Friday, August 12 in Saint Charles, Missouri (ESPN 2):
Kermit Cintron (32-4-1, 28 KO) vs. Antwone Smith (20-2-1, 12 KO)
Junior middleweights (150 lb. contract weight)
Prediction: Smith by decision
I can't say I really know what people mean when they call a bout a "crossroads fight" - and I wonder if they know - but if there is such a thing, this might be one. Both assigned to this intriguing main event stand a lot to gain from a win and lose with a loss.
A good argument could be made for either, which yet again makes "Friday Night Fights" TV's pound-for-pound, or dollar-for-dollar, best. Yes, Cintron has looked shaky recently, but his last loss to Molina came against a hot fighter who just drew with the formidable Erislandy Lara, and he's showing guts jumping right back into the ring.
His loss to Paul Williams was questionable if not bizarre, and
aside from a gift draw he got from Sergio Martinez, his only two other losses came at the (ahem) hands of Antonio Margarito. Not a bad resume, all in all.
Cintron has shown the abiility to withstand a pressure fighter, beating Alfredo Angulo to the finish line, but just barely, as Angulo was starting to catch him at the end. Smith is a tough and solid, come-forward boxer, and Cintron's toughness is a real issue. That's why I lean towards Smith in what could be a good one.
Dannie Williams (18-1, 14 KO) vs. Antonio Cervantes (16-5-5, 11 KO)
Lightweights (135 lb.)
Prediction: Williams by decision
Jack Loew must be loving Williams right now - a good fighter who can get his mind off of Kelly Pavlik. The two reunited in Williams' second move up the lightweight ladder.
Despite 14 KOs, Williams' hands are more fast than heavy. He got drawn into an ill-advised slugfest
last month with Colombian Oscar Cuero but showed a lot of toughness and pulled out a decision. He should learn from that and outbox Cervantes, the winner of four straight since coming back from a four year layoff last year, in tonight's opener.
Saturday, August 13 at the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas (Showtime):
IBF Champ Joseph Agbeko (28-2, 22 KO) vs Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KO)
Bantamweight (118 lb.) tournament final
Prediction: Agbeko by decision
In some ways, Showtime's second tournament is more intriguing than its first, the Super Six World Classic. These bantamweights are all pretty even, and in a very good way. Any one could have been seen as the ultimate winner. For example, an early prediction of Yhonny Perez winning and Agbeko losing twice would have been reasonable; now, it looks like it coul be the other way around.
Mares won't make it
easy. Agbeko's wide, and he comes right up the middle, with solid, accurate punches. This represents a true clash of styles, and whomever can assert his will have his hand raised. I'll take the athlete, in a bit of a coin flip. This should live up to its hype in the boxing world.
Saturday, August 13 at Bally's, Atlantic City (FSN/Fox Deportes):
Teon Kennedy (17-0-1, 7 KO) vs. Alejandro Lopez (21-2, 7 KO)
Junior featherweights (122 lb.)
Prediction: Kennedy by decision
Neither's been stopped and they only stop about 1 in 3 each, so expect this to probably go 12. Kennedy's been the distance several times in 8, 10 and 12 rounders, and they have one common opponent: Jorge Diaz. Kennedy knocked him down twice in a big win, but Lopez was dropped twice by Diaz in a close decision loss.
A Philly fighter versus a Tijuana Mexican in Atlantic City for a
regional title - now that's a main event.