If there’s one thing I can predict with certainty about the week ahead in boxing, it’s that Deontay Wilder’s weird “Eyes Wide Shut” mask will make an appearance. But there’s quite a bit on even apart from the American heavyweight contender’s fight with Chris Arreola (which TQBR’s Jonathan Moreland will be covering live from Alabama), so let’s get into it.
- Deontay Wilder vs. Chris Arreola, Saturday, Fox, Birmingham Ala. American heavyweight hope Wilder (who ludicrously owns an alphabet belt) takes a sideways step against Arreola, who long ago ceased to be a contender. I still believe Wilder is very vulnerable, but the 2016 version of Arreola will do more damage to the scale than his opponent. On the undercard, welterweight fringe contenders Sammy Vasquez and Felix Diaz meet. Diaz, a stocky southpaw, was a late replacement for Luis Collazo, but he probably poses more of a threat to Vasquez with his volume and toughness. It should be a good one and the winner will be well placed to get a major fight at welterweight. Also fighting is junior middleweight prospect Erickson Lubin, who’s scheduled to face Ivan Montero. The other undercard fights will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net.
- Sergey Lipinets vs. Walter Castillo, Friday, ESPN/ESPN Deportes, Tunica Miss. Highly fancied Russian junior welterweight prospect Lipinets faces Nicaragua’s Walter Castillo, who’s a tough customer but by no means elite.
- Jayson Velez vs. Rene Alvarado, Friday, Estrella TV, Indio Calif. Puerto Rican junior lightweight Velez looks to bounce back from a pair of losses against Alvarado, a gatekeeper type.
- Orlando Cruz vs. Alejandro Valdez, Friday, Telemundo, Kissimmee Fla. Openly gay featherweight fringe contender Cruz fights unknown Mexican Valdez.
- Miguel Berchelt vs Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Saturday, beIN Sports Español. Mexican junior lightweight prospect Berchelt faces, and should beat, Thailand’s Piriyapinyo, who is most notable for going the distance with Vasyl Lomachenko on the Manny Pacquiao vs Chris Algieri undercard.
- Casey Ramos vs. Hardy Paredes, Saturday, UniMas, Lancaster Calif. A development fight for Texan lightweight prospect Ramos. Paredes is a Chilean journeyman.
Note: Time zone confusion/me being on vacation led to Sergey Kovalev vs Isaac Chilemba on Sunday and Levan Ghvamichava vs Breidis Prescott falling between the cracks and not being previewed last week. I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.
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