Miguel Acosta puts his lightweight title on the line against Brandon Rios this weekend on Showtime. The fight promises to provide some sparks. via static.boxrec.com
Thursday, February 24
Fox Sports Net, ustream.tv/goldenboy, 11:00 p.m. Eastern, Jesse Vargas vs. Jose Armando Santa Cruz, Bastie Samir vs. Eddie Hunter. This edition of Fight Night Club actually includes a couple of decent prospects in a couple of decent step-up fights. Vargas is an aggressive 140 pounder with a 13-0 record who Golden Boy has been hyping despite some legal problems. Santa Cruz is probably best remembered as the guy who was robbed against Joel Casamayor when he was lineal lightweight champ, but at this point he's well past his best and in his last fight he got his butt kicked by a past it Zab Judah. Samir is an interesting one - he was thought to be one of the best pro prospects to come out of the 2008 Olympics, but after a 3-0 start, he got stuck in his native Ghana for a year and a half. Golden Boy has kept him busy lately, and he's being showcased against Hunter, who is only 4-5-2, but almost every fight has come against a legitimate prospect and he's much tougher than his record indicates.
Friday, February 25
ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Maxim Vlasov vs. Isaac Chilemba, Juan Carlos Burgos vs. Frankie Archuleta. Vlasov-Chilemba could be a straight up great fight. Vlasov is an aggressive but somewhat straightforward super middleweight prospect in the mold of Marco Huck. Chilemba vacated his fringe title after fighting to a draw against Thomas Oosthuizen in a big South African fight that was reported to be a doozy. Burgos fights for the first time after a solid loss against Hozumi Hasegawa a few months back. Archuleta isn't great, but he's a warrior best known for a couple solid fights with a severely faded Johnny Tapia. This is a pretty decent card top to bottom. After a bad loss to Alfredo Angulo (in a fight where his manager has said he fought with a torn Achilles), Harry Joe Yorgey takes his first bout in over a year. Bantamweight contender Simpiwe Vetekya also makes his U.S. debut against journeyman Roberto Carlos Leyva.
Telemundo, 11:30 p.m. Eastern, Jesus Pabon vs. Americo Santos. This is sort of a showcase fight for Pabon, who is inexplicably ranked by one organization at welterweight, and is building a Puerto Rican fan base, but who has yet to face anyone better than a lower level gatekeeper.
TeleFutura, 11:35 p.m. Eastern, Danny Garcia vs. John Figueroa, Dion Savage vs. Marco Antonio Periban. "Swift" Danny Garcia is in a straight-up showcase fight that should end in a round or two. It might be a decent step at this point after struggling once or twice of late. Savage-Periban is the better fight on paper. Both are 10-0 super middleweights, but while Savage is the "house" fighter, Periban is the one who has faced the much tougher competition, already having beaten reliable gatekeepers like Darnell Boone and Jason Naughler.
Saturday, February 26
Sky Sports 1 (UK), 3:00 p.m. Eastern, Stephen Foster vs. Ermano Fegatilli, Craig Lyon vs. Josh Wale. Foster is defending his European super featherweight title, while Lyon is contesting the British bantamweight title. Joe Murray is also on the card.
Gofightlive.tv, 7:30 p.m. Eastern, Gabriel Rosado vs. Jamaal Davis.
Showtime, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Miguel Acosta vs. Brandon Rios, Robert Marroquin vs. Gilberto Sanchez Leon. Acosta-Rios is a fight with some serious potential for fireworks. Acosta is one of the better fighters nobody has heard of. He's a tough fighter who can turn up the aggression when need be, but he's also a skillful counterpuncher. Rios knows no speed other than go, fighting aggressively at most times and at his best looking a bit like a younger version of Antonio Margarito. As Scott said previously, usually Top Rank won't pass on putting a fight like this on a small pay per view, so enjoy this while you get it. Marroquin is a Dallas prospect that Top Rank has been pushing, and Leon has been known to make good fights.
TV Azteca (Mexico), 11:30 p.m. Eastern, Julio Cesar Miranda vs. Arden Diale. Miranda is a big puncher and a fun fighter, but hopefully soon he'll defend his flyweight title against someone legitimate.
Televisa (Mexico), 12:30 p.m. Eastern, Gilberto Keb Baas vs. Jose Antonio Aguirre. Baas pulled off a massive upset in beating Omar Nino for a title his last time out. With 20 career losses on his record and a reputation as a reliable journeyman, he's teetering on the title every time he defends it. Aguirre was one of the best minimumweights of the early part of the 2000's, but at this point he's way, way past it.
Cadena Tres (Mexico), 12:30 p.m. Eastern, Christopher Perez vs. Robinson Castellanos. Perez is a 19-0 featherweight fighting a journeyman.
Also in fights this weekend: Ricardo Castillo vs. Carlos Yanez, Michael Stewart, Amir Mansour, Mike Tiberi, Antonio Davis, Daniele Petrucci, Wilbert Uicab, Juan Carlos Salgado, Rodolfo Lopez, Martin Concepcion, Lee McCallister and Mike Lee.