Besides the bantamweight tournament finale freshly previewed below, there are indeed a couple other worthy bouts happening this week, one of them worthy enough for our Alex McClintock to go cover it live and in person. This is how it do:
- Kermit Cintron vs. Antwone Smith, Friday, ESPN2 et al, St. Charles Mo. Someday, somebody will figure out Cintron. Maybe it’ll be him. We last saw the physically talented and not-unskilled Cintron turning in an uninspired effort one month ago against crafty Carlos Molina, the kind that had everyone wondering if he had any passion for boxing at all. Then he turns right around and takes a very difficult fight against Smith that makes you think he’s made of sterner stuff. But then, Cintron’s always been willing to get into the ring with anyone; it’s just that, often, he seems to want to get out of it just as fast. You can’t say he’s not interesting, at least. And the pressuring style of Smith — still recovering from a loss last year that stymied his considerable, out-of-nowhere upward ascent but that he blamed on a virus — leads to a lot of high-contact affairs. In other words, this should be good, one way or another. Gimme Smith for the win. The winner deserves a top-10 ranking at welter. Why the fight’s in St. Charles, Mo., I don’t have the imagination to answer.
- Teon Kennedy vs. Alejandro Lopez, Saturday, Fox Deportes et al, Atlantic City. Kennedy’s junior featherweight slugfest with Jorge Diaz won praise all around, including from our Scott Kraus, who witnessed it ringside. Unfortunately, it’s the one major Fight of the Year candidate for 2011 so far that you had to be ringside to see, unless you count a brief highlight clip on HBO. Top Rank’s website: Can you assist? This time around, Kennedy is getting some needed TV love. Lopez doesn’t have any noteworthy wins, but he gave the aforementioned Diaz a really freaking tough night that I actually scored for Lopez. Expect action. It’s an all-action kind of weekend, really. Our man McClintock will be on the scene for this card.
- Luis Concepcion vs. Manuel Vargas, Thursday, Panama City. This must be what’s in Concepcion’s head: “I couldn’t beat this one Nonito Donaire victim, Hernan Marquez, so I’ll try to beat another.” Vargas is good for a few things: Action (there’s that “action” stuff happening again this weekend); losing to the top, top guys, like Giovani Segura, Roman Gonzalez and Donaire; and I simply won’t ever forget his ill-advised plan to load up on painkillers before fighting Donaire, not because it’s a bad idea to kill pain but because it’s a good way to get your own self killed. Concepcion looked so flawed in his last flyweight fight that I wouldn’t put it past Vargas to pull off the upset, but this is more a tune-up/stay-busy than not.
- The Rest. We already missed out on a significant fight from this week, which happened today between Ring Magazine’s #2 strawweight Kazuto Ioka and Juan Hernandez; Ioka won… The Kimbo Slice boxing debut is scheduled to happen Saturday, as if I give a fuck… I keep thinking lightweight Luis Ramos, Jr. will break out sometime soon, but on the Joseph Agbeko-Abner Mares undercard Saturday, he’s taking a similar fight to several of his recent fights, against David Rodela; maybe it’s because he’s had some setbacks where he didn’t look so hot… bantamweight Eric Morel, due to fight on the Floyd Mayweather/Victor Ortiz undercard, is tuning up on the Agbeko-Mares undercard… Antonio Diaz provided this thoughtful look back on his career, which at this point isn’t in the kind of shape to be headlining a TeleFutura Solo Boxeo Tecate card, yet that’s what he’s doing this Friday; I guess if it’s truly a fight where he’s retiring, maybe the angle is that he deserves a send-off like this.