Friday June 27
From Braehead Arena, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Time: 12:00 PM PDT, 3:00 PM EDT, 8:00 PM BST
TV: Sky (UK)
Ricky Burns 36(11)-3-1 vs Dejan Zlaticanin 18(13)-0
vacant WBC international lightweight title
Ricky Burns of Scotland is a former multi-divison titlist. At one point, the fight everyone wanted to see what Burns vs Adrien Broner. Americans who believed in Broner wanted to see if Burns was a real champion or not, while those who didn’t like Broner wanted to see Burns expose him. The fight never came to fruition for whatever reason (money.) Following the failed bout, Burns’s career hasn’t been as hot as it once was. Burns’s last 3 fights have been disappointing. You could argue he lost all 3.
Against Jose Gonzalez, Burns was being thoroughly beaten until Gonzalez suddenly quit when he injured his hand. After that, long under-appreciated Ray Beltran went over to Scotland, broke Burns jaw, and dropped him. All it was good for was a draw and complaints from every fan who watched it.
Burns healed up and took no easy fight, instead taking on took on an even more difficult challenge. Highly touted American prospect Terence Crawford crossed the pond to face Burns. Unlike the Beltran fight, this one was easy to call. Burn lost a clear decision against what appears to be a truly special talent in the sport. (We’ll find out more later on in his post.)
Despite the losses, Burns is still a huge draw in Scotland. Burns has always been a tough champion who’s given everyone a good fight. Burns is looking for one last go. Maybe one last run at Omar Figueroa’s WBC lightweight title before he hangs up the gloves.
If Burns is close to what he once was, Zlaticanin will be in trouble. Zlaticanin is from Montenegro and has never fought out of the Mediterranean. His one win on his ledger that suggests he may be a little better than advertised is that he beat Petr Petrov last year. Petrov just won the boxcino tournament on ESPN and has established himself as a viable lightweight contender. Still, Burns has fought on the world scene for a long time. Zlaticanin will need to take a huge leap to pull off the upset.
For more reading on Ricky Burns, check out this short perspective written by a member of Reddit Boxing.
Willie Limond 37(10)-4 vs Curtis Woodhouse 22(13)-6
Commonwealth light welterweight title
BBBofC British light welterweight title
These are 2 guys who will probably never leave the domestic level. They’ve also never faced anyone as good as the other. I like Woodhouse here, mostly because I’ve seen him persevere. I’ve seen him pull wins out, whereas Limond, though more experienced, hasn’t really proven anything.
Stephen Simmons 9(4)-0 vs Wadi Camacho 12(8)-2
Simmons may have a prospect record, but the guy turned pro very late. He’s 29 now and he is likely to never leave the realm of domestic attraction. Camacho tends to own guys with bad records, but hasn’t done anything against the guys who appear to be talented enough to win domestic titles. I think Simmons scores a knockout here.
Scott Cardle 14(3)-0 vs Sylvain Chapelle 14-16-2
Cardle is a lightweight prospect.
From Ameristar Casino, Saint Charles, Missouri
Time: 6:00 PM PDT, 9:00 PM EDT, 2:00 AM BST
TV: ESPN2 (US) DigiSport (Hungary)
Ivan Redkach 16(13)-0 vs Sergey Gulyakevich 41(17)-2
If Redkach is looking to make an impact in the lightweight division, he’d better start moving. The lightweight division is starting to fill up with a lot of players. Miguel Vazquez, Terence Crawford, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ray Beltran, Omar Figueroa, Dierry Jean, Petr Petrov, Ricky Burns, Sergio Thompson, Jorge Linares, those are just some of the names at the division. Redkach looked good in his last fight on Shobox, winning a unanimous decision over Tony Luis. Is it enough though? It remains to be seen. I can’t imagine it indicating any sort of success against Miguel Vazquez.
Gulyakevich may have 41 wins, but most have come in Europe against weak domestic opposition. Redkach, if we’re to believe the hype, is clearly a class above that and will dispose of Gulyakevich. Any sign of struggle and I’d advise you to sell your Redkach stock.
