We have another top-notch boxing match on Saturday! Who knew 2016 could treat us so nice? Earlier, 2016 was like, “Swear I done changed.” And nobody believed it, because 2016 had been a mean mistreater. But now, we believe it. We welcome you back into our crib, 2016, and cradle you in our arms.
- Leo Santa Cruz vs Carl Frampton, Showtime, Saturday, Brooklyn N.Y. Here we go. For the longest time, it felt like we were flirting with a variety of nice fights at 122-126 lbs., but now they’re all happening in fairly rapid succession. Santa Cruz vs Frampton is a natural outgrowth of Leo Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares and Carl Frampton vs Scott Quigg. One thing: Frampton has been looking shaky of late, while Santa Cruz, facing his best opponent by a long shot in Mares, looked better than ever. And Frampton is moving up in weight. That said, it could be plenty fun. Frampton is ostensibly more technically proficient than Santa Cruz, at least as previously conceived pre-Mares. The undercard features the return of lawsuit-sidelined Mikey Garcia, and he’s not taking on a chump after more than two years away from the ring: Elio Rojas, although he, too, has been away from boxing since 2014.
- Adonis Stevenson vs Thomas Williams, Jr., Spike, Friday, Quebec City Canada. That’s not to say that it’s all good. Stevenson does dishonor to the concept of “light heavyweight champion” with his constant sidestepping of the division’s best, but at least this time he’s facing a hard-punching 175-pounder coming off the win of his career. It should be fun while it lasts, although as far as sloppy, powerful southpaws go, Stevenson is far superior. The undercard was going to feature another Canadian light heavyweight, Eleider Alvarez, against the dried-up husk of Chad Dawson, but now he’s facing someone worse.
- Paulie Malignaggi vs Gabriel Bracero, Showtime Extreme, Saturday, Brooklyn N.Y. Something about “two over-the-hill, pillow fisted boxers” just screams, “Put it on television!” But whatever. You already have Showtime, so it’s basically free.
- Antonio Orozco vs Abner Lopez, HBO Latino, Saturday, Indio Calif. If for some reason you just don’t like really good boxing or don’t subscribe to welterweight, there’s always this stay-busy bout for talented, exciting welterweight Orozco, anyway.