Originally posted on The Queensbury Rules  |  Last updated 1/31/12

Veteran horse trainer Peter Casey is pretty pumped after winning his first grade one race. You should be too! Not because you won a grade one race, but because this week is the start of an eight week stretch of great fights. Friend of the site David Greisman catalogued what's going on much more eloquently than I could ever dream to in his weekly column at BoxingScene.

This particular week, there's a doubleheader on HBO with Mexican superstar Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. facing his first real challenge in veteran puncher Marco Antonio Rubio, as well as Nonito Donaire debuting at junior featherweight against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Off American TV, the cruiserweight championship of the world is up for grabs in Germany, with the rematch of Steve Cunningham and Yoan Pablo Hernandez' October fight, which Hernandez won by controversial technical decision. Apart from that there's a fun light heavyweight fight and a clash of undefeated lightweight prospects on Friday Night Fights, British and Commonwealth title fights and various other televised offerings.

  • Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Marco Antonio Rubio and Nonito Donaire vs. Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Saturday, HBO, San Antonio. As per the usual with big fights, our bearded and erudite founder, Tim Starks, will have staggeringly detailed previews later in the week. It's left to me to marvel at this festival of “juniors” all fighting each other, since Nonito Donaire is technically Nonito Donaire Jr. But briefly, Rubio (53-5-1) is a live dog against Chavez (or virtually anyone) because he can punch and is patient. Chavez (44-0-1), much like his old man, has never been shown to have problems in the chin department though. Explosive bantamweight and two time knockout of the year owner Nonito Donaire (27-1) is moving up to junior featherweight to face Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (21-1-1), who's lost against Jorge Arce in May last year. Donaire is unlikely to find himself being small and underpowered at junior feather, having been such a huge bantamweight, so perhaps the key to this fight is how good Vazquez Jr. really is. Was it him that made Arce look good? If so, he'll have a tough time against Donaire. Intriguing questions in both fights. Off television, junior middleweight prospect Vanes Martirosyan (31-0) is fighting Troy Lowry (28-11), but no-one cares about Martirosyan any more after he called out pretty much everyone and then ******* out when he got offered a real fight.
  • Yoan Pablo Hernandez vs. Steve Cunningham, Saturday, Frankfurt Germany. This one's for the Ring Magazine cruiserweight championship, which is pretty cool. The last time these guys fought, in October last year, Hernandez won a dodgy technical decision, but the fight was fun. It was dodgy because the cut that caused the fight to be caused did not appear to be bleeding at all, because Cunningham was coming on hard and because the judges' scores were fairly widely for Hernandez. In that fight, Hernandez (24-1) put Cunningham (24-3) down hard in the first round. At that point, Cunningham was properly on queer street and the fight could probably have been stopped without too many objections. But the former navy man showed huge heart to battle back, win a bunch of rounds and was even starting to damage Hernandez. This time round, Cunningham will likely be much more wary of Hernandez' power. Hernandez will have to concentrate on being more active (he's trained by Uli Wegner, who's notorious for his not-that-active fighters) if he doesn't want to rely on dodgy judging again. 
  • Edison Miranda vs. Isaac Chilemba, Friday, ESPN2, Las Vegas. A nice light heavyweight main event on ESPN2. Miranda was originally meant to be doing a rematch with Yordanis Despaigne, but he got upset by Cornelius White in December. Miranda (35-6) has fought a who's who of the middleweight and super middleweight division over the last few years, earning a reputation as a fearsome puncher who's not quite up to the next level. Light heavyweight is probably not his ideal weight, but he doesn't look bad at it. Some people are very high on Malawi's Isaac Chilemba (18-1-1), who fought a lot of good South African fighters, including holding much-fancied Thomas Oosthuizen to a draw, and beat Maxim Vlasov despite going down twice on FNF last year. Miranda should be the perfect test for Chilemba, who can graduate to fighting a top contender if he wins. Miranda's been KO'd by the big punchers that he's faced, but Chilemba probably isn't one of them. On the other hand, Chilemba was down against Vlasov, so if he gets careless he could get hurt. On the undercard there's a clash of undefeated lightweight prospects, Cuba's Rances Barthelmy (14-0) against the good old U.S.A.'s Hylon Williams Jr. (15-0). I wouldn't be wildly optimistic about the entertainment potential of a former Cuban amateur vs. an American with a 20 percent KO ratio from his first 15 fights. 
  • The Rest. Junior lightweight prospect Ronny Rios (16-0) faces Jeremy McLaurin (9-2) on TeleFutura in a fight that probably won't go the distance on Saturday night... Scott Quigg (23-0) defends his Commonwealth junior featherweight title against Jamie Arthur (18-5) in Bolton, also on Saturday. Popular junior featherweight Rendall Munroe is also fighting on the card... On Friday night Ovill McKenzie (19-11) faces Tony Dodson (28-6-1) for the British light heavyweight title. Andrew Harrison will have previews of all the British fights in his “British Beat” column later in the week... WAPA America is showing a card from Puerto Rico on Friday night featuring the hilariously named Arroyo brothers, McJoe and McWilliams. Their opponents have five fights and three losses between them, so it might only be worth tuning in for the name factor... The Fight Camp 360 series for Victor Ortiz vs. Andre Berto II will not premiere as planned on Showtime this week, thanks to the fight being postponed. Bummer... The third episode of "On Freddie Roach" is on HBO on Friday though, so that makes life a bit better... Integrated Sports Pay Per View is distributing a World Series of Boxing card from Mexico City. The Mexico City Guerreros are hosting the Beijing Dragons in a clash that will likely preview many 2012 Olympic match ups. It's $24.95.

This article first appeared on The Queensbury Rules and was syndicated with permission.

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