Originally written on Boxing Watchers  |  Last updated 10/6/14
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Who's ready to talk about some boxing outside of the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez-Floyd Mayweather triumvirate? Fantastic!

Tonight on HBO's Boxing After Dark, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. takes on Peter Manfredo in a fight in which the only visible link to the above paragraph will be the presence of trainer Freddie Roach. At stake is Junior's WBC middleweight strap, though there's also something a little extra (and different) up for grabs for each man.

For Chavez, it will be another stepping stone toward respectability in the eyes of many who believe he's been coddled on his rise through the ranks. I tend to agree, though things turned serious once he teamed up with Roach. A future date with Sergio Martinez, the real ruler of his weight class, has already been mentioned, but if there's anyone who truly believes he's ready for that kind of challenge, I haven't met him or her yet.

Manfredo is fighting just to stay relevant. Once a known quantity for his performance on the original season of "The Contender," the Pride of Providence fell on hard times career-wise in more recent years. He can still bang and take a punch, and he's won six straight, but his time as a title threat may be running out.

Since Chavez has the pedigree, the boxing skills, and oh yeah, that Roach guy, he's the favorite. He had to show some toughness in his last outing, a majority decision over Sebastian Zbik, but his chin is still an open question.

Can Manfredo test it? Probably. But it's doubtful it will be often enough to pull off the upset. JCC Jr. will trade a little more often than he should, but look for him to box enough to allow his class to show. Chavez takes a fairly comfortable decision, but everyone will still wonder at the end of the night how long it will take until he's ready for Maravilla. 

BONUS PICK:

In South Africa, there's a pay-per-view that offers quite a bit of quantity even if the quality of boxing may not be top drawer. We're talking about a ten-rounder followed by five fights scheduled for 12 rounds. As Drake would say, HYFR (Google it if you don't have the new album).

The supposed main event features two aging heavyweights colliding in Francois Botha and Michael Grant. Botha has been knocked out by the best of them: Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko and Evander Holyfield have all stopped the White Buffalo.

Grant doesn't belong in that class, though he too ended up on the wrong side of a KO loss to Lewis. He also hung fairly tough against Tomasz Adamek last year, which counts for something. He's also dangerous enough to put away pretenders, as he did to Tye Fields in his last fight.

What's it all mean? Honestly, I haven't a clue, though I'd be mildly curious enough to watch if it wasn't a PPV. When it doubt, go with the guy fighting at home. Botha earns a TKO over Grant in what's considered a mild upset, then immediately asks Holyfield for a rematch.

 

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