American fight fans need to wait one more week until getting any big fights on TV; however, those who are willing to dig a little should be able to find some pretty good fights this weekend.
Thursday, October 28
Fox Sports Net, Golden Boy UStream, 11:00 p.m. Eastern, Gary Russell Jr. vs. Guadalupe de Leon. Russell was thought to be one of the better pro prospects on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, but he failed to make weight and wasn't able to compete. He's been fighting nearly once a month at featherweight against no-name competition, but takes a minor step up against De Leon, who has become a Golden Boy whipping boy of late. He's lost 9 of his last 10, but he managed to pull off an upset over one of Golden Boy's fighters, and he's given tough fights to a few others. Fidel Maldonado Jr. is also slated to fight, and I'm sure Golden Boy will find spots for a few more young kids who need to see a lot of action.
Friday, October 29
Channel 7 (Thailand), 4:00 a.m. Eastern, Panomroomglek Kaiyarn-Hadaogym vs. Marvin Tampus. This one's for an interim regional flyweight trinket, since the WBC is evidently now handing out "silver" titles for its minor belts.
www.secondsouttv.com, 8:30 p.m. Eastern, David Lemieux vs. Hector Camacho Jr., Antonin Decarie vs., Kevin Bizier vs. Cristopher Henry. Lemieux continues to build up his resume against different types of fighters, as Russ Abner has been doing a great job of making sure he sees different styles. This time, he'll face Camacho Jr. - someone with a slightly tricky style, but someone he should be able to beat without getting into trouble. Decarie vs. Garcia might actually be the fight of the card, as that one looks a lot more evenly matched on paper. Seconds Out often features subscription content, but both cards they are playing this weekend are available for free.
HBO Plus (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Pablo Cesar Cano vs. Juan Carlos Batista. Cano is a 20-0-1 light welterweight prospect who barely scraped by an extremely faded Oscar Leon his last time out.
Cadena Tres (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Cesar Vasquez vs. Antonio Meza. Vasquez is a 20-0 super featherweight prospect, while Meza is a former fringe contender who has become a stepping stone of late.
Saturday, October 30
ARD (Germany), 4:30 p.m. Eastern, Sebastian Sylvester vs. Mahir Oral. Sylvester, a middleweight titlist, has inexplicably become a major draw in Germany, and Sauerland is trying to protect that the best they can. Gifted a draw against a shot Roman Karmazin in his last fight, he gets to defend against former title challenger Oral, who seems to be getting another shot mostly because he wasn't very good against Arthur Abraham, but wasn't completely incompetent either. Co-featured will be a decent women's bout between Cecilia Braekhus and Mikaela Lauren.
Sky Sports 1, 4:00 p.m. Eastern, George Groves vs. James Obede Toney, Martin Lindsay vs. Kakhaber Avetisian. After being featured on the Marquez-Diaz II untelevised undercard, Groves returns to the U.K. to make the first defense of his Commonwealth super middleweight title. Toney is a former Commonwealth titlist himself, but has lost whenever he's stepped up in class and has been inactive lately. If Toney still has something left in the tank, he could be Groves's stiffest test to date.
Direct 8 (France), 5:30 p.m. Eastern, Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam vs. Advantil Khurtsidze, Steve Herelius vs. Roman Kracik. Here's the next step in the WBA's middleweight round robin, which hopefully will lead to a great fight in the near future. This is for a second interim middleweight title (uber-prospect Gennady Golovkin holds the other) offered by the body, and the winner will need to face Golovkin for the full title next. N'Jikam is a talented and exciting middleweight who should be getting a lot more publicity than he's gotten so far. Along with guys like Golovkin, Dmitry Pirog, David Lemieux and Daniel Jacobs, he's at the front of the class in the next crop of middleweights set to take the division by storm. Khurtsidze has run up a decent record against decent competition and is a tough fighter, but he's only 5'4" and N'Jikam seems to be the best opponent of his career. Herelius is coming off an upset victory where he defeated Firat Arslan for an interim cruiserweight belt. This one's just a stay busy fight where he's not defending the strap.
www.gofightlive.tv, 7:30 p.m. Eastern ($9.99), Jorge Diaz vs. Emmanuel Lucero, Jeremy Bryan vs. Ronald Cruz. Diaz has built a 14-0 record with a pair of notable wins, one over Olympic gold medalist Yan Barthelemy and another against Alejandro Lopez in a decent Top Rank Live undercard fight. Lucero is a name, but not a major notch at this point - since getting knocked out by Manny Pacquiao in 2003, he's gone 3-4, fighting only once in the past three years. Bryan was handily defeating fellow prospect Vincent Arroyo on the Martinez-Pavlik undercard when Arroyo went crazy in the final round and knocked him out. He'll try to bounce back against 9-0 Cruz.
www.nesportstv.com, 8:00 p.m. Eastern ($9.99), Brian Minto vs. Cory Phelps. Minto moved down to cruiserweight in his last fight and lost in a brave effort against Marco Huck. He'll be sticking at cruiserweight as he tries to pick up a regional trinket. Boxrec is showing Pierre Karam as a replacement opponent, but I haven't seen that reported elsewhere.
www.secondsouttv.com, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Troy Ross vs. Carl Handy, Neven Pajkic vs. Andreas Sidon. Ross takes on rugged but basic journeyman Handy in his first time back since getting badly cut in a title fight against Steve Cunningham that he was arguably winning. With all the craziness going on with the super middleweights, I'm no longer holding my breath for a cruiserweight super six to actually happen, and if it does, don't be surprised if Ross gets snubbed of an invite. Pajkic is probably the top Canadian heavyweight at the moment, beating some pretty decent competition on his way to 14-0, but this one's designed for a knockout - Sidon is a 47-year old who was knocked out by Odlanier Solis in a minute in Solis's pro debut.
