Friday, June 20, 2014

Showtime’s Boxing Showcase Saturday Night

A Boxing card with two intriguing storylines will take place at the StubHub Center in Carson, California on Saturday night. The card, which will be televised by Showtime and its sister channel Showtime Extreme in the United States will feature a familiar storyline of former world champions beginning the road back into contention.

Former three-time Light-Heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson returns to the ring after a year layoff against contender George Blades. Dawson (31-3, 17 Knockouts), who is coming off not only a year layoff, but also two consecutive knockout losses to Super-Middleweight champion Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson is what the story of this fight is centered around.

The obvious questions that Dawson will have to answer is what kind of effect has those two knockout losses had on him and whether one year out of the ring will result in any ring rust. At his best, Dawson has the kind of hand speed and power that would make him an obvious favorite in the eyes of many. If however, Dawson has not recovered from those two losses against Ward and Dawson it could present an opportunity for George Blades (23-5, 16 Knockouts), who also comes into this fight off of a knockout loss. Blades was stopped in five rounds by former Light-Heavyweight world champion Jean Pascal in September of last year and has gone 2-3 in his last five fights. Although the attention will be focused on Dawson in this fight, it will be interesting to see what Blades has to offer.

This card will also feature two Welterweight fights featuring two former world champions looking to get back in the win column in separate bouts. Former two-division world champion Devon Alexander will return to the ring for the first time since losing his IBF Welterweight world championship to Shawn Porter in December of last year. Alexander (25-2, 14 Knockouts) will face former NABF and WBC Continental Americas champion Jesus Soto-Karass.

This fight is a classic example of a boxer versus a puncher. Alexander, who looks to use lateral movement and quick hands to out box his opponents will likely be in for a tough battle against Soto-Karass, who is a tough veteran and will likely look to force Alexander into a brawl. Soto-Karass (28-9-3, 18 Knockouts) comes into this fight off of a knockout loss at the hands of top Welterweight contender Keith Thurman last December. Soto-Karass has always been very “Game” every time he enters the ring and he will be in this fight for as long it lasts.

The key to this fight in my eyes will be whether or not Alexander can avoid Soto-Karass for the entire fight by looking to out box him. Soto-Karass will likely look to put pressure on Alexander and cut the ring off from the opening bell. The winner of that fight may well be in position to face the winner of the other headlining Welterweight bout on this card.

Former two-division world champion Robert Guerrero returns to the ring for the first time since his loss to Floyd Mayweather in May of last year. Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 Knockouts) entered into that fight having won eight straight fights and there was no question that he had the kind of momentum that earned him the opportunity to face Mayweather, who is considered by many the best pound for pound fighter in the world.

For twelve rounds, Mayweather out boxed a “Game” Guerrero in route to a convincing unanimous decision. Although Guerrero was out boxed by a highly skilled fighter in Mayweather, he is still one of the top fighters in the world in his own right and still a top contender in the Welterweight division. An argument could well be made that Guerrero’s loss to Mayweather was a bad style match up for Guerrero who simply could not find a way to nullify Mayweather’s lateral movement, precision timing, and hand speed.

Guerrero will face former Japanese Junior welterweight and current Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) Welterweight champion Yoshihiro Kamegai. Kamegai (24-1-1, 21 Knockouts), a veteran of twenty-six professional fights has only one loss losing a ten round unanimous decision to Johan Perez in June of last year. Kamegai however, who is rated number seven in the world by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) has an 80% career knockout percentage and should be viewed as a dangerous opponent for Guerrero.

This could be the fight of the night in my opinion as both fighters have shown the ability to both box and go toe to toe. Much like the Alexander-Soto-Karass fight, this fight could have an impact in the talent stacked Welterweight division. Even though it would seem logical that the winners of these two fights would face each other down the road, it is a division where realistically a number of interesting fights could be made with either of the four. We will have to wait and see what these two fights produce that may shake things up in the Welterweight division.

The world championship fight on this card will be a battle for the vacant WBO world Featherweight championship when undefeated number one contender Gary Russell Jr. meets number four rated contender Vasyl Lomachenko.  Russell (24-0, 14 Knockouts), undefeated in twenty-four professional fights would seem to have an advantage in this fight over Lomachenko who will only be competing in his third professional fight.

Despite an undefeated record, some may argue that Russell has not been tested in his career thus far. Although Lomachenko has only fought two professional fights, winning his professional debut in October of last year, scoring a fourth round knockout over veteran Jose Ramirez and losing a hard fought twelve round split decision to former Featherweight world champion Orlando Salido in his first attempt at a world title earlier this year, it is important to remember that Lomachenko is one of the best amateur boxers in history with an incredible 396-1 record winning gold medals in the Featherweight division at the 2008 Summer Olympics and in the Lightweight division in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Though the odds seem to be in favor of the man who has more professional experience in Russell, it will be interesting to see how Lomachenko looks in his third fight as a professional, now with nearly one year of professional experience. Whether or not Lomachenko can defy the odds by winning a professional world title in only his third professional fight remains to be seen. The fight between Russell and Lomachenko is just one fight that is part of what is an intriguing night of Boxing where anything can happen.

Will Lomachenko defy the odds and win a professional world title in only his third fight as a professional? We’ll find out Saturday night. 

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Saturday’s Showtime Boxing card begins with Dawson vs. George and a Heavyweight bout between undefeated Dominic Breazeale (10-0, 9 Knockouts) and Devin Vargas (18-3, 7 Knockouts) at 8PM EST on Showtime Extreme.  Guerrero vs. Kamegai , Alexander vs. Sotto-Karass , and Russell vs. Lomachenko will follow the Showtime Extreme portion of Showtime’s coverage on Showtime at 10PM EST.  Check your local listings. 

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