Though the week has started off fairly slow with news and all we learned in the last big card is that Marco Antonio Rubio and Michael Jennings predictably aren't on par with Kelly Pavlik and Miguel Cotto, that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about or nothing to be excited for.
This weekend two of the legitimate, lineal championships in boxing will be contested, and Bad Left Hook will have live, round-by-round coverage of both fights.
On Friday night, cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek (36-1, 24 KO) defendds against unbeaten American challenger Johnathon Banks (20-0, 14 KO) in Adamek's adopted home arena, the Prudential Center in Newark. It was in that very arena that Adamek outlasted Steve Cunningham in a Fight of the Year candidate in December. The win over Cunningham was for the cruiserweight championship that David Haye vacated when he moved up to heavyweight.
Adamek is on a five fight winning streak since dropping a light heavyweight title to Chad Dawson in 2007 and moving up to cruiserweight. He has thus far proven he can both box and bang at the weight.
Banks, 26, is a Detroit fighter managed by the legendary Emanuel Steward and trained by Steward's nephew, Javan Hill. In a recent Showtime press release, the network interviewed Steward, who noted that Banks trains extensively with Manny's prized heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko, and has sparred many rounds with him and never been hurt. Steward describes Banks as a boxer-puncher who wouldn't jump out at you in most cases. That also describes Adamek.
On the Adamek-Banks undercard, middleweight sluggers Giovanni Lorenzo and Dionisio Miranda will meet in an IBF eliminator.
Saturday night on HBO, lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (49-4-1, 36 KO) makes his first defense of the 135-pound crown when he takes on former three-body titlist Juan Diaz (34-1, 17 KO) in Diaz's hometown of Houston. Marquez won the championship against Joel Casamayor last September, becoming the first man to ever stop the cagey Cuban veteran.
Diaz is coming off of a win over Michael Katsidis, which followed his first career loss to Nate Campbell last March. Along with the Ring championship, Diaz's semi-recognized IBO title and the vacant titles of the WBO and WBA will be up for grabs. Marquez, who is on his way to the Hall of Fame most likely, is looking for career win No. 50 as he also intends to solidify his consensus spot as the world's second-best pound-for-pound fighter.
Diaz, still young at 25, has 10 years of youth on Marquez and will be looking to notch a huge breakthrough victory. He's had several very good wins, but beating Marquez would be a massive feather in his cap.
On that undercard, featherweight titlist Chris John of Indonesia -- who once beat Marquez -- makes his first trip to the States to defend against Houston's Rocky Juarez.
Both cards are important, both cards should be good. We'll include all four fights of the two cards in our ongoing picks competition, and on that note, I'll also be fully updating the standings with a BLH picks recap of the Pavlik and Cotto PPV tomorrow.
We will also have much more on Marquez-Diaz in the coming days. The two best 135-pound fighters in the world are going head-to-head this Saturday night. It's as legit as it gets.