GUERRERO was unstoppable. / Hoganphotos; GBP
For Ricky Hatton, a dream died, for Robert Guerrero the future has never looked brighter. Tears for one, triumph for the other. Such was the story of the two big welterweight fights on the weekend.
Hatton looked in fine trim physically but after three and a half years away from the ring and well-documented lifestyle excesses the engine beneath the exterior wasn’t enough to carry him through 10 tough rounds against Vyacheslav Senchenko. The underdog from Ukraine weathered Hatton’s early storm and was closing the points gap when a left hook to the body sucked the remaining resistance out of one of Britain’s most popular fighters with eight seconds remaining in the ninth round.
MARES, MORENO: Whose style will prevail on Showtime tonight? / Photo: Esther Lin for Showtime
Mares -120; Moreno +100
Over 11.5 -400; under 11.5 +225
The tough bouts just keep on coming for Abner Mares. Mares has lately overcome a series of difficult, dangerous opponents to remain undefeated, and tonight in Los Angeles he faces perhaps the most daunting adversary of all in Anselmo Moreno, the seasoned and highly skilled southpaw from Panama.
This Showtime main event is as intriguing as it gets. Mexican-American Mares, who defends his WBC 122-pound belt, will be the crowd favourite at the Staples Center. Moreno, though, has boxed frequently on the other man’s home territory, having won title bouts in France, Venezuela and Germany.
DONAIRE, NISHIOKA: Top 122-pounders meet on HBO. / Photo: CHRISA FARINA, Top Rank
Donaire -450; Nishioka +300
Over 10.5+105, under 10.5 -115
When a fighter produces explosive performances we tend to expect them as a matter of course. It doesn’t always work out that way. Nonito Donaire, who once looked one of boxing’s most destructive hitters, has gone the distance in his last three fights.
Perhaps, though, Donaire will be able to deliver a dynamic display on the lines of his wins over Vic Darchinyan and Fernando Montiel when he meets Japan’s Toshiaki Nishioka in a junior featherweight championship bout at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA on HBO on Saturday night.
USTINOV (left), PULEV: Unbeaten big men collide on Saturday.
Pulev -280; Ustinov +185
Over 9.5 -195; under 9.5 +155
While Alexander Povetkin is a massive favourite to defeat Hasim Rahman in Germany on Saturday the odds are somewhat closer in a clash of unbeaten heavyweights from Eastern Europe, with Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev defending his European title against the huge Alexander Ustinov, from Belarus, in a bout that is also an eliminator for the IBF No. 1 ranking.
Pulev opened at odds of slightly under -200 but has been bet up to -500 and higher. Fans in the U.S. will be able to see the fight on EPIX, while in Britain Frank Warren’s BoxNation channel has the show — and I’m delighted that Warren, having taken the gamble of launching a boxing niche channel in a tough economic climate, is reporting subscriptions that are exceeding expectations.
CHAVEZ, MARTINEZ: Youth versus experience in compelling match. / Photo: CHRIS FARINA, Top Rank
Martinez -185; Chavez Jr. +145
Over 10.5 -180; under 10.5 +140
Experience versus youth is one of the ingredients that make a contest compelling, and this is what we have when Sergio Martinez meets Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in Saturday’s middleweight title fight in Las Vegas.
Martinez, the 37-year-old Argentinean southpaw who now lives and trains in Oxnard, CA, is the veteran, a boxer possessed of considerable guile and who is fast and dangerous. Chavez, 26-year-old son of perhaps Mexico’s greatest-ever fighter, brings pressure, heavy hands and superior physical strength.
ADAMEK, WALKER: Adamek is a big favourite but there could be moments of suspense.
Adamek -800; Walker +400
Over 9.5 -180; under 9.5 +140
While Vitali Klitschko is defending his WBC heavyweight title in Russia on Saturday, former Klitschko challenger Tomasz Adamek hopes to move closer to another championship chance in a 12-rounder against Travis Walker that will be televised by Wealth TV.
On paper, Adamek wins this fight easily. Adamek is a world-class heavyweight meeting an opponent who has lost seven fights, five by stoppage. Adamek is the faster, superior boxer, with better hand speed, and he’s fighting in his adopted backyard of Newark, NJ, where the usual huge contingent of Adamek’s Polish fans will be on hand to provide colourful and rousing encouragement.
