TV Fights & Boxing Predictions: March 25 - 26, 2011
By Brian Gorman, Doghouse Boxing (March 25, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
Friday, March 25 in Las Vegas (ESPN 2): Erislandy Lara (15-0, 10 KOs) vs. Carlos Molina (17-4-1, 5 KOs), jr. middleweights (154 lb.)

Prediction: Lara by TKO

Other than perhaps Yuri Gamboa and Guillermo Rigondeaux, Lara may be this generation of Cuba boxing's best. He's the total package, a fluid, smooth and dangerous southpaw who may be ready for any 154 pounder in the world right now. With another win or two, expect him to fall squarely in the title picture mix.

Despite four losses, Molina represents a credible opponent, especially for the modestly-budgeted but overachieving "Friday Night Fights" series, boxing's pound-for-pound best telecast. He's won nine in a row and, for what it's worth, holds a draw and a majority decision loss against Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., handing him his only career blemish.

Molina hasn't fought the caliber of Lara, though, and in his nine straight wins he's only stopped one opponent. Therefore, he'll likely need to prevail on the cards, and that just ain't happening, if he even makes it that far.

Yudel Jhonson (9-0, 6 KOs) vs. Richard Gutierrez (26-5-1, 16 KOs), middleweights (160 lb.)
Johnson by decision

Gutierrez has become a gatekeeper for young prospects and contenders, including Alfredo Angulo, Carlos Abregu and Antwone Smith. However, he's no easy out for anyone and can slug; he had Abregu down and Angulo in trouble, and gave Smith a good fight. He's by far Jhonson's toughest test of his brief two year pro career.

Jhonson will likely fight smart and avoid a firefight with the Colombian, unless he finds no other way. Most likely, he'll take the safer, more cautious route to another "W."

Saturday, March 26 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City (HBO):

IBF Champ Yuriorkis Gamboa (19-0, 15 KOs) vs. Jorge Solis (40-2-2, 29 KOs), featherweights (126 lb.)
Gamboa by decision

Solis is the type of opponent who Gamboa should defeat if he properly focuses on his training and this fight, but also the type that will upset him if he doesn't. Gamboa should prove just too fast, too good and too powerful for the Mexican, but there's a fine line between dominance and competitiveness, and the Cuban 2004 Gold medalist cannot expect to just show up, flex and swing wildly and win.

Other than Solis' defeat at the hands of Manny Pacquiao, he only lost a debatable decision in 2009 at the hands of then-IBF champ Cristobal Cruz, in a bout where he unwisely got pulled into a foul-filled mess. Although he's not great at anything, he's very good at everything, possessing skill, power, toughness and consistency. He won't fold and he won't make many mistakes; it will be up to Gamboa to exhibit patience, poise and tenacity.

He'll do it. Gamboa is one of the sport's several electric rising stars, and he makes for exciting contests with his offensive-mindedness, special ability and defensive lapses (which has led to several knockdowns). Solis represents another step up, the toughest test thus far of his pro career, but not yet the one to hand him his first defeat.

Miguel Garcia (24-0, 20 KOs) vs. Matt Remillard (23-0, 13 KOs), featherweights (126 lb.)
Garcia by TKO

Two young, undefeated American contenders facing off for a shot at bigger and better things and to showcase young talent in this country - an obvious concept, but far underutilized by the networks that feature boxing. Garcia or Remillard, or both, could constitute future world champions, and while a loss by either would not necessarily be devastating, a win here will catapult them right into the featherweight world title conversation.

Remillard, an amateur standout, offers more boxing skills and should decision Garcia if he can turn it into a pure skills competition. However, Garcia, whose brother Robert trains fellow Oxnard, California tough guys Brandon Rios and Antonio Margarito, is cut from that seek-and-destroy mold, and he's proven himself against the better pro competition. Like Rios, who just impressively chopped down Miguel Acosta for the WBA lightweight title, he keeps coming until he finds you, and he usually does - and Garcia will probably be better than Rios.

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