Saul "Canelo" Alvarez will be back in action this weekend, fighting Luciano Cuello for an interim title. The 19-year old will be looking for his 33rd 'official' professional win. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Friday, July 9
Sky Sports 2 (UK), 5:00 p.m. Eastern, Lenny Daws vs. Steve Williams. Daws will be defending his British light welterweight title against 9-0 fighter Williams. There are a lot of good names on the undercard against less than great competition, including Bradley Pryce, Prince Arron, Michael Lomax and Matt Skelton, so expect to see some highlights of their fights as well, time permitting.
ESPN2, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Hank Lundy vs. John Molina. This one could be a pretty decent scrap. Lundy is a hard-hitting prospect who dominated then-undefeated Tyrese Hendrix his last time out. Molina had some decent wins on Shobox, and has won two in a row since losing to Martin Honorio. Both guys can bang a little, and neither has a spectacular chin, so if the fighters decide to mix it up, it could get interesting. Unfortunately, with other fighters dropping out, there isn't much of an undercard to speak of.
Cadena 3 (Mexico), 8:30 p.m. Eastern, Ramon Ayala vs. Carlos Velasquez, Giovanni Caro vs. Breilor Teran. Contrary to what Boxrec says, Ayala is not facing the Puerto Rican prospect, but the Nicaraguan journeyman. Ayala is 17-1 and is getting a little bit of hype in Mexico, although at this point even Velasquez is a step up.
Showtime, 11:00 p.m. Eastern, Mike Jones vs. Irving Garcia, Antwone Smith vs. Lanardo Tyner. Who is Mike Jones? Probably the best American welterweight prospect out there right now. He's no spring chicken, but he has all the tools necessary to be a top fighter, and now that he's getting some support from the networks, his career could go into overdrive. Garcia is probably a step back from Henry Bruseles as an opponent, but he's exciting and it's a fight that will probably end in a knockout. Smith is one of my favorite prospects for a different reason. He wasn't supposed to be anyone, and just looking at his physical tools, one wonders how he keeps winning. But he has great intelligence, heart and stamina, and that's allowed him to pull off a long string of upsets (Henry Crawford, Richard Gutierrez and Norberto Gonzalez) that has shot him to contender status. Tyner can box a little but doesn't have much power, and might provide a decent test for Smith. If both make it out without a loss, Jones and Smith may face each other in the near future, as HBO has expressed interest in buying that fight in the past.
Telefutura, 11:30 p.m. Eastern, Erislandy Lara vs. William Correa, Ricky Lopez vs. Derrick Wilson. Vicente Escobedo was supposed to fight in the headliner, but he had to pull out with illness. Way for Golden Boy to find a late replacement even better than the original headliner. Correa isn't a step up, but Lara hasn't fought in three months and this is what you get on a few days' notice. Lopez vs. Wilson is a Fight Night Club level fight - in fact, both of them have fought on that show several times.
Saturday, July 10
Solar Sports (Philippines), time TBD, Brian Viloria vs. Omar Soto. After losing his ttile to Carlos Tamara, Viloria is attempting to make a third title run by moving up in weight and facing two-time title challenger Soto.
NESportsTV.com, 8:00 p.m. Eastern ($12.00), Kevin McBride vs. Zack Page, Nagy Aguilera vs. Roderick Willis, Luis Del Valle vs. Pasqual Rose. Did you know McBride, conqueror of Tyson, was still fighting? Neither did I. Page is one of those guys who's pretty good despite a 20-29 record, but gets the raw end of the deal on a lot of decisions, and I have to wonder what could have been if he had time to train full-time and wasn't always taking fights on a week's notice. Aguilera will try to bounce back from getting trounced by Sam Peter, one fight after destroying a shot to bits Oleg Maskaev.
Showtime, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Bernabe Concepcion, Nonito Donaire vs. Hernan Marquez. It's the same dreck, different day for these two. While Lopez has been fighting tougher competition lately, Bob Arum hasn't given us the fights we want - Lopez against Yuriorkis Gamboa or Celestino Caballero, and Donaire rematching Vic Darchinyan (or facing any live body for that matter). Instead, he's followed his usual pattern - build up a fringe guy in his stable against decent but not good competition until he's ranked near the top 10, then feed him to one of the top guys. Concepcion beat Mario Santiago to earn the shot after suffering a DQ loss in a dreadfully boring fight against Steven Luevano. Still, he probably doesn't have the speed to compete with Lopez. Marquez, on the other hand, has never beaten anyone of consequence and lost a wide points decision to Richie Mepranum in his last fight. Marquez is a plodding southpaw slugger in the vein of Juan Urango, so don't be surprised if Donaire plays it safe and tries to box from the outside. Bad Left Hook will have live round by round coverage of this card.
Televisa (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Saul Alvarez vs. Luciano Cuello. Alvarez is taking on Cuello for an interim title, which the WBC seems to be giving out like candy now that they've renamed it the "silver" title. Cuello hasn't fought anyone special since losing a close on to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., but he's 26-1, so I guess they can market it. If I see this one get picked up by Suljos to air via live web feed, I'll put up a fanshot.
Elsewhere in the world of boxing...
- On the Lopez/Donaire undercard, Eden Sonsona will take on former Puerto Rican prospect Jonathan Oquendo. This could be a make or break fight for both of them, and if Sonsona wins, don't be too surprised if he's Lopez's next patsy. Sonsona has looked decent in winning his last six in a row, while Oquendo has won four straight against decent competition since getting flattened by Lopez.
- In Japan on Sunday, former titlist Malcolm Tunacao will be facing Kohei Oba in a solid bantamweight matchup. Tunacao's career has been up and down since losing his title to Pongsaklek Wonjongkam back in 2001, but he's still only 31 and continues to show glimpses of the power and resolve that earned him a win over Medgoen Singsurat. Oba is 27-0 and has pretty much wiped out the Japanese domestic scene; a win over Tunacao could put him in the picture for a title shot.
- Also taking smaller fights this weekend - George Tahdooahnippah, Xiong Zhao Zhong, Carlos Negron, McJoe Arroyo, Jimmy Lange, DeMarcus Corley and Ben Tackie.