Hershman and Stephen Espinoza have not been at their jobs all that long at HBO and
Showtime, respectively. However, their networks already have their first
quarter of boxing programming set. When people think about big-time boxing in
America, it's usually defined by what's on these premium cable giants. This
upcoming weekend was supposed to be HBO's inaugural edition of 2012 before Erik
Morales was felled by gallstone surgery, pushing his bout against Danny Garcia
back till late March. But here's what you'll be seeing the next few months for
that extra 25 bucks on your cable bill.
-February 4th (HBO): Julio
Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Marco Antonio Rubio/Nonito Donaire vs. Wilfredo Vazquez
Jr: I'll say it right now; I think Rubio beats Junior (yeah, read it again, I
didn't stutter). I think that Rubio is the best fighter Chavez Jr. has
been paired with thus far in his career and he brings a stout right hand. As
always, you have to wonder just how professionally Junior is preparing for this
assignment. As for the opener in the Alamodome in San Antonio, you have a pair
of boxers on the rebound, Donaire, in a win that felt like a loss (a desultory
victory over Omar Narvaez) and Vazquez, who was halted by Jorge Arce. If the “Filipino
Flash” is really part of the pound-for-pound elite many believe he is, he
should handle his business here and take care of Vazquez.
K9 Rating (1-5 gloves): 3 gloves
- February 11th (SHO): Victor
Ortiz vs. Andre Berto II/Erislandy Lara vs. Ronald Hearns/Gary Russell vs. TBA: The
main event this night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is a much anticipated
rematch of one of the best fights of 2011. If it's anything like that slugfest
we got last April, we'll have another exciting bout between two hard-hitting,
fun-yet flawed- fighters. Now, the stuff that precedes it isn't so great. I
guess Lara getting Hearns is Golden Boy's way of making it up to the Cuban for
barely saying a peep about his robbery at the hands of Paul Williams last July
(Golden Boy couldn't or wouldn't say too much since Williams is an Al Haymon
client). And the ultra-talented Russell Jr. goes from getting TBAs on HBO to
K9 Rating: 4 gloves
- February 18th (SHO): Paul
Williams vs. Nobu Ishida/ Tavoris Cloud-Gabriel Campillo: Let's be honest here; while Williams-Ishida is the listed main event, the best
fight on this bill is between IBF light heavyweight titlist Cloud and the
tough-luck Campillo. Folks, I think Cloud, who has been dormant for the better
part of three years, is ripe for the picking and Campillo is a long, lean
southpaw who isn't afraid to throw punches. The question now is, will he
finally win a close decision? As for the featured bout of the night, can
lightning strike twice for Ishida?
K9 Rating: 3 gloves
- February 25th (HBO): Devon
Alexander vs. Marcos Maidana/Adrien Broner vs. Eloy Perez: OK,
I know I'm in the minority but I really like this Alexander-Maidana main event.
Many of you out there have a certain distaste for Alexander in the wake of how
his fight with Tim Bradley ended and the continued home-cooking he seemingly gets
in St.Louis (where this bout will be hosted at the Scottrade Center). This is
the classic boxer-puncher match-up and I think this will be a closely contested
match throughout (and yes, in my opinion, it's a huge advantage for Alexander that
this fight is a ten-rounder). Broner is a flashy, fast boxer but, trust me, the
technical acumen and schooling of Perez will make life very difficult for him on
this night. Remember, while “The Problem” has been dominant in recent fights,
it wasn't too long ago when Daniel Ponce de Leon gave him fits just by simply sticking
out his jab.
K9 Rating: 4.5 gloves
- March 3rd (HBO) Brandon
Rios/Yuriorkis Gamboa: Right now, this show is very unsettled (to say the
least). It looks like Johnny Molina and his promoter, Dan Goossen, couldn't see
eye-to-eye on the money and other issues, so “Bam Bam” is left without a fight.
Just as well, it's not clear who Gamboa will face on this date. Hey, why not
just have Rios and Gamboa face each other next if it's that difficult to find
opponents for them?