STURM: training intensified for unification bout. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Sturm -160; Geale +140
Over 11.5 -225; under 11.5 +190
Boxing is at its best when the top fighters meet each other in bouts where it is difficult to pick a winner, and we have just such a fight in Oberhausen, Germany on Saturday when Germany’s Felix Sturm faces Australia’s Daniel Geale in a battle of middleweight champions.
Sturm defends his WBA “super world” title while Geale risks his IBF belt in this meeting of top-notch boxers. The German site — and Sturm is promoting the show — makes Sturm the betting favourite but this bout is, on paper at least, as well matched as it gets.
GUERRERO, AYDIN: boxer versus fighter on Showtime. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
Guerrero -240; Aydin +180
Over 9.5 -160; under 9.5 +140
Boxer versus fighter traditionally makes for an outstanding contest, which is what I think we have in store in tonight’s welterweight title fight between Robert Guerrero and Selcuk Aydin that will be televised on Showtime from Guerrero’s home turf in San Jose, CA.
Last seen in the ring as a 135-pounder, Guerrero, to me, looked bulky at 145.8 pounds, so different from the whipcord look of his body when he was boxing in lighter weight classes. Looking at him on the scales on Friday it was hard to imagine that he turned professional in the featherweight division 11 years ago.
BRONER, ESCOBEDO: Castillo-Corrales II revisited?
Broner -1500; Escobedo +800
Over 7.5 -150; under 7.5 +120
When Adrien Broner missed making weight by 3½ pounds at Friday’s weigh-in for his bout with Vicente Escobedo it had echoes of what happened in Las Vegas in 2005 when Jose Luis Castillo came in overweight for his lightweight championship rematch with Diego Corrales.
Castillo weighed in three times but was still 3½ pounds over the lightweight division limit, coming in at 138½ pounds at the third attempt. The bout went ahead, with Castillo agreeing to weigh no more than 147 pounds at a weigh-in held at 3 p.m. on the day of the fight.
KHAN, GARCIA: Excellent fight on HBO tonight
Khan -300; Garcia +240
Over 10. 5 -120; under 10.5 -120
Reinstated as WBA 140-pound champion after Lamont Peterson’s positive drugs, Amir Khan is back on HBO tonight to face unbeaten champion Danny Garcia, who defends the WBC belt in this meeting of champions at the Mandalay Bay casino resort in Las Vegas.
Khan is the favourite but Garcia has to be respected, an improved fighter who can box and punch and possesses self-belief.
Derogatory words by Garcia’s trainer and father, Angel Garcia, seem to have angered Khan but Khan’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has counselled his man to box a smart fight.
DONAIRE, MATHEBULA: Filipino Flash faces tall order. / Photo: CHRIS FARINA, Top Rank
Donaire -750; Mathebula +360
Over 10.5 -120, under 10.5 -120
Nonito Donaire says he seeks greatness as a fighter. He says he wants to fight the best opponents available, ducking no one, and he proves his point tonight with a tough fight against a fellow-champion. Even though Donaire is a clear favourite he is unlikely to have an easy time of it against South Africa's towering Jeffrey Mathebula in a meeting of junior featherweight champions that will be televised on HBO’s Boxing After Dark from the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA.
This is a fight that I think will test Donaire, and I'm looking forward to it. The Filipino Flash from San Leandro, CA, has won world titles at 112, 115, 118 and 122 pounds and tonight defends his WBO 122-pound title against Mathebula, the IBF champion.
ORTIZ, LOPEZ: It should be entertaining. / Photo: TOM CASINO, Showtime
Ortiz -850; Lopez +500
Over 9.5 -170; under 9.5 +150
When the Victor Ortiz-Andre Berto rematch was scrapped due to Berto failing a drugs test, Josesito Lopez willingly stepped into the breach to save the show, and he deserves all the credit in the world for so doing. Lopez is, though, moving up in weight to face the toughest fight of his career as he takes on “Vicious” Victor for the WBC Silver welterweight title. If Lopez pulls off the upset it will be a huge achievement. Even if Lopez loses in a competitive fight, it will be a moral victory for the 27-year-old from Riverside, CA.
While this fight isn’t as compelling as Ortiz-Berto II, it should be highly entertaining, given the styles of the two fighters.