After a very solid start to what is hopefully a long commentating career, Antonio Tarver will get back in the ring, jumping from light heavyweight to heavyweight, against Nagy Aguilera. via www.starboxing.com (Photo by Roger Williams)
Wednesday, October 13
Channel 7 (Thailand), 4:00 a.m. Eastern, Teerachai Or Ekarin vs. Vladislav Savchenko. Teerachai is a solid welterweight prospect who might be the best Thai prospect above lightweight in the past decade or so. Only 18 years old, the rangy fighter converted from kickboxing to claim a regional title in his first six pro fights. He takes an appropriate step up in class against 11-1 Savchenko,
Thursday, October 14
Fox Sports 3 (Australia), 6:30 a.m. Eastern, Omar Shaick vs. Les Piper.
Friday, October 15
TyC Sports (Argentina), 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Sebastian Lujan vs. Juan Jose Dias. Lujan has gone 8-0 over the last few years since losing to Jamie Moore, including wins over Jose Luis Castillo and Walter Matthysse, but his level of competition has taken a step back his last few bouts. This one is no different. Lujan is a tough fighter, but last time I saw him, it seemed like there was room for improvement still. I realize he's close to getting another title shot at welterweight, but he might do well to step up the competition a little again. Sure, it's more likely he loses that way, but it also means he would be less ill-prepared for a major fight if he gets one.
ESPN3.com, Premier Sports (UK), MTS PPV (Canada), Main Event (Australia), 9:30 p.m. Eastern, Lucian Bute vs. Jesse Brinkley. Bute is the IBF super middleweight titlist and one of the best in the world at the weight class, having five wins over guys who were in Ring's top 10 at the weight when he beat them. Brinkley just misses being a sixth, as the former Contender contestant is right on the fringes of the top 10 after ratting off 9 wins in a row, including against Curtis Stevens, Mike Paschall, Otis Griffin and Joey Gilbert. The non-ESPN cards will also carry a few other fights featuring decent names, including Adrian Diaconu against Omar Sheika, Jo Jo Dan, Benoit Gaudet and Sebastian Gauthier. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage of this card.
I do want to vent a little bit here. While I think it's great that ESPN has started picking up some foreign fights for cheap to air on its internet channel ESPN3, they really need to give people the opportunity to actually purchase the network. Since its inception, ESPN has required people to use certain internet service providers to have access to the channel. They've used this as a means to strongarm cable companies (most of whom also provide internet) into paying more in order to get the full ESPN package, which now includes ESPN3. While the options have greatly expanded, a majority of cable subscribers in the country still don't have access to the network, often because the only choice would be to switch to a phone company for cable / internet services. As someone who uses the internet as a means of livelihood, there's just no way I'm switching ISPs just so I can legally watch a few fights. It took a half a decade and five ISPs to finally find one that consistently works and doesn't give me major problems. I'm not giving that up and making a change that adversely affects the rest of my life to watch fights I can stream elsewhere. Heck, I'd gladly pay $5 a month to get the service, but that's not even an option. You'd think ESPN would welcome the opportunity to open up a new revenue stream, but they really seem to be dropping the ball on this one.
Showtime, 11:00 p.m. Eastern, Antonio Tarver vs. Nagy Aguilera, Shawn Porter vs. Hector Munoz. Shobox is usually reserved for featuring prospects (or Freddy Hernandez), but they're making an exception this time to feature one of its commentators. Tarver, now 42 years old, is moving up to heavyweight for the first time to face Aguilera, who owns a fluke knockout win over Oleg Maskaev but since then has lost twice to Sam Peter and Maurice Harris. Tarver has blown hot and cold ever since his fights with Roy Jones a half decade ago, showing flashes of what once made him one of the greatest recent U.S. amateur fighters, but more often than not looking a little lethargic and gun shy. Tarver should win this one, but even if he blows out Aguilera convincingly, it doesn't mean too much. Porter was also an excellent amateur, and has gained some notoriety fighting on Shobox and FNF, as well as from having been Manny Pacquiao's main sparring partner for the Miguel Cotto fight. He's looked a little less explosive moving down from middleweight to welterweight, which is an issue since speed and power were his calling cards in the amateurs. Munoz is a great opponent to showcase whether Porter has truly made an adjustment to welterweight. The heavily tattooed New Mexican is on the slow side, and stands there in the pocket to be hit. While Munoz has a respectable 18-3-1 record, he's gone 0-2-1 in his last three fights to Mike Jones, Antonin Decarie and Irving Garcia. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage of this card.
