TV Fights & Boxing Predictions: June 17-18, 2011
By Brian Gorman, Doghouse Boxing (June 17, 2011) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Tom Casino / SHOWTIME)
Fernando Guerrero
Friday, June 17 in Austin, Texas (ESPN 2):

Fernando Guerrero (21-0, 16 KOs) vs. Grady Brewer (27-12, 15 KOs), jr. middleweights (154 lb.)
Prediction: Guerrero by decision

Tonight's "Friday Night Fights" pits two former "Contender" stars against two actual current young contenders.  Both Brewer and Forbes represent stepping stones and litmus tests, though, and an upset win for either would be a career-saver for them and a marked blow to the rising stars' careers.

"Contender" winner Brewer is a fighter you have to love.  He's faced all comers while working a 9 to 5 much of the way, and though he's lost to Jermain Taylor, Sechew Powell, Erislandy Lara and Marco Antonio Rubio, he's beaten the likes of Forbes, current IBF welterweight titlist Cornelius Bundrage and three prospects with a record of 15-0 or better.  Never sleep on Brewer, unless he's facing a top-5 caliber fighter.

Like Forbes, though, his time has passed, and at 40 with only six visits to the ring in the past five years, Guerrero should bust him up pretty good.  Guerrero is a fun, likable and reasonably talented young southpaw with a good punch and a pleasing style.  He'll continue to make for good TV on his way up.

Karim Mayfield (13-0-1, 8 KOs) vs. Steve Forbes (35-9, 11 KOs), welterweights (147 lb.)
Prediction: Mayfield by decision

Interesting step-up bout for Mayfield, who has built an honest undefeated record with wins over fellow undefeated prospects along the way.  Former lightweight champ and "The Contender" finalist Stevie "Two Pound" Forbes is a savvy, talented veteran, but he's way past his prime, having lost six of his last night including the show's finale.

Forbes should test Mayfield and teach him some lessons along the way, but the younger, fresher legs should help the San Francisco product to a comfortable decision win.  Don't expect a stoppage - Forbes knows how to go rounds, having never been stopped and hearing the final bell in 33 of his 44 bouts.

Saturday, June 18 in Jalisco, Mexico (HBO):

WBC Champ Saul Alvarez (36-0-1, 26 KOs) vs. Ryan Rhodes (45-4, 31 KOs), jr. middleweights (154 lb.)
Prediction: Alvarez by KO

In essentially a showcase bout before his hometown crowd, Alvarez gets Rhodes for his first defense of the WBC strap wrongfully stripped from current middleweight champ Sergio Martinez, who could have elected to alternate his defenses between 154 and 160 pounds.  But that would mean less sanctioning fees for Jose Sulaiman, so he took it off of Martinez and essentially handed it to countryman/rainmaker Alvarez.  And the dilution of boxing's championships continues....

That said, "Canelo" is one of the sport's most exciting young stars, with terrific two-fisted power and a killer instinct belying his boyish features.  Belt or no belt, he's must-see TV, and the somewhat undeserving Rhodes will have his head handed to him Saturday night.  He's the sacrificial lamb, and deep down he probably knows it.

Adrien Broner (20-0, 16 KOs) vs. Jason Litzau (28-2, 21 KOs), jr. lightweights (130 lb.)
Prediction: Broner by TKO

Broner's reminiscent of Floyd Mayweather, Jr., except that he's very hittable, which is like saying that a cornerback reminds you of Darrelle Revis except that he doesn't guard the pass well.  He barely escaped a debatale decision in his last bout, when Daniel Ponce de Leon pushed him all around the ring and to the limit.

Litzau's a B+ fighter and can be very exciting offensively, and he's shown the knack to find a way to win, especially in his career-defining last outing against highly regarded Celestino Caballero.  With a lot of heart thrown in there, he'll make this more interesting than it should be, but expect Broner to show up with the motivation he should always have and take it to Litzau, breaking him down and forcing a mid- to late-round stoppage.

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