Chris Farina/Top Rank
Mikey Garcia gets his first world title shot against Orlando Salido, Gabriel Campillo faces Sergey Kovalev, Gennady Golovkin returns against Gabriel Rosado, and much more from the first big weekend of boxing in 2013.
We've finally got a real weekend to seriously look forward to in boxing this year, the first in about a month, dating back to Adamek-Cunningham II on December 22. HBO has an excellent tripleheader, BoxNation has Frankie Gavin on Friday, Prizefighter returns to Sky on Saturday, and NBC Sports is also back with a fight worth recording if you don't want to or can't watch live in Campillo-Kovalev.
Here's the full lineup for this weekend, with BLH live coverage on Friday and Saturday coming your way.
Friday, January 18
BoxNation (UK), 2:00 pm EST, Frankie Gavin vs Jason Welborn, Martin Gethin vs Ben Murphy, Chris Keane vs Shane McPhilbin. There's no Friday Night Fights this week, but there are still Friday fights to cover thanks to BoxNation. Gavin has gone from one of my favorite prospects to a guy who looked like he was going to flame out to the British welterweight champ, and he'll make his first title defense against 26-year-old Welborn, who shouldn't be a major problem for Gavin if he's on his game. Gethin-Murphy is for the vacant British lightweight title, while Keane-McPhilbin is for the vacant English cruiserweight title. Bad Left Hook will have live coverage.
Direct TV (Argentina), 8:00 pm EST, Juan Manuel Bonnani vs TBA.
Saturday, January 19
Sky Sports (UK), 3:00 pm EST, Prizefighter: Welterweights. In the field this time are Mark Thompson, Rob Hunt, Calum Cooper, Steven Pearce, Glen Foot, Dale Evans, Chad Gaynor, and Sam Eggington. Kal Yafai will be in a non-tournament bout, too. I've personally grown a bit tired of Prizefighter, but we might have live coverage. I'll put up a post so those of you watching can talk about it either way.
TyC Sports (Argentina), 8:00 pm EST, Roberto Bolonti vs Franco Raul Sanchez. You may remember Bolonti from getting blown out by Tony Bellew.
NBC Sports, 9:00 pm EST, Gabriel Campillo vs Sergey Kovalev, Elvin Ayala vs Curtis Stevens. This is a really good matchup flying way under the radar. Campillo hasn't fought since he was jobbed and robbed in Texas last February against Tavoris Cloud, and I still think there's a totally legitimate argument that Campillo, not Dawson or Hopkins or Cloud or Cleverly or anyone else, is the best light heavyweight in the sport. Kovalev is a bruising puncher, but Campillo is a very big challenge for him. I called this "good matchmaking for the sake of good matchmaking" before, and I mean that in a very good way. Main Events just signed Kovalev, and didn't need to match him against a guy this dangerous. But they have. Ayala-Stevens could be a really good fight, even if it's not going to result in the winner doing much of anything. Bad Left Hook will have live coverage early, but not for the entire card.
HBO / TV Azteca (Mexico) / BoxNation (UK), 9:45 pm EST, Orlando Salido vs Mikey Garcia, Gennady Golovkin vs Gabriel Rosado, Rocky Martinez vs Juan Carlos Burgos. The first really big fight card of the year is almost here, as we've got what could be a tremendous tripleheader of action from The Theater at MSG in NYC. Salido-Garcia was supposed to happen in November, but Salido was hurt, so Garcia beat Jonathan Barros, and now we've got the fight we wanted to see. It's a great matchup -- Salido either establishes himself as the world's best featherweight, or Garcia puts himself into that discussion. Make no mistake, though: Despite the HBO push, Garcia is taking a big, big step up in competition here. Golovkin-Rosado is expected by most to be a wipeout in Golovkin's favor, but Rosado is a tough guy with balls of steel, so I have no doubt he's coming to win, and win by knockout. It should be fun, however it goes and however long it lasts. Martinez-Burgos is just a really good 130-pound fight. Any of these bouts could wind up fight of the night. How often do you say that with a three-fight TV bill? Bad Left Hook will have live coverage.
FOX Deportes / Televisa (Mexico), 10:00 pm EST, Sergio Thompson vs Moises Castro, Ivan Morales vs Patricio Camacho. I think those are the fights being televised, anyway.