Saturday 9 November 2013: Corpus Christi, Texas, USA

Triple Header
Triple Header fight poster

Television: HBO (USA)
Time: 2:30AM GMT / 9:30PM ET / 6:30PM PT

Vacant WBO light middleweight title
12 Rounds

Demetrius Andrade 19(13)-0 vs. Vanes Martirosyan 33(21)-0-1

I’m just thankful that something is happening with both these fighters.

Andrade is a former 2008 Beijing Olympian who’s been primed for great things for a long time. It was thought that his win over Grady Brewer was to bring him into bona fide title contention.

Unfortunately, his promoters decided to lower his level of opposition. For what reason, I don’t know, but whoever they stuck in front of him, Andrade has definitively won each time. Andrade has maintained a 68% KO ratio. Those times he’s made the distance, Andrade has won by wide UD — almost always shutting out his opponents on the scorecards.

Martirosyan has been in the same boat as Andrade to the point of it being inexcusable. After wins over Kassim Ouma and Joe Greene, what business did Martirosyan have in the ring with Troy Lowry — who was 1-5 in his last 6 fights?

He’s been a professional since 2005, and rated by RING Magazine as well as BoxRec for much longer than that. Thankfully, Martirosyan was given a chance to fight an eliminator for the WBC title last year… only to draw against Erislandy Lara in a forgettable match-up.

Whoever wins this fight should finally move their career along — perhaps facing the winner of Kirkland-Tapia.

Prediction: Andrade by UD.

10 Rounds

Nonito Donaire 31(20)-2 vs. Vic Darchinyan 39(28)-5-1 II

At the beginning of the year, Donaire was declared the 2012 Fighter Of The Year. It was deserved too. In the space of a year, Donaire beat Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Jeffery Mathebula, Toshiaki Nishioka, and Jorge Arce.

Then Donaire faced Guillermo Rigondeaux last April. Rigondeaux boxed Donaire’s ears off, and even closed his eye. With Donaire’s first loss since 2001, the hype train was derailed.

So where to go from here?

A rematch with Darchinyan — who Donaire previously blasted out in 2007. 6 years ago, Darchinyan was undefeated, was in his prime, and looked unbeatable. Donaire, however, KOed Darchinyan decisively, resulting in the RING Magazine KO Of The Year as well as the Upset Of The Year.

Since then, Darchinyan has remained a world class opponent but has been very beatable. While Darichinyan has wins against Orlando Del Valle, Evans Mbamba, Yonnhy Perez, and Rodrigo Guerrero, he also has losses against Joseph Agbeko, Abner Mares, Anselmo Moreno, and Shinsuke Yamanaka.

Put simply, is Darchinyan likely to win? No. However, Donaire is still coming off his first loss in years.

Prediction: Donaire by KO7.

WBO super featherweight title
12 Rounds

Mikey Garcia 32(27)-0 vs. Roman Martinez 27(16)-1-2

After revealing himself to be a supreme talent at featherweight, Garcia is entering the super featherweight division in the same way.

At featherweight, Garcia blew away Matt Remillard, Rafael Guzman, Jonathan Victor Guzman, Orlando Salido, and Juan Manuel Lopez. Through this, he’s maintained an 84% KO ratio.

So will it be largely the same at super featherweight? Here’s my opinion: the only threat to Garcia is Takashi Uchiyama — and that fight is unlikely to happen.

Martinez, on the other hand, is considered by me to be the weakest titlist at super featherweight. He has already been defeated by Ricky Burns, should have lost to Juan Carlos Burgos but was gifted a draw, and nicked a competitive SD against Diego Magdaleno.

On a positive note, Martinez has proven durable and well-conditioned. He can win the toe-to-toe battles.

However, Garcia is a supreme boxer-puncher and won’t let himself get bullied.

Prediction: Garcia by KO6.

