By: William Holmes
It’s been a very rare occurrence to have a pay-per-view fight on the East Coast, but on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City HBO will put on a solid pay-pre-view card for boxing fans. The undercard features name fighters such as Andy Lee, John Jackson, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., Felix Verdejo, Jose Pedraza, and Willie Nelson.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Top Rank Promotions and DiBella Promotions are the two main promoters for Saturday and it should be a packed venue when the pay-per-view starts.
The following is a preview of three of the bouts on Saturday’s televised card.
Andy Lee (32-2) vs. John Jackson (18-1); Junior Middleweights
This bout has the potential to steal the show. Both boxers have competed in the Olympics as an amateur, but both failed to win a medal. Lee represented Ireland in the 2004 Olympics and Jackson represented the Virgin Islands in the 2008 Olympics.
Lee has competed for most of his career in the middleweight division but has dropped six pounds to face Jackson on Saturday. Not only will Lee be the naturally bigger man, but he will also have two inches in height on Jackson.
Jackson is four years younger than Lee and his lone loss was to Willie Nelson, who is competing in the untelevised undercard. Jackson is a powerful boxer, he’s stopped fifteen of his opponents, but only three of his past five fights have ended in a stoppage.
Jackson doesn’t have an overly impressive professional record, but he does hold a few quality wins. He’s defeated the likes of Jorge Miranda, Cerresso Fort, KeAndrae Leatherwood, and Jesus Selig. He’s also been very active the past two years. He fought four times in 2013 and three times in 2012.
Lee is looking to remake his career after the death of long time trainer Emmanuel Steward. Lee fought for the WBC Middleweight Title in 2012 and lost by a 7th round TKO to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Lee has also lost to Brian Vera by a 7th round TKO.
Lee is well known, but he doesn’t have an overly impressive record. He avenged his loss to Vera in 2011 by decision, and has also defeated the likes of Craig McEwan and Darryl Cunningham.
Lee has a shaky chin and Jackson has the power to test it. Jackson should emerge victorious on Saturday night, but Lee has the experience to thoroughly test him.
Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (23-3) vs. Marvin Sonsona (18-1-1); Junior Featherweights
Sonsona is a former WBO Super Flyweight World Champion, but his lone loss in his career was against Vazquez Jr. when he unwisely decided to jump two weight classes to challenge Vazquez in 2010. Vazquez stopped Sonsona, in Puerto Rico, by a fourth round knockout.
Their rematch on Saturday will take place in the junior featherweight division, three divisions higher than when Sonsona was a world champion.
Neither Vazquez or Sonsona had an amateur career to brag about, but Vazquez comes from a boxing lineage as his father is a former world champion. Vazquez is the naturally bigger man, but Sonsona is five years younger and about an inch and half taller.
Sonsona has impressive power and has stopped fifteen of his opponents, including three of his past four victories. He’s a former WBO Super Flyweight Champion, and is the current WBO International Featherweight champion.
Inactivity may hurt Sonsona. He’s only fought one a year since 2010. His notable victories include Akifumi Shimoda, Jose Lopez, and Wandee Singwancha.
Vazquez also has impressive power and has stopped nineteen of his opponents. However, Vazquez has gone 3-3 in his past six fights and has lost to Yasutaka Ishimoto, Nonito Donaire, and Jorge Arce. He has defeated the likes of Guillermo Avila, Jonathan Oquendo, and Ivan Hernandez.
Vazquez should dispatch Sonsona like he did the first time they faced each other, but a loss for Vasquez should end any possibilities for him competing for a legitimate world title.
Miguel Cotto (38-4) vs. Sergio Martinez (51-2-2); WBC Middleweight Title
Both Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez are likely first ballot hall of famers. Cotto, at the age of 33, and Martinez, at the age of 39, are both past their physical primes but are still competing at a high level and doing it well.
Cotto has long been considered a small light middleweight and this will be his first bout in the middleweight division. Martinez is considered a small middleweight, but he will be the significantly bigger man on Saturday.
Martinez will have at least a three inch height advantage and a six inch reach advantage. He also has quicker hands than Cotto.
Cotto has professed a desire to attack the body of Martinez on Saturday and he will have to if he wants to come out with the victory. He has thirty one stoppages on his record, and his last four victories have come by way of stoppage.
Martinez is not known for his power, he has only stopped twenty eight of his opponents, but he has stopped three of his past five opponents.
Martinez’s last loss came in 2009 when he lost to Paul Williams by majority decision. Martinez also lost to Antonio Margarito way back in 2000, way before he blossomed into the complete boxer he is today. He has defeated the likes of Martinez, Murray, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker, Serhiy Dzinzruk, Paul Williams, and Kelly Pavlik.
Cotto has lost to Margarito, a loss he later avenged, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Austin Trout. Most of his big victories have come in the lighter weight classes, and he has defeated the likes of Delvin Rodriguez, Yuri Foreman, Joshua Clottey, Michael Jennings, Shane Mosley, Zab Judah, and Pauli Malignaggi.
Martinez is coming off multiple knee surgeries and that could slow him down in the ring and make him vulnerable to the body attacks of Cotto. But, Martinez appears to be too big, too long, and too quick for Cotto and he should walk away with an impressive decision victory.
Will Martinez take on Golovkin next? That’s a question we’ll likely be asking after Saturday night.