Hopkins is hoping to have another execution left in him. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Friday, May 20
Eurosport (Germany), 4:00 p.m. Eastern, Bradley Pryce vs. Sergei Rabchenka. Former longtime Commonwealth titlist Pryce has looked faded of late, but got a bit of a boost by coming in second place in a recent Prizefighter tournament. Rabchenka is 16-0, fighting mostly out of Belarus, and the only recognizable name on his resume is a quick knockout of Martin Concepcion.
ESPN Deportes, ESPN3.com, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, Joel Julio vs. Agnes Adjaho, Sadam Ali vs. John Revish. The "Love Child" keeps plugging along and seems to be retooling his defensive skills en route to moving towards another welterweight title shot. He's scored a few good wins, but no great ones, and has lost whenever he's stepped up. Adjaho is a tougher opponent than he's often given credit for, but he's also a natural lightweight. Ali was a 2008 Olympian who has obvious talent but also a serious penchant for showboating. I've seen press materials saying this one airs on ESPN2 in addition to ESPN Deportes, but ESPN's schedule doesn't list it there, so who knows. Bad Left Hook will have live round by round coverage of this card.
Telefutura, 11:30 p.m. Eastern, Christopher Martin vs. Charles Huerta, Ronny Rios vs. Georgi Kevlishvili. Martin, the "S.D. Kid", is a solid super bantamweight prospect who has built up a 21-0 record, including wins over Chris Avalos and Jose Luis Araiza. He's not a puncher and he's not super exciting, so he'll probably never be a star, but he's a solid fighter to watch. Huerta is an exciting fighter who has been a Fight Night Club mainstay, but who is probably a class or two down from Martin. Rios is a decent undefeated prospect as well, taking on a 12-1 Georgian with pillows for fists. All in all, this is a solid Solo Boxeo card, and it's nice to see that Golden Boy has been putting together better cards for this lately.
Telemundo, 11:35 p.m. Eastern, Jesus Ruiz vs. Jesus Galicia.
Saturday, May 21
Sky Box Office (UK), ZDF (Germany), Epix (USA), 3:00 p.m. Eastern (Sky), 4:00 p.m. Eastern (Epix), Juergen Braehmer vs. Nathan Cleverly, James DeGale vs. George Groves. Two very solid fights on paper on this bill. Braehmer is a somewhat untested German titlist who has seemingly improved of late and has carried on with his career despite legal issues. Cleverly is one of our favorite light heavyweight prospects - a long Welshman who has shown real skill and talent, but lacks the knack for fighting with the right gameplan, often getting drawn into brawls when it might not best serve him. DeGale-Groves is a great prospect-prospect fight. Expect to see both on the world scene for a long time, but there's a serious grudge between the two, and they're taking this one very early in their respective careers. Props to the promoters of these bouts for making some dangerous fights. For all the hype on this one, check out our excellent DeGale vs. Groves page. The UK undercard will also include Frankie Gavin vs. Young Mutley and a Sam Sexton showcase fight. Brick's Picks - Cleverly struggled in his last fight against the slightly slippery Nadjib Mohammedi, and the fight before that decided to brawl with someone he could have easily outboxed. While I like Cleverly a lot and think he has the significant talent edge, this fight worries me for him. Braehmer is a lot more straightforward than Iron Djib, but but also a much bigger puncher, and probably a better inside fighter than Cleverly. While DeGale-Groves is a great fight, and I think it could lead to some early fireworks, I also think there's a huge gulf in class here. Braehmer TKO-11, DeGale TKO-8. Bad Left Hook will have live round by round coverage of this card.
HBO, Indigo (Quebec), Viewer's Choice PPV (elsewhere in Canada), Main Event PPV (Australia), 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Jean Pascal vs. Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson vs. Adrian Diaconu. We'll have a lot on Pascal-Hopkins through the week, so I won't go into too much detail here. The first fight was controversial, and this is significant as Hopkins tries to become the oldest person to win a legitimate world championship. Dawson fighting Diaconu is a credible fight to get back in the ring, and hopefully will end the ridiculous conspiracy theories that Dawson avoided Diaconu for years. They signed to fight once before, and Dawson ended up facing Epifanio Mendoza as a late replacement when Diaconu hurt his back. He then never entered into a rematch because there were bigger money options available for an Antonio Tarver fight that the networks actually had interest in. Either way, this should be a good gauge of whether Dawson is "back" and whether he's taking any steps forward with new trainer Manny Steward. Diaconu is a good little fighter, but he has some defensive holes and probably only comes up to Dawson's nipples when they stand side by side. Brick's pick: In their first fight, Hopkins clearly deserved the nod, fighting the much better and smarter fight and downright dominating Pascal at times. That said, Pascal fought with one of the worst game plans possible. Hopkins looked like he found the fountain of youth once again, as he's tended to do for big fights, but when will that run out? Since the first Jermain Taylor fight, he's looked his age as often as not, though he's certainly looked better in his bigger fights against Tarver, Pavlik and Pascal. While I've never thought that highly of Pascal as a technician or tactician, I have to think he'll at least throw punches. If he can do that, I think he can outwork Hopkins and sneak out a close decision, this time without robbery. As for Dawson, he would beat Diaconu at his worst, unless Diaconu more consistently applies pressure than he's done in the past. Pascal MD-12, Dawson UD-12. Bad Left Hook will have live round by round coverage of this card.
