The above illustration comes from an 1885 book named Outing. It claims that, “There is no such thing as trickery in boxing, unless it is in attacking your man when and where he least expects and is unprepared for it.” I’m sure junior welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov, who fights this week, would agree with that. I’m not so sure about lightweight Terence Crawford, but there you go. They’re just some of the top flight boxers in action, so let’s get to it.
- Terence Crawford vs. Raymundo Beltran, Saturday, HBO, Omaha Neb. This is such a sneakily good fight. Amid all the hubbub around Manny Pacquiao it seems to have been a little overlooked. It pits one of the sport’s big up-and coming talents in Crawford (24-0, 17 KO) against a late-blooming, hard-charging veteran in Beltran (29-6-1, 17 KO). I have to favour Crawford’s slick boxing and athletic counterpunching, but I don’t see Beltran getting blown out here. He’s going to put his nose to the grindstone and make Crawford work for as long as the fight lasts. If the Nebraskan can finish Beltran in front of his home crowd it will be a truly impressive outcome. On the undercard, featherweight Evgeny “The Mexican Russian” Gradovich (19-0, 9 KO) takes on Puerto Rico’s Jayson Velez (22-0, 16 KO). I don’t see this being anything but a war. Whether Velez’s power can make up for Gradovich’s volume will be the big question, because they’re both going to connect plenty.
- Tyson Fury Vs. Dereck Chisora, Saturday, ESPN3, London. This clash of British heavyweights has been rescheduled so many times I’m still not entirely sure it’s going to happen. It should be an interesting one if Chisora (20-4, 13 KO) is in any kind of shape. He’s a small heavyweight, though, and Fury (22-0, 16 KO) is both enormous and skilled at using his enormity to tire out opponents. He’s already beaten Chisora once before, and I think he may just turn the same trick again. The undercard presents and intriguing match-up of British middleweight prospects/contenders, with Billy Joe Saunders (20-0, 11 KO) taking on Chris Eubank, Jr. (18-0, 13 KO). It’s a great fight of two guys on the cusp of the top level (more so Saunders than Eubank), who can punch and throw combinations. I’d have to favour Saunders’ experience and boxing ability, though.
- Ruslan Provodnikov Vs. Jose Luis Castillo, Friday, Moscow. A 40-year-old completely past-it fan favourite fights one of the hardest punchers in the sport. Ew.
- Ramon Alvarez Vs. Vivien Harris, Saturday, Fox Deportes, Mexico. One of Canelo Alvarez’s brothers fights a guy whose license has been suspended in jurisdictions which care more about fighters’ health than Mexico. Ew.