Wednesday July 9
From Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: Fox Sports 1 (US)
Time: 7:00 PM PDT, 10:00 PM EDT, 3:00 AM BST
Alfonso Gomez 23(12)-6-2 vs Ed Paredes 35(23)-3-1
light middleweight division
Golden Boy has a soft sport for fighters who take extended breaks from the ring. Gomez is yet another fighter coming off a long vacation and is back hoping to make one last run. Gomez, back when he was a boxer in 2012, suffered 2 straight losses to Shawn Porter and Canelo Alvarez before taking his break.
Why is Golden Boy giving Gomez a headlining spot when they can easily bill this as a prospect card and really promote the hell out of Jo Jo Diaz? Well, maybe because Gomez was a contestant on NBC’s The Contender. The show yielded quite a few interesting fighters including Ishe Smith, Peter Mandfredo, and Sergio Mora. Maybe Golden Boy thinks that’s going to get people to tune into this card…
Anyway, Gomez did score a win over Mandredo, but lost in their rematch. He would’ve probably scored a victory over Ishe Smith in his 2nd fight if he could have stopped hitting him in the family jewels. Other notable victories for Gomez include Arturo Gatti (but Gatti had no business at welterweight), Jesus Soto Karass (who had a problem controlling where his punches landed), and Jose Luis Castillo (who was 65 years young at the time.)
Joseph Diaz 10(7)-0 vs TBA
super bantamweight division
Here is the reason to watch this card. Well, as long as he’s in with someone competitive. Diaz is one of the premier prospects in the world. Last month I rated him the 6th best prospect in the world. Diaz still has a lot of growing to do, but where he’s at right now, he could contend with most of the top at super bantamweight.
His opponent still hasn’t been selected, but let’s hope they continue what they started in his last time out and start testing him. The Gary Russell Jr. fight should have sent a chill down the spine of promoters around the world, warning them about over-protecting their young talent.
If there’s one difference between Diaz and Russell Jr, it’s that Diaz was a special amateur who scored a win over Oscar Valdez. Valdez is currently he best prospect in the game, so that’s saying something. Diaz should do nothing but coast in this fight, no matter who they put him against. I would go so far as to say he’s about on par with Scott Quigg. In fact, if those 2 were fighting, I would think Diaz wouldn’t be too small of an underdog.
Diego De La Hoya 5(4)-0 vs TBA
It’s still very early for De La Hoya, but so far so good.
Thursday July 10
From Convention Center, Miami, Florida
TV: Fox Sports 1 (US)
Time: 7:00 PM PDT, 10:00 PM EDT, 3:00 AM BST
Argenis Mendez 21(11)-2-1 vs Rances Barthelemy 19(12)-0
IBF super featherweight title
Barthelemy originally scored a knockout over Mendez on the January 3rd edition of Friday Night Fights. The knockout ruling was overturned by the IBF after Mendez complained that the knockout blow from Barthelemy came after the bell. While Mendez’s complaint/protest was valid, the outcome of the fight was all but guaranteed. From the opening bell, it was clear that Mendez wasn’t going to be able to handle Barthelemy’s power. The first punch Barthelemy landed, a fairly average left hook, wobbled Mendez. Mendez never looked like he was on steady legs before Barthelemy ultimately knocked him out.
Regardless, we have a rematch and the outcome is fairly predictable. Even if Barthelemy doesn’t knock Mendez out again, he’s a Cuban amateur with a deep pedigree as a National champion in Cuba. His longer reach coupled with his boxing prowess should earn him the IBF title. Again.
Yunier Dorticos 17(17)-0 vs Edison Miranda 35(30)-9
Dorticos is a 28 year old Cuban prospect who’s been slowly stepping his competition up. While Miranda is a name that certainly screams out ‘prospect test’ (remember his fight with Bute when Bute and the referee beat Miranda?), this time it’s different. Miranda began his career as a middleweight and has fought as high as the light heavyweight division, but now he’s moving to cruiserweight to face Dorticos. Miranda has lost 5 of 7 and is really just a name now. Dorticos should beat him impressively given Miranda’s recent (lack of) success and the new weight class. I only hope this is an exciting fight that exposes and garners more interest for one of the little known, but exciting divisions in boxing.
