From now on I'll be instituting an official pre-fight picks thread for bigger cards (HBO, Showtime, PPV) the night before the event, and this'll be our first one. What a goofy mess to go first. I'll throw mine down here, and you can put yours in the comments. In future posts I'll probably try to get other bloggers from some of my favorite places to weigh in, too. Honestly this idea just hit me in the "Why the hell haven't I always been doing this?" part of my brain.
Nate Campbell v. Ali Funeka (Lightweights - Campbell's IBF/WBO titles on the line for Funeka only)
This was a tough fight to pick from the outset, now made tougher by the fact that Campbell hasn't made weight, which brings all aspects of conditioning into question.
If Campbell is stronger because of the extra two and a half pounds he had at his last attempt to weigh in, it could be a benefit against the rangy, powerful Funeka. If he's just that little bit out of shape, it could spell his doom.
I really like Nate Campbell, which we've been over a thousand times, but I'll admit that I'm openly rooting for Funeka now so that the tiles don't go immediately vacant. One of the comments in the weight thread a couple posts down wondered if Campbell didn't just have the worst three-title reign in boxing history, because it ends tomorrow night either way. I'd have to say if he didn't, someone else really screwed the pooch. Campbell won the titles last March, didn't fight Joan Guzman in September because Guzman was overweight and pulled out at the last minute, and now he's overweight and the titles are either lost to Funeka or taken away.
I've worried some about how Funeka might react to the pressure of fighting outside of South Africa for the first time in his career, but my gut tells me that Campbell has probably known for days that he wasn't going to make the weight, and he probably stepped onto the scales praying. I still think this is a pick'em, but I'm going with the upset. I think a gassed Campbell gets torn up in the late rounds. Funeka TKO-10
Sergio Martinez v. Kermit Cintron (Junior Middleweights - Martinez's interim WBC title on the line)
Cintron is of the opinion that Martinez hasn't ever really beaten anyone. I'm of the opinion that neither of them have. Both have felt their only career losses against Antonio Margarito (twice for Cintron), they're the same height, and outside of that they couldn't be much different.
Lumbering Cintron will find himself outboxed badly in the early rounds, I suspect, and I just don't see that changing. Martinez got really flashy and cocky against Alex Bunema, but he knows Cintron can punch so I don't expect to see the same hijinx again. I figure he'll give Cintron a schooling, and that after this, Kermit kind of goes into the role of big-punching gatekeeper at 147 or 154. He can knock out just about anybody, but I don't think he'll be able to land often enough to deter Martinez from a clear decision win. Martinez UD-12
Alfredo Angulo v. Cosme Rivera (Junior Middleweights)
Though James Kirkland gets more casual fan love, I'm not sure any of us would pick Kirkland to beat Angulo. Angulo has thus far shown a good beard (Richar Gutierrez tagged him square several times last summer) and a willingness to stay in the pocket and trade. Rivera still has some snap on his punches, but this is his first time fighting above 147, he's lost a step, and it's four days' notice to boot. Angulo's going to lay waste to the gritty vet. Angulo TKO-6
Time will tell how good I am at predicting. Sometimes I'm a genius (Darchinyan over Mijares, holla!) and sometimes I'm a boneheaded dullard (duhhr, Pavlik will stop Hopkins, duhhr). I figure in the end I'll be up because most fights, honestly, are fairly easy to predict. We'll keep track card-to-card. And if you participate, I'm tracking you, too, Buster Brown. Let's put our non-existant money where our fingertips are!