Friday Night Fights, SHOBox & Latin Fury 8
For fight fans, the action has certainly slowed down over the past few weeks, probably by design, as March Madness takes center stage in our collective sporting consciousness. And this weekend’s action looks to be more of the same, as only the most devout of fight fans would be distracted from the spectacle of March Madness for this weekend’s fight cards, but since we live in the age of the DVR, there’s no reason why those propositions have to be mutually exclusive. So while you’re watching the Final Four take shape as the weekend unfolds, make sure to set your recorder to keep up with all of this weekend’s pugil action as well.
There are several boxing events worth keeping up with, although nothing for the MMA fans. They won’t have to wait long though, as UFC has a free Fight Night Broadcast scheduled for Wednesday night on Spike before launching the 9th season of their Ultimate Fighter reality show. We’ll take a look ahead to that card early next week, as the fights draw closer.
As for this weekend’s boxing action, there are free televised cards on both Friday and Saturday nights, and a pay per view on Saturday too, although one that I won’t be paying to see.
Friday Night Fights – Friday on ESPN 2
Samuel Peter – 6’ 0 ½”, 265 lbs. – (30-2, 23 KO) vs. Eddie Chambers – 6’ 1”, 223 lbs. – (33-1, 18 KO) – Scheduled for 10 Rounds
Sam Peter returns to action in the heavyweight division this weekend, still undefeated against fighters not named Klitschko. Peter, currently the 6th ranked heavyweight in the world by boxrec.com, returns to the ring for the first time since his disappointing 9th round KO loss to Vitali Klitschko in November of 2008. Having run off 6 straight victories to land the title shot, Peter looked outclassed and intimidated from the get go, unable to do anything about Klitschko slapping down Peter’s lead hand and driving punches through with the other hand. Peter was probably truly lucky to last 9 rounds in that one.
Although just 28 years old, Peter is in serious danger of seeing the heavyweight division pass him by, if he can’t get straightened back out in a big way, and ultimately find a way to deal with the much taller, much bigger punchers at the top of the division. Even before his latest loss, Peter’s power seemed to be waning. Four of Peter’s 6 wins between defeats to the brothers Klitschko went to the cards, including 2 matches with a well past his prime, James Toney.
The younger, taller, lighter Chambers rides a modest 3 fight win streak into this match up, albeit against modest competition; and despite the seeming lack of power indicated by his knockout record, he does boast KOs in 2 of his last 3 fights, with the third coming in an 8 round dominant performance earning a unanimous decision victory over Cisse Salif in his last fight in December. Chambers currently enjoys the #20 ranking among heavyweights by boxrec.com, and is the 6th ranked American heavyweight by the same organization.
Chambers holds the edge in ring experience; having boxed 199 professional rounds to Peter’s 147, but that probably speaks more to his lack of power than ring savvy. It’s also worth noting that Peter’s resume of professional opponents far outshines that of Chambers at this point, with Chambers only opponent of note being Alexander Povetkin, who beat him soundly in a 12 round unanimous decision loss in January of 2008.
At 265 lbs., Peter will come to the ring on Friday night at the heaviest weight of his career, presumably in an attempt to recapture some of that old knockout power. His confidence could be a question too, as he was basically dominated in his last fight. Conditioning though will probably be the biggest factor, in addition to his substantial weight gain, Peter has also been far less active than Chambers over the past 2 years, fighting just 4 fights to Chambers’ 7, including 4 last year.
My Pick: Chambers by Unanimous Decision – (I predict a boring fight in this one)
There are a number of other fights scheduled for this card too, although I’m not sure how many will make it to broadcast. Here’s a look at them:
John Molina Jr. – 5’ 10 ½”, 132 lbs. – (15-0, 11 KO) vs. Carlos Vinan – 5’ 6”, 134 ½ lbs. – (8-6-3, 1 KO) – Scheduled for 8 Rounds
It looks like an easy one to call and probably is. Vinan looks like little more than a tomato can lined up to boost Molia’s 65th ranking in the world among super featherweights. Vinan is dropping down from 130 for this fight presumably hoping to reclaim some semblance of a career.
My Pick: Molia Jr. by KO – Round 4
Shawn Estrada – 6’ 1”, 165 lbs. – (2-0, 2 KO) vs. Ray Craig – ?’ ?”, 161 lbs. – (5-4, 2 KO) – Scheduled for 4 Rounds
My Pick: Estrada by KO – Round 1
Javier Molina – (no info.) – 144 ½ lbs. vs. Jamie Cabrera – (no info.) – 142 lbs. – Scheduled for 4 Rounds
My Pick: Molina by KO – Round 1 (how can I pick?)
