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Top Rank announces fall boxing schedule on ESPN networks

No surprises on what amounts to a four-week run, but it’s a pretty nice four-week run.

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

Top Rank held a press conference today in Las Vegas to officially announce four cards coming this fall, none of which were a surprise — all had been previously reported — but all the same, it looks like a good run of fights.

On Oct. 18 from Philadelphia’s Liacouras Center, light heavyweight titleholders Artur Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KO) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KO) meet in the main event, looking to unify the IBF and WBC belts at 175 pounds. This is arguably the best fight on the schedule right now, in all of boxing, period. It’s not the biggest, but it just might be the best. That show will air on ESPN.

Oct. 26 will see Shakur Stevenson (12-0, 7 KO) attempt to win his first world title as a pro, as the 22-year-old Olympic silver medalist takes on Joet Gonzalez (23-0, 14 KO) for the vacant WBO featherweight title, recently given up by Oscar Valdez, who is moving up in weight.

Here, you can see Stevenson almost forget he was supposed to try to ramp up interest in this fight by talking shit, but then he remembers and does a mediocre Adrien Broner impression:

Anyway, that fight will take place at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada. It’s a perfectly good fight, try not to hold that lame presser performance against it. Stevenson-Gonzalez will air on ESPN+.

On Nov. 2, ESPN will again look to counter-program a Canelo Alvarez fight, as they did on May 4 when Canelo fought Daniel Jacobs on DAZN. That night’s Beterbiev-Kalajdzic card delivered a whopping 480,000 viewers to ESPN airwaves, so you can see why they’re going back to the well again when Canelo faces Sergey Kovalev on DAZN, having had such great success the first time.

The Nov. 2 Top Rank card will be headlined by 130-pound titleholder Miguel Berchelt against Jason Sosa. Berchelt (36-1, 32 KO) is must-see TV, so if nothing else set your DVR and all that. Sosa (23-3-4, 16 KO) is a tough veteran fighter, someone who always gives his very best effort, and they’re marketing this aggressively (as they should) on the Mexico vs Puerto Rico angle.

On Nov. 9, Jamel Herring (20-2, 10 KO) will make the first defense of the WBO super featherweight title he won on May 25, as he takes on mandatory challenger Lamont Roach Jr (19-0-1, 7 KO). This is a well-matched fight, as Herring is working from here on to establish himself as a true top-tier super featherweight, and Roach looks to graduate from prospect status at age 24. Herring-Roach will be an ESPN+ event.

All in all, a solid collection of main events from Top Rank and ESPN.

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