Monday 11 November 2013: San Antonio, Texas, USA

Ramos-Maldonado Jr.
Luis Ramos vs. Fidel Maldonado Jr fight poster

Television: FOX Sports 1 (USA), FOX Espanol (USA)
Time: 3:00AM GMT / 10:00PM ET / 7:00PM PT

Light welterweight
10 Rounds

Luis Ramos Jr 23(10)-1 vs. Fidel Maldonado Jr 16(13)-2

Both fighters here are looking to rescue careers that have gone off the rails.

For Ramos Jr., the “win” over Raymundo Beltran proved to be an omen. In that fight, Ramos Jr. was handed a gift by the judges. As it turns out, Ramos Jr. lost by KO to Ricardo Williams Jr. — which just goes to show you that even if judges “save” a prospect, they’re only delaying the inevitable.

After a long layoff, Ramos Jr. has hopefully fixed the very real issue that plagued him last year. He has been a good prospect — but winning a title requires someone exceptional.

It looked similarly worrisome for Maldonado Jr. last year. Maldonado Jr. lost two in a row, including a TKO2 loss to Fernando Carcamo.

Afterwards, Maldonado bounced back. He’s recorded wins against Jorge Romero and Abraham Alvarez Osuna — both by early KO. But is this experience enough to defeat Ramos Jr?

Prediction: Maldonado by KO8.

Sunday 10 November 2013: Tokyo, Japan

Linares Uchiyama
Linares / Uchiyama poster

Television: WOWOW (Japan)
Time: 11:00AM GMT / 6:00AM ET / 3:00AM PT

WBC bantamweight title
12 Rounds

Shinsuke Yamanaka 19(14)-0-2 vs. Alberto Guevara 18(6)-1

I consider Yamanaka to be the best bantamweight in the world.

With a 67% KO ratio, 12 of his last 13 fights have been won by KO. Only Vic Darchinyan has managed to go the distance. Beyond Darchinyan, Yamanaka has wins over Jose Nieves, Malcolm Tunacao, Tomas Rojas, and Christian Esquiviel.

Guevara is a decent fighter. He’s coming off a win against the previously undefeated Jonathan Vidal. His only loss is against the exceptional Leo Santa Cruz.

Unfortunately for him, Yamanaka is just as exceptional as Santa Cruz.

Prediction: Yamanaka by KO10.

10 Rounds

Jorge Linares 34(22)-3 vs. Francisco Contreras 21(16)-3

Linares was supposed to fight Richar Abril, but Abril pulled out due to injury. Contreras is a last minute replacement, but he’s by no means world class.

Prediction: Linares by KO3.

Super flyweight
10 Rounds

Roman Gonzalez 36(30)-0 vs. Oscar Blanquet 32(23)-6(2)-1

Surprisingly, this is the best match-up on the card.

Even though this fight is happening at super flyweight, both fighters are actually flyweights. Gonzalez’ goal is to make his presence known at flyweight, and Blanquet is a reputable fighter.

I consider Gonzalez to be the best fighter below 122lbs. Until recently, he was a titlist with one of the highest KO ratios in boxing. Currently, that KO ratio stands at 83%.

Gonzalez has wins against Juan Francisco Estrada, Ramon Hirales, Omar Soto, Katsunari Takyama, and Francisco Rosas.

Blanquet is 3-3 in his last 6 fights. However, you have to consider that he fought competitively against lineal flyweight champion Akira Yaegashi and arguably could have won the fight against Wilbert Uicab (it was an MD).

He has good wins against Warlito Parrenas, Jesus Ceja, and the previously undefeated Jesus Limones.

Prediction: Gonzalez by KO8.

Sunday 10 November 2013: Nagoya, Aichi, Japan

Ryosei Arai

8 Rounds

Shota Hayashi 20(12)-5-1 vs. Ryosei Arai 12(3)-3-1

Since a pair of losses in 2011, Hayashi has been on a 6 fight unbeaten streak. Most of these opponents have been on the club level — so it’s time to see if Hayashi can step up and make his mark as a domestic-level fighter.

