Originally written on The Queensbury Rules  |  Last updated 10/7/14

Beard slap, mofo! There are a lot of guys with great beards (in the figurative sense) fighting this weekend, but no-one with great facial hair. But chin hairs aren't the main criterion upon which we judge our fights, so it's all good. This week's schedule is actually kind of packed. I'd make some kind of post-Easter resurrection comment, but I lack motivation/you've heard it all before.

There's the split site HBO pay-per-view featuring Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios, Michael Katsidis on ESPN on Friday night, Felix Sturm fighting Sebastian Zbik in Germany, fights on virtually all the Spanish language networks and even some from Britlandia. Can you even handle this much boxing?

  • Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Serhiy Fedchenko and Brandon Rios vs. Richard Abril, Saturday, HBO PPV, Las Vegas and Mexico City. This card doesn't deserve to be on PPV – but it's a forgiveable business decision considering the shenanigans that went on with Yuriorkis Gamboa dropping out of a fight with Rios. So instead of an amazing HBO fight, we have a little-bit-interesting-but-not-that-great PPV. It will be interesting to see how many quality-starved boxing fans buy this PPV after a near month long drought of good fights. Headlining is lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1) facing Serhiy Fedchenko (30-1) at junior welterweight. Marquez is a huge TQBR favourite, a true warrior and one of the best counterpunchers of all time. The Ukraine's Fedchenko is a skilled boxer, but you won't find many out there rushing to heap praise on him. He's a light hitting, European-style fighter who feints a lot. If this is to be a good fight, it will have to be Marquez who brings the aggression -- which he knows how to do. Hopefully this will be a good, semi-challenging stay busy fight for Marquez, who now seems likely to face Rios in July. Heading the bill is action hero/action villain (does such a thing exist?) Brandon Rios (29-0-1) facing lower-ranked lightweight contender Richard Abril (17-2-1). Abril is good opponent coming off a career best win against Miguel Acosta (who might have been broken from his fight with Rios) but I don't think anybody sees him winning this. It seems most are more interested on whether a nutritionist-assisted Rios will be able to make the lightweight limit. The highlight of the PPV undercard is the fight between lightweight upset machine Mauricio Herrera (18-1) and Rios clone Mike Alvarado (32-0), which has action written all over it. Herrera doesn't mind getting down into the trenches and out-skilling a slugger and Alvarado is a born slugger. Herrera can't crack like the junior welterweight Alvarado, though, so I predict a thriller going into the final rounds.
  • Michael Katsidis vs. Albert Mensah, Friday, ESPN2, Las Vegas. Australia's Katsidis is making his re-debut at junior welterweight on Friday after years as a lightweight contender. He's up against Ghana's Mensah (24-3-1), who's a bit of a mystery, having only fought stateside once. The main point of interest here will be to see how Katsidis (28-5) fares at junior welter under new trainer Justin Fortune. Katsidis has spent a lot of energy in a lot of brutal wars, so it's hard to know how much he still has left to give. Welterweight prospect Artemio Reyes (15-1) faces Alan Sanchez (9-2-1) on the undercard.
  • Felix Sturm vs. Sebastian Zbik, Friday, Cologne Germany. It used to be that between Sturm and Sebastian Sylvester, you could expect a middleweight titlefight in Germany at least once every couple of months. These days it's Sturm carrying the burden on his own, this time with the help of compatriot Sebastian Zbik (30-1), fresh of an exciting and disputed loss to Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. However, it seems unlikely that Sturm (36-2-2), with his high hands, will be quite so willing a target as Chavez. Expect a high energy, if frustratingly hard to score affair with lots of punches landing on gloves.
  • The Rest. Thursday night brings a “winner and loser should retire” match up between Steve Forbes (35-10) and Emmanuel Augustus (38-34-6) in Costa Mesa, California... On Friday night junior featherweight Jose Nieves (19-2-3) faces Alejandro Delgado (15-6) in Florida, broadcast on Telemundo... The next night lightweights Edner Cherry (29-6-2) and Juan Carlos Martinez (19-13-1) do battle on TeleFutura from Chicago... An Atlantic City fight between cruiserweights Andres Taylor (20-1-2) and Garrett Wilson (12-5-1) is available on gofightlive.tv, also Saturday... Belfast hosts British heavyweight Tyson Fury (17-0) against domestic rival Martin Rogan (14-2) on Saturday. Chris Eubank Jr. (2-0) is on the undercard.

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