It’s a packed fight weekend, but one tables-ladders-chairs match already got started in advance, as heavyweight Dereck Chisora threw a whole damn table at Dillian Whyte. And that’s one of the least interesting bouts on the ledger.
- Terence Crawford vs John Molina, Saturday, HBO, Omaha Neb. Junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford returns to his hometown for a fight against a legitimate top five opponent in the division. And yet, John Molina, Jr. will almost certainly get shredded with ease. That says more about Crawford than it does Molina. Dude can fight; he’s one of the top 5 boxers in the world, period. On the undercard, former Crawford victim Raymundo Beltran tries to get his career back together against lightweight Mason Menard, who has been wrecking people on ShoBox in 2016, including scoring a frontrunner for Knockout of the Year. Good crossroads match-up between an untested puncher and a rugged veteran.
- Jesus Cuellar vs Abner Mares, Saturday, Showtime, Los Angeles. Abner Mares returns from a year-plus layoff to face an outrageously dangerous opponent under the circumstances in Jesus Cuellar. Both featherweights have superstar trainers (Freddie Roach for Cuellar and Robert Garcia for Mares) and can box and punch. It’s a nice pairing, one of the first in a series of terrific bouts Showtime announced in October. Another one? That’s on the undercard, next on the list.
- Jermall Charlo vs Julian Williams, Saturday, Showtime, Los Angeles. This writer is long on record that versatile boxer-puncher Julian Williams could be special. No more waiting to find out. Junior middleweight Jermall Charlo is a physically talented technician, and for all the hate the Charlo twins get, what they do works. Still, this is the most gifted opponent either of them will have faced. The Charlos rarely let a fight get much fun to witness from the standpoint of brawling excitement, but if you’re the kind of fan who enjoys high-level boxing, this bout should have plenty of it.
- Joseph Parker vs Andy Ruiz, Saturday, HBO tape delay, Auckland New Zealand. Two of the best young heavyweights in existence fight on the same day on separate cards. This meeting is the better of the two. Joseph Parker is facing Andy Ruiz, Jr., who has some authentic ability but also has had enormous discipline problems, having once weighed in at 273 pounds. He’s been more in the 250 range since, but even being in semi-good shape probably won’t be enough to give Parker a truly threatening challenge.
- Anthony Joshua vs Eric Molina, Saturday, Showtime, Manchester England. Anthony Joshua already has booked a spring date with Wladimir Klitschko, which tells you what he thinks of Eric Molina. Molina is far from terrible, and even is a borderline top-10 heavy (the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board has him there). His twin accomplishments are dinging Deontay Wilder coming off his best win, although he was knocked out in the end; and stopping a tattered Tomasz Adamek. Molina ain’t nothing. But Joshua is so much better. The undercard features the aforementioned Whyte vs Chisora and a host of contenders, although U.S. audiences will only see the main event.
- Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. vs Dominik Britsch, Saturday, beIN Sports Espanol, Monterrey Mexico. Hey, who remembers this guy? Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. makes his return after more than a year away plagued by injuries, and naturally it’s at a catchweight. He doesn’t look to blubbery in the one photo floating around, though. Dominik Britsch hasn’t beaten anyone you’ve likely heard of, and has lost to some people you likely haven’t heard of, too.
- The Rest. That Anthony Joshua vs Eric Molina card has a ridiculous number of TBRB-ranked fighters in action, although with the exception of junior bantamweight Luis Concepcion, who’s facing prospect Khalid Yafai, they aren’t in against particularly meaningful opposition… Also on the card: heavyweight Luis Ortiz, super middleweight Callum Smith and featherweight Scott Quigg… In separate events Saturday, cruiserweight Krzysztof Wlodarczyk and light heavyweight Eleider Alvarez take to the ring.