Friday, February 4 in Fort Worth, TX (ESPN 2): Sergio Mora (22-1-2, 6 KOs) vs. Bryan Vera (17-5, 11 KOs), middleweights (160 lb.)
Prediction: Mora by decision
Conventional wisdom will have the more talented Mora outpointing the tough Texan Vera, and that will probably be right, but there are reasons that this "Friday Night Fights" main event could get interesting. Mora's short on power, so expect Vera to become emboldened and try to walk him down. He's been successful in doing so against fighters who couldn't hurt him, including his two biggest wins against Andy Lee and Sebastian Demers. 10 rounds can seem a lot longer when you're trying to move and box against a stronger fighter you can't hurt.
Mora is tough too, though, and he should whack hard enough to keep Vera at bay and pull away for a points win. Equally as important, he's very slick, with good upper body movement on the inside. Vera can't hurt what he can't hit, and though he'll keep coming tonight, he'll be swinging at air for much of the fight.
Charles Hatley (14-0, 11 KOs) vs. Chris Chatman (9-1, 4 KOs), welterweights (147 lb.)
Prediction: Hatley by decision
Don't let Chatman's one loss versus Hatley's spotless record fool you into thinking this is an easy pick: Hatley got dropped and almost beaten by "The Drunken Master" Emmanuel Augustus (38-34-6) in his last outing, while Chatman's only loss was on points to 2008 Olympian Demetrius Andrade at junior middleweight. Also, Chatman won his last two against undefeated prospects.
Hatley's the pick on points only because of his successful amateur career, as the 2007 U.S. welterweight champ. Regardless, it's another excellent pairing by the best television show in boxing.
Friday, February 4 in Santa Ynez, CA (Showtime):
Luis Franco (8-0, 5 KOs) vs. Leonilo Miranda (32-2, 30 KOs), featherweights (126 lb.)
Prediction: Franco by decision
Why is "Friday Night Fights" outdoing Showtime and HBO in spite of the huge budgetary differences? While ESPN features two hungry young Americans in what appears to be an interesting, even matchup, "ShoBox" has a hot-dogging Cuban against a Mexican who was stopped in five in a previous ShoBox appearance. That said, this is still a reasonable pairing of a young prospect with an outstanding amateur career against a veteran Mexican pro. Miranda won't win on the scorecards, so hopefully he'll fight like he knows that.
Lateef Kayode (15-0, 14 KOs) vs. Nicholas Iannuzzi (16-1, 9 KOs), cruiserweights (200 lb.)
Prediction: Kayode by TKO
Florida's Iannuzzi represents another decent challenge for "Power," the young Nigerian training out of the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. Iannuzzi's fought all of his bouts in his home state and lost only one by a first round stoppage, so we'll learn tonight whether he just got caught that night and will surprise everyone or he's a Florida-circuit fighter who's stepping out of his comfort zone tonight against the rugged, powerful Kayode. The guess here is the latter.
Saturday, February 5 in Maywood, CA (Fox Deportes):
Francisco Sierra (23-3, 21 KOs) vs. Dyah Davis (18-2, 9 KOs), super middleweights (168 lb.)
Prediction: Davis by TKO
Mild upset being predicted in this "Top Rank Live" main event, as one can assume that Sierra's the A side in California against an East Coast fighter. One of Sierra's two decision wins came last year when he beat young upstart Don George from pillar to post, so he's a rough customer. But he can also get hurt, twice getting stopped, including a first round KO loss to Edison Miranda in October 2009.
We know Sierra can be hurt but don't know that about Howard Davis' son, who had won nine straight before dropping a decision to the 6'4" Aaron Pryor, Jr. In what could be a very entertaining fight, Sierra could run out of gas after throwing everything he has at Davis.