I’m almost as excited by the future of sport (see the above video) as I am about the boxing that’s on this week. Luckily, if there’s one sport that will be spared in the Taser introduction revolution, it’s boxing. Boxing is already super exciting and features lots of people suddenly falling over. But imagine the boon for less fortunate and exciting sports, like baseball.
Anywho, let’s get to this week’s fights. Paul Williams and Tavoris Cloud are making their respective returns on Showtime on Saturday night after having been out of the ring for a while. Vitali Klitschko defends his heavyweight belt against fun but rather inexperienced Briton Dereck Chisora in Germany on the same day. Jorge Arce is fighting in Mexicali (he seems to fight every couple of hours) and there are Shobox and Friday Night Fights Cards. If you so choose, you could probably pass the entire 48 hour period from Friday night until Sunday doing nothing but watching boxing. Wouldn’t that be a quality weekend?
- Paul Williams vs. Nobuhiro Ishida and Tavoris Cloud vs. Gabriel Campillo, Saturday, Showtime, Corpus Christi Texas. It’s a fairly interesting card, both in an out of the ring, from Texas on Saturday on Showtime. Many have questioned whether junior middleweight Ishida, who shockingly knocked out James Kirkland last year, is deserving of this level of exposure. It’s also been suggested that the influence of super-manager Al Haymon with the new management at Showtime has something to do with Williams getting on a big show against Ishida. In the fight itself, I don’t see a way that Ishida (24-6-2) beats even a version of Williams (40-2) that might be diminished by punishment taken against Antonio Margarito, Carlos Quintana, Sergio Martinez and Erislandy Lara. Williams was brutally KO’d by Sergio Martinez, but his chin is not James Kirkland style questionable. He’ll likely just overwhelm his much less experienced Japanese opponent. In the co-feature, exciting light heavyweight contenders Cloud and Campillo will go at it. Cloud (23-0) was originally meant to face Zsolt Erdei on New Year’s Eve, but Erdei dropped out with a hand injury. That card was scrapped, but we get Cloud vs. Campillo as a consolation prize. Spain’s Campillo (21-3-1) is maybe one of the unluckiest men in boxing, having been on the wrong end of decisions against fellow contenders Karo Murat and Beibut Shumenov. He offered Shumenov a rematch after winning their first fight, only to find that Shumenov didn’t return the favour when he won their hugely controversial second bout. When actually fighting, he’s a gutsy southpaw with pretty poor footwork but a relaxed style and a decent chin. He’ll need that against Cloud, who punches damn hard and showed against Glen Johnson in 2010 that he can sustain a very high work rate as well. Campillo is absolutely not a puncher so the fight may come down to whether Cloud can deal with a slightly weird southpaw style. He hasn’t ever faced a quality southpaw before, so it’s difficult to tell. If he can, I say he lands his shots and wins a fairly convincing victory, maybe by KO.
- Vitali Klitschko vs. Dereck Chisora, Saturday, Epix, Munich Germany. Damn Germany, you cray! You bought 35,000 tickets to a fight where your guy is an eight-to-one favourite? Oh well, there’s no accounting for taste, and at least heavyweight boxing is healthy somewhere. Chisora (15-2) is coming off an absolute robbery loss against Robert Helenius, so it’s nice that he got another big bout. In that fight, the sometimes tubby Chisora was in the shape of his life and bullied the Nordic Nightmare around the ring with leaping left hooks, body work and uppercuts. There’s no reason to believe that he’d not be in the same shape for this bout, the most important of his career. There’s a very small minority who believe he might be able to do the same thing to Vitali. Unlikely. Klitschko (43-2) has a much better jab, cross and avoid game going on than Helenius. He’s also a bigger, more powerful man. It’s true that he’s 40 now and injuries have been an issue in his career, but that’s not really something to bank on. As much as I’d love to see Chisora win (he collects old cabs and telephone boxes!), I just can’t see it happening.
- Mike Dallas Jr. vs. Miguel Gonzalez, Friday, ESPN2, Arlington Texas. This junior welterweight bout might be a bit of a “trading places” situation. Dallas Jr was once the up and comer, but has now lost two on the trot, one by KO. Gonzalez lost two fights earlier in his career, but has been in tough the whole way up and seems to have learnt a lot from the experience. If Gonzalez (20-2) can knock off Dallas Jr. (17-2-1) then he’ll be in line for more TV dates at this level. They’re actually very similar fighters, using their flashy handspeed to control from range. It seems (with the limited footage available of Gonzalez) that neither likes to fight on the inside, though Dallas Jr. can look alright while shoe shining. This might be a boring jab fest, but both men must know what’s on the line in terms of their careers so hopefully they’ll put on a good show.
- Thomas Dulorme vs. Aris Ambriz, Friday, Showtime, Santa Ynez Calif. There are two junior welterweight prospect match ups going head to head on Friday night. Shobox has Puerto Rico’s Thomas Dulorme (13-0) up against tough late substitute Aris Ambriz (16-2-1). Dulorme looked great in knocking out Harrison Cuello last year. He’s a very fast, very powerful southpaw. The main value in this one might be in seeing how he does in comparison to fellow junior welter puncher prospect Pierre Oliver-Cote, who knocked out Ambriz in the fourth round last year.
- The Rest. Junior featherweight Jorge Arce (59-6-2) rematches Lorenzo Parra (31-3-1) on Azteca in Mexicali on Saturday. Good on him for always being busy… Mexicali also plays host to bantamweights Jose Angel Cota (8-6) and Miguel Robles (10-1-2) fighting on TeleFutura… Lightweight Pablo Cesar Cano (22-1-1), who gamely went down to Erik Morales in September last year, faces Francisco Contreras (16-1) on Saturday. Contreras was worryingly injured against Sharif Bogere on Showtime last October. It’s good that Contreras is OK (if he is) and it should be a really fun fight… Awesomely named British junior featherweight Kid Galahad (10-0) faces Jason Booth (36-8) in Yorkshire on the same day.