This week in boxing Wednesday July 16
From York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, UK
TV: Boxnation (UK)
Time: 11:00 AM PDT, 2:00 PM EDT, 7:00 PM BST
Frank Buglioni 12(9)-1 vs Sam Couzens 11(3)-12-1
super middleweight division
It hasn’t been a good year for Frank Warren. With Eddie Hearn stealing his fighters,the last thing he wants is his prospects losing. On April 12th, Warren lived through a nightmare. Tony Conquest, a solid cruiserweight prospect, was knocked out. Gorgeous Georgie Kean, a ticket mover, lost on points to a guy with 60 losses, and Frank Buglioni, one of his top prospects and a good looking lad, was knocked out by a Sergey Khomitsky. All that on the same night while his rival Eddie Hearn was busy putting 80,000 people in Wembley Stadium!
Now, all that’s really left for Warren is Bradley Skeete and Chris Eubank Jr.
As for Frank Buglioni, his loss was shocking. Buglioni looked promising as a prospect. Flawed in some ways, but there were signs that he could pull it together and maybe capture a WBA regular title some day. Khomitsky upset those plans with a monstrous left hook. Buglioni never went down, but the referee gave him a standing 8 count after Buglioni fell into the corner. Buglioni was about to continue, but his corner threw in the towel. That wasn’t the first time he’d been hit with a huge shot and it was clear he wasn’t finishing that fight on his feet.
What many don’t know about Khomitsky is that he’s a measuring stick for up and coming fighters. He’s got experience facing some of the top middleweights and super middleweights in the world. If you aren’t for real, he will beat you. Sam Couzens is not that guy. Buglioni should walk through him with ease. Hopefully he’s learned his lesson from the Khomitsky fight and started committing to moving his head.
Mitchell Smith 8(4)-0 vs Peter Cope 9-0
super featherweight division
I think we have enough Baby Faced Assassins in boxing. We don’t have enough Ding-A-Ling Men. Smith is another Baby Faced Assassin and Frank Warren has learned his lesson from his last card. In fact, he’s gone all the way in the other direction. Smith will face Peter Cope. A guy who’s undefeated, but hasn’t stopped a single person. This is a solid strategy to ensure your guys success… I suppose.
Bradley Skeete 16(5)-0 vs Steven Pearce 8(3)-3
First things first with Skeete. His fights aren’t for those with a weak stomach. If you find your mind drifting easily when there are clinches or excessive movement without action, Skeete may not be a fighter you’ll enjoy.
Regardless of whether you enjoy Skeete, there is this to say about him. He’s very talented. This kid can box and he does it well. His style is comparable to Miguel Vazquez’s. Skeete likes to fight on the outside, he will hold if he has to, and he’s a very skilled counter-puncher. His chin isn’t granite, but it’s good enough for the domestic level. I doubt there’s a welterweight on the domestic level, Amir Khan included, that would be an overwhelming favorite against Skeete. Nothing is easy against him. Even watching him isn’t easy. Pearce should get hosed. That’s not an exaggeration either.
Friday July 18
From Longshoremen’s Hall, San Francisco, California
TV: Fox Sports 1 (US)
Time: 7:00 PM PDT, 10:00 PM EDT, 3:00 AM BST
Mercito Gesta 27(15)-1-1 vs Luis Arceo 28(18)-12-4
You may remember Gesta from the Pacquiao-Marquez IV undercard. He was the guy that was outclassed by Miguel Vazquez. You see, that’s what happens when a guy gets rushed into a title shot. Gesta is a really good puncher that’s got some quickness, but he lacks the refinement to compete on the world level right now. The good thing is that he’s still young, but after 29 professional fights, we may have to accept that he is who he is.
A few big knockouts could propel him to Showtime/HBO level, but he’ll need to take it slow. In order to get to that level, he’ll need to start boxing and figuring out how to set up those big shots. Arceo is coming off a knockout lose to Jose Zepeda. If he couldn’t handle Zepeda’s power, he’s in trouble with Gesta.