Telefutura, 11:30 p.m. Eastern, Eloy Perez vs. Dominic Salcedo, Frankie Gomez vs. Ramon Montano. Perez seems to be building up somewhat of a following in southern Califfornia, but as close fights against David Rodela and Gilberto Sanchez Leon have indicated, he probably has his limitations, even though he can be exciting. Gomez is probably Golden Boy's premier low-level prospect at the moment, as he was convinced to go pro rather than waiting around for the Olympics. In only his seventh pro fight, he's facing solid journeyman Montano, who's beaten a few decent fighters. Gomez has an aggressive, action-packed style well suited to the pro game, but while he hasn't needed to show this off yet as a pro, he also has the technical ability to outbox guys once he gets to that point.
Saturday, October 16
Sky Sports 1 (UK), 3:30 p.m. Eastern, Sam Webb vs. Martin Concepcion, Jamie Arthur vs. Kris Hughes. Webb makes the first defense of his British light middleweight title against Concepcion. Webb is a class or two above Concepcion, but Concepcion is an exciting fighter, so it at least should be somewhat of a brawl. Arthur and Hughes fight for the Commonwealth super bantamweight title. Arthur is a known quantity who's a level down from the best domestic competition in that weight range. Hughes, on the other hand, is a completely unknown quantity, going undefeated but never having faced an opponent even close to Arthur's level. If fights run short, expect to also see highlights of heavyweight prospects David Price and Tom Dallas.
ESPN3.com, RTL (Germany), Primetime PPV (UK), 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Vitali Klitschko vs. Shannon Briggs. Well, I guess this fight has been built up as well as it could have been. While Vitali's last two opponents have been guys not even close to knocking on the door of the top 10, it's hard to blame him for this choice of opponent, as the guys who are in the top 10 have all either been beaten by Vitali or his brother, or seem to have no interest whatsoever in actually fighting the best. Briggs talks a good game and is in the best shape he's been in for a decade. He has a puncher's chance against just about anyone, including the iron chinned Vitali, but his low workrate and lack of mobility probably means he has a minimal chance of actually landing that huge punch. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage of this card.
TVP1 (Poland), 5:05 p.m. Eastern, Damian Jonak vs. Jose Luis Cruz. Jonak has build up a 27-0-1 record at light middleweight while managing to avoid any fighters with name recognition. Cruz seemed to have faded from contender to journeyman in the latter half of the '00's, but he's bounced back with four wins over not horrible competition, so he may not be done quite yet.
Integrated Sports PPV ($34.95), Gofightlive.tv (outside of US and Puerto Rico), 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. vs. Ivan "Choko" Hernandez. Vazquez has been proving himself to be the best of the current crop of sons of greats and is quickly becoming one of the best in the world as super bantamweight. Hernandez won a title by defeating Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson at the end of his career, but other than that, he's been beaten pretty handily each time he's stepped up in class. The undercard opponents for the bout still haven't officially been announced yet, which is never a good sign this close to the fight. For the undercard, they're going with a "sons of greats" gimmick, with Carlos Zarate Jr., Guty Espadas Jr., Pipino Cuevas Jr., and Tony Laporte Jr. all fighting, Vazquez's younger brother Israel Vazquez (not the Mexican one) making his pro debut, and Jimmy Lennon (Jr.) as the ring announcer. And just because he needs to be on any Puerto Rican card, McWilliams Arroyo is fighting as well.
