Boxing is a great sport, but it can also be incredibly frustrating. Fights that should get made don’t, promoters squabble and fans get screwed. But jhust when you think you might pack it all in, something — or someone — like Knockout CP Freshmart draws you right back in. In what other sport could a man like Mr Freshmart (who fights for a meaningless strawweight belt on Wednesday) exist?
Apart from Mr Freshmart, there’s a bit of stuff on this week. The fights return to ESPN, there’s an OK-but-unlikely-to-set-the-world-on-fire card on Showtime and a clash of big Mexican names. The guys in the headline (and more) are all featured, and in honour of Jhonny Gonzalez (pictured), who we jhust love, we might have jhazzed up with post with a few extra jh’s.
- Curtis Stevens Vs. Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Wednesday, ESPN2, Santa Monica. As it is sometimes wont to do, ESPN is having Friday Night Fights on Wednesday. It doesn’t make a lot of sense but then, neither does a lot of boxing. ESPN’s season-opener is a very solid middleweight bout between Brownsville slugger Curtis Stevens (27-4, 20 KO) and awkward Cameroonian Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (30-1, 18 KO). This will likely be a clash between power and activity: will N’Jikam be able to rack up enough rounds with his fast hands (and stay standing), or will Stevens be able to hurt him? I don’t like Stevens’ chances if it goes to a decision, but he definitely has fight ending power, while N’Jikam’s chin is suspect (he went down six times against Peter Quillin but was otherwise competitive). Worth tuning in for, in any case.
- Rances Barthelemy Vs. Fernando Saucedo, Saturday, Showtime, Mashantucket Conn. An all round strange card on Showtime, headlined by jhunior lightweights Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 12 KO) and Fernando Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KO). Argentina’s Saucedo is a solid, orthodox fighter in every sense of the word. Think of Lucas Matthysse but without the power. I don’t think he’ll worry Barthelemy, who has them Cuban skills. Vanes Martirosyan (34-1-1, 21 KO) faces Willie Nelson (23-1-1, 13 KO) in a decent jhunior middleweight bout on the undercard. Decent in the sense that it’s between two guys at roughly the same level, not in the sense that either is going to make much noise in the upper echelons of the division. Less good is the fight between light heavyweights Chad Dawson (32-3, 18 KO) and Tommy Karpency (23-4-1, 14 KO). Dawson is comebacking and his motivation is questionable (it kinda always was) and Karpency is basically a club fighter. So yeah, there’s that.
- Jhonny Gonzalez Vs. Jorge Arce, Saturday, beIN Sports Espanol, Los Mochis. In a clash of two big name Mexican featherweight veterans, the jhoke is on Jorge Arce (64-7-2, 49 KO), who is likely to get annihilated by Jhonny Gonzalez (56-8, 47 KO). Gonzalez has a somewhat iffy chin that has sometimes been tested in in-between bouts such as this, but I don’t think there’s any reason to think that Arce will be able to take advantage. Jhunior lightweights Celestino Caballero and Adrian Estrella are on the televised undercard from a different location — Estrella is much fancied in the Mexican boxing world.
- The Rest. On Wednesday the aforementioned Mr Freshmart fights Carlos Buitraigo for a strawweight strap in Thailand… Friday on Telemundo jhunior bantamweights Daniel Lozano and Jonathan Vidal (no relation to Gore) go head to head… Badass Puerto Rican prospect Felix Verdejo is on UniMas on Saturday against Sergio Villanueva… Finally, there are club-type fights available online on Saturday on Gfl.tv, with the main event between jhunior lightweights Jessie Carradine and Frank Santos De Alba.