No Sweat: Rigondeaux vs Casimero, Ortiz Jr vs Kavaliauskas, #FrancoMoloney3, headline big boxing weekend August 14
SAN DIEGO, Calif., August 13, 2021 – Boxing returns from its brief summer vacay with multiple compelling cards offering fans plenty of good entertainment choices.
What’s your pleasure? Watching the emergence of a pound-for-pound star? Getting worked up about a bitter rivalry? Seeing a well-matched title fight with no clear favorite?
Get the extra screen out and make sure your “picture in picture” works. ESPN, Showtime Boxing, and DAZN all offer cards this weekend worthy of your attention. It’s up to your own taste to decide the lineup in your living room.
Hold on tight. We plan to cover a LOT of ground here. Cards are listed in order of appearance, and if everyone cooperates, the main events won’t compete for screen time.
Ortiz Jr. vs Kavaliauskas: 8 pm ET/5 pm PT, DAZN; undercard at 4 pm ET/1 pm PT, Golden Boy Facebook Watch
Welterweight Vergil Ortiz Jr. of Grand Prairie, Texas (17-0, 17 KOs) gets a golden opportunity to prove he’s the elite fighter long predicted with his matchup against Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas, a California-based Lithuanian (22-1-1, 18 KOs). To date, Ortiz Jr. has passed every test set in front of him in short order: Mauricio Herrera, Antonio Orozco, Maurice Hooker.
Kavaliaukas has a single loss to Terence Crawford. After wobbling Crawford and forcing the champion to bear down and stop Kavaliaukas in nine rounds, he left the ring with plenty of respect. Ortiz Jr. will be especially motivated to deliver a quicker, more impressive performance than his rival Crawford. So far, Ortiz Jr. has exceeded expectations.
“We’re worried about this one. Change your questions right now,” said Ortiz Jr. with a laugh about any speculation regarding future opponents. Ortiz Jr. insists he’s focused only on Kavaliaukas. “Camp was long, good. I like all the hard work put in,” said Kavaliauskas. “Let’s put on a show.”
Ortiz Jr. has stopped all 17 opponents in seven rounds or less. If he lays down another good performance, he’ll issue a challenge to the top names in the welterweight division.
On the undercard in Frisco, Roger Gutierrez of Venezuela (35-3-1, 20 KOs) will defend the WBA Super Featherweight title in a trilogy tiebreaker against Rene Alvarado of Nicaragua (32-9-1 21 KOs). Each man has a win. In January, Gutierrez won the narrowest possible decision over Alvarado, with 113-112 scorecards after dropping Alvarado three times. Alvarado knocked out Gutierrez in seven rounds back in 2017.
Betting on Ortiz Jr. taking care of business early, you can decide which head-to-head card you prefer to watch and set up your second screen for the other.
Rigondeaux vs Casimero: 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, Showtime Boxing
If you’re on the fence about which card to watch, the Showtime Boxing card presents the closest matchup and most meaningful bout.
Former two-division champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux of Miami (20-1, 13 KOs) gets what may be his last title shot at age 40 (if you believe Cuban birth certificates) against WBO World Bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero of the Philippines (30-4, 21 KOs). Bonus: the fight is set in Carson, California, at the War Grounds, AKA Dignity Health Sports Park.
The surprising champion rides a six-fight knockout streak, including an impressive win over South African Zolani Tete.
Rigondeaux fights for just the second time as a pro at bantamweight after fighting as high as a super featherweight. It’s hard to believe the veteran can make weight, but he apparently does so with ease. With a win, Rigondeaux can break the record set by Nonito Donaire as the oldest bantamweight champion and set up a unification rematch with the Filipino Flash. Casimero would love to take on Donaire, which was briefly the plan until the fighters tangled over drug testing and personal insults.
Rigo and Casimero’s taunts are good-natured but sincere.
“All these jokers always talk a lot about making me retire, but they have to do it in the ring. Let’s see what you do on Saturday. I’m still right here,” said Rigondeaux. “He’s knocked out six guys in a row, but none of them are in the same class as me. He’s going to have the devil in front of him on Saturday.”
Casimero says the Cuban will be KO #7.
“He’s ‘finito.’ I respect Rigondeaux because he’s a good boxer and a two-time Olympian. But I want to show the world that I can knock him out, and many of my fans want to see me knock him out. So that’s what I’m going to do,” declared Casimero.
“I have a surprise for Rigondeaux on Saturday night. He will maybe last three rounds. Don’t run!”
The outcome depends on Rigondeaux. He has all the skills needed to tie up and frustrate Casimero. The question is whether he’s still got it at age 40. Casimero is relentless and doesn’t give up easily. If he can’t find a way through, he goes around. But we’ll go with the veteran in a unanimous decision win.
Also on the undercard, undefeated bantamweight Gary Antonio Russell (18-0, 12 KOs) takes on former champion Emmanuel Rodriguez of Puerto Rico (19-2, 12 KOs). Former champion and Olympian Rau’shee Warren of Cincinnati (18-3, 4 KOs) and Damien Vasquez of Las Vegas (15-2, 8 KOs) start the Showtime broadcast.
FrancoMoloney3: 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa; ESPN+, 6 pm ET/3 pm PT
Joshua Franco of San Antonio (17-1-2, 8 KOs) and Andrew Moloney of Australia (21-1, 14 KOs) have a score to settle in their third fight on Saturday after one of the messier outcomes to a fight in recent memory. Remember, we’re talking about the crazy train called boxing.
In their November rematch, Nevada officials took far too long to render a no-decision result after two rounds due to an accidental headbutt causing a cut to Franco prohibiting him from being able to continue. No one other than the officials involved saw a headbutt take place. Franco dodged a bullet, and Moloney was denied winning Franco’s WBA Super Flyweight title.
This will be the third straight bout between the two since last June, when Franco won a narrow unanimous decision, the biggest win of his career.
He will be motivated and enjoy somewhat of a hometown advantage in Tulsa.
We won’t mind seeing the action go all 12 rounds, but both men will be motivated to take it out of the judges’ hands. Referee Jack Reiss of California has been assigned, and all three judges are fresh to the trilogy. Reiss doesn’t allow any shenanigans, but he doesn’t intervene unless necessary. This should be a rough and tumble fight, but as long as Franco doesn’t get reinjured, he should win another tight one.
Moloney’s twin brother Jason fights Joshua Greer in a must-win bout for both at bantamweight. In a notable debut, Nico Ali Walsh, the grandson of Muhammad Ali, makes his professional debut at middleweight against Jordan Weeks (4-1, 2 KOs), a former MMA fighter from Lexington, South Carolina.
Bonus boxing: Buatsi vs. Bolotniks, Fight Camp 3 2 pm ET/11 am PT, DAZN
For hardcore fans who get their workout in and their to-do list done early, Matchroom Boxing presents its third and last “Fight Camp” card of the summer from the Hearn estate on DAZN starting at 2 pm ET/11 am PT. Light heavyweight Joshua Buatsi of Croydon, England (14-0, 12 KOs) faces Ricards Bolotniks of Riga, Latvia (18-5-1, 8 KOs). Buatsi is a big star at home, and he’ll be motivated to put on a show as he wants in on more significant fights.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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