By Ivan G. Goldman
Yes, August has been a desert in the world of big-time fights, but its barren landscape will abruptly give way to the lush greenery of what looks like a spectacular September, including two nights with head-to-head cards.
Feast or famine, as they say.
The highlight looks to be middleweights Sergio Martinez versus Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., September 13 from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas and carried on HBO pay-per-view. But one of the most compelling ingredients of boxing is its unpredictability, and there are several other matches with the potential to steal the spotlight.
Across town that night at the MGM Grand Saul “Canelo” Alvarez looks to overpower the much smaller but extremely gritty Josesito Lopez, who deprived Victor Ortiz of a multi-million-dollar purse by breaking his jaw. Ortiz was supposed to get the shot against Canelo in a Mexican Independence Day junior middleweight blockbuster. The bout was demoted from pay-per-view to Showtime when Ortiz was so brutally knocked out of the picture.
Promoters Top Rank and Lou DiBella at the Thomas & Mack and Golden Boy at the MGM Grand were offering tickets for as low as $25 in an effort to pull stray players away from the quarter slots and win the attendance sweepstakes. When promoters battle, fans tend to win, but it will be something of a hassle for fans at home to keep track of both shows.
The first premium channel show of the month September 1 features two middleweights making their U.S. debut, Gennady Golovkin from Kazakhstan and Grzegorz Proksa from Poland on HBO. Knowledgeable but biased Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions claims Golovkin, 23-0 (20KOs), is the best middleweight in the world. It may be fun watching him try to prove it against Proksa, 28-1 (21KOs).
HBO will also show Ukraine’s Sergiy Dzinziruk, 37-1, (2 KOs) against Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez 15-0 (13KOs) in another middleweight contest on the undercard. Dzinziruk has previously been rolled over and stopped by Martinez.
The next week on HBO Chad Dawson intriguingly steps down from light heavyweight to challenge Andre Ward for super middleweight supremacy. If Dawson isn’t weakened from making the weight, this one could be huge, but both fighters have from time to time been accused of excess caution.
That same night Showtime will offer new welterweight titlist Randall Bailey, 37, against Devon Alexander and Lucas Matthysse against Ajose Olusegun in a junior welter match. Bailey’s uppercut stoppage of Mike Jones will certainly be in the running for knockout of the year and Matthysse, 31-2 (29KOs), has kayoed all but two of his opponents, and lost both those matches by split decision. Advice: Don’t linger too long at the fridge.
HBO will also televise Antonio DeMarco (27-2-1) (20KOs) against John Molina, 24-1 (19KOs) in a lightweight match on the Ward-Dawson undercard. It has the potential to be something special. That same night HBO will also bring us Vitali Klitschko against Manuel Charr, 21-0 (11KOs). a Lebanese who fights out of Germany. Vitali, who just turned 41, could grow very old in that ring at any moment. The odds say he’ll probably knock out Charr because like his brother, he knocks out a vast majority of his opponents. But if he won’t retire, someone will retire him. Maybe Charr.
The junior featherweight match between Cuban kayo artist Guillermo Rigondeaux and Robert Marroquin, set for the Martinez-Chavez undercard, is reportedly in legal limbo, but at this point the network is slated to show four fights. Showtime has scheduled featherweights Jhonny Gonzalez and Daniel Ponce De Leon for TV on the Alvarez-Lopez undercard.
HBO will end the month with super middleweights Edwin Rodiguez and Jason Escalera Sept. 29. Also on camera are light heavies Isaac Chilemba and Zsolt Erdi. Vic Darchinyan will show us how much he has left in a bantamweight match against undefeated Luis Del Valle.
A word about titles: rather than catalog all of them, let’s just say there will be lots and lots of belts paraded around in all these matches, and putting them up for grabs will feed the treasuries of all the alphabet gangs with “sanctioning” fees extracted from the fighters. That will create an ever-widening pattern of competing championships and future fees. Any fans who keep track of it all are only feeding these parasites with the attention they must have to keep pulling in undeserved loot.
Ivan G. Goldman’s latest novel Isaac: A Modern Fable came out in April 2012 from Permanent Press. Information HERE