Tommy "Tommy Gun" Oosthuizen will try to wrest the IBO's super middleweight title from Isaac Chilemba in the best fight that nobody outside of South Africa is talking about.
This weekend and the upcoming weeks should be good enough to make us forget that September and October ever happened.
Friday, November 5
Showtime, 11:00 p.m. Eastern, Edwin Rodriguez vs. James McGirt Jr., Marcus Johnson vs. Kevin Engel. A pair of Lou DiBella's recent super middleweight signees go at it on Shobox. Rodriguez is the more exciting of the fighters, a blue collar guy out of Worcester, Massachusetts, who takes on former quasi-prospect McGirt who has been making an effort to redeem himself. Johnson is the flashier fighter, but hasn't fought since his last Shobox appearance a half year ago. Engel lost to Rodriguez previously, and is probably a step back in competition for Johnson. Bad Left Hook will have live round by round coverage of this card.
TeleFutura, 11:30 p.m. Eastern, Jose Miguel Cotto vs. Oscar Leon, Juan Gonzalez vs. Rafael Lora. Cotto moves down to light welterweight and tries to bounce back from his spirited loss to Saul Alvarez. Former title challenger Leon is beyond shot and working even further out of his natural weight class than is Cotto. Gonzalez has built up a record of 10-0 and likely gets a showcase fight here.
Saturday, November 6
SuperSport 2 (South Africa), 1:45 p.m. Eastern, Tommy Oosthuizen vs. Isaac Chilemba. On paper, this is a spectacular matchup between two very good super middleweight prospects for the IBO title. While it's likely that very few have heard of these two outside of South Africa, this one has built up significant buzz within the nation. After an early career loss, Chilemba has rattled off dominant wins over Charles Adamu, Doudou Ngumbu and Charles Bolling, against whom he won the IBO title. Oosthuizen was originally supposed to face Bolling for that title, but when Oozsthuizen had to pull out due to a car accident, Chilemba swooped in and dominated one of Australia's better prospects. This usurpation has led to some serious bad blood between Chilemba and Oosthuizen, and the hype probably isn't hurt by the Afrikaner vs. native aspect of the fight either. This could be an incredible style matchup, as Oosthuizen is a 6'4" southpaw who can punch, and Chilemba is a flashy speed merchant who has enough power to keep opponents honest. Regardless of the winner, it seems that both men have the talent to make noise on the world stage.
Sky Sports 1 (UK), 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Gavin Rees vs. John Watson, Jason Cook vs. Barrie Jones. Former light welterweight titlist and recent Prizefighter winner is finally moving down in weight to lightweight, and he'll challenge 13-0 Watson for the British lightweight title. Rees always looked soft and small at 140, so the move down is probably a welcome one. Cook and Jones face off for the Welsh light welterweight title in a match that looks entertaining on paper.
RTE Two (Ireland), www.rte.ie (live, free international webcast), 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Paul Hyland vs. Willie Casey, Luis Garcia vs. Byron Mitchell. Brian Peters has a pair of pretty decent fights going on here in Ireland. Hyland and Casey will duke it out for the vacant European super bantamweight title. The Hyland brothers have been building a following in Ireland, but Paul is relatively untested against quality opposition. Casey is less experienced, but has a Prizefighter tournament win under his belt, and has built up a reputation as a puncher. Garcia is one of Peters' Cuban prospects, and he takes an appropriate step up against faded former titlist Mitchell, who lost to Beibut Shumenov and Otis Griffin but beat David Telesco and Zach Walters in his last two fights. Garcia is an explosive fighter and a fun one to watch.
Televisa (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Omar Nino vs. Gilberto Keb Baas. Nino defends his light flyweight title against Baas, a career opponent who has lost to just about every decent fighter in the flyweight range.
Showtime, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Rafael Marquez, Glen Johnson vs. Allan Green. Here's the crown jewel of the weekend and probably the best fight in a few months. Our full preview of Lopez-Marquez is here, while our full preview of Johnson-Green is here. Bad Left Hook will have live round by round coverage of this card.
HBO, 10:45 p.m. Eastern, Pacquiao-Margarito 24/7 Episode Three.
HBO, 11:15 p.m. Eastern, Zab Judah vs. Lucas Matthysse, Robert Guerrero vs. Vicente Escobedo. Judah was once one of the top light welterweights in the world, but hasn't made the limit since 2003, when he moved up to fight Cory Spinks at welterweight. Since then, it's been up and down for Judah, as he did win the true championship at welterweight for a time, but then went on a streak where he lost to just about every significant fighter he faced, while looking great against mostly subpar competition. In his last fight against Jose Armando Santa Cruz, Super Judah looked the best he had in years. He'll take on Matthysse, a 27-0 Argentine whose only decent competition was Vivian Harris, who was fighting about even with Matthysse until an extraordinarily premature referee stoppage. The bout is a #2 eliminator for the IBF. Guerrero keeps plugging away at lightweight in an effort to become the least deserving three-weight titlist ever. Escobedo was last seen getting his butt kicked by Michael Katsidis on the Mayweather-Marquez undercard. For those in the Newark area, there's a solid untelevised undercard as well, featuring Adrien Broner, Sadam Ali and Mariusz Wach.
Monday, November 8
ESPN2, ESPN3.com, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Rico Ramos vs. Heriberto Ruiz, Shawn Estrada vs. Tony Hirsch. This is the annual Camp Lejune fight show. Ramos has shown flashes of being a good and entertaining fighter, but he hasn't really been tested yet. Ruiz is a former title challenger who is very experienced and was beating decent fighters as little as two years ago, so hopefully this is an appropriate step up for Ramos. Estrada was the U.S. Olympian at middleweight in 2008. He's 9-0 with all nine wins coming by knockout, eight of them in the first round, but the competition has been pretty woeful. Hirsch, who has gone 12-3, is a step up on paper, and hopefully we'll get to see whether Estrada's power is for real. Usually there's also an amateur fight between a couple of the camp's soldiers on the card as well. Bad Left Hook will have live round by round coverage of this card.
Also in lesser fights this weekend: Ishe Smith, Antwone Smith, Andy Kolle, Aaron Pryor Jr., Aaron Williams, Kelvin Price, Raul Frank, Martin Rogan, Mike Perez, Rene Gonzalez, Bradley Pryce, Grzegorz Proska, Satoshi Hosono, Mateusz Masternak, Jimmy Lange and William Joppy.