Plenty of fights to pick this weekend. It's the least star-loaded weekend until Christmas rolls around and the boxing year ends, but there's still a lot going on out there.
Junior Middleweights, 12 Rounds
Saul Alvarez v. Lovemore N'dou
TV: HBO Latino, Saturday, 12:30am EST
For those who are fiending for a little more "Canelo" to close out the year, here you go. HBO is so high on young Alvarez that they're giving him a slot on HBO Latino for a fight that is no better than many he's taken over the years. N'dou is a tough guy and a veteran, and in his career he hasn't been knocked out, but he's 39 years old and really a junior welterweight who has fought a little at welter in recent times. Alvarez is a thick-bodied junior middleweight who keeps being talked up as a potential welterweight contender, as if he's going to start getting smaller sometime. Right now, Alvarez is at that stage of a prospect's career where he starts blowing the doors off of old guys like Baldomir and N'dou, which gives those guys a better than normal payday, and gives the kid a name to put on his resume and a few decent looking highlights. It's the right sort of fight for Saul, but it's pretty predictable. Just like September, Alvarez will end the "never knocked out" streak of a gritty veteran. Alvarez TKO-7
On the Undercard: Daniel Ponce de Leon should have no trouble against Sergio Medina, the guy who claimed that Juan Manuel Lopez's Mafia buddies threatened his life if he didn't go down in the first round on the Oscar-Manny undercard in '08 ... In super bantamweight action, Victor Terrazas will likely be too much for Daniel Diaz.
Bantamweights, 12 Rounds
Nonito Donaire v. Wladimir Sidorenko
TV: Top Rank PPV, Saturday, 9pm EST
Donaire (24-1, 16 KO) has had all kinds of issues since beating Vic Darchinyan in 2007. Not in the ring -- in there, he's done his business and wiped out everyone put in front of him. But he left promoter Gary Shaw for Top Rank because he felt Shaw wasn't focused on his career, even sort of hinting that Shaw was upset that Donaire had beaten Vic silly, as Darchinyan has always sort of been a pet fighter for Shaw, and Vic was supposed to cream Donaire just like he did Nonito's brother, Glenn. Instead a breakout star got buried a little bit. It happens. But going to Top Rank hasn't been the career-changer he might have hoped. He has a couple of good wins over Moruti Mthalane and Raul Martinez, but he just has not reached the heights he should have by now. A Darchinyan rematch constantly came up and was abandoned, same as a fight with Fernando Montiel, which ONCE AGAIN is "tentatively set for February."
Sidorenko (22-2-2, 7 KO) is a good, technically sound fighter...but if Donaire is locked in and focused, he's going to overwhelm Sidorenko. Donaire definitely has a bantamweight body (he was quite a big flyweight) and the weight shouldn't be an issue for him -- shouldn't be. Sidorenko is also 34 years old and likely past his true prime. If Nonito screws around and overlooks Sidorenko, he could find himself in a fight. But I wouldn't expect that. Sidorenko is one of those guys who doesn't make many mistakes, but he also isn't special in any way. Donaire can be a special fighter. Donaire UD-12
Lightweights, 12 Rounds
Humberto Soto v. Urbano Antillon
TV: Top Rank PPV, Saturday, 9pm EST
Finally, Soto takes a real challenge, and we'll see if 135 is tough on him when in against a guy who can bang and has some youth on his side. Physically, Soto seemed to have a bit of trouble at the weight against David Diaz in March, but he was able to outbox Diaz, who is worn out and not much of a puncher. Antillon can punch, and is a pretty good fighter, but he was knocked out last year by Miguel Acosta. Both Soto and Antillon can claim a win over Pacquiao. Bobby Pacquiao.
This feels like one of those fights where I should pick Soto to lose again, because it feels overdue. But I get the feeling he'll prove to just be a better, more complete fighter than Antillon in this one. Antillon will still have a future after this, but I just think Soto's probably good enough to survive this stiff test. The next one might be the one that gets him, but I like "Zorrita" on Saturday, though he'll have his moments of real doubt. Soto UD-12
On the Undercard: Also featured on the PPV will be featherweight prospect Mikey Garcia, younger brother of trainer Robert Garcia. Mikey's got real upside. I like him a lot, and think he'll get past Olivier Lontchi with ease. Lontchi's probably pretty rusty at this point and isn't that good to begin with, but he can be kind of awkward to look good against. Pawel Wolak SHOULD beat Jose Pinzon, but if Pinzon pulls off the upset, don't be stunned. Wolak is fighting on short notice, was supposed to be facing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., and might simply not be 100% there mentally for this one. It would be an upset, but Wolak isn't so good that it would shock me.
And the Rest!
Chris John should be able to get by Fernando David Saucedo, who has a sparkling KO mark (38-4-3, 1 KO), and Daud Yordan is in action for the second time since his career-changing, unbelievably awful, horrifying, can't-bear-to-witness-it slaughter at the hands of the devastating Celestino Caballero and his gruesome body slaps in April. He'll face Damian David Marchiano (16-6-1, 6 KO), and will be the favorite.
Alexander Dimitrenko defends the European heavyweight title against former holder Albert Sosnowski. Sosnowski could do little to the similarly sized Vitali Klitschko earlier this year, but Dimitrenko is just tall, not really good, and the smaller Eddie Chambers did a number on him before. Then again Sosnowski is no Eddie Chambers. I guess gun to my head I'd pick Dimitrenko to retain, but mostly I don't have a horse in this race.