Just as a note, I'm going to have limited computer access over the next few weeks. I'll still try to publish fight schedules over the next couple weeks, but since I will need to do the work in advance, I can't guarantee that they will remain accurate. In addition, I might not be able to give exact broadcast times, as many channels don't publish the broadcast times until the week of the fight.
Thursday, May 20
Fox Sports (Australia), 5:30 a.m. Eastern, Vic Darchinyan vs. Eric Barcelona, Will Tomlinson vs. Ramon Esperanza, Naofel Ben Rabah and others. Darchinyan is fighting for a minor belt at bantamweight in this one. Barcelona is a journeyman who lost his last fight, but he's never been knocked out in his career. The fact that Vic has never seen tape of Barcelona seems to be making some waves down under, although I suspect it really won't be an issue. Tomlinson is one of Australia's better prospects.
Friday, May 21
Sky Sports (UK), 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Ryan Rhodes vs. Luca Messi, Martin Murray vs. Francis Cheka. Rhodes has reached the likely pinnacle of his career, winning a European title over Jamie Moore his last time out and becoming a legitimate top 10 junior middleweight. He'll make his first defense against the Italian Messi. Murray vs. Cheka is for the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title.
Canal+ Sport (France), 5:25 p.m. Eastern, Jeremy Parodi vs. Arsen Martirosyan. This one's for a minor WBC super bantamweight trinket. Parodi is 28-0-1 but untested, while Martirosyan is firmly around European level, having recently given Rendall Munroe a tough fight.
ESPN2, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Ji Hoon Kim vs. Ameth Diaz, Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Frankie Figueroa. Kim and Provodnikov are tons of fun, so I have no complaints about seeing the pair again so soon. Kim is awkward, unrefined and hits like a truck. He started his career 8-5, but has rattled off 12 wins since then. Diaz beat Cesar Soto and Fernando Angulo in his last two fights. This one is a lightweight title eliminator. Figueroa will try to pull his "Gato moves" on Provodnikov. Last time we saw him, he was embarrassed by Randall Bailey. But who else is on the card who I don't want to see? U.S. Olympian Demetrius Andrade is on the card, and let's hope they don't show him instead of the two more exciting fighters. He'll be in there against another complete can who has lost his last five fights, and I really don't need to see him dominate another hopeless opponent while his dad tells him how good he is.
Azteca America, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Jorge Pimentel vs. Roberto Tamayo. I guess any boxing on TV is good boxing, but this is about the fifth time in a row that the "main event" doesn't include a single fighter who even has a chance at a decent career. At that point, why even bother televising the fights? On the bright side, the undercard will include Julian Jackson's sons, Julius Jackson and John Jackson.
Telefutura, 11:30 p.m. Eastern, Pablo Cesar Cano vs. Ilido Julio. Golden Boy is slowly proving they just don't have the resources to keep up with Top Rank and put on a weekly televised card. Cano is an 18-0-1 Mexican lightweight prospect, while Julio is a journeyman. The fight itself if taking place in a parking lot in downtown Fort Worth.
Saturday, May 22
ZDF (Germany), Polsat Sport (Poland), Fox Sports (Australia), 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Ruslan Chagaev vs. Kali Meehan, Vitali Tajbert vs. Hector Velazquez. Chagaev-Meehan is a title eliminator between two guys who have waited a long time to get here, but with one more deserving than the other. Chagaev contracted hepatitis, became a "champion in recess", looked mediocre against a couple mediocre opponents, wasn't able to fight Nicolai Valuev at the last minute because of his medical condition and then got his butt kicked by Wladimir Klitschko in a fight where Klitschko should have earned his third belt, but the WBA is the WBA. He complained that he wasn't treated fairly, so he got an eliminator immediately. Meehan won a supposed title eliminator two and a half years ago, then the designation was taken away, eight different fights have fallen through (including that he was willing to face Valuev on two-days' notice) and he's been jerked around for years, but now he finally gets a final eliminator. Neither guy is that great at this point - Chagaev has looked lethargic since getting sick, and while Meehan is a tough dude who probably should have won a title from Lamon Brewster, his chin is on the shaky side and he's now a 40-year old with a full-time job as a construction worker. Also, the other two times he stepped up, he got his butt kicked by Danny Williams and Hasim Rahman. Tajbert doesn't need to go through such issues. He beat Humberto Mauro Gutierrez for an interim strap, and then had the full title gifted to him when Humberto Soto moved up. Velazquez is tough, but has lost three of his last four, including quitting on his stool in Edwin Valero's final fight. Granted, the other two fighters he lost to are Elio Rojas and Joksan Hernandez, and at a bare minimum, Tajbert isn't as tough as those two. Time listed is for ZDF - the Polsat broadcast starts earlier and the Fox Sports broadcast starts later.
