This one will be a little easier than last week's Five Reasons, which I struggled with, couldn't come up with more than three, and then the night of garbage mismatches rewarded my indifference, and being an American hero, one (me) can only hope that The Fans (you) listened to the wise advice (from me) and maybe didn't even bother tuning in to see Danny Garcia nearly behead Rod Salka, while Daniel Jacobs made mincemeat of Jarrod Fletcher, and there was a fight between those that honest to God, off the top of my head, I have completely forgotten already. I will remember in moments, and I don't care to even include it here when I do.
(Oh, right, Lamont Peterson. Within parentheses doesn't count, you guys.)
This week, there are three legit matchups on Showtime, plus some guys fighting on Showtime Extreme you might want to see in action, too. What's not to like? Let's even start off with the icing on the cake.
1. STUBHUB MAGIC! FEEL IT HAPPEN! STUBHUB MAGIC! FEEL IT HAPPEN!
Look, y'all, last time I told you that the StubHub Center was magic, some of you had the gall to laugh. I said, hey, you guys, watch out for this Robert Guerrero vs Yoshihiro Kamegai card, because something in the air in Carson, California, just seems to deliver great fights, whether they're expected to be (Rios-Alvarado I, for instance) or not (Guerrero-Kamegai, Bradley-Provodnikov, etc.)
Tomorrow's lineup has three world title fights that aren't on-paper mismatches, all of them featuring guys who have been in some brawls over the years. There is no damned way that we leave this card tomorrow without at least one humdinger of a fight. I'm not saying a Fight of the Year candidate, necessarily, but this is going to be worth tuning in to see, action-wise. If it's not, (I'll eat my hat).
2. Porter vs Brook is a worthy main event fight
Neither guy has the biggest name in the States, and don't figure to be the key draws for this card, whatever it pulls in at the gate, but after a run on premium cable that has given us Garcia-Salka, Peterson-Santana, Jacobs-Fletcher, Golovkin-Geale, and Kovalev-Caparello, Porter-Brook feels like a true gift.
In reality, this is what TV main events should pretty much always be -- obviously, it's hard to make that happen on a consistent enough basis that fans don't feel like they aren't getting enough boxing for their HARD-EARNED PREMIUM CABLE SUBSCRIPTION MONEY, and lousy fights are going to happen for a number of reasons. But that was a lot of them in a row. When the best thing on paper was Golovkin against Geale (which, despite Top Five Rankings in our imaginations for Geale, was an odds mismatch and it turns out, rightfully so), woo boy. I mean, yeah, I'm not mentioning Rios-Chaves. And I'd rather not, either.
Thank the IBF, as their enforcement of the mandatory has given us an actual decent fight for once. Al Haymon has made it so that You, The Fans, are actually going, "You know what's not so bad? Sanctioning bodies." #wretchedyou #youarerancid
3. Action Sleeper: Omar Figueroa vs Daniel Estrada
This card has sort of flown under the radar overall, I think in part because we were all so busy bitching about the Garcia-Salka traveshamockery that we forgot this card was even coming until about Tuesday or Wednesday. Usually we would have started harder on Sunday, but there was still a lot of bitching to do about Garcia-Salka, which somehow lived down to its expectations.
But while the main event is the obvious reason to tune in for this show, Figueroa-Estrada will be opening up the SHO portion of the broadcast at 9:00 pm EDT, and this has action fight written all over it. Estrada (32-2-1, 24 KO) has been right on the fringes of contention in the lightweight division for some time now. Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KO) is an all-action warrior when he's at his best, throwing tons of punches in whirlwind fashion, disregarding defense or his own safety.
The X factor is the health of Figueroa's apparently brittle hands, which were jacked up in his one-sided but somehow thrilling beating of Nihito Arakawa, and bothered him last time out against Jerry Belmontes, too. Figueroa isn't committing to saying the hands are fine, because he's a realistic young fighter. He'll find out once he's clanging his fists off of Estrada's dome. How much will come back? That remains to be seen. But this fight has some real potential to steal the show, and it's a good matchup, too.
4. Sakio Bika and Anthony Dirrell are unhinged
Sakio Bika and Anthony Dirrell are two of my favorite fighters, for a very simple reason: they're both goddamned weird. Bika, a Cameroonian fighting out of Australia, and now trained by the somewhat eccentric St. Louis native Kevin Cunningham, has always been a dirty, ugly, mean-spirited brawler. Cunningham, to his immense credit, has gotten the former Olympian to actually box a bit more, using some of his skills without going all Hulk Bika quite so easily. (Where were you when Hulk Bika pulverized Peter Manfredo in front of a partisan crowd in Providence, Rhode Island?)
Dirrell, on the other hand, just has something in his eyes that has always caught me. He's a little off, a little dangerous, a little wild. All in a good way, mind you. Dirrell is almost nothing like his brother Andre, at least in terms of personality. While Andre is a slick boxer whose dedication to the sport and real desire to be in the ring has come into question over the last four years, Anthony has beaten cancer and come back from a bad motorcycle accident to keep on fighting.
I don't mean any of this to bash Andre, either, which I know I've been accused of quite a few times. Andre is a terrifically talented fighter. Anthony may not have the skills that his brother has, but he's a different type of cat mentally, and that can make all the difference.
Throw in that these two just don't like each other, and Bika-Dirrell II could either be a terrific brawl, or the second premium cable DQ in the last few weeks.
5. Deontay Wilder's going to knock over another fellow
Alabama heavyweight Wilder looks to go to 32-0 with 32 knockouts on Showtime Extreme tonight, facing veteran heavyweight Jason Gavern in a short notice, stay busy fight. It's fine for what it is, and realistically, it's better that Wilder fights than, you know, doesn't fight. I maintain what I feel are reasonable doubts about his true talent level or future in the division, but I know a few things for sure:
- Wilder doesn't sit on the sidelines. He stays busy, and I admire that about him and his team. There's no question that almost all of his fights to date have been hand-picked mismatches, but he was also learning and developing for the vast majority of those. He shows no fear of facing top guys, as far as I can see. This fight in particular is just a circumstantial thing -- he was going to fight Stiverne, who got injured, so Deontay's taking a fight to keep active.
- Wilder is fun to watch.
- Wilder hits like a mutant demon mule kicks.
I can't tell you what to watch or not watch. That's up to You, The Fans. But my recommendation tonight is to grab a seat and check out the fights on Showtime and Showtime Extreme. What else are you doing? And don't you want to know if Rosie Perez will be there?