To close out a very solid two-month period, we get our last real week of fights of the year.
Wednesday, December 15
Sky Sports (UK), 3:00 p.m. Eastern, Martin Lindsay vs. John Simpson, Shinny Bayaar vs. Paul Edwards. In a rare mid-week card on Sky, Lindsay defends his British featherweight championship against former Commonwealth titlist Simpson, who doesn't have as shiny of a record but has fought a who's who of U.K. domestic featherweights over the past decade. Bayaar will defend his British flyweight title against Edwards, who is 7-0 but relatively untested. Bayaar's record is only 15-4-2, but he's tough as nails, and he managed a draw (which should have been a win) against another prospect, Ashley Sexton, his last time out. Also on the card, if fights run short, is Tony Jeffries.
Friday, December 17
NESportsTV.com, 9:00 p.m. Eastern ($9.99), Stevie Forbes vs. Roberto Valenzuela.
Cadena Tres (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Christopher Perez vs. Gilberto Bolanos.
TeleFutura, 11:30 p.m. Eastern, Cristopher Martin vs. Yogli Herrera, Ronny Rios vs. Adolfo Landeros. Fellow prospects-come-fringe-contenders Martin and Rios both try to close out solid, busy years on this card. Martin has gone 4-0 on the year, including a convincing upset win over Chris Avalos on Shobox. He's back on his home turf in San Diego, where his promoters seem to be intent on building him a fan base. Rios has also gone 4-0 on the year so far, although while Martin already beat Landeros earlier in the year, Landeros would be the most significant win for the Fight Night Club fighter. Also scheduled to appear on the card is would-be Olympian Gary Russell Jr.
Saturday, December 18
ARD (Germany), Polsat Sport (Poland), 4:15 p.m. Eastern, Marco Huck vs. Denis Lebedev, Yoan Pablo Hernandez vs. Ali Ismailov, Alexander Povetkin vs. Nicolai Firtha. If you are going to catch one European fight this year, make it this one. I may be sticking my neck out a little far on this one, but this is the rare European fight that has fireworks written all over it, and it has the potential to be the best prominent fight between big men since Adamek-Cunningham. After a long streak of beating good competition, Huck is a top-two cruiserweight in the world. His aggressive style leaves a fair number of openings for opponents, but between a good chin, good power and a ton of swagger, nobody has been able to capitalize. Denis "White Swan" Lebedev is a former Russian special ops (and frequent Fedor Emilianenko sparring partner) who fights out of the southpaw stance, has dynamite in both fists, and is about as good of a finisher as anyone in the sport right now. As far as I know, neither fighter has ever been down before, although both men will try to change that. Hernandez-Ismailov is a WBA cruiserweight title eliminator. While no cruiserweight super six is officially taking place, it appears that Sauerland is having all of its top cruisers fight each other anyway, which is nice. Povetkin deserves whatever flack he gets for taking this kind of fight. Before recently upsetting Tony Grano, Firtha lost three in a row to Tye Fields, Manuel Quezada and Neven Pajcik. The Polsat broadcast starts at 1:30 p.m. Eastern and will feature the full undercard, including Kubrat Pulev against former Euro champ Paolo Vidoz and fights featuring Francisco Pianeta and Dustin Dirks. I'll try hard to provide live round by round coverage of this one, but may not be able to due to having visitors in town.
Showtime, Canal Indigo (Quebec), PrimeTime (UK), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins. This one's for the true light heavyweight championship of the world. Will this be the last dance for the Executioner, or at 45 years old, will he be able to again drink from the fountain of youth and become the oldest fighter to win a major title? We'll have more on the main event later in the week. While the Showtime broadcast will only show the main event, the Canadian broadcast gets the full pay per view treatment. That broadcast will include UK heavyweight prospect / self-uppercutter Tyson Fury against Israel Garcia, who Cris Arreola made short work of; Paulie Malignaggi making his welterweight debut against Michael Lozada; "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin making his Golden Boy debut after a period of recent inactivity; and local favorites Pier Olivier Cote and Kevin Bizier. Bad Left Hook will have live round by round coverage of the main event.
Fox Sports Espanol, TV Azteca (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Jorge Arce vs. Adolfo Ramos, Ramon Garcia vs. Carlos Melo. [Update] Arce was originally scheduled to face Medgoen Singsurat, who has been replaced by journeyman Ramos. Arce is saying that if he wins this one, he intends to challenge 122 pound titlist Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. Garcia has been promoted from interim titlist to full titlist, and after a solid defense against Chango Vargas, he gets a slightly easier one against Melo, who is 4-7-1 since late 2006, but nearly all of those fights have come against world class opposition, and he's given most of them tough fights. Omar Chavez is also tentatively scheduled to fight on the card, possibly against Luciano Cuello.
