The last big weekend of boxing is almost here. On Saturday, HBO and Showtime will go head to head in Las Vegas, with competing fight cards, and the lineups are stacked. With so little time left between now and fight time, we don't have the luxury of long breakdowns. But for those looking for quick insight on the upcoming battles and maybe a leg up on last-minute bets, check out these boxing quick picks.
Timothy Bradley vs. Diego Chaves
This fight is class versus crass. Bradley's refined boxing against Chaves' mix of boxing ability and dirty tactics. Expect Chaves' low blows to turn Bradley into a beast. Bradley has courage and pride for days. He'll box until the Chaves' dirty moves get out of control. Then a real scrap will break out. Either way, Bradley is winning the fight.
Andy Lee vs. Matt Korobov
People forget that the late Emanuel Steward once believed that Andy Lee would one day become the best middleweight alive. Lee hasn't lived up to that high hope, but he is a decent boxer with length and some pop. If he can keep his jab snappy and consistent, he should be able to win his first title against a guy few people know and former champion, Peter Quillin, refused to fight. Korobov is unrefined enough to make this matchup guaranteed fan-friendly (i.e,. more action, less defense). My vote goes to Lee, who although far from the lofty goals Steward set for him, seems especially hungry for this fight.
Mauricio Herrera vs. Jose Benavidez Jr.
This is a fight between the uncrowned champion and the future champion. Herrera deserved the nod against Danny Garcia but had to settle for winning the event while Garcia won the fight. He's facing off against a boxing prodigy — Benavidez has been winning national titles from long before puberty. Although Herrera's boxing skills and sometimes awkward style have troubled many, I think Benavidez makes a statement in this fight. Look for the young pug to take Herrera's title and make a name for himself while doing it.
Amir Khan vs. Devon Alexander
Amir Khan has quick hands, quick feet and in the past has quickly let go of the game plan, only to be rocked and shocked. His new trainer, Virgil Hunter, is trying to tame that while instilling in him defensive principles that will leave KO losses to Breidis Prescott and Danny Garcia in a long forgotten past. Fortunately, Devon Alexander never seems to really show up in his biggest fights. Defeating Khan might put him in talks to fight Floyd Mayweather. That alone might spell his doom. I've got more faith in Hunter being able to mold Khan than I do in Alexander learning how to avoid the same fate he suffered in his previous career-defining matches, against Tim Bradley and Shawn Porter. Khan by decision.
Keith Thurman vs. Leonard Bundu
You could call this fight "Every time" versus "Never time." Thurman is a certified knockout artist. At least he was before his long layoff and injury. In the past, every time he landed flush, it seemed like his opponent hit the canvass. For Bundu, an Italian fighter with some grit but soft hands, it seems like it's never time to get a knockout. He's only gotten 11 KOs in 31 victories. But that's exactly why he's in the ring with Thurman in his first fight back from an injury. If Thurman is going to be a future player in the PPV boxing scene, he simply can't afford a loss to a little known (at least here in the states) fighter like Bundu. Expect Thurman to show some ring rust, but he should knock out Bundu before the sixth round ends.
If you're looking for a longer breakdown of the fights this weekend, or maybe some insight on the top five druggies in boxing, check out The Hook!
A former college wrestler, Taekwondo black-belt, and wannabe boxer, Paul Navarro (aka Fight Like Sugar) is now a full-time lawyer, part-time fight scribe, and high school wrestling coach.