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The Five: Best fights on tap for September

What are the best fights coming up next month on the boxing schedule? These fights. Or others. Your call.

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Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

This is an opening paragraph. I have no real opening paragraph for this post. I'm just being honest with you all. Shooting from the hip. I'm a real straight shooter.

Honorable Mentions: There are a few nice prospect vs veteran fights on tap: Errol Spence vs Chris van Heerden (September 11, PBC on Spike), Oscar Valdez vs Chris Avalos (September 11, truTV), and Marcus Browne vs Gabriel Campillo (September 12, PBC on CBS). They're nice steps for the young guys, and could be good tests. The Browne-Campillo fight in particular could be a trap, as Campillo is a crafty, awkward fighter if he gets out of the first few rounds, being a notorious slow starter. ... Kind of have to mention Mayweather-Berto here. It's a big deal and obviously the biggest fight of the month, but also a true mismatch on paper and something almost nobody anticipates being competitive or particularly entertaining. ... There's also a really nice prospect-prospect clash set for the September 29 edition of PBC on FOX Sports 1, with unbeatens Domonique Dolton and Oscar Molina going head-to-head at 154 pounds. Neither has really been tested on purpose yet. ... The Cornelius Bundrage-Jermall Charlo fight (September 12, PBC on NBC) is a fine matchup with some stakes in the division, including K9's IBF belt.

Dishonorable Mentions: Obviously, all of this is on paper, and sometimes what appear to be lame fights wind up being a gas. But Adonis Stevenson vs Tommy Karpency (September 11, PBC on Spike), Peter Quillin vs Michael Zerafa (September 12, PBC on NBC), Deontay Wilder vs Johann Duhaupas (September 26, PBC on NBC), and Omar Figueroa vs Antonio DeMarco (September 26, PBC on NBC) all fail the smell test, unless a passing grade is a fart.


5. Juan Francisco Estrada vs Hernan "Tyson" Marquez (September 26, beIN Sports Español)

"El Gallo" Estrada is the second-best flyweight in the world behind Roman Gonzalez, and has a solid argument to be considered a top 10 pound-for-pound guy. He does have two career losses -- one in 2011 to Juan Carlos Sanchez Jr and one in 2012 to Gonzalez -- but he's on a great run right now. Estrada followed his fairly competitive loss to "Chocolatito" with an upset win over Brian Viloria, and has beaten Milan Melindo, Richie Mepranum, Giovani Segura, Joebert Alvarez, and Rommel Asenjo since then. Marquez has not been on a good run at all -- he's 3-2-1 in his last six fights, stopped twice and going to a draw with a club fighter. But he's won his last two fights, albeit it against lower level opponents. The real red flag might be that Marquez hasn't actually made the 112-pound limit since late 2013, when he was knocked out by Segura. And the last time he faced a tough opponent, McJoe Arroyo pretty much beat the crap out of him. This figures to have solid action if nothing else, and that's enough to give it a cautionary recommendation.

4. Badou Jack vs George Groves (September 12, Showtime PPV)

Badou Jack may not be the strongest world titleholder one can think of, or in the top 20 or whatever, but he's got the WBC belt, and he went to what seemed a new level against Anthony Dirrell to win it in April. Whether or not that was a blip for Jack, a sort of back-against-the-wall big performance (like we saw from Victor Ortiz against Andre Berto a few years ago), remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen where Groves is really at with his career. The two fights with Carl Froch took a toll, and he hasn't exactly been spectacular in wins over Christopher Rebrasse and Denis Douglin since then. There are questions to answer on both sides, a titleholder looking to prove he belongs and a challenger hungry to win that world title in his third try.

3. Dave Ryan vs John Wayne Hibbert (September 12, Sky Sports)

The Commonwealth junior welterweight title is on the line here (as well the WBC international belt, whatever that's worth), but the real reason here this is such a good fight is that Ryan and Hibbert put on good fights. They first met in March 2013, with Ryan winning a 10-round decision on a ref's score of 97-95. Their second fight came on May 30 of this year, and it was a knock-down, drag-out brawl, a quiet contender for Fight of the Year, in my view. Both fighters were dropped twice, with Ryan again emerging victorious, this time via 9th round TKO. There's a chance this will be a letdown fight, as Hibbert may have left it all in the ring last time out, but benefit of the doubt is earned here. Ryan-Hibbert III is the true best reason to tune in to this Anthony Joshua-led card.

2. Rocky Martinez vs Orlando Salido (September 12, Showtime PPV)

The best fight on the Mayweather-Berto card, and even Leonard Ellerbe has said so without explicitly saying so. In all reality, despite our bitching and moaning about the main event, this is fight-for-fight a more solid PPV card than most. Martinez beat Salido on April 11 in Puerto Rico to win the WBO super featherweight title, and this rematch makes the most sense for both guys right now. Salido is a tornado of reckless offense at his best, and you really can't beat him into submission. I mean, Mikey Garcia tried, and it took a weird finish for Garcia to escape Salido's bull charge. (I don't care what anyone says, Salido was coming on REALLY hard in that fight, and Garcia was slipping.) Should be a fun fight and a good reason to buy the show beyond, "Well, it's Floyd Mayweather, I might as well."

1. Jamie McDonnell vs Tomoki Kameda (September 6, PBC on CBS)

It's a good month for rematches and rivalries. McDonnell came over to Texas and upset Kameda for the WBA "world" bantamweight title on May 9, proving that he was no domestic fighter. Kameda has at times looked great and at times a little closer to "just good," and this is a big, big fight for the Japanese fighter, the youngest and best of the fighting Kamedas. If Tomoki falls short here, a lot of the hype really goes away. But another McDonnell win proves the remaining skeptics he has wrong once again. Their first fight was quite entertaining, and this one could be even better now that both know what the other's weaknesses and strengths are.

What are YOUR five best for September? What fights are you looking forward to the most?

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