So continues our marathon coverage of one of the biggest fights of 2013, Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero on Showtime pay-per-view May 4. Previously: putting Mayweather-Guerrero in context. Next: keys to the fight.
Once again we find ourselves less than a week out from a big pay-per-view boxing match. Some things have changed – Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is fighting on Showtime instead of HBO. But, as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Robert Guerrero is new, but it’s hard not to feel like we’ve been here before. Nobody seriously doubts Mayweather’s chances. It’s déjà vu all over again. At least the undercard should be entertaining. Perhaps as entertaining as that picture. And yes, Rocky vs. Clubber Lang totally deserved to be on PPV.
Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero Undercard
Daniel Ponce De Leon vs. Abner Mares. I’m going to say it right now – this featherweight fight is going to upstage the main event. Former junior featherweight Mares (25-0-1, 13 KO) is the will to win personified in a small Mexican-American. He refuses to lose. But Ponce De Leon (44-4, 35 KO) might be his biggest test to date. The man from Chihuahua is awkward, experienced, left-handed and has a punch like a kicking horse. Unlike many of Mares’ opponents, he won’t look to avoid confrontation – he’ll embrace it. We’ll have to see if Mares, who seemed small at junior featherweight, is able to continue with his sticky, mauling style against bigger, harder punching guys. Am I going to pick against him, though? Hell no!
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Alexander Munoz. Luckily the junior featherweight division has Leo Santa Cruz (23-0-1, 13 KO) to provide action now that Mares is gone. “El Terremoto,” the earthquake, could also be known as the “El Molino,” the windmill – such is the number of punches he throws a round. Munoz (36-4, 28 KO) is a decent enough fighter, but has fought only once in the last two years, defeating a man with a record of 12-35-2. At the top of his game, Munoz was an active, wide puncher. Unlike Alberto Guevara, Santa Cruz’s last opponent, Munoz doesn’t have the skills to outbox and outfox the man from Michoacan. I think he’ll acquiesce when Santa Cruz wants him to brawl and make it interesting while it lasts.
J’Leon Love vs. Gabriel Rosado. Middleweight prospect and Mayweather protégé J’Leon Love (15-0, 8 KO) takes a huge step up in competition against veteran contender Gabriel Rosado (21-6, 13 KO). Love has a great jab, but I’m not sure he’s ready for the likes of Rosado – unless “King” was seriously diminished in his TKO loss to Gennady Golovkin in January. To my eye, Love plants his feet far too wide for a guy who’s not a huge puncher and also tends to fall in. Rosado is experienced enough to exploit those foibles.
Showtime preliminaries. Before the PPV portion of the card starts, Showtime will broadcast at least one bout on its regular network, super middleweight prospect Badou Jack "The Ripper" (13-0, 9 KO), whose nickname fits with his style, against Michael Gbenga (16-7, 16 KO), last in the ring in February losing a lopsided decision to Andre Dirrell. Time permitting, the network will also carry another Mayweather-promoted prospect, middleweight Luis Arias (4-0, 3 KO), who's schedule to fight California's DonYil Livingston (8-2-1, 4 KO), a once promising prospect who has lost two on the trot.
Promotional stuff. It's a big fight week, so there's heaps of promotional programming. This time that includes past Mayweather fights being aired on CBS Sports Network, live coverage of all the pre- and post-fight press conferences and the weigh in. On fight day, which Showtime has perversely decided to call May Day despite it not being May 1, there will be replays of the All Access documentary series and more. Basically, between now and Saturday you could watch nothing but Floyd Mayweather on Showtime and CBS Sports Network. I wouldn't advise it, though, for mental health reasons.
The Rest Of The Week’s Boxing Schedule
Mauricio Herrera vs. Ji-Hoon Kim, Thursday, ESPN2, Corona Calif. This is going to be fun. They say styles make fights, and these two junior welterweights have styles that are made for each other - “Knockout artist vs. swarmer” is my kind of match-up. Kim (24-8, 18 KO), the knockout artist, is also chinny as hell, which I suspect will be his undoing. It’s not that Herrera (18-3, 7 KO) is a huge puncher, but he’s crafty enough to get in and out of range against the taller man and land lots of accurate punches. He’s also never showed any chin problems of his own, coming off two decision losses in which he took the best from Karim Mayfield and Mike Alvarado. That said, you never know.
The Rest. It’s kind of sad that the world’s best heavyweight gets consigned to “The Rest,” but what is there to say about Wlad Klitschko vs. Francesco Pianeta on Saturday on Epix? Wlad is going to destroy his unknown Italian opponent… Junior lightweight prospect Francisco Vargas (15-0, 12 KO) faces Jose Miguel Aguiniga (33-0, 15 KO), who turned pro in 2000 and has had a bizarre career… #1 junior lightweight contender Takashi Uchiyama (19-0-1, 16 KO) faces Venezuala’s Jaider Parra (20-0-1) in Tokyo on Monday. The TBRB's #3 junior bantamweight, Kohei Kono (28-7, 11 KO) fights Liborio Solis (14-3-1, 7 KO) on the undercard, keeping up the Japan vs. Venezuala theme. ....Friday is a big day if your surname is Sor Rungvisai, with Thai junior bantamweights Srisaket and Suriyan fighting on the same card in a place that's confusingly named Sisaket. Srisaket (18-3-1, 17 KO) faces the TBRB's #2 junior bantam, Japan's Yota Sato (26-2-1, 12 KO). In case you're wondering, the Sor Rungivisai's aren't brothers. Rather, they've changed their surname to that of their gym. Imagine if Tommy Hearns was Tommy Kronk.