In keeping with the three week old tradition of starting the weekly schedule with a more or less random internet meme, here's poptart cat running to some mesmerising, gameboyish music. It has absolutely nothing to with this week's boxing schedule, which is a little thin outside of the big shows on HBO and Showtime.
On HBO we've got a split site doubleheader, with Andre Berto-Victor Ortiz coming from Connecticut and the financially troubled Amir Khan-Paul McCloskey bout on tape delay from Manchester, England. On Showtime, Juanma Lopez is taking on seasoned vet Orlando Salido in Puerto Rico. Tim's going to do the in depth previews of those two, so I'll just give you a taste and then leave you with with the rest:
- Andre Berto-Victor Ortiz (Mashantucket Conn.) and Amir Khan-Paul McCloskey (Manchester England), Saturday, HBO. Berto-Ortiz is a really good fight between two young, skilled, American fighters who get a lot of shit from boxing fans. One of them stands to come out of this bout at least slightly redeemed. Ortiz (28-2-1) has a great physical skill set but is short on the intangibles. Berto (27-0) needs a marquee name and Ortiz -- moving up to welterweight for this fight -- may well be it. From England, junior welterweight Khan (24-1) takes on gritty Irish fringe contender McCloskey (22-0) in what should, at least in theory, be a fairly easy outing. "At least in theory" hasn't been having the greatest time lately, though...
- Juan Manuel Lopez-Orlando Salido, Saturday, Showtime, Bayamon Puerto Rico. Featherweight JuanMa (30-0) is taking on previous Yuriorkis Gamboa victim Orlando Salido (34-11-2) in front of a home town crowd. If you were going to pick an upset this week (especially after last week's craziness), this might be it. Salido is as crafty as they come, and managed to survive and frustrate Gamboa, so he could potentially do the same to JuanMa. Check in with Tim later for mo.
- Ivan Popoca-Ruslan Provodnikov, Friday, ESPN2, Temecula California. Junior welterweight Provodnikov (18-1), a Friday Night Fights staple and awkward Tila Tequila interview victim, was on the up and up until he was upset by Mauricio Herrera in January. Just two fights later, he's back in fairly tough against Ivan Popoca (15-0-1). This should be an interesting fight since both guys are short for the division, and are used to fighting taller guys. Popoca had an extensive amateur career but, like Provodnikov, is an aggressively minded pro, so expect some fun. Both guys are going to be looking to land bombs, and Provodnikov is pretty lazy on the old defence, so anything could happen. In the other televised bout, Marvin Quintero (21-3) was meant to take on Korean bomber Ji Hoon Kim in a battle of tarnished but fun prospects. But for reasons I have been unable to work out, Kim has been replaced by the dreaded TBA. More news as it comes.
- Chris John-Daud Yordan, Sunday, Jakarta Indonesia. Highly-regarded featherweight Chris John (44-0-2) is fighting again in Indonesia, away from the international spotlight, as is his wont. His opponent, fellow Indonesian Daud Yordan (27-1), was last seen stateside getting bushwhacked by Celestino Caballero. It's likely that John's sublime boxing skills will be waaay too much for Yordan, but maybe not. John is getting a bit long in the tooth and he has little power, so if he has slowed down, it's possible Yordan could catch him. Still, unlikely. On the undercard, fun Australian heavyweight Alex Leapai (22-3-3) takes Uganda's Okhello Peter (20-5), who is notable for continuing the grand tradition of African heavyweights with the surname Peter.
- Omar Narvaez-Cesar Seda, Friday, Buenos Aires Argentina. Ring Magazine's number four junior bantam, Narvaez (33-0-2), takes on their number eight, Cesar Seda (20-0) in Argentina. Narvaez has managed to be in 18 title fights without ever having fought anyone much. Still, he's much more experienced than Puerto Rico's Seda, who is promoted by Gary Shaw. Seda's main asset is his two fisted power, but he might have trouble landing on Narvaez, especially if this goes to the later rounds. Narvaez is talking about doing a unification fight with Hugo Cazares.
- The Rest. Not much... light fisted junior lightweight prosect Eloy Perez (20-0-2) takes on Alejandro Rodriguez (12-1-0) on TeleFutura Friday night...Luis Collazo and Dimitri Salita return tonight in Brooklyn... We might have to put up with more of Anthony Mundine's crap after he beat Garth Wood by unanimous decision in their rematch today.