TVMax (Panama), 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Evens Pierre vs. Gilbert Quiros, Nicholas Walters vs. Julio Camano. This card will likely be available via free live webcast at http://www.tvmax-9.com.
Fox Sports Espanol, TV Azteca (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Julio Cesar Miranda vs. Michael Arango. Miranda is a hard hitting fighter who was a fringe contender for years at flyweight, and finally won a vacant title earlier in the year. He's been matched fairly easy since winning the title, and this fight is no different. Arango has been a mainstay on Top Rank Live because he comes to fight and has a fairly exciting style, but is very slow for a flyweight and generally outgunned against better competition. The undercard for this one hasn't been announced yet, but I wouldn't expect anyone too special, as Top Rank itself isn't putting on this card and has licensed out the card to a Mexican promoter.
Cadena Tres (Mexico), 11:00 p.m. Eastern, Juan Antonio Rodriguez vs. Antonio Fernandez.
Sunday, October 17
ESPN, 2:00 p.m. Eastern, Lucian Bute vs. Jesse Brinkley replay, for those who don't get ESPN360. Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be a replay of Klitschko-Briggs.
- On Saturday, Alexander Povetkin takes on Teke Oruh. As is well documented, Olympic gold medalist Povetkin earned a shot at facing Wladimir Klitschko by beating two top 10 heavyweights. He then sat on the mandatory for two years, and after the promotion for the fight had already started, Povetkin straight ducked out of it on the advice of trainer Teddy Atlas, who has been trying to rebuild Povetkin's style from the ground up. Sure, Povetkin wasn't going to beat Klitschko with his old style, but there's a decent chance that turning Povetkin into a Cus D'Amato style bob-and-weaver (as Atlas has been trying to do) will make Povetkin worse than he was before, as he was pretty clearly a top 5 heavyweight in the world. Oruh is the first stop on Povetkin's "bum of the month" tour, as he'll be fighting twice more in the next month, assuming he doesn't get hurt or lose. While it's nice to see him finally getting active, one has to wonder what is the point of facing substandard opposition that fights nothing like the men Povetkin ultimately hopes to defeat? Boxrec is reporting that the fight will air on Russian channel TV2, but I can't find evidence that the channel even exists much less the time that it's airing.
- The Showtime card features several comebacking fighters in the off-television undercard. Kendall Holt, who hasn't fought since losing to Kaizer Mabuza in February, will face Nicaraguan tomato can Octavio Narvaez in what can only be described as a confidence-builder. Anthony Dirrell, whose career hasn't taken off like his brother's, will fight for the second time in a month against Daryl Salmon, a southpaw who has lost his last four fights by knockout. Cruiserweight prospect and Freddie Roach trainee Lateef Kayode will take on rugged former title challenger Epifanio Mendoza, who can still punch a little bit but other than that is fairly shot. Ronald Hearns will also fight, trying to build on his shotgun knockout win over Delray Raines.
- Off TV, the Telefutura card will be featuring a number of Golden Boy's better prospects. Heavyweight prospect and former Michigan State football player Seth Mitchell will stay busy against Derrick Brown. Deontay Wilder, Charles Huerta and Randy Caballero are all slated to fight on the undercard as well.
- In Germany, the Klitschkos are putting on as solid of an undercard as they have recently, which still isn't saying too much. Recently signed to K2, longtime Klitschko sparring partner Ola Afolabi tries to rebound from his loss to Marco Huck against Sandro Siproshvili. K2 mainstay Alexander Ustinov will be facing an opponent to be determined, meaning it will be someone no good at all, further delaying the day when Ustinov inevitably gets outboxed by someone with a modicum of speed and ability. Zauerbek Baysangurov, biding his time for a title shot at light middleweight, takes on a Portuguese journeyman.
- Also in smaller fights this weekend: Pier Olivier Cote, Ruslan Provodnikov, Vyacheslav Glazkov and Sod Kokietgym (Looknongyangtoy).