Hope you’ve enjoyed the last couple of more or less boxing-less weeks, because the sport is back with a vengeance this weekend. Indeed, it might be the single best weekend of the year so far, and it’s all down to the little guys, with a pair of flyweight bouts set to shake up that division and potentially crown a new lineal champion. There are also a whole bunch of less-jaw-dropping-but-probably-still-OK fights on TV, including the returns of junior welterweights Adrien Broner and Lucas Matthysse, as well as welterweight Andre Berto. As usual, the picture (of referee Tony Weeks wedding a couple) has nothing to do with the schedule, but it’s amazing (and via our friends at r/boxing). In non-fight-but-still-schedule-related news, keep an eye out for the second episode of Mayweather-Maidana All Access on Saturday night.
- Akira Yaegashi Vs. Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Friday, Tokyo. The first in the aforementioned pair of exquisite featherweight fights, this has so much potential. Not only is Yaegashi (20-3, 10 KO) the lineal champion, he’s also a hard sumbitch who knows his way around a combination or two. The first impression that many of us got of him was in a rock ‘em, sock ‘em slug fest with Pornsawan Porpramook, which belied how skilled he can be. That said, he’s not as technical as Chocolatito (39-0, 33 KO); who jabs, hooks and fires combos beautifully; nor as powerful. Leather is going to fly, but I think the difference in the fight will be Yaegashi’s lack of defence. He’s really wide open sometimes, and not many people stay standing up for long when they’re wide open in front of Chocolatito’s right hand.
- Juan Francisco Estrada Vs. Giovani Segura, Saturday, beIN Sports Espanol, Mexico City. Two of Mexico’s best at the lower weights, and the #1 and #6 in the division, respectively, are set for a major showdown in their capital. It will be a war for as long as it lasts, that much is certain. Every single fight Segura (32-3-1, 28 KO) is. The guy is an absurd whirlwind/caveman hybrid. Estrada (26-2, 19 KO) comes from a different school — he’s just as macho, but has sublime skills and speed that make him one of the best guys in the sport to watch. He is going to hit Segura an awful lot with a huge variety of punches. Segura’s pressure will keep it close until the middle rounds, but after that I think Estrada starts mangling his face and comes away with the stoppage win.
- Adrien Broner Vs. Emmanuel Taylor, Saturday, Showtime, Cincinnati. It’s a sad day when beIN Sports Espanol, a virtually unknown Spanish soccer channel, has better fights than Showtime, but there you go. The network continues its somewhat stinky run of mismatches with junior welterweight dickhead Adrien Broner (28-1, 22 KO) against recent Friday Night Fights graduate Emmanuel Taylor (18-2, 12 KO). No disrespect to Taylor, who is a workmanlike dude with an awful nickname (Tranzformer), but Broner is meant to eat him alive and will. It’s not going to be pretty once Broner gets in close. On the undercard, fellow junior welter Lucas Matthysse (35-3, 33 KO) faces Roberto Ortiz (31-0-1, 24 KO), who, despite his impressive looking record, isn’t being given a chance by his fellow Mexicans, which probably tells you what you need to know. Welterweight Andre Berto (28-3, 22 KO) also has a soft comeback, against Steve Upsher Chambers (24-3-1, 6 KO), who must have changed his name from TBA last week. Berto probably deserves a bit of a softy, despite the hate he gets in hardcore fan circles. The rest of the untelevised undercard is stacked with 2012 US Olympians.
- The Rest. Top British junior featherweight Carl Frampton (18-0, 13 KO) is giving Kiko Martinez (31-4, 23 KO) a rematch on Saturday in Belfast. Martinez is the kind of guy who’s never an easy night out, but it’s only fair to assume that Frampton will prevail again. Hopefully a fight with Leo Santa Cruz is around the corner… Also fighting Saturday is lightweight Juan “The Baby Bull” Diaz, who would perhaps be better nicknamed “The Guy Who Can’t Make Up His Mind About Being A Boxer Or A Lawyer.” He’s up against one Carlos Cardenas on UniMas.