By: William Holmes
Saturday night will be the first of four straight months of PPVs for boxing fans in the United States. This will unfortunately hurt the wallets of some hardcore fans, but the matchups are pay per view worthy.
Saturday will also be the first time Canelo Alvarez will headline a pay per view as the main attraction on the card. Two world title fights will also be on the undercard and will feature a WBC Junior Featherweight Title bout between Leo Santa Cruz and Cristian Mijares as well as a IBF Junior Middleweight Title bout between Carlos Molina and Jermall Charlo.
The following is a preview of the main event and the two title bouts on Golden Boy Promotions pay per view offering.
Carlos Molina (22-5) vs. Jermall Charlo (17-0); IBF Junior Middleweight Title
Carlos Molina faces a tough challenge on Saturday when he goes against Jermall Charlo for his IBF Junior Middleweight Title. Jermall has a twin brother who competes in the same division and both are considered to be high level prospects. Molina will have a tough bout on his hands, and it has been made even tougher due to the face that he was arrested on Tuesday in Las Vegas for obstruction and failing to register as a sex offender. He has been released from jail and is still expected to compete on Saturday, but this certainly will be a major distraction for him.
Molina is much better than his record suggests, but his lack of knockouts does not make him a fan favorite. He only has six stoppages to his record and will also be giving up about three inches in height and reach to the quicker and harder hitting Jermall Charlo.
Molina had a very brief amateur career and began boxing as a professional in 2003. He’s been tested for most of his career and fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. twice early on in his career. He lost once and drew once with Chavez but both bouts were close and competitive. He had a rough stretch in 2006 and 2007 while losing to Mike Alvardo and Wayland Willingham.
Molina has only lost one bout since his 2007 loss to Mike Alvardo and had defeated the likes of Alexis Camacho, Ed Paredes, Allen Conyers, Kermit Cintron, Cory Spinks, and his most recent victory over Ishe Smith to win the IBF belt.
Charlo is only twenty three years old and is not as battle tested as Molina. He is however the better athlete and has a more crowd pleasing style. He has stopped thirteen of his opponents and his past eleven victories have come by way of stoppage.
What Charlo does not have however is a strong resume of defeated opponents and some question why he has received a title shot so early in his career. His most impressive victories have come against Antwone Smith and Luis Hernandez, and neither of them presented a legitimate challenge to Charlo.
Charlo has the age, speed, power, height, and reach advantage over Molina. He also isn’t facing any pre-fight distractions. He should win despite the experience advantage Molina has over him.
Leo Santa Cruz (26-0-1) vs. Cristian Mijares (49-7-2); WBC Junior Featherweight Title
Leo Santa Cruz has become the face of Golden Boy’s lighter weight classes ever since Abner Mares went down in a shocking defeat and he’s one of the best Mexican boxers on Golden Boy’s roster.
Santa Cruz has been absolutely dominant since entering the professional ranks and won the WBC Junior Featherweight Title with a dominant third round knockout over Victor Terrazas in 2013. He’s just entering his physical prime and will be seven years younger than Mijares when they step inside the ring.
Santa Cruz has decent power, he has fifteen stoppages including three in his last five fights. He’s also defeated the likes of Cesar Seda, Alberto Guevara, Victor Zaleta, and Eric Morel.
Santa Cruz is also a former gold medalist in the world amateur championships and has a deeper amateur background than Mijares.
Mijares has had most of his success in the super flyweight division and will be the smaller man inside the ring on Saturday. Less than half of his victories have come by way of stoppage and the only common opponent he has with Santa Cruz was Victor Terrazas, a man Santa Cruz defeated easily.
Mijares has gone 9-1 in his last ten fights, but only one of those victories came against a big name opponent. He stopped Rafael Marquez in 2012 by a 9th round TKO but Marquez was way past his prime at the time.
On paper, Santa Cruz has one of the easier bouts on Saturday and is expected to win quite easily.
Canelo Alvarez (42-1) vs. Alfredo Angulo (22-3); Junior Middleweights
Canelo Alvarez is taking on a very difficult opponent after suffering the first defeat of his career at the hands of Floyd Mayweather Jr., but it is a pay per view worthy opponent.
Alvarez is certainly young enough to bounce back from that defeat, but a loss to Angulo could be crushing for his career. Canelo has been boxing professionally since he’s been a teenager and has a very impressive resume for a 23 year old fighter. He has thirty knockouts on his record and had defeated the likes of Austin Trout, Shane Mosley, Alfonso Gomez, and Josesito Lopez. He will have a slight reach and height disadvantage against Angulo, but he will have youth and speed on his side.
Angulo actually has a deeper amateur background than Canelo. He represented Mexico in the 2004 Olympics and is a former bronze medalist in the Pan American games. He’s an exciting boxer with considerable power. He stopped eighteen of his opponents and nearly all of his fights are exciting and thrilling.
Angulo has defeated the likes of Raul Casarez, Joachim Alcine, Joel Julio, Harry Joe Yorgey, and Gabriel Rosado. His losses have come to a prime Kermit Cintron, James Kirkland, and a very entertaining bout against Erislandy Lara in which Angulo knocked down Lara two times.
Angulo needs to keep the pressure on Alvarez to win, but Alvarez is the better technical boxer. If Canelo can fight smart he should win, but if he gets into a brawl with Angulo he is risking a loss by stoppage.