A Look Ahead
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (Jan 18, 2011) Special to Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
-

2011 is now in full swing and the fights have returned to the airwaves of ESPN2 and Telefutura. Dates are being worked out and slots are being filled for the first half of this new year. Halfway through January, HBO and Showtime are putting the finishing touches on their schedule. Here’s a look ahead and what we can look forward to...

- January 29th (HBO)- Tim Bradley vs. Devon Alexander: Whether a few hundred or a few thousand show up to the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, this fight is a significant one. As it matches two of the best young American boxers and a pair of the elite junior welterweights on the planet. The winner not only stakes his claim as the best 140-pounder in the world, he can start his campaign for the likes of Manny Pacquiao and the like.

The question is how will their styles mesh with each other? I expect a rather tactical fight with pockets of activity. Expect a distance affair in the former lair of Billy Sims.

K9 Rating (1 to 5): 4.5 Gloves

- February 19th (HBO)- Nonito Donaire vs. Fernando Montiel/Mike Jones vs. Jesus Soto-Karass: A true fight fan’s fight card. Donaire-Montiel is a rarity on this network, as HBO usually doesn’t showcase the smaller weight classes. But this is one of the premiere matches that can currently be made in this sport. Donaire can build his case as the heir apparent to Manny Pacquiao and Montiel can continue to solidify his status as one of the best fighters in the world.

Jones-Soto-Karass is a welterweight rematch of a fight that took place back in November. Most observers believed the Mexican clearly won their first hook-up in Arlington, Texas. Can Jones do a better job of holding off the grinder that is Soto-Karass or can the Mexican continue where he left off before?

K9 Rating: 5 Gloves

- February 26th (Showtime)- Miguel Acosta vs. Brandon Rios/Antonio DeMarco and Reyes Sanchez: This is a split-site doubleheader featuring “Bam Bam” Rios, who built a lot of momentum in 2010, attempting to capture his first major belt. In Acosta, the reigning WBA lightweight titlist, he is taking on a big, strong guy who can bang with both hands and can box a bit. This is a 50-50 match-up. DeMarco-Sanchez…well, the most interesting thing that can be said about this is that it’s taking place in Nebraska, of all places. Maybe Danny Woodhead is on the undercard?

K9 Rating: 4 Gloves

- March 5th (HBO)- Saul Alvarez vs. TBA: OK, nothing has been finalized here. It looks like Matthew Hatton will face the hugely popular Alvarez at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. There is also a very good possibility of a lightweight tilt between Robert Guerrero and Michael Katsidis (a fight that I really like). If these two fights come together, it should be a fun night of boxing provided by Golden Boy Promotions.

K9 Rating: Incomplete

- March 12th (Showtime PPV)- Miguel Cotto vs. Ricardo Mayorga: This here should be a fun, one-sided fight. Cotto is one of the most important fighters in North America, based on how well he does at the box-office and it will be interesting to see just how much of his Puerto Rican constituency travels for this fight out west. Mayorga, for all his many flaws, has always been entertaining as cannon fodder. The undercard which features Yuri Foreman-Pawel Wolak and Miguel Vazquez-Lenny Zappavigna is ordinary, at best. Cotto-Mayorga, as a tune-up fight, isn’t out-of-line. You just wish it wasn’t going to cost you 50 bucks.

K9 Rating: 3 Gloves

March 12th- Sergio Martinez vs. Sergiy Dzinziruk/Andy Lee vs. John Duddy: Martinez is the middleweight champion of the world. Dzinziruk might be the world’s best 154-pounder. The question is, does this equate to a good fight? Other than last year’s bout between “Maravilla” and Paul Williams, how many fights with two southpaws make for action-packed bouts? Lee-Duddy may not have the skill level of the night’s main event but so what? It figures to have a lot of leather flying around. Sometimes, limited guys make for the best fisticuffs.

K9 Rating: 3.5 Gloves

- March 19th (Showtime)- Lucian Bute vs. Brian Magee/Steve Molitor vs. Taklani Ndlovu: Showtime just recently inked Bute to a lucrative three-fight deal, which is great, based on his ability to draw in Montreal and his standing as one of the world’s best super middleweights. Problem is, most of the other blue-chip ’68-pounders are currently in the “Super Six.” Magee doesn’t do much for anyone as the opponent here. And as it relates to Molitor-Ndlovu, as trilogies go, it isn’t exactly Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales.

For now, Showtime has a great atmosphere but not a compelling fight for Bute.

K9 Rating: 2 Gloves

- April 16th (Showtime)- Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Ricardo Cordoba: “JuanMa” is just the latest standout Puerto Rican, who not only provides great action inside the ring, but can put asses in the seats. And if you take away that stinker with Guillermo Rigondeaux, Cordoba has a history of being in some good scraps. As we’ve seen with Lopez, he is a risk-taker that has also shown his vulnerability. No final word on what will open this show on the island but Arum has mentioned the possibility of the rugged Mike Alvarado.

K9 Rating: 3.5 Gloves

- April 16th (HBO)- Amir Khan vs. TBA: Khan makes his return to Manchester, England. What’s not clear is who he will face. Lamont Peterson has turned this opportunity down and now Paul McCloskey is being mentioned. That’s all well and good but HBO, being an American network, should perhaps push for a name that its audience would have some familiarity with. I’ve been told that Khan’s management doesn’t have much interest in a return bout with Breidis Prescott, who knocked out Khan in one round, a couple of years ago.

The opening bout on this telecast is still up in the air with various names like Victor Ortiz and Jorge Linares being kicked around.

