I can’t tell you why I find that photo so amusing, I just do. It has absolutely nothing to do with the week’s boxing schedule (though there are fights in Wolverhampton, where that kid’s team is from, this week). There’s a split-site triple header on HBO, featuring Brandon Rios and Sergey Kovalev. At the time of writing, Rios’ opponent Diego Chaves is involved in some kind of immigration snafu, and may not be able to make it up from Argentina. If not, Rios will likely fight on, but against a lesser caliber of opponent. Anyway, let’s get to it — I’ve split the HBO card up because it’s easier to talk about that way.
- Brandon Rios Vs. Diego Chaves, Saturday, HBO, Las Vegas. Assuming Rios (31-2,-1, 23 KO) does face Chaves (23-1, 19 KO), it should be an entertaining fight. If the American welterweight is anything like his old self, he should be able to slowly crush the gutsy Argentine (who will be gutsy enough to put up a good fight). On the other hand, Rios (by virtue of having virtually no defence) has taken an awful lot of punches in his career and the beating he took against Manny Pacquiao could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to his viability as a fighter. If so, Chaves is the kind of guy who’ll be able to take advantage. The other televised fight on this card pits Las Vegas junior welterweight Jessie Vargas (24-0, 9 KO) against Anton Novikov (29-0, 10 KO). From what footage I’ve seen I’ve Novikov, an unremarkable southpaw, expect Vargas to stick and move his way to a decision victory, as he usually does.
- Sergey Kovalev Vs. Blake Caparello, Saturday, HBO, Atlantic City. The patriot in me really wants to pick Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KO) in this light heavyweight bout. But I think he has even less chance against Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KO) than fellow Aussie Daniel Geale had against Gennady Golovkin last week. Like Golovkin, Kovalev is a murderous puncher, but unlike Geale, Caparello doesn’t have much experience at the very top level of his division. That’s a recipe for disaster, even if Caparello can use his natural awkwardness, boxing skills and angles to frustrate the Krusher for a time.
- Thomas Williams, Jr. Vs. Gabriel Campillo, Friday, ESPN2, Shelton Wash. I feel really sorry for light heavyweight Gabriel Campillo (23-6-1, 10 KO), because I feel like the best years of his career were spent getting jobbed against a succession of opponents. After being on the receiving end of two nasty knockouts in his last four fights, he’s being offered up to Williams (17-0, 12 KO), a lefty power puncher from Maryland. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Campillo will be able to outbox Williams — indeed I think he might in the early rounds — but I have a feeling he will end up getting caught in a painful and heartbreaking way.
- The Rest. The aforementioned Wolverhampton fights pit British welterweight standout Frankie Gavin against Italy’s Leonard Bundu for the European title on Friday. Aussie heavyweight Lucas Browne is on the undercard against unknown Ukrainian Andriy Rudenko… On Telemundo the same night flyweights Daniel Lozano and Antonio Garcia square of… On Saturday night Fox Deportes has junior lightweight Sergio Thompson against Adones Aguelo in an eliminator for the belt currently owned by Takashi Miura, who alread beat him.