Billy Joe Saunders kicks off this weekend's boxing coverage at Bad Left Hook, facing Bradley Pryce on Friday in London. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Friday, June 1
BoxNation (UK), 2:30 p.m. EDT, Billy Joe Saunders vs Bradley Pryce, Frank Buglioni vs Jody Meikle, Stephen Smith vs Jose Luis Graterol. This is a solid step for Saunders, as he stays busy and gets in with a known quantity. Pryce (33-10, 18 KO) was at one point a decent domestic contender at 147 and 154, but now is just a veteran gatekeeper, and Saunders (13-0, 9 KO) is banging on that gate after his TKO-1 slaughter of Tony Hill on April 28. Buglioni (4-0, 3 KO) is a super middleweight prospect and the sort who has gotten a real boost from the existence of BoxNation -- it wouldn't be so easy to get him on TV on Sky cards with their limited time, but Warren has the ability to televise every fight he wants to, and thus, I have seen every one of Buglioni's fights. He looks a decent prospect at 168, and already has a meathead fanbase. Smith (14-1, 8 KO) is still on the comeback trail following his loss to Lee Selby in September. Graterol (14-14-4, 5 KO) is a Venezuelan import who has lost six straight. This is the sort of opponent you just can't find at home. Ya gotta go out and find him. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage.
GFL ($9.99), 8:00 p.m. EDT, Dennis Hasson vs George Armenta.
NBC Sports, 9:00 p.m. EDT, Gabriel Rosado vs Sechew Powell, Ronald Cruz vs Prenice Brewer. Rosado (19-5, 11 KO) is a fighter I really like, and I'm thrilled for him that he's headlining a show like this one. He's really made something of himself, and is a fringe contender at 154 right now, looking to become more. He's had no help along the way, really -- not like most contenders have. This is a guy who has earned his record. He wasn't protected. He wasn't even supposed to get this far. That said, Rosado is the exact sort of guy who lives right on that edge -- a stiff breeze could knock him right off the path he seems to be on. He's a good fighter, but far from great, and he needs to peak and get the right opportunities if he's going to become a true top fighter. I hope he does, but don't count Powell (26-4, 15 KO) out of this one. Unlike Rosado, Powell had lots of help. He was a highly-regarded prospect. But now he's just an also-ran, out of title shots and shots at getting title shots. If he's going to get back in the mix, he has to do it himself. Rosado would be a good start. This is a big fight for both guys.
Cruz (16-0, 12 KO) is a Puerto Rican-born welterweight prospect now fighting out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Brewer (16-1-1, 6 KO) is a Cleveland prospect who was stopped two fights ago by Patrick Lopez, trying to get right back into the race. He's largely fought at 140, where his 5'10" frame made him damn tall for the weight. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage.
WAPA America, 10:00 p.m. EDT, Rafael Marquez vs Jesus Pastrana, Israel Vazquez vs Miguel Del Valle, Rafael Gonzalez vs TBA. Don't worry -- it's not the real Rafa or Izzy. This Israel Vazquez is WV2's brother.
Saturday, June 2
TV3+ (Denmark), 2:00 p.m. EDT, Mads Larsen vs Luke Blackledge, Cecilia Braekhus vs Jessica Balogun, Karo Murat vs Sandro Siproshvili, Reda Zam Zam vs Giuseppe Langella, Erik Skoglund vs Fouad Nasri, Ahmad Kaddour vs Gary Boulden, Torben Keller vs Luca Arrigo.
Sky Sports 2 (UK), 3:30 p.m. EDT, Brian Rose vs Kris Carslaw, Carl Johanneson vs Chris Goodwin II. Rose (19-1-1, 5 KO) is defending the British junior middleweight title here for the second time, after lifting it last year from Prince Arron. Carslaw (15-1, 3 KO) was in line for a title shot before being upset by Matthew Hall two fights ago, but now he's got his shot anyway. Johanneson (32-5, 20 KO) and Goodwin (14-2-1, 0 KO) fought in March, with Johanneson winning a split decision over 10 in a British lightweight title eliminator. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage.
