Like controversial victor Devon Alexander last week, this writer had a rough week; however, unlike one of Alexander's excuses - a spongy canvas - I won't blame my bad outing on an uncomfortable chair or carpal tunnel. In this day and age of people summarily giving up on boxers and them quitting on themselves, my 3-3 outing last week could hasten my retirement. But like Billy Conn, whose biography I'm reading and who only started his career 8-7, I'm a throwback, so who knows? I could still be destined for greatness. Only one way to find out:
Friday, August 13 in Ontario, CA (ESPN 2):
Chris Arreola 28-2 (25) vs. Manuel Quezada 29-5 (18), heavyweights (201+ lb.)
Prediction: Arreola by KO. Quezada's not exactly a pushover: Before an upset by Jason Gavern a few months back, he rolled off 18 straight over five years and was peaking, including a first round stoppage of Travis Walker, who had Arreola in heaps of trouble early in their 2008 slugfest. Also, his loss to Gavern now doesn't look as bad, since Gavern unexpectedly drew with Jonathon Banks the next month. That should all add up to make this more competitive than expected, but it won't disturb the anticipated result, since Arreola still possesses a dangerous mix of aggression, quality combination punching and power. As always with Arreola, have fun while it lasts.
Josesito Lopez 26-3 (15) vs. Marvin Cordova, Jr., 21-1-1 (11), junior welterweights (140 lb.)
Prediction: Cordova by decision. Have to say it once again - "Friday Night Fights" remains the show of the year. Lopez and Cordova features a competitive, quality bout you can envision going either way. Lopez has faced the better competition and has defeated good B-listers like Tyrone Harris, Anthony Mora and Patrick Lopez. Has he squandered that momentum though by staying on the shelf for almost a year? Cordova has similarly stayed out of the ring for a year, but he holds the advantage in amateur pedigree, and that factor may help him eke out a tough decision.Saturday, August 14 at the Bell Centre, Montreal (HBO):
IBO Champ Chad Dawson 29-0 (17) vs. WBC Champ Jean Pascal 25-1 (16), light heavyweights (175 lb.), unification and for the Ring light heavyweight championship
Prediction: Dawson by decision. I'll forget that I'm not as high on this bout as all of the experts and remember that it's a rare unification and Ring championship fight, probably the best current match within the light heavyweight division. (Yet it still feels necessary to suggest a Dawson-Lucian Bute showdown at 168 for both titles in the Bell Centre, if Dawson prevails. Why not?) Pascal's a very good, game boxer with a ton of heart, as shown in his close loss to Carl Froch and his two gritty wins over Adrian Diaconu. But in his five last seven fights, Dawson's gone 60 rounds with Glen Johnson, Antonio Tarver and Tomasz Adamek and had his hand raised each time. He just knows how to win, with too much skill for Pascal.Saturday, August 14 in Laredo, TX (FSN and FSN Espanol):
Miguel Vazquez 25-3 (12) vs. Ji Hoon Kim 21-5 (18), lightweights (135 lb.), for vacant IBF title
Prediction: Vazquez by decision. If Kim doesn't walk his man down and hurt him, he's in trouble, and eventually he'll lose for that reason. Against whom will that happen? It's hard to say, since Kim's damn good, like a smaller Alfredo Angulo, at walking through anything his opponent throws to bust him up. Vazquez's three losses are high quality - two decisions to Saul Alvarez and one to Timothy Bradley. He's never been stopped, even by bigger men (including Breidis Prescott last year), and while he's coming down to lightweight, Kim's moved up to that weight. Can Vazquez hold off Kim's charge for 12 rounds? Good matchmaking hopefully results in a fun bout.
Miguel "Mikey" Garcia 22-0 (18) vs. Cornelius Lock 19-5-1 (12), featherweights (126 lb.)Prediction: Garcia by KO.
Lock's a decent step up for Top Rank's contender Garcia, in an IBF eliminator. We've seen young potential stars fall short with similar challenges recently, including Chris Avalos, Daniel Jacobs and Antwone Smith. Garcia has the younger, fresher legs, and they should take him where he needs to go, inside on Lock, who's been KO'd three times. Job well done by "Top Rank Live."