In case anyone's wondering, yes we'll be here this Saturday night for Golden Boy's Lightweight Lightning PPV with live, round-by-round coverage, scoring and general BSing during the night. Still looks like a fun card to me.
Edwin Valero v. Antonio Pitalua (Lightweights, 12 Rounds - Vacant WBC title on the line)
Valero (24-0, 24 KO) and Pitalua (46-3, 40 KO) could put on a power-punching war for the ages if the stars align and everything comes together. I'm really serious -- this one has gruesome display of wicked punchmanship written all over it. Or someone might go down in the first round. You never know. But this one could be worth the price of admission alone.
Pitalua has been stopped before, but it came 14 years ago when he stepped way up in competition against Mexican Jesus Rodriguez, not an awful fighter or anything. He hasn't lost a fight since 2001, but he's also not faced the best competition since then. What sells him as a legit threat now is the sixth round knockout of Jose Armando Santa Cruz last September.
This is a big, big fight for both guys. It might not be a "big fight" by usual standards, but if Pitalua wins, he's the guy that took Valero's "0." Valero is getting a chance to show his game to a wide American audience for the first time. He's been a myth for most American fans, even the majority of the diehards. You can watch him on YouTube, but that's just not the same.
I do think that Valero will eventually run into someone he can't handle, and Manny Pacquiao will light him up like a Griswold Christmas tree if those two fight down the line. But I don't think Antonio Pitalua is the guy that's going to do it. This could be war. Valero KO-6
Michael Katsidis v. Jesus Chavez (Lightweights, 10 Rounds)
As much as I hate "keys to the game" or "keys to the fight" the way they're presented to us by the likes of Teddy Atlas ("Use jab!") or Tim McCarver ("Score runs!"), this one is pretty simple.
For Katsidis to win, he needs to take the fight to Chavez and test his heart and that surgically-repaired knee that gave out on him the last time he was in a major fight, against Julio Diaz in 2007. Chavez is 36 years old and Daniel Jimenez and Andres Ledesma aren't going to have him ready for this kind of step back up the ladder. Katsidis can be a pummeling sort when he's on his game. If he tries to box Chavez like he did Juan Diaz, he will lose. He is not fast enough, he doesn't have one-punch power, and he's not good enough defensively to win fights like that. Even an old, rusty Chavez can beat the Katsidis that fought Diaz, though not as easily as Diaz did.
Chavez? Pray. Pray the knee holds up, pray Katsidis doesn't ring his bell early, pray the fire is still deep down in there. I really hate saying it or bringing it up, but you can't ignore that Jesus hasn't won a big fight since Leavander Johnson, and that he's only been in one big fight since then, which lasted less than three rounds when his knee collapsed. He's not 100% in any way, and he never will be again. Katsidis TKO-8
Carlos Hernandez v. Vicente Escobedo (Lightweights, 10 Rounds)
Speaking of guys on big fight win droughts, here's 38-year old Carlos Hernandez, whose last really big win was against Stevie Forbes in 2003. He was supposed to be matched with Jorge Barrios, who spent the press conferences talking smack at Valero only to pull out of the event, and now he meets 27-year old Vicente Escobedo, a more natural lightweight. Escobedo turned pro in 2005, fought three low-key bouts last year, and is 19-1 (12 KO) for his career, with only a split decision loss to Daniel Jimenez marring his record. He was also on Fight Night Round 3, which was quite peculiar.
Even at 38 and with just one fight since a 2006 loss to Kevin Kelly, Hernandez might be the best fighter Escobedo has faced to date. "El Famoso," on the other hand, has been in the ring with the likes of Erik Morales, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Genaro Hernandez, among others. Hernandez is a half-mystery going into this show, much like Chavez. I don't really have any idea how much he's got left in the tank. I've never been thoroughly impressed with Escobedo, but I'm glad he's taking the chance with this fight and trying to work his way up. If the timing's right, Escobedo will take the old man down. If he's not good enough, the old man will probably still struggle to win. That said, I have to favor the younger fighter. Escobedo UD-10
Julio Diaz v. Rolando Reyes (Lightweights, 10 Rounds)
Since his embarrassingly one-sided loss to Juan Diaz, Julio has beaten the crap out of David Torres and routed Fernando Trejo. Reyes, 30, is a fringe contender that didn't look too hot in a decision win over Ivan Valle last time out on ESPN2. Yeah he won the fight, and deserved to, but if anyone was expecting something more out of the guy that made Stevie Johnston quit in October 2007, I think we now know that spoke more to where Stevie Johnston is at these days. Reyes' biggest fight came when he lost a lopsided decision to Jose Luis Castillo in 2006. Diaz is the better fighter, and should win handily. Diaz TKO-7
And also on Saturday night, live on Showtime from Montreal...
Timothy Bradley v. Kendall Holt (Junior Welterweights, 12 Rounds - Bradley's WBC and Holt's WBO titles on the line)
Totally forgot about this fight on the original post, then Brickhaus brought it up in the comments. That sort of tells you what I think about this fight.
It's not a bad fight. In fact it's a good fight. It's admirable of both guys to take a matchup with the other. It just lacks any real sizzle. Perhaps the fact that I'm not a big fan of either guy handicaps my level of anticipation for this one.
I gotta go with Bradley, though. Better all-around fighter, probably just as good of a puncher as Holt, and hasn't been down 314 times in his career. But Bradley has been out of the ring since September, while Holt last fought in December, and that little bit of rustiness might make a difference. In truth this is a real pick'em. Who ya got? Bradley TKO-10