It’s spring (at least in the northern hemisphere), the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming and the boxers are… boxing. This week we’ve got the final episode of Friday Night Fights “Boxcino” tournament which is also the last episode of Friday Night Fights, period. There are also intriguing super middleweight and heavyweight fights, so let’s just jump right into it.
- James DeGale Vs Andre Dirrell, Saturday, NBC, Boston. A super-intriguing super middleweight fight on “Premier Boxing Champions.” If there isn’t quite the buzz their should be, perhaps it’s because DeGale and Dirrell have been trapped in a kind of extended boxing adolescence; both have eschewed tough competition after career hiccups — in DeGale’s case a loss to George Groves and in Dirrell’s an alleged brain injury in a fight with Arthur Abraham. This fight offers a chance to join the elite, however. Dirrell be either aggressive or flighty, depending on his mood, while in recent fights DeGale has showed real offensive purpose. If he can get Dirrell to stand in front of him at all, this could be spectacular high speed chess, but there’s also a decent chance it will suck. Absolutely no idea who to tip.
- “Boxcino” Tournament Finals, Friday, ESPN2, Corona Calif. Fittingly, the final episode of Friday Night Fights (ESPN is moving to a monthly Al Haymon-backed boxing show) will feature the two final bouts of the 2015 “Boxcino” tournament. It might have come a little late in the show’s nearly two decade run, but Boxcino has been a great profile builder — take, for instance, last year’s middleweight winner Willie Monroe, Jr., who just fought on HBO. This year’s tournaments were at heavyweight and junior middleweight, and we may as well start with the big boys, where Russia’s Andrey Fedosov (27-3, 22 KO) takes on Iowan southpaw Donovan Dennis (12-1, 10 KO). Neither of the guys is going to set the heavyweight landscape on fire, but it could be a fun fight; Fedosov likes to press the action behind a high guard, while Dennis has a big left hand. Fedosov may well walk into something, but if he doesn’t then Dennis may wilt under the pressure; neither man has a great chin. Meanwhile down at junior middleweight Brandon Adams (17-1, 12 KO), who was the runner up to Monroe last year, takes on John Thompson (16-1, 5 KO), who likes to paint in his spare time. Thompson scraped past Stanyslav Skorokhod in the bout before this one, but he was content to only throw one or two punches at a time. Adams won’t do that; he’ll be all over Thompson like a rash, and I think he’ll stop him.
- Alexander Povetkin Vs Mike Perez, Friday, Moscow. This is quite a nice heavyweight fight (between the division’s #1 and #10 contenders, according to the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board), but it won’t be on U.S. TV screens. These guys are the size of “classic” heavyweights and can box a bit. Perez (21-1-1, 13 KO) can be lazy, but if Povetkin (28-1, 20 KO) brings it, he’ll be forced to unleash his impressive combination punching and we may have an entertaining fight on our hands. With his superior power (and fighting on home turf) Povetkin is a smart bet.
- Richard Commey Vs Bahodir Mamadjonov, Friday, CBS Sports Net, Las Vegas. Undefeated Ghanian lightweight Commey (21-0, 19 KO) fights Uzbekistan’s Mamadjonov (17-1, 11 KO) in a clash of prospects. Commey is absolutely all over the place in terms of technique, and I reckon Mamadjonov will make him pay for that.
- Eric Hunter Vs Antonio Escalante, Friday, Fox Sports Net/Fox Deportes, Indio Calif. Featherweight journeymen Hunter (20-3, 10 KO) and Escalante (29-7, 20 KO) do their thing in Cali.
- David Sanchez Vs Walberto Ramos, Saturday, beIN Sports Español, Los Mochis. Why not? A Mexican card from boxing hub Los Mochis with nobody much of note. There’s some kind of strap on the line, though.