Jonathan Chicas 13(6)-1 vs Emmanuel Robeles 10(3)-0-1
junior welterweight division
Chicas is a local fighter who’s probably on the card to help move tickets. He’s solid, but was knocked out by a fighter with a 6 professional fights back in 2012.
From Paramount Theatre, Huntington, New York
TV ESPN2 (US) DigiSport (Hungary)
Karim Mayfield 18(11)-1-1 vs Emmanuel Taylor 17(12)-2
light welterweight division
Last time Taylor fought was in this exact same theater against then unknown Chris Algieri. Algieri outboxed him over 10 rounds and as a result has been on a magical journey that may take him to Macao, China. Taylor returns to Friday Night Fights against Karim Mayfield who’s coming off his first career loss.
That loss came against Thomas Dulorme in a frustrating fight where it seemed Mayfield could not let his hands go. Well, he did. He just couldn’t stop gunning for a knockout. Mayfield became predictable and not even Virgil Hunter could convince him to let his gifted hands go in the proper way.
Mayfield is 33 and occurs like he’s a guy stuck in the sparring partner mentality. Mayfield, when he’s on, does a solid imitation of Shane Mosley. That’s been enough to score wins over guys like Mauricio Herrera and Steve Forbes, but I have doubts it works against Taylor.
I think Taylor, if he can avoid getting knocked out, pulls off the upset.
Cletus Seldin 13(10)-0 vs Bayan Jargal 17(11)-5-3
You may recognize Seldin by his other name… The Hebrew Hammer. A great name, if you ask me. Seldin has only been boxing for 5 years, but he does have a background in athletics. He’s done MMA, football, and body building. That should add up right? I guess it doesn’t matter. If you’ve got a good amount of talent or ability, Bayal isn’t a difficult fighter. He can punch, but has failed to really make any impact against the decent fighters he’s faced. This is a nice undercard fight that should be fun while it lasts.
Saturday July 19
From Cotai Arena, Venetia Resort, Macao, China
TV: HBO2 (US) Boxnation (UK) UniMas (US) Azteca (Mexico) Sport 1 (Hungary)
Time: 2:00 AM PDT, 5:00 AM EDT, 10:00 AM BST
Guillermo Rigondeaux 13(8)-0 vs Sod Kokietgym 63(28)-2-1
WBA super world super bantamweight title
WBO super bantamweight title
Lineal super bantamweight championship of the world
Note: This fight will not air on HBO2. For Americans, you’ll be able to catch it on delay via UniMas at 11 PM EDT. For those in the UK, Boxnation will air this card in it’s entirety.
I’m sure there’s a certain level of disappointment that comes with knowing that one of the most talented and perhaps one of the all-time great defensive enigma’s this sport has ever seen has been reduced to appearing on tape delay… on a Spanish language station. Whether you agree or not, remember boxing is also entertainment. I love Rigondeaux, but the ratings speak volumes about what people think about him.
Let’s put that aside though.
Rigondeaux is one of the top fighters in the world. His defense is nearly impenetrable. His only weakness is his chin (though many have tested it and so far no one has been able to do much more than drop him.) Rigondeaux, despite the knockdowns, has never been truly rocked where he’s ready to go.
[Here you see Donaire push off with a forearm and land a flush left hook (his money punch) dropping Rigondeaux. Rigondeaux gets up without hesitation or worry.]
For those unfamiliar with Rigondeaux’s background, he’s everything Zou Shiming should be. Rigondeaux was one of the greatest amateur fighters in history, collecting 2 gold medals, winning 2 world amateur championships, winning 7 straight Cuban national championships, and losing only 12 fights in an amateur career that spanned nearly 400 fights.
Those who’ve worked with Rigondeaux aren’t shy about his ability. Freddie Roach commented that Rigondeaux was probably the greatest talent he’d ever seen. It came to fruition when he faced Nonito Donaire. At the time, Donaire looked unstoppable. A left hook machine who’d dispose of any mortal placed in front of him. If they had a chin, that meant they had an off switch and Donaire would flip it.