gofightlive.tv, 7.00 p.m. Eastern ($9.99), Teon Kennedy vs. Jose Angel Beranza, Patrick Majewski vs. Loren Myers and others. Kennedy is somewhat of a prospect at 14-0-1, but his opponent died after his last fight, which means there's more in play than meets the eye. Beranza is a better fighter than his record indicates and is somewhat of a step up.
gofightlive.tv, 8:00 p.m. Eastern (Price TBD), Travis Kaufman vs. Chris Koval. Kaufman continues to try to come back from his surprise knockout loss to Tony Grano. Koval isn't much of a step up - he's the typical fat American heavyweight who has lost four of his last five.
gofightlive.tv, 8:00 p.m. Eastern (free), Shawn Porter vs. Bobby Kliewer, Dominic Wade vs. Michael Faulk and others. Porter and Wade take on a couple of relatively light touches at their home away from home in Tunica, Mississippi. The bouts will also be syndicated on Fox Sports in some areas a week later.
Showtime, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Rafael Marquez vs. Israel Vazquez IV, Yonnhy Perez vs. Abner Mares. I can't help but get all warm and tingly about this card. Marquez and Vazquez put each other through one of the best and most brutal trilogies in boxing history, facing off in two fights of the year. From abbreviated comeback bouts, it looks like they may have ruined each other somewhat, and neither is young. Still, despite knowing that there's little chance this is as good as the first three, the anticipation is building if for no other reason that I KNOW both men will lay everything on the line to make a great fight. The undercard might be an even better fight. Perez was involved in a fight of the year candidate against Joseph Agbeko last year, where I'm pretty sure he would have broken the all-time record for punches thrown in a fight, if Compubox had been keeping track. Mares is a top prospect who generally fights under control, but who can war when he needs to. Bad Left Hook will be providing live round by round coverage of this card.
TyC Sports (Argentina), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Pablo Oscar Natalio Farias vs. Oscar Daniel Veliz.
Elsewhere in the world of boxing....
- On Thursday, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym will attempt the second defense of his super bantamweight title against former Japanese champ Shoji Kimura. This is somewhat of a gimme for Poonsawat, as Kimura has been about on the level with the second tier of Japanese competition, and lost his last fight by split decision to Masaaki Serie.
- Lots of good stuff going on for the German undercard. Sergei Lyakhovich is coming out of hiding to face Evans Quinn in a 10 rounder. Recent title challenger and Olympian Aleksy Kuziemsky will take on 11-0 prospect Igor Mikhalkin in a bout that I honestly can't tell if the matchmakers think it's a step up for Mikhalkin or a bounce back fight for Kuziemsky. Sebastian Koeber will also try to bounce back from his upset loss to Zack Page.
- On Saturday night, there's a solid untelevised card going on at the Mohegan Sun. Peter Manfredo Jr. will be taking on former title challenger Angel Hernandez for the IBO middleweight title. Hernandez hasn't been too active since losing to Winky Wright in 2003, but in his last two fights he did upset Buddy McGirt Jr. and retire Antwun Echols. Also on the card, undefeated local draw Matt Remillard will face Carlos Rivera. Remillard seems to be building up a decent fan base in the northeast, which is nice. What would be nicer would be for a fight of his to get picked up by TV, and for him to step up to fighting a contender or two.
- Also on Saturday, Denver Cuello will be taking on Juan Hernandez in a minimumweight title eliminator. The bout was originally scheduled to take place on the Morales-Alfaro undercard, but was postponed when Hernandez fainted during training.
- In less consequential fights this weekend: Shannon Briggs, Tony Oakey, Stefy Bull, Andy Morris, Danny Santiago, Bowie Tupou, Lanardo Tyner, Joey Gilbert, Katsunari Takayama, William Gare, and Chauncey Welliver.