Mike Tyson and Street Fighter: it’s the best of the ’90s all in one place! The week ahead in boxing might not provide as much entertainment as Tyson with sound effects, but there’s a lot on. I guess you could describe the schedule this week as wide, not deep. As always, it’s a testament to boxing’s global reach, with fights in the US, Japan, Mexico, Northern Island and Argentina. Let’s get into it.
- Steve Cunningham vs. Amir Mansour, Friday, NBC Sports Net, Philadelphia. This one could be interesting. You’ve got a blown up cruiserweight in Cunningham (26-6, 12 KO) taking on an old but undefeated small heavyweight in Mansour (20-0, 15 KO). Mansour is relatively plodding, which I guess is what you’d expect from a 41-year-old, so there’s a chance that Cunningham could win this on pure activity. He’ll have to stay out of Mansour’s way a bit though, “Hardcore” has heavy hands. The thing is, though, that he hasn’t fought anyone near Cunningham’s level (even though Cunningham isn’t really that high level as a heavyweight). Give me Cunningham by not-that-close decision. On the undercard there’s a fun looking middleweight dust up between “Showtime” Curtis Stevens (26-4, 19 KO) and Tureano Johnson (14-0, 10 KO). Stevens is a bit of a minor fan favourite after his gutsy performance against Gennady Golovkin (I also recommenced you check out his Instagram — #pinot). Anyway, I couldn’t dig up much recent footage of Johnson, but if his earlier fights are anything to go by, he’s an aggressive and committed, a come-forward bodypuncher. He beat Willie Johnson, who was a bit of a fancied prospect himself, so I expect this to be a quality, action packed match-up.
- Carl Frampton vs. Hugo Cazares, Friday, Belfast. This junior featherweight bout could be a contender for bout of the weekend, with hometown hero Frampton (17-0, 12 KO) stepping up a level to take on lower weight veteran contender Cazares (40-7-2, 27 KO). Frampton can be an action fighter, but he’s also got great footwork when he needs it and throws beautiful combinations. Cazares, like a more skilled version of previous Frampton opponent Kiko Martinez, will be doing his utmost to drag the Belfast boy into a toe-to-toe situation. Frampton will take this by (possibly wider than justified) decision, methinks.
- Giovani Segura vs. Felipe Salguero, Saturday, UniMas, Tijuana. Flyweight Giovani Segura (31-3-1, 27 KO) successfully revived his career with a holy-shit-is-this-fight-for-real win over Hernan Marquez and is now awaiting a quality dance partner at 112 lb. In the meantime, fringe contender Salguero (19-5-1, 14 KO) will have to do. Salguero likes to stand in front of people and bang, which is just about the worst thing you can do with a windmill like Segura. I don’t think he’ll make it past the 6th.
- The Rest. I didn’t think human sacrifice was legal anymore, but they’re feeding aged heavyweight Monte Barrett (35-10-2, 20 KO) to Cuban young gun Luis Ortiz (20-0, 17 KO) on Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes on Thursday night… On Friday in Mexico City flyweight Julian Rivera (13-8-1, 2 KO) fights Joebert Alvarez (13-0-1, 6 KO), to be televised on Telemundo… That same night Argentine welterweight contender Luis Carlos Abregu (35-1, 28 KO) meets Jean Carlos Prada (30-0-1, 21 KO), an unknown quantity from Venezuela… Seemingly perpetual light heavyweight knockout victim Enzo Maccarinelli (38-6, 30 KO) fights actual contender Juergen Braehmer (42-2, 31 KO) in a rather icky fight from Germany on Saturday. It should be over in short order… And finally top junior flyweight Adrian Hernandez (29-2-1, 18 KO) continues a run of weak competition by fighting a guy with five (5!) fights to his name in Tokyo on Monday. Sharing the bill is flyweight champ Akira Yaegashi, who’s generally a pleasure to watch but is fighting the overmatched but well named Odilon Zaleta (15-3, 8 KO).