I know it’s difficult to believe, but there is a panda somewhere in that photograph. “Why is the boxing schedule headed by a panda?” you may ask. Well, it’s all to do with junior lightweight Teon Kennedy’s fight on Saturday, which is being broadcast by an online channel called pandafeed.tv. Lower level boxing shows are their bread and butter (or bamboo, as the case may be), but they also show rock shows, Muay Thai and mixed martial arts. When I tried to join, I received this message: “Panda is still young and learning, please be patient as it masters the sciences of the universe.” So that’s something…
Anyway, it’s quite a nice little week of boxing, with an exciting Showtime bill headed by featherweight action hero Abner Mares, a great show to finish the Friday Night Fights calendar, the debut of boxing on Fox Sports 1 and the premiere of the “All Access” documentary/infomercial for Floyd Mayweather vs. Canelo Alvarez before the Showtime fights on Saturday.
Danny Jacobs vs. Giovanni Lorenzo, Monday, Fox Sports 1, New York City. Monday marks the first installment of “Golden Boy Live!”, Golden Boy Promotions’ new televised boxing show. I wouldn’t count on the series for much in the way of competitive fights, but more boxing on TV can hardly be a bad thing. They’re certainly putting their best foot forward this time, with Brooklyn cancer survivor Danny Jacobs (25-1, 22 KO) taking on Giovanni Lorenzo (32-5, 24 KO) at middleweight. Lorenzo is light years better than the competition Jacobs has faced so far in his comeback, is durable and can actually bang a bit. That said, I think Jacobs will be too athletic and skilled for Lorenzo and earn a decision. The undercard features a lot of local New York fighters, including U.S. light heavyweight Olympian Marcus Browne and Brooklynite Claude Staten, Jr., who was clearly born in the wrong borough.
Abner Mares vs. Jhonny Gonzalez, Saturday, Showtime, Carson Calif. When Abner Mares fights, I watch. It’s as simple as that. The diminutive featherweight just refuses to be beaten. Having seen him maul Daniel Ponce De Leon, you have to favour him against Jhonny Gonzalez (54-8, 46 KO), another Mexican with noted power. Gonzalez is an altogether more orthodox fighter than Ponce De Leon, though, and he’ll probably be more effective at keeping Mares (26-0-1, 14 KO) off his chest, at least for a while. The chief supporting bout, between junior bantamweights Leo Santa Cruz (24-0-1, 14 KO) and Victor Terrazas (37-2-1, 21 KO) might just steal the show (which is really saying something on an Abner Mares card). The idea, it seems, is to build up a future fight between Santa Cruz, who many see as the second coming of Antonio Margarito, and Mares. Terrazas is no small road block, though. He’s tough, having got up off the canvas to defeat Christian Mijares earlier in the year, and I think he has enough composure to not get flustered when Santa Cruz throws everything and the kitchen sink at him. “El Terremoto” has big defensive holes – Terrazas’ straight punches will find his chin at some stage and who knows how he’ll react, this being only his second fight at junior featherweight. I think Santa Cruz is legit, though, and his volume will win him the day, but it’ll be a close run thing.
Argenis Mendez vs. Arash Usmanee, Friday, ESPN2, Verona N.Y. Junior lightweights Argenis Mendez (21-2, 11 KO) and Arash Usmanee (20-1, 10 KO) headline the last Friday Night Fights of the season. There’s a nice symmetry here because Usmanee, a rare Afghan boxer, opened the season when he lost a shocking hometown decision to Rances Barthelmy. It’s nice that he’s been given another chance, but I don’t think he has what it takes to hang with Mendez. The Dominican is the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s #2 junior lightweight and showed a new sharpness to go with his aggression in his last outing, a win against Juan Carlos Salgado. Usmanee has a big engine and lots of heart, but he’s just not at the same level. A featherweight fight between Claudio Marrero (14-0, 11 KO) and Jesus Andres Cuellar (22-1, 18 KO) is the chief undercard bout
The Rest. Friday brings a junior lightweight fight on WAPA America between Edgardo Lopez (7-0-1, 4 KO) and Alvin Torres (7-0-2, 5 KO)… On Saturday UniMas has a show headlined by middleweights Gilberto Ramirez Sanchez (25-0, 20 KO and Julio Cesar Garcia (46-8, 39 KO), with a junior featherweight bout between Jessie Magdaleno (15-0, 11 KO) and Jose Luis Araiza (31-8-1, 22 KO) as the co-feature… Teon Kennedy (18-2-2, 7 KO) fights Joselito Collado (13-2, 13 KO) on the aforementioned pandafeed.tv card on Saturday… Increasingly irrelevant super middleweight Arthur Abraham (36-4, 28 KO) fights the poshly named but outclassed Willbeforce Shihepo (20-6, 15 KO) in Germany on Saturday, with light heavyweight Juergen Braehmer (40-2, 31 KO) shoring up the undercard against Stefano Abatangelo (17-2-1, 6 KO … Argentina’s favourite junior bantamweight, Omar Narvarez (39-1-2, 20 KO) defends his title for approximately the one millionth time against Hiroyuki Hisataka (22-10-1, 10 KO) at home on Saturday… And in Nevada the same night exciting Ecuadorian heavyweight prospect Ytalo Perea (4-0, 3 KO) fights Avery Gibson (2-2-2, 1 KO) off TV.