Friday, February 18 in Salisbury, Maryland (ESPN 2): Fernando Guerrero (20-0, 16 KOs) vs. Derrick Findley (17-4, 11 KOs), middleweights (160 lb.)
Prediction: Guerrero by TKO
After squeaking past crafty veteran Ishe Smith last year, Guerrero's handlers aren't rushing him quite yet; Findley's a step back from Smith. That was Showtime, though, and this is ESPN, so the budget was likely an issue. While Guerrero's the considerable favorite before his adopted hometown's faithful, Findley's a credible opponent. Three of his four losses are quality ones, to Andre Ward, Andre Dirrell and Matt Korobov, and only Dirrell has stopped him. With sharp, powerful combinations and a sustained attack, look for Guerrero to become the second to stop Findley short. The Dominican is only 24 and may be just about to come into his own.
In just two years, Adjaho has gone from title contender to gatekeeper, having now lost three in a row that started with a bizarre KO loss to Antonio Demarco, where he appeared to not follow the count properly and stayed down too long. Beyond that, though, he's never been stopped and has been in much tougher than the young Akron prospect. Porter's best asset seems to be his ability to find a way to win. He's young, strong and fast - he seems kind of like a poor man's Shane Mosley - but above all, he seems like a winner.
Saturday, February 19 in Las Vegas (HBO):
WBC-WBO Champ Fernando Montiel (44-2-2, 34 KOs) vs. Nonito Donaire (25-1, 17 KOs), bantamweights (118 lb.)
Prediction: Donaire by TKO
Take a look at the current schedule and find me a better fight out there, anywhere. It's certainly one of the very few bright spots for the major networks in the next couple months.
You could call Montiel a skilled brawler, and he presents a much tougher challenge than Vic Darchinyan did back in 2007 when he tried to take out Donaire by telegraphing left hands and got countered until the lights went out. Montiel will take what you give him and relentlessly attack, so Donaire needs to be at the top of his game Saturday night to win. And he probably will be; he's one of the finest, most fluid boxers in the sport today who has the total package when he's on, and at 28 and after 26 fights, he's now in his prime.
Montiel's never been stopped, but he's logged almost 300 rounds in almost 50 fights. When he is unable to take out Donaire early, and when Donaire finds his rhythm and range, he'll break down Montiel and deliver his career performance.
Mike Jones (23-0, 18 KOs) vs. Jesus Soto-Karass (24-5-3, 16 KOs), welterweights (147 lb.)
Prediction: Jones by decision
Too much has been made of Jones' near-disaster when he barely held on for a debatable decision win over Soto-Karass in Cowboys Stadium in November. He just found out that not everyone will fold against his pressure and strength; he threw everything at Soto-Karass early and got gassed. Really, it was impressive that he found a way to hold on, he was so spent. Now he knows that he can hit the Mexican with a crow bar and nothing doing, and he'll smartly pace himself for the distance. No controversy this time.