There is a plethora of boxing this weekend. From a much-maligned pay-per-view offering in Las Vegas, to a card on DAZN in Phoenix, and a show in Wales. Here's a look at what's ahead..
- Keith Thurman, who's appearances in recent years are as rare as the Haley's Comet, returns after more than a two year layoff as he faces Mario Barrios at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It's an interesting match-up but an abundance of chatter leading into this promotion is the $74.95 price tag for this pay-per-view.
Yeah, PBC is no longer about 'Free Boxing for All', and ironically, it was Thurman who years ago spoke openly about not wanting to be on pay-per-view cards, but to be showcased on network outlets so that the masses could see him ply his trade without an extra fee added to their cable bills.
Cue Alanis Morisette because Thurman has been reduced to talking about the increasing price of chewing gum in defense of this pay-per-view.
It's not clear if the negativity surround this event is specifically about this bout being placed behind a pay-wall, or the pricing? But there is clearly a backlash against Thurman-Barrios from the boxing consumer.
Now, we need to be honest, many fans when they say they will not be purchasing a pay-per-view card, they do actually find ways to watch the action. Many resort to, ahem.... 'listening on the radio'.
Putting all of that aside, the main event is somewhat interesting. Thurman, at one time was an elite welterweight, who was the unified champion in 2017 after scoring a 12 round decision over Danny Garcia. But since that point, he's fought just twice. His last outing came in the summer of 2019 where he lost to an aged Manny Pacquiao.
Barrios is also coming off a loss, as he was stopped in the 11th round by Gervonta Davis last June. This will be his first full-fledged welterweight contest. It will be interesting to see how he fills out at 147 and how his punch resistance is coming off a knockout loss.
On the flip side, Thurman is now 33 and been terribly inactive in recent years. We've seen recently a fighter in Gary Russell, not be the same guy he had been before coming off a protracted layoff.
Rounding out this undercard, is the return of one Leo Santa Cruz (who like Barrios, was stopped by 'Tank' Davis the last time he was in live competition back in October of 2020.) Also, there's an interesting junior featherweight contest between the skilled Carlos Castro and the enigmatic, Luis Nery.
- Meanwhile at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, DAZN had been expecting to showcase the rematch between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Carlos Cuadras. But as the Thai fighter had issues with Covid and was scratched from this event, Jesse 'Bam' Rodriguez, who was scheduled to fight on this bill, didn't hesitate to accept this offer to face Cuadras for the vacant WBC 115-pound title.
At just 22 years old, and with a mark of 14-0(10 KOs), 'Bam' is a relatively inexperienced boxer, who is coming up in weight (as he has been campaigning between junior flyweight and flyweight) but his trainer, Robert Garcia, has been telling people for awhile that this is a special talent. One that will one day win major titles at multiple weight classes, and be the heir to the likes of Roman Gonzalez and Juan Francisco Estrada.
Melina Pizano/Matchroom Sports
It's a calculated risk, as he facing a seasoned veteran. But it says here that Cuadras has a lot of miles on the odometer, and Rodriguez is catching him at the right time.
- And from Wales we have a middleweight bout between Chris Eubank Jr and Liam Williams, which can be purchased on FITE.TV for $29.99.
Eubank Jr. is a fighter that has some physical tools, but you still wonder if he's a legitimate contender at 160. Is he more sizzle than steak? Currently, Ring Magazine has him rated number seven in the division, but he still hasn't really had that one outing where you clearly came away thinking he was going to win a belt one day.
He should get a real test from the rugged Williams (who is listed at number 10 by Ring), who last year came up short in his bid to win the WBO title versus Demetrius Andrade. After hitting the canvas in round two, and getting buzzed early, Williams actually had some moments in the second half of the fight.
This is a bout flying a bit under the radar, but it's a real fight.
This week on the '3 Knockdown Rule' on Triller with Mario Lopez, we preview Thurman-Barrios and everything else in boxing and beyond...
The bout between Liam Smith-Jesse Vargas has been added to the Katie Taylor-Amanda Serrano undercard at MSG on April 30...Does Filip Hrgovic found a dance partner, yet? This is ridiculous...After Bill Belichick's text to Brian Flores, did anyone else edit all their contacts to have the full names of people?.... Really enjoyed the 'Janet Jackson' documentary on Lifetime(and this will probably be the lat time I ever watch this network for another few years).... I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org