This Saturday there is plenty of boxing to choose from. For the most diehard of fans, it actually starts in the morning with a card on ESPN+ featuring unified jr. flyweight titlist, Kenshiro Teraji, from Japan. Later that evening ESPN, Showtime and DAZN all have fight cards.
There was a time long ago when it was considered an inconvenience when HBO and Showtime would have conflicting broadcasts. Nowadays, with the current state of the business, this is a regular occurrence.
Depending on your perspective, this is something that is just like other sports where many events take place at the same time on certain nights, and gives fans viewing options. The opposing viewpoint is that this is further diluting of a sport that has a diminishing spotlight.
Here's some thoughts on those three telecasts taking place...
From the Boeing Center at Tech Port in San Antonio, Texas, you have the 2023 debut of Jesse 'Bam' Rodriguez, who burst onto the scene last year with three appearance. It began with him taking on Carlos Cuadras on less than a weeks notice, and then stopping Srisaket Sor Rungvisai emphatically to win the WBC 115-pound title. Then he finished out his campaign by decisioning Israel Gonzalez on the Canelo Alvarez-Gennadiy Golovkin III pay-per-view undercard.
This year catapulted him from being just a prospect, to a legitimate world champion, and is now starting to build a base in his hometown. 'Bam' showed that activity and consistent exposure -- especially for young boxers -- absolutely matters. At just 23, you get the sense that his best boxing is still in front of him. For this contest, he is facing Cristian Gonzalez Hernandez for the vacant WBO flyweight title. Should he win, there is talk of unification bouts versus the likes of Sunny Edwards.
This is well-rounded card, that also features a match-up between 'MJ' Akmadaliev (the other unified champion at 122 alongside Stephen Fulton) facing his mandatory, Marlon Tapales. Also his stablemate, the talented Irail Madrimov is on this bill. A bout that I'm very interested in is the crossroads battle between former world champion, Jesse Magdaleno, and prospect, Raymond Ford, in what is a WBA featherweight eliminator.
Overall, this is a hardcore fans kind of fight card.
From the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, two-time world champion, Shakur Stevenson makes his official debut as a lightweight versus Shuichiro Yoshina of Japan. The last time we saw the gifted Stevenson, he failed to make the 130 pound limit against Robson Conceicoa, and lost the WBO and WBC junior lightweight belts on the scale, while winning the subsequent bout.
Stevenson is among the most sound and talented boxers in the world. But at just 19 fights and still just 25 years old, you wonder at fighting just twice-a-year if he will ever truly reach the type of stardom that he believes he is destined for. He is so good and difficult that he will be the type of boxer that many other marquee names will consciously avoid.
There is nobody that has the stable of young blue-chip prospects like Top Rank. On this particular card two of them will be on the main portion of the ESPN broadcast. First Olympic silver medalist, Keyshawn Davis, will take on Anthony (Can You) Yigit in a scheduled 10 round lightweight contest. The word is that Davis (who is just seven fights into his pro run) will be moved very quickly. The semi-main will feature highly regarded heavyweight hopeful, Jared 'Big Baby' Anderson, against George Arias, in what should be his sternest test to date. Anderson is without question the best young American heavyweight around.
Also on this card will be Bruce Carringon and Troy Isley, who will be on the portion of the undercard that will be streamed on ESPN+.
Meanwhile at the Dignity Health Sports Park -- 'the War Grounds', not 'the Punch Bowl', lets make that clear -- in Carson, California, it's the return of Sebastian Fundora, who is paired with Brian Mendoza, for the WBC interim junior middleweight title.
Fundora is one of the physical freaks in boxing with his 6'5 frame that somehow is fit into a 154-pounder. And despite those dimensions, Fundora is a fighter that is much more confident fighting inside the pocket, that boxing from the perimeter. Last year he scored an exciting ninth round stoppage over Erickson Lubin, and then struggled a bit in getting past Carlos O'Campo.
Regardless of who he fights, he is one of the most interesting boxers in the game to watch.
The main supporting bout here has junior welterweight prospect, Brandun Lee, taking on Pedro Campa. Last summer Lee hit the canvas hard versus Will Madera, but was still able to win a 10 round verdict. But it left many questioning his punch resistance. Campa should be an interesting gauge for him, given that his last outing came against Teofimo Lopez.
The show will go on at the College Park Center at the University of Texas at Arlington campus on April 29 without Vergil Ortiz, who had to pull out once again due to rhabdomyolysis, who was scheduled to face Eimantas Stanionis.
Lightweight contender, William Zepeda, will now headline this card on DAZN on April 29th. He will be pitted against Jaime Arboleda.
Golden Boy Promotions
Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions explained to SNAC.com, "It was very painful to lose Vergil, everybody was looking forward to that date, but we have other obligations to other other fighters on the undercard. DAZN is a great partner and is allowing us to move forward with Zepeda."
Zepeda was to have been part of the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia pay-per-view undercard, but now gets to headline his own show. There is talk of him facing veteran Mercito Gesta this summer, as he works towards a lightweight title shot.
As for Stanionis-Ortiz, both sides say that they will wait for this bout to be rescheduled in the summer.
The boxing actually starts on Thursday as Golden Boy has a card that features 'Tito' Acosta that takes place from Indio, CA, and will be broadcast by DAZN....Also ProBox has a show from Mexico... While on Friday, there is a 'ShoBox' broadcast that has a main event between Shinard 'Fun' Bunch and Bryan Flores.....Is our weather finally getting back to normal in Southern California?....Logan Roy of 'Succession' is the greatest character on TV, currently....I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org......