Victor Ortiz looks to continue his climb up the 140-pound ranks against Marcos Maidana tonight on HBO.
Neither of this weekend's fights being offered on major American TV are really big enough to go into our running picks competition, but both are more than worth discussion.
First off, Showtime will bring us a middleweight title fight on tape delay from Germany. IBF titlist Arthur Abraham is considered by some to be the world's top 160-pound fighter, not world champion Kelly Pavlik, and he faces yet another fairly soft touch when he takes on unknown Mahir Oral. The fight is live at 3 ET, but Showtime won't have it on our TVs until nine, so no spoilers tomorrow.
As much as I like and respect Abraham, and feel he's a tremendous fighter with some good wins, fights like this one and his last with Lajuan Simon are really no better than what Universum does with Felix Sturm. If Sturm is going to get the business for it, so should King Arthur, who likely will fight Giovanni Lorenzo next. I'm also not taking a shot at Abraham, but it appears more often that Sturm and Pavlik get grief for their competition, while Abraham rarely takes any guff whatsoever. They're all doing more or less the same thing: Dominating an empty division on their own terms and not fighting each other. If Pavlik-Sturm goes forward (tentatively scheduled for October 3, and not even close to a sure thing), I'll be pleasantly shocked.
If you've never seen Oral, here's the final part of his last fight, a win over Alexander Sipos:
It's not that I'm claiming to be a scout or anything, but watching this entire fight from last November, I see nothing about Oral that will give Abraham real trouble. Arthur will plod, play defense, and strike when he needs to. I don't know that he'll stop him, because some nights Abraham just doesn't ever go into a stopping gear, but he'll beat him convincingly.
On HBO at 10pm, Victor Ortiz matches up with dangerous Marcos Maidana. Maidana's a really good puncher, and his KO rate attests to that. He gave titlist Andriy Kotelnik (Ortiz's original opponent) all he could handle his last time out:
If you look at how Maidana fights and compare it to Ortiz, you can see trouble ahead for either man. Ortiz is a golden child sort of prospect, and a loss to Maidana would short-term ruin future plans that Golden Boy and HBO have for him. But I think he's probably just too fast for Maidana, and as aloof and surfer dude-ish as Ortiz is in interviews, he's a nasty finisher that knows how to go in for the kill. I don't see this one making it to the cards.
The Top Rank PPV from Atlantic City is headlined by Juan Manuel Lopez, who ought to flat-out demolish Olivier Lontchi. The best fight of that show might be Vanes Martirosyan versus Andrey Tsurkan, which should be your usual Tsurkan fight where Andrey shows lots of heart and guts but is seriously out of his league. That's $40 I'm keeping in my wallet. Yuri Foreman-Cornelius Bundrage might require viewers to set their alarm clocks for roughly 45 minutes after the first bell. Actually, if Jorge Arce is as shot as he's looked, his fight with Fernando Lumacad might turn into a war.
Elsewhere On Saturday: Jorge Linares returns against Josafat Perez ... Daud Yordan, who impressed many in his too-short no-contest against Robert Guerrero, fights in Indonesia ... Craig McEwan is on the untelevised HBO undercard, as is prospect Adrien Broner, who faces Willie Kickett.