Usually we start the week’s boxing schedule off with a random, non-boxing piece of media from the internet, but the above Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling program was too cool not to feature. I guess that means we can jump right into the week’s fights, since we’re already talking boxing. The main event is the HBO pay-per-view headlined by welterweights Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, which has an interesting, if not fully PPV-worthy undercard. Then there are other fights, featuring the likes of Jessie Vargas and Jermell Charlo.
Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Timothy Bradley, Saturday, HBO PPV, Las Vegas. As always, Tim Starks will be along with a full and nuanced preview of the week’s biggest fight later in said week. That allows me to be neither full nor nuanced in my prediction. Basically JMM (55-6-1, 40 KO) brutally knocks Bradley (30-0, 12 KO) out in the late rounds after the whirlwind from Palm Springs has some early success. The main undercard fight (which we will dub the battle of the Orlandos) might be thought of in some quarters as mainly a marketing ploy, featuring as it does the world’s first openly gay pro boxer, featherweight Orlando Cruz (20-2-1, 10 KO). But Cruz isn’t too shabby a fighter, nor is the man he’s facing – Orlando Salido (39-12-2, 27 KO). I would imagine Salido will be favoured by most, based on his resume at world level. But I think there’s a really good chance of Cruz springing the upset. A flashy southpaw, he’s not overly powerful but he is quick. And the thing is, you don’t need to be a huge puncher to hurt Salido. The problem is keeping him down. You really don’t want to be staring down Salido as he comes right at you in the late rounds. The second undercard fight is the pro debut of two time Olympic gold medallist Vasyl Lomachenko. The original plan was for the Ukrainian to face Jonathan Oquendo, which would have been one of the toughest professional debuts of all time. Instead he’s facing Jose Ramirez (25-3, 15 KO), which is still fairly tough. Oddly enough, Lomachenko has already fought and defeated one Jose Ramirez, the 2012 US Olympian. This Ramirez isn’t going to be cute or anything, he’s going to bang with Lomachenko and it’s going to be spectacular. Both men are gunslingers, but Lomachenko brings a more accurate, powerful gun. Thanks to the World Series of Boxing, he’s completely inexperienced as a pro either. I think he’ll take a mid-rounds stoppage.
The Rest. I’d love to do in depth previews of the other fights this week, but none of them seem particularly deserving. On Monday (the 14th) we have a Fox Sports Golden Boy show from Sunrise Fla., headlined by junior middleweight Jermell Charlo (21-0, 10 KO), who’s taking on Jose Angel Rodriguez (17-2-1, 2 KO). I can’t track down any footage of Rodriguez, but he’s one fight removed from upsetting Staten Island prospect Denis Douglin, so hopefully he makes it interesting as long as it lasts. Olympians Errol Spence and Rau’shee Warren are also fighting, don’t expect anything competitive… There are a pair of cards on Spanish language networks UniMas and Telemundo on Friday night, respectively headlined by a welterweight bout, Jessie Vargas (22-0, 9 KO) vs. Ray Narh (26-3, 21 KO), and a bantamweight bout,Johnny Garcia (18-4-1, 9 KO) vs. Marvin Mabait (18-1-2, 12 KO).