Similarly, Arai has been on an 8 fight unbeaten streak since his last loss in 2008. Unlike Hayashi, Arai has fought good domestic opposition in Junki Sasaki, Taisho Ozawa, Hirofumi Atsumi, Yoshitaka Katabami, and the previously undefeated Yukihiro Nakamura.

However, by no means have all these wins been definitive. Almost all fights have been close, even those won by UD.

Prediction: Arai by SD.

Saturday 9 November 2013: Kiev, Ukraine

Umar Salamov (left)

Vacant IBO Youth light heavyweight title
10 Rounds

Umar Salamov 7(6)-0 vs. Ravshan Djabbarov 11(5)-4-1

Salamov is a good prospect who’s impressed on the club circuit. He’s on a 5 fight KO streak and has yet to go past 6 rounds. Now it’s time for Salamov to step up.

Djabbarov has lost a few but he’s proved durable. Last year, he proved competitive against Oleksandr Cherviak, losing by close SD.

If Salamov wins by KO, this will be impressive — although it would be equally impressive if Salamov could rounds in the bank and win by decisive UD.

Prediction: Salamov by UD.

Saturday 9 November 2013: Kempton Park, Gauteng, South Africa

Thomas Oosthuizen

IBO super middleweight title
12 Rounds

Thomas Oosthuizen 21(13)-0-2 vs. Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna 20(13)-1

After drawing to Brandon Gonzales, it became apparent that Oosthuizen has clear flaws. It also didn’t help that his HBO debut was largely forgettable. Which is unfortunate because Oosthuizen does have a lot going for him.

At 6’4″ with a 78″ reach advantage, Oosthuizen is a tall rangy super middleweight with a granite chin. In addition, Oosthuizen has shown exceptional infighting ability. Bully him to the ropes, and you will be fed hard body shots and uppercuts.

The core problem with Oosthuizen is that he gets tagged far too easily. Yes, he can take a shot — but boxing is still about hitting and not getting hit. Eat too many punches, and it’s harder to make an argument for a win.

Let’s not forget Oosthuizen has faced decent opponents: Fulgencio Zuniga, Rowland Bryant, Marcus Johnson, Serge Yannick, and Francisco Sierra. At the very least, Oosthuizen deserves to be rated amongst the top 10 at super middleweight. But there’s no question that amongst world titlists at super middleweight, Oosthuizen is the weakest.

A win over Maderna would not only bolster Oosthuizen’s resume, it would affirm his place amongst the top 10.

Maderna’s lone loss was against Edwin Rodriguez — in which Rodriguez arguably fouled his way to a win. Rodriguez was deducted 2 points due to fouls, and the low blow was particularly egregious.

Beyond this, Maderna is amongst the best South American super middleweights. Will he ever be world class, though?

Prediction: Oosthuizen by UD.

IBO minimumweight title
Interim WBA minimumweight title
12 Rounds

Hekkie Budler 23(6)-1 vs. Hugo Hernan Verchelli 11(6)-1

Many view the IBO belt as lowly-regarded. Yet in the minimumweight division, it’s probably the most reputed of titles. That’s because in a division where titlists are weak, Budler stands out.

Since winning the IBO title in 2011, Budler has defended the title 3 times. All wins have been inarguable, and his best win has come against former acclaimed #1 Nkosinathi Joyi.

That said, I feel this is a step back for Budler. Don’t get me wrong, Verchelli is still a better class of opponent than what other minimumweight titlists face. However, the only significant win on Verchelli’s resume is against Adrian Eduardo Mendoza. That was an impressive TKO3 victory — but was Mendoza a world class opponent? I don’t think so.

Prediction: Budler by UD.

Saturday 9 November 2013: Coacalco, Mexico

Jessica Chavez vs Arely Mucino fight poster

Television: Televisa (Mexico)
Time: 4:30AM GMT / 11:30PM RT / 8:30PM PT

WBC Silver female light flyweight title
10 Rounds

Jessica Chavez 19(4)-3-2 vs. Arely Mucino 18(10)-2-1

Competitive fights between women are few and far between — which is why fights like this are worth celebrating.

