There are lots of smaller cards going on all around the world this weekend, although the main event is the Boxing After Dark to be presented on HBO. Friday Night Fights has the week off, as does Top Rank's new show.
Thursday, January 21
RPC TV (Panama), 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Carlos "Shanghai" Melo vs. Luis "Pan Blanco" Rios, Ameth Diaz vs. Cesar Soto. Well, you can't claim the Panamanians have crummy nicknames. Rios' "whitebread" nickname is one of the best out there right now. Melo (19-2) and the 19-year old Rios (11-0) clashed in an exciting bout back in November where Rios squeaked by with a very close victory. The winner should move near the top of the WBA's minimumweight rankings. Diaz (who also has a great nickname in "Chloroform") is a longtime lightweight title contender who is taking on a late replacement in Soto. His last time out, Diaz beat Fernando Angulo, who was in line for a title shot at the time.
Friday, January 22
Sky Sports, 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Ian Napa vs. Jamie McDonnell. Napa and McDonnell will square off for Napa's BBBoC bantamweight strap. If Napa wins, he's in line to fight for the European title next.
Gofightlive.tv, 8:00 p.m. Eastern ($4.95), Hank Lundy vs. Richard Abril and others. Lundy is an undefeated Philly prospect who seems to be progressing along as well as can be expected for someone without a major promoter. Abril is best known for losing a close fight to Breidis Prescott (in a fight I thought Abril won). The fight will be live at the Roxy in Boston, but the broadcast likely won't be available on GFL until a day or two later.
Solar pay per view (US) / Solar (Philippines), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Brian Viloria vs. Carlos Tamara, Donnie Nietes vs. Jesus Silvestre, Jimrex Jaca vs. Ramadhan Weiru, Jason Pagara vs. Eddy Comaru. Viloria will be making the second defense during his second reign as a titlist, facing 20-4 Carlos Tamara. Tamara, like Viloria, was an Olympian, but hasn't lived up to expectations as a pro. He holds good wins over Alejandro Hernandez and Juan Esquer, but has lost whenever he's stepped up one more level, having been defeated by Omar Narvaez, Rayonta Whitfield and Giovanni Segura. Nietes is a reigning minimumweight titlist, but this bout will be a non-title bout, as the original opponent Ivan Meneses had to pull out, and Silvestre is a late replacement. Since fighting Juan Manuel Marquez in 2006, Jaca has gone 1-3-2 against decent but not great competition. Weiru is the Indonesian light welterweight titlist (which probably doesn't mean much), so we'll see if Jaca can bounce back from his recent cold streak. In the tradition of the recent trend of juvenile Pinoy boxers, Pagara is a 17 year old who is already 20-1 as a pro.
Saturday, January 23
Eurosport, 3:30 p.m. Eastern, Konstantin Airich vs. Alex Mazikin, Ondrej Pala vs. Robert Hawkins. Hooray for televised fights between boring heavyweight journeymen!
TyC (Argentina), 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Luis Alberto Lazarte vs. Raul Eliseo Medina, Diego Gabriel Chaves vs. Daniel Saboia. Lazarte is a multiple-time title challenger who, as a 38-year old flyweight, is probably about at the end of his run. Medina is the reigning Argentine flyweight champion (keeping in mind that Omar Narvaez, who has 16 flyweight title defenses, is also Argentine) who lost to Lazarte a half-decade ago. Chaves is an interesting looking welterweight prospect in that he's wiping out much of the Argentine competition at light middleweight while fighting at 147. Both fights are for minor trinkets.
HBO, 9:45 p.m. Eastern, Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Steven Luevano, Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Rogers Mtagwa. This is the second card in a row where Lopez and Gamboa have fought different opponents on the same card, and if each wins, then expect the two to match up for a featherweight title unification in the near future. His last time out, Lopez got the fight of his life from Mtagwa. For some reason, people seem to think a Lopez victory is a foregone conclusion, but this could be a very tough fight for him. Luevano fights with a very different style than anyone Lopez has faced before, and Luevano has a relatively strong resume at featherweight, with a 37-1-1 record and wins over Cristobal Cruz and Nicky Cook. While Gamboa is still a heavy favorite against 26-13-2 Mtagwa, the Tanzanian's last fight proves that he's someone who should be taken seriously. He's very rugged, so if Gamboa gets lured into a war, he could have some problems. If Gamboa fights disciplined, it should be a blowout along the lines of Billy Dib's victory over Mtagwa. Bad Left Hook will be providing live round by round coverage of this event.
Elsewhere in the world of boxing...
- Despite not being televised, the Lopez/Gamboa undercard is solid as well. Local favorite John Duddy will take on Juan Astorga in a bounceback fight, and Pawel Wolak will take on Ishmail Arvin, who holds a win over Anthony Thompson. I'll be there live, and will try to provide updates on the undercard if I can get internet access at MSG (which isn't a given).
- In Cincinatti, 13-0 Adrien Broner will take on 11-0 Guillermo Sanchez in what looks like, on paper, a promising prospect-prospect fight. Broner is the main event attraction here, but it's nice to see him taking on another undefeated fighter this early in his career, even if Sanchez hasn't been facing the best competition in the world.