Cadena Tres (Mexico), circa 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Ganigan Lopez vs. Omar Rosales. A minimumweight fight for one of those silly "silver" titles.
Fox Sports Net, Fox Deportes, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Alfonso Gomez vs. Calvin Green, Michael Farenas vs. Daniel Attah. Gomez is a fun action fighter and an easy guy to root for. While Green, who lost widely to Sergio Mora not long ago, is a step down for Gomez, this could be an entertaining fight. Green can't be taller than about 5'4" but really tries to bring the pressure.
TV Azteca (Mexico), circa 12:05 a.m. Eastern, Tomas Rojas vs. Juan Jose Montes. Rojas has been a road warrior for most of his career. He built up 12 career losses before recently winning a title in Japan, and then making his first defense in Japan as well. Overall, he's a much better fighter than his record indicates. Here he gets a homecoming, but this is no gimme. Montes is 19-1, but has beaten a number of solid fighters inclusing Fernando Lumacad, Jose Salgado and Sylvester Lopez. His one loss came by knockout in a fight he was otherwise comfortably winning, while only 18 years old and fighting at flyweight. Rojas is a good fighter, but not a major puncher. Brick's Pick: I can't say I've seen enough of Montes to give a stylistic assessment, but Rojas usually isn't troubled by big punches, only getting properly knocked out against Vic Darchinyan. He's a tricky cat, and now that he has the title and is fighting at home, he's more likely to get the favor on the scorecards. I think he nicks this by the skin of his teeth. Rojas SD-12.
Televisa (Mexico), circa 12:30 a.m. Eastern, Sammy Gutierrez vs. Juan Palacios, Oscar Ibarra vs. Juanito Rubillar. Gutierrez defends his interim minimumweight title against a legitimate top 10 fighter in the weight class. The winner becomes a legitimate top 5 guy in the weight class, possibly top 3.
Elsewhere in the world of boxing...
- On Saturday afternoon, the shell of a faded Roy Jones Jr. travels to Russia to take on hard hitting cruiserweight Denis Lebedev. Lebedev is a much more punishing puncher than Danny Green, and is also technically a better fighter than Green. I doubt this one ends well for Roy. While I'm sure this is being televised somewhere, I couldn't find it immediately, and most Russian websites are blocked by my server. Russian fight channel Boez is probably a pretty safe bet to be airing this one, and I wouldn't be shocked if Polsat Sport is carrying this one as well, despite the lack of a Polish fighter on the card. The idea of a PPV in the US was bandied about, but as far as I can tell, it hasn't actually happened. Brick's Pick: The real question for me is whether Jones can make it to the second round. I'm guessing he can't, and I'm guessing this won't be of the referee stoppage variety. Lebedev KO-1
- On Wednesday, Andy Lee continues to try to build on his recent winning streak, facing the sturdy former light middleweight titlist Alex Bunema. Bunema hasn't fought in nearly two years, with the last one being a close loss to Willie Lee, so it might not be as big of a test as it looks to be on paper.
- BLH favorite Charlie Ota puts his Japanese light middleweight title on the line on Thursday against tricky southpaw Tadashi Yuba. This is a rematch of a fight that Ota won by the skin of his teeth late last year.
- New name of the day: Andrea Di Luisa has very quietly built up an 11-0 record at super middleweight fighting exclusively in Italy. While his record doesn't feature any known names, he has beaten a number of previously undefeated fighters in getting there. This weekend, he'll take an apparent step up against former title challenger Ruben Acosta in what seems like an appropriate step up.
- Also fighting this weekend: Nate Campbell, Ismayl Sillakh, Yaundale Evans, Mike Ruiz, Oscar Andrade, Saul Montana, Alejandro Barrera, Derrick Findley vs. Michael Walker, Jesse Nicklow, Billy Joe Saunders, Nicky Cook, Sasha Bakhtin, Les Sherrington, Jorge Sebastian Heiland, Ganigan Lopez vs. Omar Rosales, Kevin Bizier and Nicholson Poulard.