This weekend's Sky show is headlined by Stephen Smith v Devis Boschiero. The show isn't the best to say the least, Smith v Boschiero could be good to watch but is a fight Smith should win relatively easily. The rest of the card is dire, especially after Scott Cardle pulled out of his British title defence against Gary Buckland - a torn quadriceps scuppering what was the most even match-up of the card.
The fight is being billed as a world title eliminator, with the winner set to challenge for the IBF super-featherweight title. A title eliminator doesn't always result in the winner fighting for the title but one imagines that won't be the case on this occasion due to Eddie Hearn's close relationship with the IBF.
Boschiero is a solid all-round fighter who is more at home on the front foot; he has a nice jab, can be dangerous with the overhand right and possesses a rock solid chin. However, he lacks speed, his footwork can be sluggish and he's one dimensional. It's also worth noting that all three of his defeats have come when fighting on foreign soil.
If Smith is to go on to world level then this is a fight he should win with ease. He has significant advantages in speed, footwork, accuracy and technical ability. Unless he makes a major mistake, it's hard to see him losing this one.
With Boschiero's come forward style and Smith's timing and accuracy off the back foot, the fight should mesh well and be a pleasant watch for the fans. Boschiero will be game but Smith seems to be a level above him and should be a clear winner via points.
The questions for the fans are this: Is this fight deserving of being an eliminator? And, Is this whole card good enough to be on Sky Sports for three and a half hours?
Not being from the United Kingdom myself, I don't share the same questions about Sky's boxing programming, because I don't pay for cable or satellite or whatever to watch Sky's boxing programming. I watch it because someone in an apartment (or "flat," as they say across the pond) has done things with computers that let me do things with my computer. Half a world away, and here I am, watching your fights.
But this card stood out as a bit of a lemon right from the get-go, and as Dave said, without the Cardle-Buckland fight -- which I expected Cardle to win handily, but as a nice next step for him -- it's really pretty lousy. Smith-Boschiero is not exactly poor matchmaking, but as a TV main event it's below average at best. Boschiero is one of those competent but entirely unremarkable fighters who build their records fighting largely weak opposition, but frankly the same could be said of Smith thus far. If Smith fights to his potential, he should win handily. If he's not at his best, it could be a bit more competitive than anticipated.
Without Cardle-Buckland, the rest of this show is nothing but showcase matchups, though Eddie Hearn has gone to the trouble of flying in Nigel Edwards, Trinidad and Tobago's top light heavyweight, to face Hosea Burton.