Main Events (Australia), 9:30 p.m. Eastern (AUS $49.95), Daniel Geale vs. Roman Karmazin, Lenny Zappa vs. Ji Hoon Kim, Shannan Taylor vs. Junior Talipeau, Robert Medley vs. Jason LeHoullier. A rare daytime card in Australia falls right into prime time in the U.S. The Geale and Zappa bouts are both title eliminators. Geale hasn't done much since losing a razor thin decision to Anthony Mundine, but he's stepping back up to world level against Karmazin, who is well past his best but was still good enough to deserve the win against titlist Sebastian Sylvester in his last fight. Zappa unconvincingly beat Fernando Angulo last time out, while Kim lost a wide decision in a title fight against Miguel Vazquez. Still, this is a bout between two punchers with little regard for defense and has some real sleeper potential. Taylor and Talipeau is a solid bout between two top domestic level super middleweights. Medley was another Mundine victim not long ago, and he takes on LeHoullier, who has lost his last three fights to decent but not great competition (Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Harry Joe Yorgey and Carson Jones).
Fox Sports Net, Fox Sports Espanol, TV Azteca (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Ramon Garcia Hirales vs. Jesus Geles, Raul Garcia vs. Luis De La Rosa. Hirales was involved in a pretty darn good fight only a month ago against Chango Vargas, and he's already back to fight for a vacated light flyweight title against unknown Colombian (with a horrible padded record) Geles. Garcia was a long time minimumweight titlist who got spanked by Nkosinathi Joyi earlier in the year, so he's on the rebound against undefeated but unproved De La Rosa for an interim title at the weight.
Televisa (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Oscar Ibarra vs. Sonny Boy Jaro, Victor Zaleta vs. Lowie Bantigue, Mickey Roman vs. Joan de Guia. Ibarra is looking for his 10th win in a row since the beginning to 2009 in the first defense of his light flyweight "silver" title. Jaro hasn't done much since getting knocked out in the first by a Giovanni Segura body shot. Since all three fights are for WBC fringe titles, and all three headliners are Mexican, I'd be surprised if this one doesn't end up airing for free on wbcboxing.tv.
Showtime, 10:45 p.m. Eastern, Fight Camp 360 Episode 8. So now Showtime and HBO can't even avoid counterprogramming on their half hour long documentary shows about boxing? Yeesh.
HBO, 11:00 p.m. Eastern, Pacquaio-Margarito 24/7 Episode 2.
Elsewhere in the world of boxing...
- In Russia, there will be a tri-bill of minor trinket fights involving some pretty decent Russian fighters. 25-0 Denis Shafikov faces off against 20-0 Italian Brunet Zamora for a regional light welterweight trinket. Two former title challengers face each other for a likely spot in the light heavyweight top 10 when Dmitry Sukhotsky takes on Aleksy Kuziemski. Finally, middleweight fringe contender Gennady Martirosyan defends his regional title against Portugal's Victor Sa.
- In the Philippines, AJ Banal faces former two-weight titlist Luis Perez. While it seems like Banal has been around for a while, getting his first title shot a couple years ago, he's still only 21 years old, and Perez would probably be a career-best win, despite a catchweight of 120 pounds. Also on the card, Mark Jason Melligan takes on Bladimir Hernandez, while Jason Pagara will face Sapapetch Sor Sakaorat. The card had been reported to air on ABS-CBN, but I don't see it on their schedule.
- In South Africa, Vusi Malinga will battle Michael Domingo in an IBF bantamweight title eliminator. Malinga had a great run going before getting destroyed by Hozumi Hasegawa last year. Domingo may only be 40-14-2, but he's undefeated since early 2007, including a few pretty good wins in that stretch. This card was originally advertised to be some kind of South African super tournament, with Philip N'Dou, Silence Mabuza, Evans Mbamba, Jeffrey Mathebula and Isaac Hlathswayo all to fight on the card as well, but the lack of updates since early October makes me think that isn't actually happening. The card had been reported to air on SuperSport, but I don't see it on their schedule.
- As usual, there's some good stuff going on for the Sauerland undercard. My favorite heavyweight prospect at the moment, Kubrat Pulev, will take on Dominick Guinn in what's a bit of a step sideways for Pulev. Still, it's impressive that he will have fought solid gatekeepers like Guinn, Matt Skelton, Zack Page and Danny Batchelder by only his ninth fight. Dustin Dirks is still listed to fight on the schedule, though I doubt that's happening now, seeing as how he was announced to fight on the Haye-Harrison undercard in two weeks.
- Also in action this weekend: Taurus Sykes (for the first time in over two years), Victor Cayo, Noe Gonzalez Alcoba, John Jackson and Julius Jackson (Julian's sons, who for some reason have fought almost exclusively in Mexico), Alexander Kotlobay, Kevin Johnson (finally back in action after his embarrassing loss to Vitali Klitschko), Alex "Pollo" De Jesus, Bronco McKart, Lanardo Tyner, Renee Ganoy, Jamie Pittman and Roinet Caballero.