The Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. in the headline is Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. The total war is Lucas Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov, who are pictured above (via r/boxing) looking rather, er, relaxed. They won’t be relaxed in the ring come Saturday night, though; it’s certainly the most action-guaranteed fight of the year so far. Apart from those big events there are smaller fights on ESPN2, Fox Sports 1 and CBS Sports Net. And if too much boxing is never enough, then there’ll also be the premiere episodes of HBO and Showtime’s Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao hype documentaries, “At Last” and “Inside Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.”
- Ruslan Provodonikov vs. Lucas Matthysse, Saturday, HBO, Verona N.Y. and Arlington Tex. There’s really nothing much I can say about this junior welterweight fight apart from, “It’s going to be really, really violent.” Tim Starks will have the full preview later in the week. On the undercard, lightweight champion Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KO) moves up to junior welterweight to fight Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14 KO). While the Puerto Rican lefty figures to show Crawford some wrinkles, the Nebraskan is looking more and more like someone truly special, and it’s difficult to picture him losing.
- Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Andrzej Fonfara, Saturday, Showtime, Carson Calif. Mexico’s prodigal son returns at a catchweight (173 lbs.) against Chicago Pole Fonfara (26-3, 15 KO). It should be a really entertaining fight — Fonfara can punch and likes to fight, as does Chavez (48-1-1, 32 KO), who has an inhuman chin. The Mexican has had a questionable work ethic in the past, but is working hard for this fight (at least if his Instagram is anything to go by), which should stand him in good stead down the stretch.
- Dennis Hogan vs. Tyrone Brunson, Friday, CBS Sports Net, Hinkley Minn. Tarnished junior middleweight prospect Brunson (22-4-1, 21 KO) is a great lesson in not being matched too easy. He’s taking on my compatriot Hogan (20-0-1, 7 KO), and is coming off two knockout losses.
- Murat Gassiev vs. Felix Cora, Jr., Friday, Fox Sports 1, Mashantucket Conn. In his second fight on U.S. soil (and his first against an opponent with a winning record) Russian cruiserweight Gassiev (20-0, 14 KO) takes on Texan Cora, Jr. (25-6-2, 14 KO)
- Tony Harrison vs. Pablo Munguia, Friday, ESPN2, Uncasville Conn. How many boxing matches can Connecticut sustain on a Friday night? Well, at least two. Impressive middleweight/junior middleweight prospect Harrison (20-0, 17 KO) takes on tough Mexican nut Munguia (20-6, 11 KO), in a fight he shouldn’t have too much trouble with.