Ryan Kielczweski 19(4)-0 vs Ramsey Luna 12(5)-1
super featherweight division
Kielczweski is a regional fighter who once made a big splash on Friday Night Fights by scoring an improbable stoppage against an undefeated knockout artist. Kielczweski is a decent fighter. He should outbox Luna easily.
From Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Time: 6:25 PM PDT, 9:25 PM EDT, 2:25 AM BST
TV: Showtime (USA)
Errol Spence 12(10)-0 vs Ronald Cruz 20(15)-3
Spence is one of the top young talents in the world, however I had a concern that this former Olympian was being brought along far too slowly by Golden Boy (but really, I mean Al Haymon.) Spence is a strong puncher, he’s quick, he throws beautifully in combination, and his body work is surgical.
With praise like that, you may be thinking that Spence is a little overrated. After all, I did say earlier he’s being brought along slow, and what that often means is he’s facing guys that looked like they were pulled in off the street. That’s true with a lot of prospects and we just saw a tremendously talented, but undeveloped prospect in Gary Russell Jr. lose this past Saturday due to lack of experience. With Spence, that’s not it. Spence does the little things that you see in elite prospects. He fights at a pace someone with his experience rarely does. He transitions into smoothly from defense to offense and back out.
I’m fully confident in Spence and his future. I wrote a month ago about the top prospects in boxing and Spence easily made the list. I expect Cruz to be tough, but he will ultimately crumble. Spence is a 24 year old former Olympian with tremendous talent. I don’t think there’s any stopping the Spence train.
Dominic Wade 15(11)-0 vs Nick Brinson 16(6)-1-2
Golden Boy and Al Haymon see something in Wade. I don’t really know what to think. His opposition has been fairly weak. If Wade isn’t a real talent, he’s going to lose this fight. Brinson doesn’t have much power, but the guy knows how to win. His win over Jorge Melendez is more impressive than anything on Wade’s resume. This fight has that sneaky potential to be way better than anyone’s expecting.
Marcus Browne 10(7)-0 vs Yusaf Mack 31(17)-7-2
I’m not sure if this fight is still on. Boxrec doesn’t have Mack listed, while Showtime does.
Saturday June 28
From Centro de Espectaculos, Epazoyucan, Hidalgo, Mexico
Time: 9:00 PM PDT, 11:00 PM EDT, 5:00 AM BST
TV: Televisa (Mexico)
Oswaldo Novoa 13(8)-4-1 vs ALcides Martinez 12(6)-2-8
WBC minimumweight title
Zulina Munoz 41(26)-1-2 vs Renata Domsodi 12(5)-4
WBC female super flyweight title
From Remington Park, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Shannon Briggs 54(48)-6-1 vs Raphael Zumbano Love 34(27)-7-1
vacant NABA heavyweight title
No word on whether or not this is a final eliminator to face Wladimir Klitschko. Also, this fight has been declared a Shoe Match which means the first one to get hit with a shoe loses.
Ty Cobb 16(9)-5 vs TBA
I wonder if this Ty Cobb fights as dirty as the real Cobb played.
From CenturyLink Center, Omaha, Nebraska
Time: 7:00 PM PDT, 11:00 PM EDT, 3:00 PM BST
TV: HBO (US) Boxnation (UK) Sport 1 (Hungary)
Terence Crawford 23(16)-0 vs Yuriorkis Gamboa 23(16)-0
WBO lightweight title
There are few fighters in the entire sport with as much natural talent as Yuriorkis Gamboa. Gamboa’s speed is breathtaking, his power is bone crunching, his movement is fluid, and to tope it off, he’s elusive. In fact, he’s so talented, that if Gamboa wanted, he could fight just like Rigondeaux, ultra-defensive, and rarely take a punch while scoring highlight reel knockouts. Except, for whatever reason… he doesn’t. It’s just not in his nature.
