We are now into November and the boxing schedule heats up with a strong slate of fights. On this edition of K9's Corner we take a look at my choices for the top five bouts of the month, and some thoughts on this past weekends action on Showtime and ESPN+.
1- Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant ( Nov. 6, Las Vegas, NV -- Showtime PPV)
Based on the fact that this is for the undisputed crown at super middleweight, the fact that it involves the biggest -- and busiest -- star in boxing, the biggest event of the month and that Alvarez can make history by becoming the first four-belt/undisputed Mexican champion in history, this is a fairly easy call to make. Alvarez, 31, is at the peak of his powers, is considered the best boxer in the world, currently. He comes into this bout with the WBC, WBA and WBO belt. The only one missing from his collection is the IBF strap held by Plant.
Alvarez is the Ring Magazine champion at 168, while Plant is rated second (behind David Benavidez).
Courtesy of Top Rank
2- Terence Crawford vs. Shawn Porter (Nov. 20, Las Vegas, NV -- ESPN PPV)
This is a battle between two of the elite welterweights in the world. Crawford, the reigning WBO belt-holder, is rated second by Ring Magazine in this weight class, while Porter checks in at four. It seemed as though Crawford would never get a crack at any of the PBC welterweights, but Porter not-too-surprisingly, stepped up to the challenge. This is a battle of the all-around skills of 'Bud' versus the rugged, physical style of Porter.
And whether he wants to admit it or not, Crawford isn't just aiming to win, but to be more dominant versus Porter than the likes of Keith Thurman and Errol Spence, who have given Porter two of his losses.
Courtesy of Showtime Sports
3- Stephen Fulton vs. Brandon Figueroa (Nov. 27, Las Vegas, NV -- Showtime)
I'm always a fan of unification bouts, which is precisely what we have here between Fulton (the WBO junior featherweight titlist) and Figueroa (who has the WBC belt). Both are young and undefeated, but what really makes this an appetizing bout is that it's a great contrast of styles. Fulton, is a well-schooled technician, while Figueroa is the consummate pressure fighter.
This is an elite match-up of premiere 122 pounders. Ring has Fulton rated third in the division, with Figueroa right behind him at four.
courtesy of DAZN
4- Jaime Munguia vs Gabe Rosado (Nov. 13, Anaheim, CA -- DAZN)
Alright, this may seem a tad high, but hey, I'm admittedly a Munguia homer. But this is an interesting test for the former WBO 154 pounder, who was still largely a prospect when he had that belt. There have been signs of improvement under the tutelage of the great Erik 'El Terrible' Morales. Lets see how he deals with the cagey veteran, who scored a shocking KO of the unbeaten Bektemir Melikuziev back in June.
Rosado has never backed down from a challenge, and Munguia will always be a fan-friendly type of fighter. At the very least there should be a lot of leather thrown in this contest.
5 - Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs. Ronny Rios (Nov. 19, Manchester, NH -- DAZN)
While Fulton and Figueroa are fighting to unify 122 pound titles, 'MJ' Akhmadaliev already owns the other two major belts in this weight class. He has just under his belt, but from the very beginning of his career this Uzbek was put on the fast track in the professional game. Akhmadaliev is a strong all-around fighter with an aggressive style. In the resurgent Rios, he's facing a fighter who understands that this may be his last title shot. Since getting stopped by Azat Hovhannisyan in 2018, he has rebounded with four victories, including two very strong efforts against Diego De La Hoya and Oscar Negrete.
- I know Jaron 'Boots' Ennis hasn't faced any elite welterweights, but based on what we've seen, can you honestly state that he isn't a top five 147 pounder? He put forth another eye-opening effort by halting the faded Thomas Dulorme in the first round at the Mandalay Bay on Showtime.
He's a multi-faceted fighter, who can both box and bang. Ennis scored an early knocked down with a chopping right hand from the orthodox stance, than finished off Dulorme a bit later on with a straight left as a southpaw.
courtesy of Esther Lin/Showtime Sports
Yeah, we still have to see if he can deal with adversity and how well he catches, but it's hard not to be excited by him.
- Radzhab Butaev just simply chopped down the tall Jamal James over nine rounds, to win a version of the WBA welterweight title. Butaev put on an exhibition of body punching. His trainer, Joel Diaz, told me late on Saturday night, "That was Mexican-style with a dash of Diaz."
- On the ESPN+ from the Hulu Theater in New York, Jose Zepeda zapped Josue Vargas in one round. While Vargas won the press conference and weigh-in with his mouth, Zepeda took care of things with his left hand, which floored Vargas early on. For all intents and purposes, the fight was over at that point, but a series of follow up shots ended the contest early.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
The worst thing Vargas did was to actually get Zepeda to really care about this fight. If you look at his recent history, his performance is directly tied to how motivated he is, or how much of a threat he feels from his upcoming foe.
- The co-feature on this card featured Jonas Sultan winning an entertaining 10 round verdict over Carlos Caraballo in a battle of bantams. Jonas truly was 'the sultan of swat' in this contest scoring four knockdowns of the talented Puerto Rican. There were stretches when Caraballo looked really good, and was seemingly on the verge of taking control of the bout, but he simply could not take the power of the Filipino, who won on all three cards, 94-93.
Caraballo has a lot of tools to work with -- but he just may not have enough punch resistance.
Other bouts of note in November: Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos, Isaac Dogboe-Christopher Diaz, Julio Cesar Martinez-McWilliams Arroyo...The Dakota Linger-Mathew Gonzalez fight (which was on the Zepeda-Vargas card) was something else. It was a six round war that was ruled a draw, which seemed unfair to Linger....Anyone else notice the faster pacing of the Top Rank card on 'the Plus' this weekend?....So when will Showtime have an announcement regarding the status of Rolly Romero and his bout with Gervonta Davis on Dec. 5?....The Miami Hurricanes may not have their long-term coach, but they have found their future/present quarterback in Tyler Van Dyke....I can be reached at email@example.com...