SAN DIEGO, December 11, 2014 – Mere days are left in this boxing year but don’t pick your Fight/Fighter/Round of the Year just yet. Between battling holiday crowds and fighting to get to the Christmas buffet line, there are several events worth your time and attention starting tonight.
ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes broadcast a tribute event for the late Dan Goossen tonight at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT from the Pechanga Casino from Temecula, California. The televised bouts include some names you know: junior middleweights Austin Trout and Luis Grajeda; and heavyweights Antonio Tarver and Johnathon Banks, a late substitute for local favorite Chris Arreola who is out due to injury. Fans will also see a WBA junior featherweight eliminator between Oscar Escandon and Tyson Cave.
Trout (27-2, 14 KOs) from Las Cruces, New Mexico scored a surprising victory over Miguel Cotto in 2012, then lost back to back decisions against Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara. He started a comeback effort with a decision win at Pechanga in August, and hopes the venue remains friendly to him tonight against Grejada (17-3-2, 13 KOs) of Mexico.
Johnathon Banks (29-2-1, 19 KOs) won an emotional knockout victory over Seth Mitchell after the death of his mentor Emanuel Steward, then lost a decision to Mitchell in the rematch. He hasn’t been back in the ring since. He’s destined to be a great trainer; he currently trains Wladimir Klitschko. Steward advised Banks to stay in the ring as long as he could before retiring to training full-time. I like that advice. Banks weighed in five pounds lighter than his last fight and looks to be in exceptional shape for his bout against Tarver (30-6, 21 KOs) a former world champion who is now 46 years old. His most notable win came against Roy Jones in 2005. Antonio, you’re no Bernard Hopkins. Banks needs to take his lighter frame out for a spin and stay active to beat Tarver, and he’s perfectly capable of doing so.
Oscar Escandon (23-1, 16 KOs) of Colombia is making his first appearance outside South America in the super bantamweight division. Cave (24-2, 8 KOs) is one of a wave of Haitian born Canadian fighters, riding a decent winning streak. This should be among the best fights of the evening.
On the non-televised schedule, notable names include Vatche Martirosyan, younger brother to Vic and Vanes at age 22 in the welterweight division, undefeated at 3-0 with two knockouts; and light heavyweight Ahmed Elbiali, Egyptian born and now fighting out of Miami with a percent 7-0 record and 100 percent knockout/TKO rate. Five of his fights have ended in Round 1. Elbiali has Deontay Wilder style punching power and as he advises his fans, when you watch his bouts, “don’t blink.”
The rest of the month gives fight fans a welcome break from the usual holiday fare on television. Because really, what says ho-ho-ho like a good KO?
Friday, December 12, Showtime: Junior middleweights Erislandy Lara vs. Ishe Smith fight for Lara’s “regular” WBA title; and Badou Jack from the Mayweather Promotions stable versus Francisco Sierra, super middleweights.
Saturday, December 13, Showtime: From Las Vegas, Devon Alexander faces Amir Khan in the welterweight division; Keith Thurman defends his WBA interim welterweight title against Leonard Bundu; plus a slew of familiar names including both Charlo twin brothers in separate bouts, Olympian Errol Spence, fierce Japanese welterweight Yoshihiro Kamegai, and the “comeback” of Victor Ortiz.
Saturday, December 13, HBO: Competing for your attention on the same night, Timothy Bradley Jr. takes on Diego Chaves, a tough competitor from Argentina in the main event; plus Matt Korobov vs. Andy Lee, with the winner likely getting a shot at one of HBO’s top middleweights, and fan friendly Irish American fighter Seanie Monaghan vs. Daniel Regi in the light heavyweight division.
Friday, December 19, Showtime: From Quebec City, 2013 Fighter of the Year Adonis Stevenson defends his WBC light heavyweight title against Dmitry Sukhotsky; plus Andre Dirrell vs. Derek Edwards, super middleweights.
The year winds up with world-class bouts from Japan that won’t be accessible to most American fans. On Tuesday, December 30 in Tokyo, Omar Narvaez and Naoya Inoue fight for Narvaez’s WBO junior bantamweight belt. On New Year’s Eve, Guillermo Rigondeaux defends his WBO/WBA junior featherweight title against Hisashi Amagasa in Osaka.
There could be a “Fight of the Year” candidate among this lineup. You never know. Everyone who blew off Robert Guerrero versus Yoshihiro Kamegai at the Stub Hub Center in Carson this summer lived to regret missing it (including yours truly). Moral of the story: never pass up a chance to watch The Sweet Science.
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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