ESPN Deportes, time unknown, Erik Morales vs. Jorge Barrios. At the time of this writing, ESPN Deportes had picked up this fight, but it had yet to show up on ESPN's schedule. Morales and Barrios are both well past their best, but they're both warriors, and this could end up being a good little fight. Depending on how the Manny Pacquiao situation shakes out, there have been ongoing discussions about Morales facing Juan Manuel Marquez in their next fight, should Morales win this one. [Update: As of Tuesday morning, this fight may be off because the Argentine courts have not granted Barrios permission to leave the country, stemming from his hit and run manslaughter charges that resulted in the death of a pregnant woman.]
TyC Sports (Argentina), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Ulises Solis vs. Luis Alberto Lazarte. Lazarte may officially be defending his title on home soil, but former titlist Solis is the very heavy favorite here. Lazarte was a four-time title challenger whose career was winding down. When Carlos Tamara won a title from Brian Viloria, he took a fight with Lazarte, which his team very publicly stated was the easiest fight they could take for decent money. Well, "the Mosquito" Lazarte beat Tamara, and now is making his first serious defense. "Archi" Solis had 10 consecutive defenses of this title before losing it to Viloria in a 2009 fight of the year contender. Even though Solis has a fair amount of wear and tear, Solis should still have the mileage advantage over Lazarte, who at 39 years old, is downright ancient for a light flyweight.
- In Kazakhstan this Thursday, Gennady Golovkin faces Nilson Tapia for the WBA's regular middleweight title. Golovkin, one of the world's best up and coming middleweights, has been locked in a contractual dispute with promoter Universum for over a year now, and he been stuck in a no-man's land because of it. After a court ruling in Germany two weeks ago, the fight needed to get moved from Panama to Kazakhstan, where Golovkin is self-promoting the fight. Because of the move, there is no Panamanian TV scheduled at this time, which is unfortunate, since the Panamanian channels generally live stream their boxing cards. It may be worth checking in at the time of the fights, since TV Max 9 has very closely followed Tapia's career up to this point. Boxrec is also showing that Kazakhstani channel Khabar TV, which does stream, will air the fight, although I don't see it on their TV schedule (although I can't be 100% confident, since Google Translate still hasn't made it's way to Kazakh yet). Polsat Sport also has boxing scheduled for its 10:30 p.m. local time slot, so there's a possibility this could land there as well. While his record isn't spectacular, Tapia is no walkover, and this could be a decent fight. Once Golovkin's promotional issues sort themselves out, he is supposed to face Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam to legitimize the WBA middleweight title, which right now has three fighters claiming a piece of it (super champion Felix Sturm being the third).
- This is just kind of pathetic. Despite being planned out months in advance and featuring several title fights and eliminators, it appears that this Friday's card in Miami will have no live TV whatsoever, although the press materials claim there will be next day replays in Germany and the UK. In the main event, Odlanier Solis will face Ray Austin in an eliminator for the right to face Vitali Klitschko early next year. Tavoris Cloud makes a cupcake title defense, taking on former light middleweight, middleweight and super middleweight contender Fulgencio Zuniga. Darrell Madison and Michael Marrone fight each other in a clash of domestic heavies, the winner of which sort of becomes a fringe contender by default. Ricardo Mayorga is scheduled to fight Michael Walker, although with Mayorga nothing is ever set in stone. Exciting Chicago-based Mexican James de la Rosa will face Antonio Margarito sparring partner Cleotis Pendarvis. If you're near Miami, it may be worth trying to get out to this one, which does have several solid fights even if the card itself has disaster written all over it. The only real possibility for TV I see is that Polsat Sport has boxing scheduled from 7:30 p.m. Eastern until about midnight Eastern, which could possibly be this card (although their schedule does does not show the fighters by name).
- Also in action this weekend: Dmitry Salita vs. Mike Anchondo, Yory Boy Campas vs. Esteban Camou, Angel Hernandez vs. Osumanu Adama, Jesse Lubash vs. Harrison Cuello, Saul Roman, Eric Fields, Emanuele Della Rosa, Domenico Spada, Xiong Zhao Zhong, Matt Vanda, Anthony Bonsante, John Jackson and Nicholas Walters.