Gamboa isn’t like Rigondeaux or Erislandy Lara, 2 Cuban maestros. Instead, Gamboa picks and chooses his spots. He’s elusive when he wants to be, and most of the time, he likes to engage. It could be that Gamboa knows he’s as talented as he is and he knows he rarely has to get up for his opponents. That’s been the biggest drawback and criticism in his career. The fact that he rarely looks fully engaged. It leads one to wonder just how good this guy can be if he had an opponent that appeared to remotely interest him.
At long last, Gamboa appears to have gotten an opponent where his natural talent isn’t going to carry the day. A guy that might be able to beat Gamboa at his own game.
Standing opposite of him will be a 26 year old American who got his 1st professional contract because of a recommendation from Mikey Garcia. A guy who’s got amateur wins over Diego Magdaleno, Sadam Ali, and current lineal junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia. A guy who took a grazing bullet to the head.
Terence Crawford is one of the elite young fighters in the sport. He earned his title by going into Ricky Burns’s hometown and clearly beating him. Crawford has been so impressive, it’s tough to find the rounds he’s lost since HBO started to show his fights. If there’s a guy Gamboa can get up for, can maintain his discipline, and be fully engaged from bell to bell, if it’s not Crawford, it’s no one.
Looking back now at Gamboa’s tremendous talent, it doesn’t look as daunting when compared with Crawford’s. Gamboa’s a strong fighter, but surely not as strong as Breidis Prescott, a full on junior welterweight who lost every round to Crawford. Gamboa is fast, but we just saw this weekend that speed won’t help when you’ve got a skilled fighter in front of you. Gamboa is undefeated, but so was Andrey Klimov before he was shut out.
Let’s look at some raw numbers. Crawford, a pure boxer who relies on his jab, is 2 and a half inches taller than Gamboa. That translates into a 5 inch reach advantage. If Crawford starts his jab early and establishes it, there is no way other than a hail mary shot for Gamboa to win this fight. Gamboa isn’t a gritty guy who will abandon his style in order to win. Gamboa is almost too confident in who he is and it can be his downfall this Saturday if Crawford has his way.
And even with that said… I still can’t fully pick Crawford to win this. My head says Crawford is definitely winning this and he’s winning it easily… but my heart and my gut point to something else. They point to the resiliency, the determination, and the balls it takes to defect from Cuba. Reading the story of Dodgers superstar right fielder Yasiel Puig’s defection from Cuba has changed how I view Cuban athletes. Especially those special ones like Puig and Gamboa. Gamboa, like Puig, showed a stubbornness to do things his way. Puig, however, has learned his lessons and made some compromises to achieve success at the highest level. The question will be whether or not Gamboa will do the same in order to continue winning? His future rests on this fight.
Matt Korobov 23(14)-0 vs Jose Uzcategui 22(18)-0
Korobov is a 31 year old “prospect” from Russia. He’s a 2 time world amateur champion and is finally getting his chance to shine in an eliminator for Peter Quillin’s WBO middleweight title. Korobov’s opponent, Uzcategui, is a 23 year-old Venezuelan who lives in Tijuana. If you were putting together the grittiest fighter you could, that might be the 2 nationalities you’d mix together. Antonio Margarito and Edwin Valero. Imagine that. Uzcategui’s style is brutish. He jabs… but he also telegraphs all of his power punches. Strangely, he’s been pretty effective with it (though it’s been.)
Korobov will be faced with a decision early on. It will be whether he wants to box, move laterally and wait for Uzcategui to gas or does he want to slug it out and catch Uzcategui getting reckless? Both will be dangerous. This fight should be entertaining and if Uzcategui wins, I guarantee the fight you will most be clamoring for is Uzcategui vs Golovkin (or vs Ramirez after you watch his HBO debut in July.)
Mikael Zewski 23(18)-0 vs Prince Doku Jr 18(12)-5
It’s tough to tell whether or not Zewski will be a player at welterweight. His progression has been terribly slow. Not Kell Brook slow, but still slow. Doku won’t tell us much about Zewski. He needs a strong test and Doku is coming off 2 tough losses against real good prospects.