Super middleweight champion Andre Ward, decried by many as a mauler and a billy-goat headbutter, doesn’t float everyone’s boat. But if you don’t like the way he fights, then you don’t have to watch him on Saturday on HBO. Personally, his very existence doesn’t offend me like it seems to a lot of people. There are lots of other fights this week, and they’re all on Saturday, which makes it much more acceptable to ignore your loved ones completely. Also keep in mind that the Mike Tyson stage show movie, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth premieres on HBO before the boxing, about which Tim Starks will have a paragraph below.
Andre Ward vs. Edwin Rodriguez, Saturday, HBO, Ontario Calif. Sam Sheppard will have a full preview of this later in the week. I doubt I’ll be able to add much, though I agree with the prevailing assessment that, despite ring rust and injuries, Ward (26-0, 14 KO) should be the overwhelming favourite. Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KO) isn’t a bad fighter by any means, it’s just that Ward is a special fighter. It’s difficult to picture what kind of an opponent could beat him. Anyway, I promised I’d be brief, so I’ll leave it at that. Lightweight contender John Molina fights on the undercard and Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios 24/7 episode 2 airs afterwards. At this point I’m only watching to see what inappropriate **** Rios says next.
Mike Tyson: The Undisputed Truth, Saturday, HBO. Brief interlude from Tim here. I got a review copy of this from HBO and I don't have a whole lot to add from when our Jeff Pryor offered his take on the stage show. The thing with Tyson is that he's always engaging, whether he's being bracingly honest or just plain horrifying. This Spike Lee-directed filming of the performance no doubt benefits from Lee's touch, and it is at times a hilarious and moving experience. It also does features Tyson tearing into old enemies like Don King or Mitch "Blood" Green. On the other hand, there's something deeply disturbing about Tyson taking the opportunity of this show to settle scores with his ex-wife Robin Givens, a woman he once bragged about beating, and Desiree Washington, the woman he was convicted of raping. I ended up loving aspects of the show and despising others. OK, back to Alex.
Tomasz Adamek vs. Vyacheslav Glazkov, Saturday, NBC, Verona N.Y. The smaller American show on Saturday may well end up being the more entertaining, with Polish hero Tomasz Adamek (49-2, 29 KO) taking on undefeated Ukrainian heavyweight prospect Vyacheslav Glazkov (15-0-1, 11 KO). “Undefeated” may be too kind a term for Glazkov, since he got a draw against Malik Scott that virtually every observer thought Scott won. Not that it really matters. What matters is that this is going to be a really fun fight. Neither man is particularly large or hard-punching for a heavyweight, but neither is the shy and retiring type, either. Adamek, I suspect, has the edge in skills, but Glazkov is no slouch, with over 200 amateur fights to his name. Glazkov will likely come forward, firing lead rights and left hooks while Adamek jabs and exchanges in spurts. I think Adamek probably has it, but he’s been challenged by all his most recent opponents, so who know, maybe Glazkov will be the one to knock him off his perch.
The Rest. I lied when I said everything’s on Saturday -- 2012 Olympic super heavyweight gold medallist Anthony Joshua fights on Thursday in London, in a non-competitive development bout… And back to Saturday, when Daniel Ponce De Leon (44-5, 35 KO) fights fellow Mexican Joksan Hernandez (23-5-1, 15 KO) in Tabasco on Fox Deportes in a junior lightweight bout… Meanwhile over on another Spanish network, UniMas, junior lightweights Jose Felix (25-0-1, 20 KO) and Santos Benevides (23-4-2, 17 KO) do battle… There are also fights from New Zealand, where David Tua (52-4-2, 43 KO) fights Alexander Ustinov (28-1, 21 KO) of Belarus. Ustinov is huge, but has long been considered something of a weak link amongst heavyweight contenders (if that’s even possible). Tua is reportedly half the man he used to be… Featherweight veteran Jorge Arce (61-7-2, 46 KO), who should almost certainly be retired, fights Giovanni Caro (24-14-4, 19 KO) in Mexico, also on Saturday, and it’ll probably be enjoyable. Caro is better than his record suggests and Arce goes life and death trying to eat his dinner these days.