GFL ($9.99), Sadam Ali vs Franklin Gonzalez. I don't know if Ali left the Duvas, but he's promoting this card and it's his first main event. He's never been a particular favorite prospect of mine, but it's not a lack of talent. I've really never decided how far I think he can go, but he's got a lot of confidence in himself. Best of luck to him. I hope he gets a nice draw in Brooklyn for this one.
SHO Extreme, 8:00 p.m. EDT, Sakio Bika vs Dyah Davis. Bika (29-5-2, 20 KO) and Davis (21-2-1, 9 KO) are really not that far apart. Honestly, after the top four at super middle, things get pretty jumbled for about 10 guys. The fact that I have Bika ranked No. 5 isn't so much that he's so great (he's pretty good) as he's just the guy I think is the Best of the Rest. Davis has a chance to work his way into a title shot if he can pull off the win here. Sharif Bogere and Omar Figueroa are also in action on the undercard, and I'd imagine one of them will get TV time if there's space to fill, but Bika-Davis is set for ten. Of Bika's last six fights, only one (his loss to Andre Ward) has gone past the third round. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage.
SHO (US) / BoxNation (UK), 9:00 p.m. EDT, Antonio Tarver vs Lateef Kayode, Peter Quillin vs Winky Wright, Austin Trout vs Delvin Rodriguez, Leo Santa Cruz vs Vusi Malinga. We'll have much more on this card, but needless to say, I'm excited for the quantity, and I think the quality is overall solid, too. Add in the fact that Bika-Davis is a good fight, and you've got a really nice five-fight lineup here. Kudos to SHO, Golden Boy, and all the other promoters for putting this together. Bad Left Hook will have live round-by-round coverage.
TV Azteca (Mexico), 9:30 p.m. EDT, Moises Fuentes vs Julio Cesar Felix. Fuentes (14-1, 6 KO) defends the WBO strawweight title here against Felix (17-3, 7 KO). Like I've said before, who knows? Felix might win. Fuentes upset Raul Garcia to win the belt. If he does win, Fuentes has a tentative date with the washed-up Ivan Calderon on August 4, but they've had about four dates supposedly set already.
Fox Deportes, 10:00 p.m. EDT, Beibut Shumenov vs Enrique Ornelas. Did you know that this is a "World Championship" fight? Seriously, it is. Beibut Shumenov is a "World Champion," and Ornelas is his challenger. To make matters worse, Ornelas is the best challenger Shumenov has had since at least Vyacheslav Uzelkov, and arguably the best fighter he's faced since stealing the WBA light heavyweight belt from Gabriel Campillo. Why hasn't "Shamenov" caught on? Is it because no one cares enough?
TyC Sports (Argentina) / Brazil Sport TV (Brazil), 10:00 p.m. EDT, Michael Oliveira vs Acelino Freitas. This is really fucking happening, in what is one of the most transparent, disgusting cash grabs in recent memory. That there's a commission in the world that would sanction the middleweight Oliveira against Freitas, a 36-year-old super featherweight who hasn't fought in five years, says a lot about boxing and its commissions. Despite the fact that both are Brazilian and Freitas is a sports hero in the country, this is taking place in Uruguay. Luxembourg should have sanctioned this.
Televisa (Mexico), 10:00 p.m. EDT, Juan Jose Montes vs Victor Zaleta, Irma Sanchez vs Ibeth Zamora, Ricardo Alvarez vs Joksan Hernandez. Montes (22-2, 14 KO) is a solid fighter, and Zaleta (20-2, 10 KO) is a good opponent for him here. Not much more to say about it: It's a good fight and one of them will have the chance to become a contender. Both have lost previous world title shots, Montes to Tomas Rojas and Zaleta to Omar Narvaez.
Telefutura, 11:00 p.m. EDT, Andrew Cancio vs Rocky Juarez. Remember when Rocky Juarez (28-9-1, 20 KO) was Rocky Juarez? Now he's a professional loser, which is the harsh reality way of saying "he's a gatekeeper." Juarez has lost five straight and hasn't won a fight since 2008. Cancio (13-1-2, 11 KO) might be capable of losing this one, though. He's not exactly got the strongest record.