The Queensberry Rules does not endorse street violence… unless of course it involves lightsabers, in which case, go for it. In this edition of the schedule, there’s lots to cover. A predictable heavyweight title fight, predictable fights on Showtime and some more rewarding fare. Let’s just get straight into the schedule-ising.
Keith Thurman vs. Julio Diaz, Saturday, Showtime, Carson Calif.
I know this is a big call in a year of shit premium cable cards, but this could be the shittest premium cable card of 2014. Keith Thurman, a hot junior middleweight prospect-turned-contender is fighting Julio Diaz, a good veteran/gatekeeper type who probably beat Shawn Porter two years ago but has lost twice since. Thurman is going to knockout him out in the mid-to-late rounds. Below that we have the return of the beautifully be-mulleted junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse against John Molina. Molina is a tough, good fighter, but he’s a career lightweight who just isn’t on the power-punching Argentine’s level. Good on him for getting a big fight after his come from behind KO of Mickey Bey, too bad it’s not one he can win. Give me Matthysse by nasty KO early. Finally, and perhaps most dependably, Showtime have featherweight action star Omar Figueroa in with Jerry Belmontes, who upset Will Tomlinson last month. There’s potential there for an action fight, but Belmontes knows how to spoil and hold when necessary, and I think that’s what he’ll do if Figueroa gets him into any kind of trouble. Figueroa by decision.
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Alex Leapai, Saturday, ESPN, Oberhausen Germany
Even as an Australian, there’s not much to say about this one. The only real question is how long heavyweight champ Klitschko takes to get the KO. Hopefully Leapai won’t accept being jabbed into submission and will force him to throw a right hand or a left hook or something.
Denis Lebedev vs. Guillermo Jones II, Friday, Moscow
Remember Lebedev vs. Jones I? Does THIS refresh your memory? Oh god, it refreshes mine. It was an absolute war, in which both cruiserweights gave and took a ton of hard shots. Jones is old at 41, but it was Lebedev who soaked up most of the punishment in their first meeting, and I can’t help but feel it probably shortened his career and might become a recurring problem (a la Antonio Margarito). On the other hand, maybe he fights better if his eye doesn’t become grotesquely swollen this time. I wouldn’t bet on it — and hopefully his corner has the good sense to pull the plug if things get ugly this time.
Josesito Lopez vs. Aaron Martinez, Thursday, ESPN2, Rancho Mirage Calif.
What is the world coming to when Friday Night Fights are on a Thursday? I just don’t know what’s what anymore. The main event will be an interesting test of where Josesito Lopez, everyone’s favourite upset artist-turned-punching-bag-for-higher-weight-class-fighters is at. Martinez is more of a boxer than Lopez, so “The Riverside Rocky” will have to either fence with him or track him down. How much is left after the brutal beatings he absorbed from Marcos Maidana and Canelo? We shall see.
The Rest. Due to technical difficulties (/technical awesomeness) we previewed the Mexican flyweight card featuring Juan Francisco Estrada and Hernan “Tysoncito” Marquez a week early. Check it out… On Saturday there’s a UniMas card from California headlined by junior welterweights prospect Jose Zepeda, who’s fighting journeyman Rob Frankell… Also Saturday terrifying looking Australian heavyweight Lucas Browne is fighting Canada’s Eric Martel Bahoeli for the commonwealth heavyweight title. It should be a short night’s work for Browne.