After a slow couple of months, November's going to get boxing moving in a big way to close out 2010. Here's a quick look at the fights we'll be covering live in November.
November 5: Edwin Rodriguez v. James McGirt Jr., Marcus Johnson v. Kevin Engel (SHO)
Rodriguez (16-0, 12 KO) is a very good prospect in the super middleweight division, and he'll take on the son of Buddy McGirt. James Jr. (22-2-1, 11 KO) looks to be headed toward trial horse territory, but the only way to break out of that distinction is to upset guys you aren't supposed to beat. That'll be his goal on ShoBox. "Too Much" Johnson (19-0, 14 KO) is another fine prospect at 168, and will face Engel (18-3, 15 KO) in a bout that amounts to a sideways step. Engel has been stopped three times, including a sixth round body shot KO in April against Rodriguez.
November 6: Juan Manuel Lopez v. Rafael Marquez, Glen Johnson v. Allan Green (SHO)
HBO is also running a double-header on this night (Zab Judah-Lucas Matthysse, Robert Guerrero-Vicente Escobedo), but the clear winner on paper is this card. Johnson-Green is a Super Six double replacement bout that has a few people curiously interested at least to see Johnson back at 168, but the money is in the main event, which has Fight of the Year capability on paper. The young Lopez is putting his featherweight trinket on the line against veteran Marquez, who dominated at bantamweight and reigned briefly as world champion at super bantamweight during his epic series with Israel Vazquez.
November 8: Rico Ramos v. Heriberto Ruiz, Shawn Estrada v. Tony Hirsch (ESPN2)
This is the yearly special ESPN2 show from Camp Lejuene in North Carolina. There's usually an amateur fight between a couple of soldiers, too, and that always gets the troops fired up. In last year's main event, Jason Litzau took it easy outpointing former soldier Johnnie Edwards, and there was a dreadful undercard fight between Frankie Figueroa and Rashad Holloway. Hopefully this year will be better. Ramos (17-0, 9 KO) is taking a big step up against veteran Ruiz (44-9-2, 26 KO), who has faced and lost to Jackson Asiku, Steve Molitor, Eric Morel, Rafael Marquez, Irene Pacheco, Alejandro Valdez and Mauricio Pastrana over the years. He's a quality next step for Ramos, who is a good prospect but still maturing at 23. Estrada (9-0, 9 KO) continues to take baby steps against Hirsch (12-3-1, 6 KO), who may or may not actually wind up being his opponent. The main event of this show was originally slated to be John Molina Jr. against Reymundo Beltran, but Molina pulled out after an illness. Nothing major, but he didn't want to go ahead with the fight at less than 100%.
November 13: David Haye v. Audley Harrison,v. Ashley Sexton, Stuart Hall v. Gary Davies, Tony Dodson v. Dustin Dirks (Sky Box Office)
This UK PPV hasn't yet gotten a spot on US TV, and likely will not, as Harrison carries zero name value in the States. The only time Haye received an Integrated Sports slot was against Nikolai Valuev, who at seven feet tall is easier to market than Harrison, even though Harrison is a former Olympic gold medalist. The Commonwealth flyweight title will be on the line between Edwards (14-14-3, 4 KO) and Sexton (9-0-1, 5 KO). Sexton had a bit of hype, but was really clearly in need of further seasoning in his draw against Shinny Bayaar. Stuart Hall (9-0-1, 5 KO) will defend the British bantamweight title against Davies (10-3-1, 8 KO). The best fight of the undercard, if it goes through, is Dodson (24-6-1, 12 KO) taking on Dirks (16-0, 11 KO). Dirks is a really solid prospect who hasn't gotten much acclaim just yet, and Dodson is a nice test for him. The 30-year-old Dodson has lost his last two fights bravely against Tony Quigley and.