Francisco Santana – ?’ ?”, 153 lbs. – (9-1, 5 KO) vs. Antonio Johnson – ?’?’, 154 lbs. – (7-0-1, 3 KO) – Scheduled for 6 Rounds
My Pick: Johnson by Unanimous Decision
Ismayl Sillaakh – ?’ ?”, 180 lbs. – (6-0, 5 KO) vs. Carlos Reyes – ?’ ?”, 179 lbs. – (4-1, 2 KO) – Scheduled for 6 Rounds
My Pick: Sillaakh by Unanimous Decision
SHOBox – Saturday on Showtime
Andre Dirrell – 6’ 2”, 168 lbs. – (17-0, 12 KO) vs. Derrick Findley – 5’ 7”, 168 lbs. – (13-2, 8 KO) – Scheduled for 10 Rounds
Dirrell, the rapidly rising 26 year old southpaw comes into Saturday’s fight boasting KOs in his last 5 fights dating back to December of 2007, most very early. He’s currently ranked 7th in the world among super middleweights by boxrec.com, although he hasn’t yet broken into Ring Magazine’s top 10 in that same weight class. In a division still ripe with talent though, Dirrell has yet to test his mettle against a top opponent. He doesn’t look to be stepping up much in this one either despite Findley’s respectable record.
The younger, less experienced Findley appears to be giving away a lot in this one, in height, reach and ring experience. Findley will enter Saturday’s fight on the crest of a 6 fight winning streak, scoring 1st or 2nd round knockout victories in 3 of his last 4 fights. The fight is a step up in weight for Findley too, who had been fighting 8 pounds lighter in the middleweight division.
Presumably the disparity in height will be one of the major themes in this fight, and should give Dirrell the distinctive advantage. The height difference could also keep this from becoming the symphony of head butts that can sometimes be expected when young, aggressive, opposite handed fighters match up. Findley will have a tough time getting into range if Dirrell is able to keep him at the end of his jab. If Findley does manage to get inside however, he could show Dirrell a new level of power in comparison to his previous opponents.
My Pick: Dirrell by TKO – Round 7
Ronald Hearns – 6’ 3”, 154 lbs. – (21-0, 17 KO) vs. Harry Joe Yorgey – 5’ 10”, 154 lbs. – (21-0-1, 9 KO) – Scheduled for 12 Rounds
Hearns enters this fight as the 29th ranked light middleweight in the world by boxrec.com, and riding a streak of 4 straight victories by KO, and an impressive string of KOs basically defines his young career so far. The son of Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, Ronald fights out of the legendary Kronk gym, and should be looking to step up the level of his opponents if he’s going to live up to his lineage and nickname, “The Chosen One”.
Yorgey, while certainly lesser known, also enters this fight undefeated, and has won 5 straight fights, 4 by decision, since drawing with Martinus Clay in November of 2006. Currently ranked 60th in the world at light middleweight by boxrec.com, he gives up a great deal of both size and power in this match up. The longer this fight goes on, the more comfortable Yorgey will presumably get. Yorgey holds the advantage in ring experience at nearly 2 rounds to 1 over Hearns, and has gone 6 rounds or more 11 times in comparison to Hearns’ 6.
It’s tough to envision a scenario or game plan that would suit Yorgey’s interests in this one, as he appears to be simply overmatched here. Still, stranger things have been known to happen, and moreover, a big performance by Hearns could go a long way toward cementing his place in the 154 lb. rankings. Both fights on this card are showcasing young, talented fighters, in aging divisions. They may not be quite finished products just yet, but you may be seeing a glimpse into the futures of both of these divisions on this card.
My Pick: Hearns by KO – Round 4
Latin Fury 8 – Saturday on Pay Per View
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. – 6’ 0”, 154 lbs. – (38-0-1, 29 KO) vs. Luciano Leonel Cuello – ?’ ?”, 154 lbs. – (23-0, 10 KO) – Scheduled for 12 Rounds for the vacant WBO Latino Light Middleweight Title
Much like his father before him, Chavez Jr. is well on his way to running up a gaudy professional record. Also much like his father at his age, Chavez Jr. has yet to fight anyone of great notoriety at this point either. This will be Chavez’ fifth fight at light middleweight, where boxrec.com has him ranked 28th in the world currently.
