Is that video more entertaining than a Yuriorkis Gamboa fight? Ooooh – is that a bit harsh? The video is pretty entertaining and bashing Gamboa is pretty hot right now. Let’s just all settle down and concentrate on the fights at hand this week. There’s one big card on Showtime headlined by Adrien Broner and a smattering of other fights to keep you busy.
- Adrien Broner vs. Paulie Malignaggi, Saturday, Showtime, Brooklyn. This probably doesn’t come as a shock if you’re a fan of the site, but there’ll be an in depth preview for Broner vs. Malignaggi later in the week. I’d be shocked if Broner (26-0, 22 KO) lost to the tough but feather fisted Malignaggi (37-4, 7 KO). The only way I can imagine Broner losing is an unlikely scenario in which the move from lightweight to welterweight diminishes virtually every aspect of the Cincinnati fighter. The undercard features a rematch between heavyweight Jonathon Banks (29-1-1, 19 KO) and Seth Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KO). Mitchell, a former college footballer widely touted as the next big American heavyweight, was spectacularly knocked out by Banks in November last year. I didn’t particularly consider the result a surprise – Mitchell had already shown an iffy chin against lesser fighters than Banks, one of the more professional heavyweights in America today. Banks, who trains top heavyweight Wlad Klitschko and fights out of the late Emanuel Steward’s Kronk Gym, just needs to do exactly what he did in the last fight — use Mitchell’s inexperience against him. Mitchell is a good athlete, and taking the immediate rematch was very gutsy, but I don’t see how he can win this one. Sharing the undercard is another fight that might seem competitive at a glance but really isn’t — super middleweight Sakio Bika (31-5-2, 21 KO) fighting Mexico’s Marco Antonio Periban (20-0, 13 KO). Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t think Periban is any good. I see him as slow, predictable and a bit chinny. That’s not a very good combination against Bika, who has his flaws (he loves to foul and slaps with his shots) but hits very hard and very often.
- Rances Barthelmy vs. Fahsi Sakkreerin, Friday, ESPN2, Minneapolis. Did you hear the one about the Cuban fighter headlining the boxing card in Minneapolis? Neither did I, because it’s not a joke, it’s just this week’s Friday Night Fights card. The Cuban in question is junior lightweight Rances Barthelmy –the guy that commentators say is “not your typical Cuban” who is actually a completely typical Cuban (perhaps a little like Yuriorkis Gamboa — oooh, I did it again). You might remember him for getting a gift decision in the very first FNF of the season, against Arash Usmanee. I can dig up no footage of his Thai opponent, so I can’t really speculate on what will happen in this fight, but I can say that Barthelmy needs to pick up his work rate if he wants to be a legit contender. Chicago super middleweight Don George (24-3-2, 21 KO) fights Caleb Truax (21-1-1, 12 KO) on the undercard. Truax, despite his cool name, lost to the ghost of Jermain Taylor and should be easy enough pickings for George.
- The Rest. Mexican flyweight Julian Rivera (12-7-1, 2 KO) faces Matthew Villanueva (9-0-1, 8 KO) in Mexico City on Telemundo Friday night… The man of many consonants, cruiserweight Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (47-2-1, 33 KO) fights Rakhim Chakhkiev (16-0, 12 KO) in Moscow, also on Friday.