What a great time of year. The birds are singing in the trees. Things are getting back on track after holiday excesses. People are riding the subway without pants. Boxing is back on premium cable. It's back in a big way too, with a sexy triple-header on HBO. There's also various other happenings including hard luck story Gabriel Campillo's return on NBC Sports and various other happenings.
- Orlando Salido vs. Mikey Garcia, Saturday, HBO, New York. Our Tim Starks will have the full preview of the main event later in the week, but suffice to say that Orlando Salido and Mikey Garcia are two of the best featherweights in the world and they both love to fight. On the undercard, middleweight phenom Gennady Golovkin (24-0, 21 KO) is taking on junior middleweight fan favourite Gabriel Rosado (21-5, 13 KO), who's moving up. Rosado bravely (or foolhardily, depending which way you look at it) chose not to exercise his contractual right to a catchweight. He's a talented boxer and a tough guy who's learned from his losses, but I don't see anything he brings to the table that can beat Golovkin. The Kazakh nightmare is just faster, better balanced, more skilled and punches harder. Hard to get around those facts, especially when you're the naturally smaller man. The other televised undercard bout pits Mexico against Puerto Rico in a junior lightweight fight between Juan Carlos “Mini” Burgos (30-1, 20 KO) and Rocky Martinez (26-1-1, 16 KO). With Burgos and Martinez at #4 and #3 in the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board's divisional rankings, respectively, there are at least a few marbles on the line in this fight. Martinez, no oil painting, has some facial reconfiguration power of his own, usually opting to brawl and land a big right hand. Burgos is a little more skilled, but always active. Martinez' last fight against Miguel Beltran, Jr. might be instructive here. The Mexican's pressure and activity troubled Martinez throughout their 12 round war and Martinez was lucky to escape with the decision. I think the man from south of the border can do one better this time.
- Gabriel Campillo vs. Sergey Kovalev, Saturday, NBC Sports, Uncasville Conn. Spanish light heavyweight Gabriel Campillo (21-4-1, 8 KO) might be the most oft screwed man in boxing – quite a distinction. He's lost and drawn multiple fights he pretty clearly should have won on both sides of the Atlantic. If he'd got the decision he deserved against Tavoris Cloud last February, then you can bet he wouldn't be fighting a scary, power punching Russian prospect like Sergey Kovalev (19-0-1, 17 KO) on Saturday. That's not to say that he shouldn't be the favourite here, it'd just be nice to see him in the bigger fights he deserves. The Spanish southpaw should have the height, skills and concentration to outpoint Kovalev. The Fort Lauderdale based Ruski might pose some problems, though; he hits hard with both hands and knows how to set them up. He carries his hands mighty low though, so my pick is for him to end the fight a bit busted up and outpointed.
- The Rest. Friday sees Frankie Gavin (14-0, KO 10) defend his British welterweight title against Jason Welborn (11-1, 5 KO) at Walsall in England; expect more from our Andrew Harrison shortly… Fox Deportes has a Saturday show from Villahermosa, Mexico featuring junior lightweight Sergio Thompson (25-2, 23 KO) against TBA. He might not have fought anyone of note recently, but Thompson sure does like to keep busy… Wolverhampton England hosts one of those cool prizefighter tournaments the same night, this time in the welterweight division.