Saturday night's Mayweather vs Maidana 2 pay-per-view from Showtime Sports has an undercard. It's not a very good one, but there are two world title fights and some potential action displays. This undercard is, quite frankly, very similar to the sort of thing that was so heavily panned going into the Pacquiao-Bradley II rematch in April, but since Top Rank has nothing to do with it, it's forgiven or ignored.
Here's a breakdown of the three PPV undercard bouts and the Showtime Extreme fight (Molina-Soto) coming your way on Saturday.
Miguel Vazquez vs Mickey Bey
Vazquez: Defending IBF lightweight titlist, arguably the best in the world at 135 pounds, though most now would favor the higher-profile and less-boring Terence Crawford. Vazquez (34-3, 13 KO) betrays the Mexican stereotype of a blood and guts warrior, as he's one of the finest technicians in the sport today. And his record is even better than it looks, too. His only losses came in his 2006 pro debut to Canelo Alvarez, in 2007 against Timothy Bradley, and in 2008 in a rematch with Alvarez. When you consider that Bradley's a welterweight and Alvarez is pushing the junior middleweight limit now, it's even better than that. The guy can box. Nobody likes watching him, but he can box.
Bey: Fringe contender at best, but getting a title shot because he's with the Money Team. Bey (20-1-1, 10 KO) trains with Floyd Mayweather Sr and is one of the many guys we've seen over the last decade and change trying to adopt the Floyd Sr defensive style. Few can really do it, and nobody's done it like Floyd does it. But Bey is at least decent, so he's better than the likes of Wes Ferguson. Bey's only career loss was a dramatic 10th round TKO loss against John Molina in July 2013, a fight he had handily won to that point. His level of opposition has been fair at best. He's working on two straight wins over Carlos Cardenas and Alan Herrera.
What to Expect: Bey isn't exciting, and Vazquez certainly isn't. Both are safety-first boxers for the most part, which can be interesting at times if they face a pressure fighter, but when combined, survey says this should stink. Vazquez is clearly the higher-level fighter on paper, and is expected to retain his belt.
Leo Santa Cruz vs Manuel Roman
Santa Cruz: Current holder of the WBC super bantamweight title, and former IBF bantamweight titleholder. Santa Cruz (27-0-1, 15 KO) is an exciting fan favorite, and one of the best young fighters in the sport. The Mexican-American volume puncher turned 26 in August, and has dropped some hints that he's not long for the 122 pound division. As much as everyone likes Santa Cruz, though, the reality is that his opposition has been far from special, and though he's a very good fighter, there's some reason to believe he may be waiting to be exposed against higher level opposition.
Roman: Roman (17-2-3, 6 KO) is not that higher level opposition. Also 26 and a former sparring mate of Santa Cruz's, Roman is nowhere near a legitimate contender at super bantamweight. BoxRec have him ranked 91st in the world -- at bantamweight. This is a farcical matchup, as bad as any of the more high-profile fights that Al Haymon has put together in recent months, that got far more negative press. This is really no better than Garcia-Salka.
What to Expect: Santa Cruz should crush Roman, who is not in his class as a fighter. It's an awful fight.
Alfredo Angulo vs James de la Rosa
Angulo: Hard-nosed brawler who does not betray the Mexican stereotype. Angulo (22-4, 18 KO) is really a thoroughly average overall package, but he's such a tough guy and so effective when he's on his offensive game that he makes up for his porous defense, questionable technique, and concrete feet. He was thrashed by Canelo Alvarez in March, and is now moving up to 160 pounds. The question is whether or not he has much left. Was Canelo that much better than Angulo, or is Alfredo shot at 32?
de la Rosa: 26-year-old middling middleweight fighting out of San Benito, Texas, de la Rosa (22-2, 13 KO) is the right sort of opponent for Angulo to step up. He's competent enough that if Angulo is shot, he might show it, but isn't a true danger if Angulo has something left. That said, Angulo tends to make fights with just about anyone exciting because he's so easy to hit, so de la Rosa shouldn't be totally counted out. That said, he has losses to Allen Conyers and Marcus Willis, a couple of club fighters.
What to Expect: If Angulo's power moves up to 160 (and it should) and he's still got anything left, he should win this fight handily. But like said a moment ago, Angulo is never in a boring fight. Even if it doesn't last long, and he overpowers his foe, he still gets hit plenty, and makes for a fun fight. There aren't many guys in the sport who guarantee excitement the way Angulo can. There's not a style or level he can be matched against that makes for less than a watchable fight.
John Molina vs Humberto Soto
Molina: A true scrapper with a knack for the dramatic. Molina (27-4, 22 KO) can bang with the best of them at 135 or 140, and his most memorable wins are late comeback knockouts of Hank Lundy and Mickey Bey. In his last fight, he fought tooth-and-nail with Lucas Matthysse before being knocked out in the 11th round.
Soto: Soto (64-8-2, 35 KO) is past his prime, but the 34-year-old Mexican is still out there. He's a former titlist at super featherweight, when he was once thought to be a potential huge foil for Manny Pacquiao. That was nearly a decade ago, though, and time has changed a lot of things. Now competing at 140, Soto is small and doesn't have much power at the higher weight. In 2012, he boxed well but was overpowered by Matthysse, but has won six straight against less dangerous opponents.
What to Expect: You never really know what to expect with Molina. He's been knocked out in 44 seconds by Antonio DeMarco, he's been outclassed only to score late KO wins, and he's been life and death with Matthysse. Soto is a bit more predictable, but he's a crafty, smart boxer and shouldn't be easy for Molina, though Molina will have physical advantages. Overall, this is probably the best matchup of the undercard.