From the opening moments of his fight with Donaire, it was clear it would be an intense tactical battle. We all knew Donaire could end the fight at anytime, but Rigondeaux fought with a confidence that made Donaire uneasy. Plus, we knew Rigondeaux had a left to the body that was about as filthy as Randy Johnson’s slider. It was high drama.
Rigondeaux coasted. He beat Donaire to the punch and made him pay for head hunting. Donaire would drop Rigondeaux, but it was a moot point. Rigondeaux made him pay for that by causing grotesque swelling from a beautiful straight left.
[Remember when Donaire told Rigondeaux to stare him in the eye during the face-off at the weigh-in.]
[And one last gif of Donaire's swelling. Check out the 'Who won?' poll. What were the judges thinking. Even the casuals sitting at home knew Donaire got scorched.]
Rigondeaux followed up his win over Donaire by decimating Joseph Agbeko. Agbeko had no answer for Rigondeaux other than to just stay in his guard and wait till someone handed him a paycheck.
Now, Rigondeaux faces Sod Kokietgym. Is it punishment for being so good? For being so methodical? Maybe. Kokietgym is 37 and while he’s got a ton of fights under his belt, let’s be clear about something, he’s a domestic fighter that won’t trouble Rigondeaux one bit. His claim to fame is losing a 12 round decision to Daniel Ponce De Leon. Not bad, except that Ponce knocked him out in one round in a rematch. Ponce, a southpaw just like Rigondeaux, is an awkward fighter. Rigondeaux is surgical. I don’t expect this to last long if Rigondeaux doesn’t want it to.
Following this fight, Rigondeaux is free from his contract with Top Rank. World look out. That means you Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg, Leo Santa Cruz, and any other super bantamweight enjoying success. If you’re willing to risk a loss, I’m sure Rigondeaux will take you up on any offer.
Zou Shiming 4(1)-0 vs Luis De la Rosa 23(13)-3-1
Note: This fight along with the Ramirez-Talipeau fight will be shown on delay at 2:00 PM PDT on HBO2.
We’re going to find out on Saturday if Zou Shiming is as talented as we’ve been led to believe. Shiming is a 2 time Olympic gold medalist and 3 time world amateur champion and on Saturday makes his first real step-up in competition.
Luis De la Rosa will be a good fight to gauge whether or not Shiming can compete at the highest level in the flyweight division. The winner will likely become a mandatory for the WBO flyweight champion, Juan Francisco Estrada. De la Rosa has 3 losses and all 3 have been to future title holders. The rest of his fights have been domestic level competition in Colombia. His last fight was against a guy who was 0-20. De la Rosa obviously won, but how much does that tell you? Prior to that, Moises Fuentes iced him in one.
If Shiming is a talent like Top Rank wants us to think, De la Rosa will be punished.
The question we’ll all be wondering is whether or now Shiming can hold up for 10 rounds. Every fight Shiming has fought, he’s looked like a dog walking through the desert. Another question is whether or not Shiming is going to start sitting down on his punches and stop slapping. We saw a little of it in his last fight and it made for a wild and fun fight. Okay, one last question. Will Shiming take defense seriously? He’s got some Sergio Martinez in him and his footwork is pretty good. He almost looks like a skilled fencer at times.
He, unfortunately, chooses to gang it out in the name on entertainment. That’s all good, but at the higher levels of the game, it’s unwise to trade for the sake of giving a good show. Especially when you were dropped in your last fight. This is an intriguing match-up that I’m excited for.
Brian Viloria 33(19)-4 vs Jose Alfredo Zuniga 11(5)-5-1
Viloria was at one time what Roman Gonzalez currently is to the flyweight division. A fierce knockout artist who posed a huge problem to any flyweight that would cross his path. Viloria moved up to flyweight in 2010 after outgrowing the junior flyweight division. He captured a title the following year and then scored one of his biggest wins. He stopped hard hitting Giovani Segura in 8 rounds. This is what Viloria had done to Segura.
