SAN DIEGO, December 13, 2014 – The boxing schedule is racing toward 2015, with boxers trying to get in one more bout to set themselves up for a happy new year in 2015.
It sets up fans for plenty of action to choose from. But just like with a good looking holiday buffet, don’t hold back from indulging. Sweet Science Santa only comes to town once a year, so enjoy it.
Showtime broadcasts the action from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas courtesy Golden Boy Promotions, with welterweights Amir Khan and Devon Alexander in the main event. Keith Thurman defends his WBA interim welterweight title against Leonard Bundu; plus a slew of familiar names including both Jermell and Jermall Charlo in separate bouts, Olympian Errol Spence, fierce Japanese welterweight Yoshihiro Kamegai, and the “comeback” of welterweight Victor Ortiz.
Looming over all these fights is the mighty shadow of pound for pound number one boxer Floyd Mayweather. All the talk about fighting Manny Pacquiao aside, tonight’s outcome will have more to do with Mayweather’s next fight than the never ending yapping about the Dream Fight.
There is more than a belt at stake in the main event. An exciting win that gets fans talking sets up the possibility of a fight with Mayweather. A fight between Money and Amir Khan (29-3, 19 KOs) has been on the horizon for some time. Khan lost out on any chance to fight in September due to observing Ramadan; Floyd doesn’t need to alter his schedule to suit anyone. May is the timeline for Khan if it’s ever going to happen. Khan is coming off a solid win against Luis Collazo, and he needs more of the same tonight against Alexander. Speed is Khan’s friend and his greatest asset, but even the greatest display of speed isn’t equal to a stoppage in the eyes of fans asked to cough up $70 for a PPV bout.
Alexander (26-2, 14 KOs), 27 is a solid performer who would normally get more attention if he wasn’t in boxing’s glamour division. He needs to do something extra special on top of a win to get a chance against Mayweather for the big money. He lost his welterweight title to Shawn Porter, then started on the long road back with a decision victory against Jesus Soto-Karass. For Alexander, it will depend on what he’s learned from these two fights. Alexander can box but he is also willing to take it for the chance to dish it out. This is what sells a PPV fight. Look no further than Friday’s bout on Showtime Extreme between Erislandy Lara and Ishe Smith. Lara put on a pure skills master class in his lopsided decision win. It’s to be admired, but not exactly to be enjoyed.
Still, Khan has a huge fan base in Great Britain and Asia, and wouldn’t the prospect of a fight between Mayweather and Khan at Wembley Stadium be a spectacle worth seeing?
In the co-main event, welterweight Keith “One Time” Thuman (23-0, 21 KOs) makes a return to the ring after a shoulder injury against European welterweight champion Leonard Bardu (31-0, 11 KOs) of Italy, making his American debut. Bardu is 40 and untested at this level. This is only his third fight outside Italy. Not knowing much about him, he is described as having an unpredictable, jerky style, feinting with his feet as much as his head and hands.
This fight is intended to be a warm-up to check the progress of Thurman’s shoulder before he gets in the ring against someone who could truly threaten his record. Thurman needs to be patient and get a sense of Bardu before Bardu gets to go out on a big stage for his trouble.
On the televised undercard, third time world champion Abner Mares (27-1, 14 KOs) meets challenger Jose Ramirez of Mexico (25-4-1, 15 KOs) in a lightweight contest. This is only the second fight for Mares after a devastating first round knockout loss to Jhonny Gonzales in 2013. Ramirez lost to Vasyl Lomachenko in his professional debut.
Middleweight Jermall Charlo (19-0-0, 15 KOs) opens up the telecast tonight against Lenny Bottai (22-2, 9 KOs), another Italian on the card making his American debut. It will be Charlo’s first 12 round fight, if it lasts that long. With the Showtime event starting an hour earlier than the HBO card down the Las Vegas Strip, fans would like some quick stoppages here so we get to see the main events in their entirety, one after the other. Get on with it, gentlemen.
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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