November 13: Manny Pacquiao v. Antonio Margarito, Kelly Pavlik v. Brian Vera, Guillermo Rigondeaux v. Ricardo Cordoba, Mike Jones v. Jesus Soto Karass (HBO PPV)
The big one for the month, and the biggest fight until at least next year. Pacquiao and Margarito haven't yet stirred up a ton of serious interest, it doesn't seem, but with "24/7" going and that final two weeks media blitz nearing, that should change. This will be a big fight. The undercard is the usual fare for the mega shows. You have a former star (Pavlik) looking to rebound against a punching bag (Vera), a great prospect (Rigondeaux) likely to pick apart a name fighter in his division (Cordoba), and a rising contender at 147 (Jones) getting what is likely a predictable and fairly easy win over a fringe guy (Soto Karass). The likelihood of us getting a great fight on the undercard is really low. Rigondeaux-Cordoba is a nice matchup in terms of rankings and all that, but Rigondeaux feasts on guys like Cordoba. Vera is tough, but Pavlik is just too big and strong for him. And Jones-Soto Karass is just sort of "there," if you know what I mean. Off TV, there are some OK fights, but nothing amazing. Notre Dame's Mike Lee will return to action.
November 20: Sergio Martinez v. Paul Williams II (HBO)
Arguably the fight that hardcore boxing fans are salivating over more than any other this coming month, as middleweight champion Martinez looks to avenge a loss last December to Williams. That fight was a shocker Fight of the Year candidate. It came about because Kelly Pavlik dropped out of a set date with Williams for a second time, and HBO decided to wrangle up Martinez as a fill-in. The two were expected to engage in a tactical, southpaw-southpaw battle, but instead lit up Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City with a knock-down, drag-out brawl that left Williams the woozy winner after 12 grueling rounds. Since then, Williams has fought just once, a truncated and bizarre bout in California earlier this year against Kermit Cintron, and didn't even really get untracked in that one. For all intents and purposes, he hasn't really fought in almost a year. Martinez defeated Pavlik in April, bloodying the former champ and sapping his will en route to a decision. I don't think this fight will equal their first encounter, but there's a chance of that. With Williams rusty, he might find himself pressed and needing to brawl with Martinez. This bout will air with a replay of Pacquiao-Margarito.
November 27: Carl Froch v. Arthur Abraham (UK Airing)
I'm not sure what UK (I'm guessing Primetime) or German channel this will be on, but we'll have live coverage in the afternoon. Showtime will air the bout later on tape-delay, along with the Andre Ward-Sakio Bika fight live from Oakland.
November 27: Juan Manuel Marquez v. Michael Katsidis, Andre Berto v. Freddy Hernandez, Celestino Caballero v. Jason Litzau (HBO)
I'm not much excited about either of the undercard fights, but I'll take an HBO triple-header any day, and it's nice to see promoters working together. Golden Boy has the main event, and Lou DiBella has put together the undercard. The main event is another possible Fight of the Year contender, as Marquez defends the lightweight championship against the gritty Katsidis. Expect blood in this one. Katsidis has dedicated the fight to his brother Stathi, a well-known and very successful Australian jockey who died last week. Berto-Hernandez is a fight mostly just to get Berto back in the ring. He's fought just once this year against Carlos Quintana, and it looks like reality is starting to hit him. He's not a bankable star, and now he's on the undercard where, frankly, he belongs. Caballero is stepping up to 130 pounds to face Litzau, who has been trigger-shy since a couple of nasty losses to Robert Guerrero and Jose Andres Hernandez. But he has won four in a row, including a technical decision over Rocky Juarez on the Hopkins-Jones II card in April. I'm skeptical that Litzau will ever return to being the TV-friendly, punch-slinging kid he used to be, but he's got a chance to raise his profile with this one. At 5'10", Litzau will not be dwarfed by the 5'11" Caballero, which Caballero is used to having as an advantage at 122 and 126 pounds. And you have to admire Caballero taking a fight like this, because his ultimate goal is to finally goad one of the money players at 126 into the ring with him.