, 14 KO). Malignaggi’s activity and commitment to the jab let him compete with fighters he really should have no business competing with. So it shall be with Porter, who I think will get the decision in this one, if only because he will take it more seriously than Adrien Broner did. Rounding out the televised portion of the show we have middleweight Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (30-0, 22 KO) against the Czech Republic’s Lukas Konecny (50-4, 23 KO) who sounds like a fall guy because he is one. He’ll get some rounds in, though.
- “Boxcino” middleweight tournament, Friday, ESPN2, Verona N.Y. The Boxcino middleweight tournament (AKA the weaker half of the Boxcino tournament) has its second installment this Friday, with fights to decide the eventual final. First up, California prospect Brandon Adams (13-0, 9 KO) takes on Texas’ Raymond Gatica (14-2, 9 KO) in a clash of come-forward types that is certain to be a crowd pleaser. I favour Adams, he’s a little bit stronger and knows how to slip a punch here and there, unlike Gatica. The other fight, between Willie Monroe, Jr. (16-1, 6 KO) and Vitaliy Kopylenko (23-0, 13 KO) promises to be fought at a slightly higher level. I lean toward Ukraine’s Kopylenko, who’s a well-schooled boxer of the Eastern European type with beautiful timing, but Monroe will have his eye in after going six rounds with Donotas Bondorovas in the quarter finals. The New Yorker’s best chance is to use his athleticism and southpaw awkwardness to win the early rounds.
- Juan Francisco Estrada vs. Richie Mepranum, Saturday, Puerto Penasco Mexico. Two top Mexican flyweights fighting… not each other in Mexico, with Juan “El Gallo” Estrada (25-2, 18 KO) taking on Richie Mepranum (27-3-1, 6 KO) and Hernan “Tysoncito” Marquez fighting John Mark Apolinario (17-3-3, 4 KO). Both the opponents are from the Philippines, which plays into the relatively recent (historically speaking) rivalry between the two countries. Unfortunately the match-ups aren’t outstanding. Mepranum should give Estrada some work, since he’s rangy for the division, even if he hasn’t fought much recently and doesn’t sit down on his punches. Apolinario is more of a comeback opponent for Marquez, who’s recovering from a knockout loss to Giovanni Segura.
- The Rest. Friday brings a ShoBox on showtime, headlined by undefeated Cuba junior lightweight Alexei Collado (18-0, 16 KO), who’s fighting Rod Salka (18-3, 3 KO). I’ll take the guy with the cool Russian-Cuban hybrid name and the 16 knockouts over the guy called Rod and three knockouts any day… Meanwhile over on Fox Sports/Fox Deportes, welterweight Alan Sanchez (12-3-1, 6 KO) fights Jorge Silva (20-5-2, 16 KO)… On Saturday on UniMas the world’s first openly gay boxer, featherweight Orlando Cruz (20-3-1, 10 KO) has a tough bounce-back fight against fellow Boricua Gamalier Rodriguez (20-2-3, 16 KO) in Orlando, Flordia… The same night (or morning, in America) junior featherweight Scott Quigg (27-0-2, 20 KO) fights Tshifhiwa Munyai (24-2-1, 12 KO), whose name I don’t know how I typed. The lightweight bout on the undercard between Anthony Crolla (27-4-1, 10 KO) and John Murray (33-2, 20 KO) is also quite appetising. It’ll be broadcast on AWE.