I don’t want to be the guy to say it, but there’s almost too much boxing on this weekend. Most of it’s on Saturday night (damn it boxing, why can’t you just pace yourself), but there’s also a rare Sunday card. Let’s dive right in. (The picture, by the way, is a colorized shot of US marines boxing aboard the USS New York in 1898.)
- Shawn Porter vs Adrien Broner, Saturday, NBC, Las Vegas. After a couple of weeks of lacklustre “Premier Boxing Champions” cards, Al Haymon delivers with a really intriguing main event between welterweights Broner (30-1, 22 KO) and Porter (25-1-1, 16 KO). The fight is taking place at 144 pounds, which could prove tough for Porter, a big welterweight at the best of times. If he’s not drained, however, he could really trouble Broner with his power punching, come-forward style. AB’s defence is nowhere near as good as he thinks it is, and Marcos Maidana showed he can be bullied. On the undercard, 2012 Olympian Errol Spence, Jr. (16-0, 13 KO) takes a step-up fight against Roberto Garcia (37-3, 23 KO), a tough, Friday Night Fights (remember that show?) level guy. I don’t see Spence having problems, but Garcia may well take him the distance.
- Andre Ward vs Paul Smith, Saturday, BET, Oakland. This is just such a weird fight in every way. Ward (27-0, 14 KO) is returning from a huge layoff against Liverpool’s Smith (35-5, 20 KO), a guy who’s not on the same planet as him, talent-wise. It’s a bad mismatch, but the weirdness arises from the catchweight (can’t get away from those things these days) of 172 pounds, and the fact that it’ll be the first boxing match on BET, or Black Entertainment Television. Nothing so strange as Ward losing will happen, though.
- Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam vs David Lemieux, Saturday, Fox Sports 2/Fox Deportes, Montreal. This even-money match-up of middleweight contenders figures to be quite enjoyable. Lemieux (33-2, 31 KO) is the puncher in any match-up, but seems to have learned his lesson after a series of dumb losses way back in 2011. France’s N’Jikam (31-1, 18 KO) figures to be his toughest challenge to date, and brings speed of hand and foot to the table (as well as a handy six inch reach advantage). However, he’s also proved he’s got chin issues, which isn’t ideal against a knockout artist like Lemieux. Can he stay away all night? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to see him try.
- Rances Barthelemy vs Antonio DeMarco, Sunday, CBS, Las Vegas. This rare Sunday card from our friends at PBC pits Cuban junior welterweight Barthelemy (22-0, 13 KO) against Mexico’s DeMarco (31-4-1, 23 KO). It should be a somewhat interesting boxer vs puncher match-up; DeMarco will come forward, as he always does, but I doubt he’ll be able to land too much of substance — he’s been through the ringer in recent years and I like Barthelemy to overcome his size disadvantage (he’s coming up from 130) and outbox him. On the undercard, Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso (25-1, 21 KO) fights Sammy “The Who Can Mexican” Vasquez (18-0, 13 KO) in a clash of welterweights with terrible nicknames. While Vasquez is a southpaw with very fast hands, I think he’ll end up feeling Omotoso’s power.