It’s the third week we’ve run with some kind of Gangnam Style-related clip to start the schedule. This week the excitement isn’t quite as appropriate, with a British show the only top shelf offering. Perhaps a slightly more self-conscious vid is just the ticket, then.
Apart from the aforementioned Ricky Burns vs. Kevin Mitchell lightweight showdown, there’s a lackluster ShoBox card, a Commonwealth featherweight title fight between Steve Molitor and Carl Frampton on ESPN3, a high level cruiserweight rematch in Poland and Jorge Arce fighting in Los Mochis. The insightful and rather debonair Andrew Harrison will have more in depth previews of the British fights later in the week.
- Ricky Burns vs. Kevin Mitchell, Saturday, Glasgow. More than a showdown between the two top British lightweights and an England vs. Scotland grudge match, this is a fight between two of the best 135-pound fighters in the world. Local lad Ricky Burns (34-2) earned his stripes with victories over Michael Katsidis and Rocky Martinez, while Essex boy Kevin Mitchell (33-1) redeemed himself after losing to the same Katsidis by outlasting fellow tough man John Murray in a war. Burns’ and Mitchell’s different experiences with Katsidis are only partially instructive about how they might fair against one another. Burns has the ability and the legs to box at length for an entire 12 round fight, while Mitchell is a bit more obliging against an opponent who wants to trade. It’s not all that smart to oblige Michael Katsidis, unless you’re Juan Manuel Marquez. Does Mitchell have the ability to outbox Burns or, alternatively, to cut him off? I doubt it. The Scot has a two inch height and reach advantage which he will use to its full potential. If Mitchell has his moments, it will at least be a very entertaining game of cat and mouse.
- Carl Frampton vs. Steve Molitor, Saturday, ESPN3, Belfast. Rising junior featherweight prospect Carl Frampton faces the toughest test of his career with a hometown bout against 32-year-old Canadian Steve Molitor. British experts and fans are high on Frampton (14-0), possibly with good reason. He’s a pleasure to watch, delivering hard shots at both short and long range. Molitor (34-2) might not be what he used to — he lost to Takalani Ndlovu last year having beaten him twice before, and he took a pretty bad beating at the hands of Celestino Caballero back in 2008. Still, he’s a fairly nifty boxer and he’d be a real feather in Frampton’s cap.
- Gabriel Rosado vs. Charles Whittaker, Friday, NBC Sports Net, Bethlehem, Pa. Junior middleweight Gabe Rosado (20-5-2) has, in two years, gone from used goods to legit contender. Charles Whittaker (38-12-2) of the Cayman Islands isn’t really on the Philadelphian’s level and, come Saturday morning, may well wish he’d stay in less taxing environs. As Mark Ortega outlined earlier in the month, the plan is for Rosado to beat Whittaker in an eliminator to face Cornelius Bundrage for an alphabet belt. Rosado is very motivated these days, so it could be fun anyway. Gabriel Campillo withdrew from the undercard injured, just another hiccup in a seemingly never ending series of tough breaks for the Spanish light heavyweight. New York’s Lionell Thompson (12-1) steps in to fill the void against Sergey Kovalev (18-0-1), but will most likely be out of his depth against the Russian puncher.
- The Rest. On Thursday night frustratingly slowly moved junior middleweight prospect Demetrius Andrade faces some someone or other off TV in Rhode Island… Friday brings a rather poor ShoBox card headlined by junior featherweight Efrain Esquivias (16-1), who gave Rico Ramos a surprising amount of static in June, in a fight against Colombia’s Jhonatan Romero (21-0)… On Saturday TeleFutura is showing middleweights DonYil Livingston (8-1-1) and Paul Mendez (9-2-1) in what is essentially a California club fight… Jorge Arce also fights Saturday, against an opponent not named Donaire, Vazquez, Marquez or Nishioka… Saturday will also feature difficult to pronounce Polish light heavyweight Krzystztof Wlodarcyk (46-2-1) against Puerto Rico’s Francisco Palacios (21-1) in a rematch of an entertaining fight the Pole narrowly won last year… Showtime will show episode two of it’s “All Access” series last weekend’s main event between “Canelo” Alvarez and Josesito Lopez. It’s a high quality production, but I’m not sure what else there is to say about that rather sad, in the end, fight.