Back in 2007, Chavez fought Yesica Bopp and was completely shut out on the scorecards — all three judges scored it 100-90 in Bopp’s favour. Then last June, Chavez did the completely unexpected. She upset Bopp by winning a close unanimous decision.

In fact, since losing to Esmeralda Morena in 2011, Chavez has completely turned the page. She’s on a 9 fight win streak. During this time, she’s had wins against Irma Sanchez (twice!), Mayerli Altamar, Teeraporn Pannimit, and Kanittha Kokietgym.

While not as skilled as Chavez, Mucino is a fun fighter to watch. She displays the aggressiveness and guts typically associated with Mexican fighters.

Her only two losses are against Ava Knight and Mariana Juarez — both very good opponents. The loss against Juarez was arguable. Mucino’s best win was by sensational TKO2 against Ana Fernandez.

Prediction: Chavez by UD.

Vacant WBC International Silver lightweight title
10 Rounds

Juan Carlos Salgado 26(16)-2-1 vs. Miguel Roman 43(32)-11

Until recently, Salgado was a highly regarded IBF titlist at super featherweight. After a brutal KO loss to Argenis Mendez, Salgado is moving up in weight.

Previous to the Mendez loss, Salgado had some good wins under his belt, including wins against Jonathan Victor Barros, Martin Honorio, Miguel Beltran Jr., and the previously undefeated Jorge Linares.

If this is a rehabilitation bout for Salgado, it’s a pretty scary one. Yes, Roman has an ugly looking record, but he should be no cakewalk.

Roman is a big of a puncher. He’s won 4 of his last 5 fights by KO — all before round 5. He also has a granite chin, with only 1 of his 11 losses being by KO. (The lone KO loss was against Antonio DeMarco.)

So… Salgado’s coming off a loss and stepping up in weight. In addition, he’s going against a known puncher with a granite jaw. This is a big risk.

Prediction: Salgado by UD.

Saturday 9 November 2013: Elk, Poland

Lukasz Wawrzyczek

Republic of Poland middleweight title
12 Rounds

Lukasz Wawrzyczek 18(2)-1-2 vs. Maciej Sulecki 15(3)-0

Both these fights are between two extremely light punchers. Be that as it may, this is an important domestic match-up that has world class implications.

Wawrzyczek has been on a 12 fight unbeaten streak since his lone loss in 2007. Since then he has wins over Alexey Ribchev, Christian Pawlak, and the previously undefeated Ruslan Schelev.

Sulecki is averaging 4 fights since his 2010 debut. His best wins over that period are over Fehti Bentafna and the previously undefeated Robert Swierzbinski.

Prediction: Sulecki by UD.

Thursday 7 November 2013: Eatons Hill, Queensland, Australia

Nathan Carroll

Television: FOX (Australia)
Time: 11:00AM GMT / 6:00AM ET / 3:00AM PT

Australian middleweight title
10 Rounds

Nathan Carroll 10(4)-1-1 vs. Dennis Hogan 14(6)-0-1 II

This is a rematch of a fight that happened in March 2012. That match was a win for Hogan by TKO7. It remains the best win of Hogan’s career, and the only loss for Carroll.

Hogan has yet to fight the same calibre of opponent that Carroll is. Carroll, on the other hand, recorded a victory by KO1 against Kurt Bahram last March.

Australia has some decent middleweights, so if either fighter wants reach the elite domestic level, a win would go a long way.

Prediction: Carroll by UD.

Tuesday 5 November 2013: Tokyo, Japan

Yuta Nakagawa

6 rounds

Yosuke Fujihara 14(4)-1 vs. Yuta Nakagawa 10(6)-4-1

Fujihara was on his way to becoming a legit contender but then got sidelined with a loss to Kentaro Masuda. After a two year layoff, he won against a journeyman and is now taking his first big test since his loss.

Nakagawa is 3-2-1 in his last 6 fights and has not won since September 2012. He has yet to record a win against a good opponent, although his loss to Kohei Oba was by SD.

This is make or break for both fighters.

Prediction: Fujihara by UD.