Erickson Lubin 5(5)-0 vs Noe Bolanos 25(16)-9-1
junior middleweight division
Lubin is everything you want to see in a prospect. He’s a real throwback to welterweights of the past. He’s 6 feet, can make 147, and throws with bad intentions. Lubin was one of the top American amateurs before he was signed (or poached, depends who you’re asking) to Iron Mike Promotions. Despite how dominant Lubin has looked to date, he’s still pretty raw. Bolanos represents a significant step up for Lubin. As you read in the Diaz preview, it seems like promoters are starting to get nervous about their young studs and want to have them properly tested before they fail on a big stage. For guys like Lubin, he’ll be tested sooner rather than later given his immense talent.
Bolanos doesn’t have a terrific resume, but he’s got experience. The kind of experience that should give Lubin some good looks if he lasts. Really, Lubin should blow Bolanos out of the water.
Friday July 11
From Rivers Casino, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Paul Spadafora 48(19)-1-1 vs Hector Velazquez 56(38)-21-3
junior welterweight division
Spadafora was a legend on boxing message boards from an infamous sparring session he had with Floyd Mayweather in which he “toyed” with the pound-for-pound king. Unfortunately for anyone who dreamed of a match between the two, Spadafora’s career would be derailed by a prison stint after allegedly shooting his girlfriend. Two years after being released for that offense, he was sent back to prison for a violation of his parole. Now, all that’s left of Spadafora is a bunch of “what ifs?”
Spadafora’s last fight with Johan Perez (you’ll read about him later) told you everything you need to know. Spadafora, 38, looked old. He looked like a guy who relied on natural reflexes that had left him behind long ago. He now faces Hector Velazquez whose the kind of guy that fights multiple times a year, traveling all around the globe, and at any weight. His last fight was in March against Michael Farenas at super featherweight.
From Little Creek Casino Resort, Shelton, Washington
TV: ESPN2 (US) DigiSport (Hungary)
Time: 6:00 PM PDT, 9:00 PM EDT, 2:00 AM BST
Tureano Johnson 14(10)-1 vs Mike Gavronski 14(10)-0-1
Johnson was an Olympian at the Beijing games who was on his way to scoring a victory over heavy hitter Curtis Stevens back in April. Heading into the final round, Curtis Stevens had consistently been beaten to the punch and needed a knockout to win. Stevens looked sloppy as Johnson went to work doing what he had done the 9 previous rounds, stepping inside and landing hard short hooks. Johnson, if only for a moment, got reckless and opened himself up for Stevens’s patented left hook. Immediately, Johnson’s hands fell and Stevens stepped in for the kill. Gone was Johnson’s undefeated streak.
Johnson disputed the stoppage and felt he could go on, but anyone watching that knows that it was probably the right call. There was still 50 seconds left in the round. Johnson had his back to the ropes and Stevens was no doubt going to find a home for his left again. Johnson is looking to rebuild and become the 3rd greatest athlete from the Bahamas behind Rick Fox and Mychel Thompson.
Gavronski has a nice record, that’s it. It’s only a nice record. Johnson’s amateur pedigree and his experience going rounds with a guy like Stevens should make this a quick fight.
Art Hovhannisyan 17(9)-1-2 vs Jonathan Maicelo 20(12)-1
Hovhannisyan fights like a guy who taught himself to box and his since been on a strict regimen to learn to box in a textbook way. What you get is a real tricky fighter with quick hands. Hovhannisyan is a staple of Friday Night Fights and he and Maicelo should put on an entertaining scrap.
Saturday July 12
From Echo Arena, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK
TV: Sky (UK)
Time: 11:00 AM PDT, 1:00 PM EDT, 9:00 PM BST
Tony Bellew 21(13)-2-1 vs Julio Cesar Dos Santos 26(23)-2
Eddie Hearn has no shame. It’s real obvious he’s trying to promote a mega rematch between Bellew and Cleverly… and you know what? Nobody seems to be complaining. Why? They’re evenly matched. Everyone knows that these 2 probably won’t progress much past the domestic level. If either can, it’s Cleverly.
As for Bellew’s opponent. Dos Santos is from Brazil and is probably the Bellew equivalent there. He’s come up short against the one stiff challenge. He’s the perfect challenge for Bellew. Dos Santos has a good chin and will allow Bellew to show off his skills before stopping him late.