K9 Rating: Incomplete
- March 10th (SHO): Orlando
Salido vs. Juan Manuel Lopez II/Mikey Garcia vs. TBA: If
everything works out, I'm planning to make this my first trip to the island of
Puerto Rico. Last year, while Ortiz and Berto had their donnybrook, Salido and “JuanMa”
were waging on their own back-and-forth battle, seeing the Puerto Rican star upended
by a barrage of right hands from the rugged Mexican. Does “Siri” just have
Lopez’s number or was “JuanMa” his own worst enemy going into that fight with a
host of personal issues and distractions? In his last bout, Salido was nearly
knocked out in shocking fashion by Weng Haya in a non-title affair. As for the
rising Garcia, it's not clear who he will face on this night at the Roberto
Clemente Coliseum but he is slated to face the winner of Salido-Lopez II later
on in 2012.
K9 Rating: 4.5 gloves
- March 17th (HBO): Sergio
Martinez vs. Matthew Macklin/Edwin Rodriguez vs. Donovan George: Well, Martinez's boycott of HBO sure didn’t last long, did it? Anyway, his
return comes against another European, this time in Macklin, who took Felix
Sturm to the brink in Germany. The co-feature should be a fun fight between Rodriguez
and George (perhaps even earning the subtitle, “A Tale of Two Bombs,”
considering both fighters’ nicknames), serving as a nice warm-up act at the
Theater in Madison Square Garden.
K9 Rating: 3.5 gloves
- March 24th (HBO): Erik
Morales vs. Danny Garcia/James Kirkland vs. Carlos Molina: I
don't think I have to sell you too much on these fights. Morales is facing a
hungry, young lion who seems to have every single physical advantage going on-
but wasn't that the case against Maidana last year? Unlike the hard-hitting
Argentine, Garcia is about speed and quickness, posing a whole 'nother set of
problems for “El Terrible.” As for the other fight, hey, if Kirkland's
involved, sign me up. Houston, we have no problems here.
K9 Rating: 5 gloves
the rematch between Ortiz and Berto is anticipated by the hardcore boxing fan,
it must not be doing well at the box-office of the MGM Grand. The hotel is sending
out emails to their VIPs and players, offering complimentary rooms and tickets
for that weekend. I've said from the beginning that the selection of Las Vegas
was an uninspired choice to host this event. Again, unless it has a Manny
Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather on the marquee, most other boxing events in this
jurisdiction struggle for the most part.
sure where this rematch would've done well, to be honest, but what it also
shows you is that while some just scream from the mountaintops that the way to
fix boxing is just putting on the best fights, that's only half of the
equation. Creating attractions and putting events in the appropriate locations
is also paramount to the overall health of the business. Promoting is extremely
and essentially important.
the case of Berto, all the HBO appearance fights in the world couldn't make him
into an attraction- not even being in a “Fight of the Year” candidate.
thought the kickoff of “Fight Night” on the NBC Sports Network went as well as
could be reasonably expected considering the circumstances. But to expound on
my aforementioned point, Main Events understood where this card was being held,
exercising geographic logic by featuring a pair of Philly heavyweights(Bryant
Jennings and Maurice Byarm) after Eddie Chambers pulled out the scheduled main
event versus Sergei Liakhovich.
ended up a pretty decent scrap. The audience at the Asylum Arena was into it
because they had a rooting interest in the fight. As you saw, it made for
Cain had his 9-9-9 plan. Floyd Mayweather allegedly told Manny Pacquiao that, if
should they ever meet, there would be no 50/50 split (which, in my opinion,
makes this whole negotiation as non-starter). Well, I have a solution; since
both boxers are bona fide attractions, who bring a lot to the table, I suggest
each man get a guaranteed 45 percent of all the profits. The winner gets the
remaining 10 percent.
Now that's putting the “prize” back into
Ponce de Leon and Leo Santa Cruz scored dominant KO victories in Ensenada this
weekend...Did DeMarcus Corley really defeat Gabriel Bracero in New York?...David
Quijano and Javier Gallo put on a good show in Puerto Rico, with Quijano taking
the 10-round decision...I think the Lakers got exposed for what they really are
in Florida...Can Showtime stop putting Gus Johnson's voice on fights he never
called?...Lee Evans is now the Bill Buckner of Baltimore...As for Joe Flacco,
that loss shouldn't be put on him. I thought, outside of that bad INT and
perhaps missing Vonta Leach in the flat near the end zone, he played well...Is
Vince Wilfork a Hall-of-Famer? He has a pretty strong case, doesn't he?...So
how will you remember Joseph Vincent Paterno?...