Our resident boxing writer Diego Morilla previews the fights you need to follow every week.
Corpus Christi, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 9
Roman “Rocky” Martinez vs. Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia, 12 rounds, WBO junior lightweight title
Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs) lost his featherweight title on the scales in his last fight, and is now going up in weight to challenge Martinez (27-1-2, 16 KOs) of Puerto Rico, for his hardware at 130 lbs. A very intriguing matchup of skillful young fighters, and yet another chapter in the storied rivalry between Puerto Rico and Mexico. What to look for in this fight: tons of action, superb boxing, and a hard-earned late TKO by Garcia, one of boxing’s best young lions.
Nonito Donaire vs. Vic Darchinyan, 10 rounds, featherweights
A rematch of a fight that turned both fighters into household names. This is more than a trip down memory lane: this is a full-fledged crossroads fight between two of the toughest little men in recent memory. Donaire (31-2, 20 KOs) had a fabulous run after his 2007 victory over Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KOs) in which he grabbed his first title with a stunning KO 5 over the veteran Armenian-American KO artist, but is now coming off a mild upset defeat at the hands of Guillermo Rigondeaux. A win would revitalize either of their careers, but the smart money says Donaire will prevail once again to climb back a few notches in the pound-for-pound lists. What to look for in this fight: Darchinyan will try to put pressure early, and Donaire will feel the pressure to score another KO. Look for the fight to heat up in its late stages.
Demetrius Andrade vs. Vanes Martirosyan, 12 rounds, vacant WBO junior middleweight title
The weigh-in featured enough hard stares and shoving around to guarantee at least a spirited effort from both fighters. That’s not enough to guarantee a good show, but it will definitely be nice to see some emotion from Andrade, 19-0-0 (13 KO) of Providence, Rhode Island and Martirosyan, 33-0-1 (21 KO), of Glendale, California, who have been known for one uninspiring performance or two. The fact that “someone’s 0’s gotta go” should be enough to make sparks fly occasionally. Still, it will surely be a contest of skill between two consummate boxers with extensive amateur pedigree. What to look for in this fight: A few outbursts of street brawling, a couple of heated exchanges, but for the most part it will be a caution-first affair, with Andrade moving on to bigger and better challenges after a solid points win.
Mexico, Saturday, Nov. 9
Juan Carlos Salgado vs. Miguel Roman, 12 rounds, lightweights
Salgado (26-2-1, 16 KO) promised Roman a painful defeat in this all-Mexican clash for a second-tier WBC title, and he may quite likely get his wish. Salgado is coming off his only stoppage loss in his last fight against Argenis Mendez, and the veteran (Roman 43-11, 32 KO) is riding a cool 6-1 winning streak since his only KO loss against Antonio De Marco in an early 2012 title bout. What to look for in this fight: Youth should prevail in what looms as a distance bout with lots of hard exchanges.
Brooklyn, N.Y. Saturday, Nov. 9
Gabriel Bracero vs. Dmitriy Salita, 10 rounds, welterweights
The much anticipated “subway clash” bout between Brooklyn-born Bracero (22-1, 4 KO) and Salita (35-1-1, 18 KO) will be an emotional event for both fighters, with Bracero trying to fight his way into wider recognition after his only setback (against DeMarcus Corley in his first serious step-up fight, back in early 2012) and Salita attempting to add a solid opponent in the winning part of his record after his catastrophic debacle against Amir Khan in his only title fight to date. All points sign to a boxing lesson being delivered by Bracero in this clash of once-beaten fringe contenders. What to look for in this fight: Salita tries to box and survive, Bracero looks to punish and annihilate. Neither one achieves his goal, but the fight is fun while it lasts.
Tokyo, Sunday, Nov. 10
Shinsuke Yamanaka vs. Alberto Guevara, 12 rounds, WBC bantamweight title
A star-studded fight card is topped by a terrific matchup between Mexico´s Alberto Guevara (18-1-1, 6 KO) and WBC bantamweight kingpin Shinsuke Yamanaka (19-0-2, 14 KO) , who will be looking to add Guevara to a list of title bout victims that includes fighters such as Tomas Rojas, Malcolm Tunacao and Jose Nieves. What to look for in this fight: Experience is key in this fight, and Yamanaka has the edge on that, as well as the local court. No upset this time: the title remains in Japan.
Jorge Linares vs. Javier Mercado, 10 rounds, lightweights
After his original opponent Richard Abril had to cancel his participation in this event due to an injury, Linares (34-3, 22 KOs) will be facing Mexico’s Mercado (20-5-1, 18 KO), on short notice after another opponent (Francisco Contreras) had run into visa problems. What could have been a real test for a struggling Linares is now just a stay-busy fight for a fighter that still has the potential to become a player in a very talented division. What to look for in this fight: Once considered a pound-for-pound entrant, Linares is slowly climbing back into championship territory after a couple of heartbreaking defeats. This will be just another step in that direction.
Takahiro Ao vs. Edgar Lomeli, 10 rounds, lightweights
Lomeli (14-3-2, 8 KO) will have his work cut out for him when he travels to Takahiro Aoh’s turf to match his plodding, wide punching style against Aoh’s (24-3-1, 11 KOs) superb boxing skills. Too much too soon for Lomeli, who will probably head back to Mexico with a boxing lesson in his resume, and little else. What to look for in this fight: Barring a tragedy, all the ah’s and oh’s of the night will belong to Aoh.
Roman Gonzalez vs. Oscar Blanquet, 10 rounds, flyweights
A great night of boxing promises to start with a bang, as Gonzalez (36-0, 30 KO), one of the most explosive punchers in boxing’s lighter weights, continues his assault on the flyweight division against a tough customer in Mexico’s Blanquet (32-6-1, 23 KO). In paper, Blanquet is no match for Gonzalez’s relentless aggression, but his decent performances against Akira Yaegashi and Wilbert Uicab give us hope that this won’t be just another unilateral drubbing by “Chocolatito” as he moves up in weight in his ongoing search-and-destroy mission. What to look for in this fight: A multiple-weight champion in the making takes a rough challenger to school in a fight that serves as a mere prelude for bigger challenges.