Boxing preview: Bradley vs. Chaves, Lee vs. Korobov, HBO 10 p.m. ET

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Respect outside the ring, war when the bell sounds: Timothy Bradley (left) and Diego Chaves shake hands after Friday's weigh-in. Photo: Will Hart, HBO
Respect outside the ring, war when the bell sounds: Timothy Bradley (left) and Diego Chaves shake hands after Friday's weigh-in. Photo: Will Hart, HBO

SAN DIEGO, December 13, 2014 – Fight fans often complain when there are competing events on the calendar such as tonight’s cards on HBO and Showtime. They want to catch every second.

This is what picture in picture TVs were invented for, fight freaks. Sweet Science Santa doesn’t like to hear good boys and girls complain about too much boxing. Back it up with your DVR and you’re all set.

HBO brings fans three televised bouts from Las Vegas courtesy Top Rank, with California welterweight Timothy Bradley Jr. facing Argentina’s Diego Chaves. On the undercard, Irish boxer Andy Lee takes on Russian Matt Korobov in a middleweight contest, and Mauricio Herrera of Mexico vs. Jose Benavidez of California in the lightweight division.

What's not to love about Timothy Bradley Jr.? Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank
What’s not to love about Timothy Bradley Jr.? Photo: Chris Farina, Top Rank

It’s a mystery why Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs) isn’t a bigger star. Yes he has one loss, but it was to Manny Pacquiao. Some would say it should be two losses to Pacquiao; nevertheless, Bradley is gregarious, friendly and talkative outside the ring, a family man who lives and trains clean and the most ripped vegan I ever saw; and an all-business puncher inside the ring. His fight against Ruslan Provodnijkov in 2012 was the unquestioned Fight of the Year. He handled Juan Manuel Marquez in 2013 beautifully with boxing plus punches. These bouts plus his solid performances against Pacquiao should have done it.


It isn’t getting Bradley down. He has been his old upbeat self all week and intends to bring the action against brawler Chaves (23-2, 19 KOs). Plenty of boxers are called dirty fighters, but Chaves must lead the current pound for pound dirty list. He lost in August to fellow brawler Brandon Rios due to disqualification after referee Vic Drakulich had enough of his naughty business. Chaves will get a big lump of coal from Sweet Science Santa if he pulls that stuff again tonight. He doesn’t need to do it.

Bradley has acknowledged in interviews this week he expects a rough fight in the ring. He learned a lot from the beating he took against Provodnikov and he should be able to handle Chaves. He needs to avoid letting his emotions get the better of him if Chaves tries to push his buttons and box when he should, punch when he must. There is potential for an exciting, entertaining fight. The winner should set himself up nicely for a bigger name opponent in 2015.

With a win tonight, Matt Korobov (left) and Andy Lee line themselves up for bigger name bouts in 2015. Photo: Will Hart, HBO
With a win tonight, Matt Korobov (left) and Andy Lee line themselves up for bigger name bouts in 2015. Photo: Will Hart, HBO

On the undercard, Irish boxer Andy Lee (33-2, 23 KO) will test himself against one of many tough Russian boxers in the sport today, Matt Korobov (24-0, 14 KO). The winner gets the vacant WBO middleweight belt. Many good boxers have been avoiding Korobov including Peter Quillin (who gave up tonight’s belt as a result) and Demetrius Andrade.

Lee is coming off an improbable knockout win against John Jackson in June. In the fifth round, Lee was being pounded against the ropes by Jackson and on the verge of going down. Lee threw boxing’s version of a Hail Mary pass, connecting perfectly with a stunning right hook to Jackson’s chin never saw coming. Lee, who was originally trained by the late Emanuel Steward and now trains with Adam Booth, says he’s fighting to make Steward proud after Steward was the first to make Lee believe in his potential to be a champion.

Lee isn’t likely to get that lucky again, and he will need to be at his best against the hard hitting Korobov. Lee is a step up for him and he wants to make a good showing. The WBO is mandating a bout against rising British middleweight star Billy Joe Saunders for whoever prevails, which would make Lee’s fans happy. Eventually whoever wins tonight will end up facing middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin who wants to unify the division. Be careful when you unwrap this present handed to you by Sweet Science Santa, Andy and Matt.

Mauricio Herrera (left) shows his belt to fans at Friday's weigh-in for his bout with Jose Benevidez. Photo: Will Hart, HBO
Mauricio Herrera (left) shows his belt to fans at Friday’s weigh-in for his bout with Jose Benavidez. Photo: Will Hart, HBO

Light welterweight prospect Jose Benavidez Jr. (21-0, 16 KOs) will get to test himself against interim WBA light welterweight titlist Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (21-4, 7 KOs) of Mexico. Herrera is tough as nails, and most observers thought he won his bout against champion Danny “Swift” Garcia in Puerto Rico. So forget those losses on Herrera’s record, he will give Benavidez all he can handle.

HBO: Bradley vs. Chaves, Saturday, December 13, 10 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Latino.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

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