K9 Rating: Incomplete

- April 23rd (Showtime)- Abner Mares vs. Joseph Agbeko/Yonnhy Perez vs. Vic Darchinyan: Big fan of this card, real fights with significance and placed in the proper venue (Nokia Theater in Los Angeles). Not really much to say other than this is an example of boxing getting it right on a lot of levels.

K9 Rating: 5 Gloves

- May 7th (HBO PPV)- Manny Pacquiao vs. Shane Mosley: You guys know that I’m not a fan of this fight for several reasons but I will say this; overall, top-to-bottom, I do like the show that is being constructed by Top Rank. The rematch between Humberto Soto and Urbano Antillon speaks for itself and Jorge Arce might be overmatched against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. but for as long as it lasts, it’ll be a fun fight. There is even talk of Kelly Pavlik being on this show. Usually in a Pacquiao pay-per-view show, it’s the undercard you dread and the main event you look forward to. Here, it seems to be just the opposite.

K9 Rating: 3.5 Gloves

- May 14th (Showtime)- Andre Ward vs. Arthur Abraham: It only seems like a foregone conclusion that Ward will easily outbox and outmaneuver Abraham, who was shutout against Carl Froch in late November. Unless something unexpected happens, you really can’t imagine anything other than a rather wide decision for Ward.

K9 Rating: 2 Gloves

- May 21st (Showtime)- Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson: Now here’s a “Super Six” fight that will hold everyone’s interest. Folks, you know the ol’ Kimster; if it’s a Glen Johnson fight, sign me up, no questions asked. And in Froch, he’s fighting perhaps the most accomplished 168-pounder in the world, who has never lacked for confidence. Froch will most likely box early on but the question is, can he tame Johnson’s pressure for all 12 rounds as he did with Abraham? I can’t wait to find out.

K9 Rating: 5 Gloves

K9 RATINGS SYSTEM

I expect a lot of you to disagree with some of my ratings (Hey, debate makes the world go ’round). Bottom line is, everyone has different criteria on how they judge a fight card. Mine is pretty simple- how much entertainment will it provide? Yeah, I also throw in factors like the significance of the match-ups, the caliber of fighters involved, and how well it will draw at its particular venue (because this is important for the long-term health of the boxing business) but really, to me, it comes down to “Will I have a good time watching this? Will people be entertained and have fun?”

It’s not all that complicated.

TELEFUTURA TIMEOUT

A particular pet peeve of mine has to be the slow-moving shows that are held captive by television. There was another case of this on Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Casino near Palm Springs, where you had more than one long delay in-between fights. The first two-and-a-half hours featured all of four bouts (one of them being a first-round KO win by Erislandy Lara).

Telefutura goes on the air at 8:30 PM local time; Golden Boy started the show about an hour before that. Well, they started with a fight between Ramon Valadez and Cesar Garcia, which ended in three. Well, that meant the ring had to be cleared for a good half-hour before TV went live. But this is where you need some “swing bouts”- because that’s exactly when they are needed. So after the first fight, the live audience was treated to a hiatus that is longer than the Super Bowl halftime show.

Fast forward: After local favorite Randy Caballero decisioned Manuel Ortega over four, you had about 15 or so minutes till the top of the hour, meaning no fights would take place during that time. Well, here’s the thing, Telefutura is usually a 90-minute broadcast, so I assume they went off the air at 10 PM local. But as Telefutura did various stand-up shots and what not, the next bout with Bastie Samir didn’t start till about 10:19 PM (Trust me, by this point, I was keeping track).

The crowd was getting restless and disgruntled, to say the least. Yeah, I know, I get it; TV runs the show and foots the bill. But the last I checked, regarding the people that actually paid money and made the effort to come to the venue, guess what? They kinda sorta matter too. And if this is the type of treatment they receive on a consistent basis, why would they want to come back?

I know Bob Arum has placed a premium on the pacing of shows (I’ve even seen him blow a gasket as fights took too long for his liking to come into the ring). Overall, boxing as a whole needs to work on the tempo of their cards and providing more bang for the buck for their customers. There is no other sport that has such long hiatuses in their middle of the action.

Friday night, what I witnessed, was another reason why more and more fans simply don’t go to the fights as they once did. Why not stay home and just watch it on television? You get treated to a much better show.

FINAL FLURRIES

I don’t have a horse in this race but whether you believe Mike Marley or Dan Rafael, don’t those figures related to the ticket sales of Bradley-Alexander prove that this fight never, ever, belonged in Michigan? Marley’s numbers are pathetic. Rafael’s are just really bad...Lou DiBella informed me that Edwin Rodriguez injured his left rotator cuff during his victory over Aaron Pryor Jr. on Friday night in Key West...I thought “Friday Night Fights” featured a very nice vignette on Peter Manfredo Jr. prior to his fight versus Daniel Edouard...I’m told that Mercito Gesta makes his 2011 debut on Feb. 25th on Telefutura against the always dreaded TBA...Vicente Escobedo will face Walter Estrada on Telefutura on March 4th at the Fantasy Springs Casino...Anyone find it interesting that the two biggest Puerto Rican stars are now on Showtime? I guess they want exciting fights with people actually in the audience...Not much separates the Steelers and Ravens- but the QB position. You may not want “Big Ben” to date your sister but you certainly wouldn’t mind having him lead your team...Is it clear yet that Aaron Rodgers is now a elite quarterback?...You can’t tell me the NFL isn’t more fun without the likes of Rex Ryan and his Jets...Don’t look now but the Clippers, led by Blake “Canelo” Griffin, have turned things around....

I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet at www.Twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing.

* Special Thanks To MaxBoxing.

Doghouse Boxing

Doghouse Boxing


© Copyright / All Rights reserved: Doghouse Boxing Inc. 1998-2011