If the boxing schedule is anything to go by, this whole Al Haymon thing seems to be working out OK so far. This week he’s promoting (er, sorry, “advising”) a show featuring welterweights Amir Khan and Chris Algieri. It’s not going to set the world on fire, but the undercard could be a cheeky hit. Looking further afield, there are solid cards happening in the UK and Mexico, and less appealing fare on smaller US networks. Let’s jump into it.
- Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri, Friday, Spike TV, New York. “Premier Boxing Champions” returns to Spike with a battle of welterweight slicksters. It might end up a very tactical affair, and I’m not sure how Algieri (20-1, 8 KO) wins it. He just doesn’t have the natural speed or power of Khan (30-3, 19 KO). The junior lightweight fight on the undercard, between Dominican puncher Javier Fortuna (27-0-1, 20 KO) and pugnacious Costa Rican Bryan “Tiquito” Vasquez (34-1, 18 KO) promises more action. Fortuna is a blue chip prospect who hasn’t quite made the leap to contendership yet, and Vasquez will be a stern test — just ask much-hyped Mexican prospect Jose Felix, Jr., whose bubble he burst last year.
- Kell Brook vs. Frankie Gavin, Saturday, London. Quite a decent card here from Old Blighty, headlined by welterweights Brook (34-0, 23 KO) and Gavin (22-1, 13 KO). You get the sense that Gavin, a nifty type who’s been down a few times already in his career, might not be sturdy enough for Brook, a solid welterweight if ever there was on. On the undercard, local boy Kevin Mitchell (39-2, 29 KO) takes on Venezuelan “Golden Boy” Jorge Linares (38-3, 25 KO). Linares is a beautiful boxer and should be able to deal with Mitchell from the outside, but he also has a highly suspect chin, which makes this an even money fight. Even further down the bill, Welsh combination puncher Lee Selby (20-1, 8 KO) takes on Evgeny “The Mexican Russian” Gradovich (19-0-1, 9 KO) at featherweight. Though neither guy is a knockout artist, both throw punches in bunches. It should be lots of fun, even without the promise of a conclusive ending. Finally, British heavyweight hope Anthony Joshua (12-0, 12 KO) stays busy and takes a step up against Kevin Johnson (29-6-1, 14 KO), a tough journeyman who may take him the distance for the first time.
- Lateef Kayode vs Nick Kisner, Friday, CBS Sports Net, Memphis. The best thing Nigerian cruiserweight Kayode (20-0, 16 KO) has done in boxing is yell “I fuck he up” after losing to Antonio Tarver (a result later changed to a No Contest due to a positive drug test from Tarver). He was knocked out last time out by Luis Ortiz (which was also changed to a No Contest because of a positive drug test). Kisner (14-1-1, 5 KO) isn’t as good as Tarver or Ortiz, but he too can dream of taking part in a No Contest.
- Javier Mendoza vs Milan Melindo, Saturday, beIn Sports Español, Ensenada Mexico. Junior featherweight’s #3 and #9 contenders, respectively, meet in a very respectable fight just south of the border. Mendoza (23-2-1, 19 KO), who hails from Tijuana, an hour up the road, is a macho, Mexican-style southpaw who isn’t afraid to go to the body. For his part, Melindo (32-1, 12 KO) is no slouch, has great hand speed and puts punches together. Could be a good one.
- Saul Rodriguez vs. Antonio Capulin, Saturday, UniMas, Hollywood. A slightly misleading clash of undefeated prospects on UniMas; Capulin (14-0, 6 KO) has a fairly padded resume compared to Rodriguez (16-1, 13 KO).