Nathan Cleverly 27(13)-1 vs Alejandro Emilio Valori 15(11)-4
If I had to pick between Bellew and Cleverly when it comes to who’s got the better future/more talented… it’s Cleverly. Cleverly has a majority decision win over Bellew and has wins over Karo Murat and Nadjib Mohammadi. Does this mean that Cleverly is a top flight cruiserweight? Not really. Cleverly was destroyed by Kovalev and the reason for that was Cleverly struggles with pressure fighters. Or maybe it’s because Kovalev has no regard for human life. Either way, this should be an easy fight for Cleverly as he makes his way toward Bellew.
Rocky Fielding 18(10)-0 vs Noe Gonzalez Alcoba 30(22)-3
super middleweight division
If you want to get a look at some of the finer prospects in the sport, this is an absolutely packed card to watch. Fielding began his career at 175, but when an opportunity came about to be in the super middleweight Prizefighter tournament, Fielding dropped down and coasted through, winning every fight by stoppage.
As Fielding continues to improve, he’s also starting to outgrow super middleweight. He struggled to make weight in March and lost his Commonwealth title on the scales. Alcoba is a great opponent for Fielding. He’s from Argentina (but naturally he’s from Uruguay) and he’s one of those guys where if you’re not a real talent, you’re not beating him so easily. His only losses have come against Felix Sturm, Adonis Stevenson, and George Groves.
I think Fielding will end this fight very quickly.
Callum Smith 11(9)-0 vs Vladine Biosse 15(7)-3-2
super middleweight division
There isn’t a better prospect in all of the UK. In fact, beside Oscar Valdez, I’ve got Callum Smith as the top rated prospect in the entire world. Biosse is coming off an ugly loss to J’Leon Love. Love didn’t look particularly stunning and ending the fight by stoppage in the final round.
I expect Smith to put on a clinic and really start to show the world how special of a talent he is by making quick work of Biosse. Smith is a devastating body puncher that wastes little energy. Do not miss this fight.
Anthony Joshua 6(6)-0 vs Matt Skelton 28(23)-8
The big guy returns in another big step up. Skelton is another guy being brought in to test Joshua. Skelton has a ton of experience and has gone rounds with some good fighters, but Joshua is just on another level. He’s bigger and stronger than just about every heavyweight not named Wladimir Klitschko. He’s quick and has impeccable timing for a strong fighter. Skelton is 47. Joshua is a genetic freak. Just wait and see. Anthony Joshua just might be the future of the heavyweight division.
Luke Campbell 5(4)-0 vs Craig Woodruff 5(2)-3
Luke Campbell returns from a brief hiatus following his father being ill and it’s much appreciated. Campbell is another special prospect who’s only question at this point is his chin. If someone were to ask me who Campbell mostly resembles, I’d likely say a combination of Vasyl Lomachenko and young Oscar De La Hoya. I know that’s high praise, but Campbell works a nice jab and has that long, gangly figure that Lomachenko has.
Campbell throws nicely in combination and he’s extremely quick. Woodruff won’t provide much of a challenge as he’s mostly there for Campbell to get back in the rhythm of a prizefight.
Anthony Ogogo 6(3)-0 vs Wayne Reed 10(5)-8
Of the British Olympians from the London games, the weak link is probably Anthony Ogogo. So far as a pro, he’s been pretty good, but not special like his counterparts. Ogogo has a lot on his shoulders as he’s co-promoted by Golden Boy and has appeared on a Mayweather undercard. They see a lot of potential in Ogogo, but it’s going to take a while for him to fully blossom.
From MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: Showtime PPV (US) Main Event (Australia)
Time: 6:00 PM PDT, 9:00 PM EDT, 2:00 AM BST
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 43(31)-1-1 vs Erislandy Lara 19(12)-1-2
light middleweight division
Check back tomorrow for an in-depth preview and viewing guide of Alvarez vs Lara. You’ll read bios, a fight breakdown, why both guys will win, analysis of the judges and referees, and more.
Juan Manuel Lopez 34(31)-3 vs Francisco Vargas 19(13)-0-1
super featherweight division
Juanma has come a long way in the past couple of years and I’d argue that he’s done it through smoke and mirrors. In 2012, nearly every piece of Juanma stock was sold on the premise that he was done. That Orlando Salido had taken something from him. Will or fire or whatever it was that made Juanma a champion in the past. A couple of nice tune ups that ended in stoppages and some thought maybe Juanma was back. Then he faced Mikey Garcia and Garcia, who failed to make weight, obliterated Juanma.
