We have an extremely busy weekend of boxing coming up, featuring the names in the headline and more. It could be time to dust off the bedpan, set yourself up on the couch and say goodbye to your family for 48 hours.
- Sergey Kovalev vs. Jean Pascal, Saturday, HBO, Montreal. Yew! Everyone’s second favourite endearing but terrifying Eastern European, Kovalev (26-0-1, 23 KO), is back on TV. The light heavyweight puncher is up against Montreal’s Pascal (29-2-1, 17 KO). I don’t think it’s going to be that competitive. Pascal is athletic, sure, but I don’t think he’s skilled enough to avoid Kovalev and he certainly doesn’t hit hard enough to dissuade him. I see him getting walked down and stopped in the mid- to late-rounds. On the undercard, undersized heavyweight contender Steve Cunningham (28-6, 13 KO) fights the similarly-dimension-ed Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov (19-0-1, 12 KO) in a fight that is guaranteed to be entertaining, because Cunningham fights always are. Cunningham will outbox the slower Ukrainian but he won’t be able to keep it up for the entire fight and he’ll get caught — will he survive? Tune in to find out.
- Andre Berto vs. Josesito Lopez, Friday, Spike TV, Ontario Calif. Welterweight Berto (29-3, 22 KO), was once thought of as everything that’s wrong with Al Haymon’s business model: overpaid and undermatched. That was before he lost a series of wars with Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Jesus Soto Karass. Now Berto gets some grudging respect, but he’s fighting for his career here against Lopez (33-6, 9 KO), who’s himself is looking to come back after losing to a string of guys who were just too good or too big for him. It’s a “loser goes home” kind of fight and I honestly have no idea what either guy has left in the tank. On the televised undercard, junior welterweight Shawn Porter (24-1-1, 15 KO) takes on rough-and-tumble Friday Night Fights veteran Roberto Garcia (36-3, 23 KO), who he should be way too good for.
- Francisco Vargas vs. Will Tomlinson, Thursday, HBO Latino, San Antonio. Mexico’s Vargas (21-0, 15 KO) is a legit dude at junior lightweight. He’s got that beautiful Mexican combination of aggression and skill. Unfortunately, I think my compatriot, Tomlinson (23-1-1, 13 KO) is a bit of a sacrifice here. He’s game and fast, but he cuts easily and is very open. I think a taller combination puncher like Vargas is a nightmare match-up for him.
- Antoine Douglas vs. Thomas LaManna, Friday, Showime, Westbury N.Y. Two undefeated middleweight prospects make their first step up against one another. Douglas (16-0-1, 10 KO) is much fancied and has already had Forbes profile him.
- Jonathan Vidal vs. Ricardo Rodriguez, Friday, Telemundo, Tampa Fla. Telemundo hosts a Puerto Rico vs Mexico clash of bantamweights, with Vidal (18-3, 10 KO) representing the island and the inexperienced Rodriguez (10-2, 3 KO) the mainland.
- Toka Kahn Clary vs. Edwin Solis, Saturday, UniMas, Glendale Calif. Junior lightweight prospect Clary (14-0, 9 KO) fights Solis (6-2-3, 4 KO), an early career journeyman from Tijuana.
- Fernando Montiel vs. Rogelio Jun Doliguez, Saturday, beIN Sports Español, Ciudad Obregon Mexico. Former bantamweight titlist Montiel (53-4-2, 39 KO) does what he does and stays busy against middling opposition in Doliguez (19-2-2, 14 KO).