Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios co-headline a PPV this Saturday night, Tyson Fury returns that afternoon, and on Friday we've got Felix Sturm vs Sebastian Zbik and Michael Katsidis' move up to junior welterweight. It's going to be a big weekend for live coverage, so make sure you're with us. Here's the schedule.
Friday, April 13
BoxNation (UK) / Sat1 (Germany), 2:30 p.m. EDT, Felix Sturm vs Sebastian Zbik. This is really a fight that should tell us where Sturm is at at this point, as he defends his WBA title against Zbik in Germany. It's billed as "Bad Blood" because apparently there's bad blood (creative!), but only a Zbik admirer would see this as something more than Sturm's fights last year with Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray, which turned out well and were competitive, entertaining fights, but let's not pretend they were supposed to be tough tests going in. So Zbik, who is truly competent (that's the best I can muster), will give us an idea: Were Macklin and Murray both underestimated, or has Sturm really slipped that far? If he has, and he struggles with Zbik, I don't think there's any good reason to keep considering him the No. 2 man in the division. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage.
ESPN2 / ESPN3.com, 11 p.m. EDT, Michael Katsidis vs Albert Mensah, Artemio Reyes vs Alan Sanchez II. Late start this week for Friday Night Fights, which is weird when you consider that Katsidis is a big-time star for this series, but there's other programming that people watch, so what can you do? Remember: Boxing will always come in last for ESPN programming. It's cheap and original and has its niche audience, so they keep it, but we're lucky they bother at all. When you consider that they used to have two weekly shows and how much they've slashed the budget, seriously, consider yourself lucky we even have Friday Night Fights anymore. They don't care. Katsidis is about shot, in my estimation, and I would not be stunned to see him lose this fight. The bit I've seen of Mensah (and it's truly just a bit) wasn't exactly impressive, and Katsidis might be able to bully him, but if the Aussie gets caught at distance and unable to get inside, it could be a long night.
You may recall Artemio Reyes as the guy who slammed the brakes on Goossen Tutor's push of former Olympian Javier Molina when he beat Molina on ShoBox last year. As I said then, nothing about that fight made Reyes, 25, look like a future star, either, but we'll see. This is a rematch with Sanchez, as the two fought six rounds back in June 2010, with Reyes getting a split decision win. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage.
Saturday, April 14
Channel 5 (UK), 5:00 p.m. EDT, Tyson Fury vs Martin Rogan. I really think this is a godawful, miserable fight, but I haven't had the energy to attack it much. Martin Rogan seems like a great fellow and everyone enjoys his interviews, but he's an awful professional boxer. Let's be serious. His miracle wins over Audley Harrison and Matt Skelton were years ago, and then he lost two to Sam Sexton, followed by a year break and two fights in November 2010. He hasn't fought since. So of course he's facing Fury for the vacant Irish heavyweight title. I do understand Mick Hennessy's handling of Fury with the Channel 5 deal, but I get the feeling the Channel 5 deal is holding Fury back in terms of development. Thanks to that deal, he's not fighting someone like David Price, but instead he's facing Rogan, a semi-retired novice with some mild name value as a curious story, a couple weeks shy of his 41st birthday, and this follows fights against Nicolai Firtha and Neven Pajkic. Fury's not improving with this stuff, but he is getting an audience. An audience that may ultimately feel conned if and when he steps up and fails badly when he's forced to fight someone better without having the proper preparation. I actually like Tyson Fury, so this sort of bugs me. Business will always come first in boxing, even when it's detrimental. Chris Eubank Jr is fighting on the card, too, as is John O'Donnell. Bad Left Hook has live round-by-round coverage.
GFL ($9.99), 7:30 p.m. EDT, Andres Taylor vs Garrett Wilson, Glen Tapia vs Joseph De Los Santos, Gabriel Pham vs Michael Mitchell, Korey Sloane vs Julio DeJesus, Christopher Finley vs Osnel Charles, Dontre King vs Naim Nelson, Todd Unthank-May vs Ronnie Lawrence, Joshua Reyes vs Tommy Garcia.
TyC Sports (Argentina), 8:00 p.m. EDT, Billi Facundo Godoy vs Carlos Baldomir. Baldomir is now a 40-year-old middleweight. He's won a few since getting his ass kicked by Canelo Alvarez, but he hasn't fought anyone particularly good. Godoy is unbeaten and a rising young star in Argentina, but I've no real clue if he's better than the guys Baldomir has been beating lately.
Top Rank PPV (US) / BoxNation (UK), Juan Manuel Marquez vs Serhiy Fedchenko, Brandon Rios vs Richard Abril, Mike Alvarado vs Mauricio Herrera, Mercito Gesta vs Oscar Cuero. Marquez is in Mexico, everyone else is in Las Vegas. This is more a diehard's show than anything I'd really suggest casual fans shell out money to see -- Rios is must-see TV and Alvarado vs Herrera might be a really good fight, but Marquez should really take Fedchenko apart without any trouble, and Gesta-Cuero is a showcase and nothing more. I'm looking forward to the show, but I don't know how it would fly with someone who isn't at least a really big fan of one or two of these guys. Luckily, I'm a really big fan of someone in every fight. Marquez vs Fedchenko will also be on TV Azteca in Mexico. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage.
Televisa (Mexico), 10 p.m. EDT, Victor Terrazas vs Jose Palma, Jesus Ruiz vs Christian Esquivel, Gilberto Sanchez Ramirez vs Jaime Barboza, Pedro Guevara vs Carlos Perez. This will be Terrazas' first fight of 2012, as he's been out of the ring since he upset Fernando Montiel last November. This is basically a victory lap fight, as Palma doesn't figure to be a challenge. Guevera-Perez is a junior flyweight bout for the NABF title, held by the undefeated Guevera.
Telefutura, 11:00 p.m. EDT, Edner Cherry vs Juan Carlos Martinez, Lamar Russ vs Jose Alonzo. Edner Cherry wasn't all that good years ago, so here he is on his comeback run. He actually hasn't lost a fight since he was schooled by Tim Bradley in September 2008, but he's also not fought anyone good since then. Russ-Alonzo is a prospect showdown at 160 between two young, undefeated fighters.