He followed it up with a fights with Daniel Ponce de Leon in a fight where the loser should probably retire. Both guys had looks abysmal leading up to each other and the fight was a slugfest full of unexpected knockdowns. Juanma, always heavy handed, prevailed in the 2nd round after the referee stopped it. He now faces Francisco Vargas and let me tell you something, Juanma is in trouble.
Everything I’ve seen from Vargas screams talent. Last December Vargas shut out Jerry Belmontes which is no easy task. Belmontes is a fine boxer who just made a case for beating the WBC lightweight champion and Vargas coasted by him. If all goes as predicted, Juanma will once again look like the Juanma that faced Mikey Garcia.
Johan Perez 19(13)-1-1 vs Mauricio Herrera 20(7)-4
interim WBA world junior welterweight title
Perez appeared to be another prospect that came and went when he fell short against Pablo Cesar Cano in 2012. He fell by the wayside and rebounded with wins over Steve Forbes and Yoshihiro Kamegai. He then fought Paul Spadafora last November. Perez looked pretty sharp, beating Spadafora to the punch and overall making Spadafora look bad. The win got him the interim WBA junior welterweight title (which means… nothing.) Perez then faced Fernando Monte de Oca a couple of months ago and won by stoppage. A quick turnaround and he’s back to defend the interim title once again.
Mauricio Herrera has 4 losses, but you can think of him as the junior welterweight Carlos Molina. Herrera’s got an iron chin and the type of style that makes it difficult for anyone to look good. Herrera has wins over human punching bag Ji-Hoon Kim, Ruslan Provodnikov, and Mike Dallas Jr. His losses have come against Mike Alvarado, Karim Mayfield, and Danny Garcia. Of those 3, only one beat him by a unanimous decision and it’s not the one you think.
This fight has potential to be a real stinker.
Abner Mares 26(14)-1-1 vs Joanthan Oquendo 24(16)-3
Following his 1st round knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzalez (and subsequent failure to secure a rematch with Gonzalez), Mares returns after nearly a year off to rebuild. He’s enlisted Virgil Hunter to begin the rebuilding process. Hunter has worked with Amir Khan and Alfredo Angulo on rebuilding their careers, though the jury is still out on Hunter’s ability to do so. Khan still doesn’t look explosive and Angulo has lost 2 straight fights by stoppage.
Mares, in my eyes, was more a product of promotion than anything else before he was knocked out. He arguably should have lost his first fight with Joseph Agbeko, but referee incompetence enabled him to score a unanimous decision victory. Sure, Mares did beat Anselmo Moreno who’s a fine boxer, but Moreno was also moving up a division for that fight. It would be interesting how Mares would fair against Moreno at bantamweight.
If Mares wins this fight, there’s a pool of featherweights out there that would no doubt lick their chops at a chance to get Mares. Lomachenko, Donaire, Gradovich, and Walters would probably take a Mares fight in a second and all would be comfortable favorites.
This should be a fun fight. Both have about the same amount of power and both have less than stellar chins.
Tomoki Kameda 29(18)-0 vs Pungluang Sor Singyu 46(31)-2
WBO bantamweight title
It’s a shame that the only title fight on this entire card will be shown on regular Showtime before the PPV portion starts. Kameda is part of the Kameda clan that includes Koki and Daiki. It’s clear though that Tomoki is not just the youngest, but the most talented. There’s a lot to like about Tomoki and they could be creating a new star if they’d air this fight later in the card…
Kameda is nicknamed El Mexicanito because he trains in Mexico and as a result fights like a Mexican. He’s an aggressive, in-fighter who would rather go to war than fight on the outside.
Kameda won the WBO bantamweight title last year at 21 by decision from Paulus Ambunda who won it from Pungluang Sor Singyu. Now, Singyu is looking to get his title back. Singyu is another Thai fighter with a ton of fights on his resume, but they don’t really amount to much other than he’s probably seen just about every style. Kameda isn’t going to do much to surprise Singyu, but his power and conditioning will. I expect Singyu to put up close to 8 good rounds before Kameda starts to really do the business.