Chavez has run off 15 straight victories since his draw against Carlos Molina in December of 2005, and had racked up 7 straight KOs before going to the cards in each of his last 2 fights, both against Matt Vanda.
Cuello is still largely unknown despite his gaudy record and is ranked 106th in the world in his weight class by boxrec.com. His last fight, a 6 round unanimous decision victory against Florin Bogdan in October of 2008 was his first outside of his native Argentina. He’s a year older than Chavez but obviously hasn’t been nearly as active, and has just 112 professional rounds boxed, compared to Chavez’ 151. Despite only 10 KOs in 23 career fights, Cuello has also only been beyond 6 rounds 4 times in his young career so far.
Although it’s being billed as the main event, this may be the least intriguing match up on the card. Chavez should be able to make quick work of his inexperienced opponent, and presumably stay fresh for a quick turnaround and another fight in the near future.
My Pick: Chavez by TKO – Round 5
Humberto “La Zorrita” Soto – 5’ 7 ½”, 130 lbs. – (46-7-2, 29 KO) vs. Antonio Davis – 5’ 7”, 130 lbs. – (26-4, 13 KO) – Scheduled for 12 Rounds for the WBC Super Featherweight Title
Soto, the 28-year-old Mexican, will attempt to make his first defense of the WBC Super Featherweight title, since claiming it from vacancy courtesy of a lopsided decision victory over Francisco Lorenzo in December of last year. Currently the third ranked super featherweight in the world by boxrec.com, and 2nd ranked by Ring Magazine, Soto acquired his gaudy record mostly in Mexico where he turned pro at the age of 17.
An orthodox fighter, Soto has lost 2 of his last 5 fights, a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision to Joan Gomez in November of 2007, and a controversial DQ against Francisco Lorenzo in June of 2008, a loss which he avenged in his last fight. He’s gone deep in each of his last 2 fights, but both were lopsided victories. The titles in this division are all spread out, so there could be some decent money fights in the young veteran’s future if he’s able to retain the title he worked so hard at getting.
Davis gives up a near lifetime’s worth of ring experience to Soto despite being 8 years his elder. At 36, Davis has been all over the map weight-wise, and should be looking at this as his last legitimate title opportunity. Davis has just 151 rounds of professional experience in comparison to Soto’s 364. An orthodox fighter with modest power, it’s unlikely that the journeyman Davis will have much for Soto that he hasn’t seen before. You can probably throw the proverbial puncher’s chance out the window in this one too.
My Pick: Soto by TKO – 11th Round
Fernando Montiel – 5’ 4”, 118 lbs. – (38-2-1, 28 KO) vs. Diego Oscar Silva – ?’ ?”, 118 lbs. – (24-1-3, 12 KO) – Scheduled for 12 Rounds for the vacant WBO Bantamweight Title
Montiel, the 30 year old Mexican is currently ranked 3rd in the world at bantamweight by boxrec.com, despite having fought just once at that weight since May of 2006. After losing an oddly scored split decision to Jhonny Gonzalez in the May 2006 fight, Montiel retreated to super flyweight racking up 5 straight victories, the last 4 by KO, before going back to bantamweight with a unanimous decision win over Juan Alberto Rosas in November of last year. Active and orthodox, Montiel looks prepared to make another run at the bantamweight division; and has rare knockout power for a light fighter, which could eventually make him a decent draw as well.
Silva, the 25 year old Argentinean currently ranks 19th in the world among bantamweights according to boxrec.com, and scored KO victories in 2 of his last 3 fights. His last win, a 10 round unanimous decision victory over Diego Damian Loto in September of last year earned him the Argentine and South American bantamweight titles, but I can’t find any reference to them being on the line in this match up.
With a record of 6-0-1 in his last seven fights since a narrow loss to Diego Jose Reimundo Hernandez in June of 2007, Silva still has little experience outside of Argentina, and is taking a big step up in this one. If he responds, he could be on his way to taking a grip on another seemingly up for grabs division. If he fails, he’ll go forward with valuable seasoning and experience, as long as he’s able to remember it.
My Pick: Montiel by KO – Round 4
After thinking about it, and looking a little deeper into the card, maybe I will spring for the pay per view on Saturday. We’ll see how it goes. And as promised, more on the UFC card early next week.
Enjoy the Fights!!!