Viloria loked unstoppable. He unified flyweight titles when he stopped Hernan ‘Tyson’ Marquez. He appeared on his way to putting himself and the flyweight division on the map. The plans were in motion. With Shiming and Viloria leading the way, the flyweight division was coming… except Juan Francisco Estrada, a twice beaten junior flyweight, stood in his way. Estrada was coming off a unanimous loss to Roman Gonzalez. Estrada upset the plans. Estrada made Viloria look old, constantly getting off first and beating Viloria to the punch. Estrada won a split decision, although it was only because Levi Martinez thought Viloria had somehow did enough to win. Estrada took Vilorioa’s belts and established himself as one of the premier flyweights in the world.
Since then, Viloria has fought once and there wasn’t much to get excited about. Viloria won, but it was against an opponent with 9 wins and 7 losses. Now, he faces Zuniga. A guy who’s been knocked out in 3 of his 5 losses.
Sure, Viloria will win, but at this rate… who knows what’s in store for him. At this point, you’d probably get even money on a fight with him and Shiming.
Gilberto Ramirez 28(22)-0 vs Junior Talipaeu 20(7)-2-1
super middleweight division
A month ago I wrote about the top 10 prospects in boxing. Gilberto Ramirez came in at 9. I projected that he’d wind up on HBO eventually this year, and this will be his debut. Months ahead of schedule! An impressive win and you can be assured HBO will get the ball rolling on him.
Ramirez is everything you want to see in a prospect. He’s 23 and fights often. When he does, he punishes overmatched opponents. All that’s left is for Ramirez to start being tested. Unfortunately, Talipeau isn’t going to give him much of a test. Ramirez is a guy who is most effective when he uses his length and with a nearly 6 inch height advantage, Talipeau is in serious trouble.
Ramirez is not a typical Mexican fighter. He will use his jab and circle the ring in a Miguel Vazquez fashion. The difference between him and Vazquez though is that Ramirez will punish the body and doesn’t mind stepping inside to trade.
Talipeau is an okay domestic Australian fighter. That’s not going to carry the day against a world level prospect who’s on a collision course with other promising prospects like Callum Smith and James DeGale.
Ramirez, if he stays active, will be fighting for the WBO super middleweight title by the end of the year. If Arthur Abraham gives him the opportunity.
Rex Tso 13(8)-0 vs John Bajawa 12(6)-6
super flyweight division
Tso is a good prospect that is probably not going to get past the domestic level in the Asian scene. He’s a poor man’s Felix Verdejo. He’s a wide puncher who packs a lot of power, but he’s got some defensive flaws and a sketchy chin.
Ik Yang 15(10)-0 vs Rachamongkol Sor Pleonchit 14(6)-8
Ah yes, Ik Yang. One of my favorite fighters. Not because he’s a top prospect, or that he’s particularly talented. Certainly not because he’s got the skills to pay the bills or whatever saying you want to come up with. No, I like Ik Yang because this guy is like a beta version of Ruslan Provodnikov. If you think Provodnikov is a primitive type of fighter, you should take a look at Ik Yang.
Yang idolizes pre-Robert Garcia Marcos Maidana. He thinks Provodnikov floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. Yang fell asleep during Crawford-Gamboa. When asked which fighters he really admired, Yang mentioned Ji-Hoon Kim and his defense.
Joking aside, Yang is an entertaining fighter with some very raw skills… but what he does he does it well. He will probably never win a title, but is a great entertaining fighter for the Chinese scene.
Egor Mekhontsev 3(3)-0 vs Mike Mirafuente 2(2)-0
light heavyweight division
Mekhontsev is a 29-year-old light heavyweight who recently turned pro after winning gold at the London games. He’s also a former world amateur champion. Mekhontsev has so far looked sensational as a professional, but his opponents have all been highly overmatched. This is no exception.
One last thing. Here’s a terrific highlight video showcasing some of Guillermo Rigondeaux’s sublime highlights. After watching this video, I realized Rigondeaux was going to eat Donaire alive. Notice the difference between what we call ‘running’ (which Lara did and standing in the pocket and fighting defensively. Enjoy.