BACK TO K-9 KIM’S CORNER

By Steve Kim Updated on August 04, 2022

Weekend Fight Preview

After 11 hard fought rounds, it seemed as though Michael Conlan was on his way to his first world title. Flooring Leigh Wood in the first, and then consistently beating him to the punch out of a southpaw stance. The Irishman had built a significant early lead. Yet the hard-charging Wood wouldn't go gently into the night. Still, with just one round to go, Conlan seemed destined to be wearing the WBA featherweight title around his waist.

But in what was the best pure fight so far in 2022, he was stunningly knocked out and sent out of the ring by the dogged Wood in the final round. A shocking end to what was a pulsating battle.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wood-conlan

Now, Conlan returns this weekend at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Ireland (on a card that will be streamed this Saturday afternoon on ESPN+) versus veteran, Miguel Marriaga.

The Colombia, is an experienced boxer, having really only lost to the best of the division (Vasiliy Lomachenko, Joet Gonzalez, Nicholas Walters and Oscar Valdez). You could say that he's worn, but still very durable. In 35 professional outings he has been stopped just once. He should give some quality rounds to Conlan.

TopRank

"If you watch any of his fights, the only person to take him out is Lomachenko, and that was more his corner stopping the fight, not so much himself. I know he's a tough dude. He will be there for the full 10 rounds," Conlan said of his upcoming foe. "If there's an opportunity to take him out, I will do that, but I know that he's a tough guy. He's high tempo, fast pace, and he will be there for the full distance punching and trying to take your head off. So, I've got to be ready. I've got to be prepared. I have many different game plans, which flutter about in my head, and I'll decide in the ring which one I'll pick."

It will be interesting to see where Conlan is at both physically and psychologically after his last encounter. Not only was the fight a pitched battle, there is also the heartbreaking manner in which the fight ended so suddenly. So close, yet so far away was Conlan from realizing his dream of a world title. 

Matchroom Sports

Many boxers never truly recover from such an ordeal. It will be interesting to see Conlan's form in this upcoming bout.

"I want to get back in the world title mix as soon as I possibly can, and I thought Miguel Marriaga would be the perfect kind of guy, perfect statement to make that,' said Conlan. "Thank you to Miguel for coming. I think he's a fantastic fighter, a very tough opponent, a very tough pick for a comeback fight. But in my opinion, the perfect one because I want to show my level. I obviously was 90 seconds away, whatever it was {against Leigh Wood}, but I know how good I can be. I know what I have left to give. I believe for me to get back {to title contention}, I didn't need anybody easy. I wanted someone hard and an opponent who's going to push me. And I believe Miguel is."

 

DAZN

Later that night on DAZN from the Dickies Arena in Ft. Worth, Texas, welterweight contender, Vergil Ortiz, returns to action against Michael McKinson.

McKinson, who hails from Britain, is a smooth boxing southpaw, but only has two stoppages in 22 fights. He doesn't seem to have the firepower to hold off Ortiz (who has stopped all 18 of his opponents). Logic says that Ortiz will most likely score a mid-round-to-late round KO of McKinson.

Golden Boy Promotions

For Ortiz -- who is rated fifth in the division by Ring Magazine -- this is his first outing since last August, when he stopped 'the Mean Machine', Egidijus Kavaliauskas, in eight rounds. He was scheduled to fight in March but had to pull out due to rhabdomyolysis.

It seems as though there were no such issues in the lead up to this bout. Ortiz says.“It has been a great camp, staying in Venice, CA running outside by the beach. That the Texas heat shocked me when I landed and walked out of the airport. But after a few minutes, I was thankful because it feels like home, I knew I was home.”

Golden Boy Promotions

Looking ahead, should Ortiz do the expected and dispatch McKinson, his brain trust and Golden Boy Promotions have an interesting decision to make given that they are ranked number one in the WBO (who's belt is worn by Terence Crawford) and the WBA (who's champion is Errol Spence).

Do they try and get these mandatory positions solidified, and if so -- which one? This bout is being billed for the WBO International welterweight title.

“I am grateful for this fight to be an eliminator, it’s just closer to a world title shot," said Ortiz.

 

WBC

This past weekend it was revealed that the WBC has ordered Jose Zepeda and Regis Prograis to negotiate a bout for their vacant junior welterweight title that was recently held by Josh Taylor.

Zepeda is ranked first, and with second ranked Jose Ramirez focusing in on his wedding in the fall, the next highest contender is Prograis. This would be a fantastic pairing of two southpaws who have explosive offensive arsenals. 

The two sides have a few weeks to try and negotiate a deal. If not agreement is reached, a purse bid will be held by the WBC on August 30.

In the Ring Magazine ratings, Prograis is number one (the champion being Taylor), with Zepeda coming in at three. I really hope this fight comes to fruition.

 

AMARI

There is a club show taking place at the Double Tree Hotel in Sacramento on Friday night that has undefeated Amari Jones (6-0, 6 KOs) on it. The 20 year old Jones is facing Michael Lemelle.

The 20 year old Jones is a stablemate of Devin Haney, and promoted by the lightweight champion of the world. Good luck to Amari. 

 

3KR

This week on 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' on Triller, Mario Lopez and I review Danny Garcia's win over Jose Benavidez, while previewing this weekends cards:

Mario & Steve React To Danny Garcia Beating Benavidez | The 3 Knockdown Rule Ep. 41 | TrillerTV

 


FINAL FLURRIES

Maurice Hooker faces Blair 'the Flair' Cobbs on the Ortiz-McKinson card, while Marlen Esparza defends her flyweight belts against Eva Guzman....Word is that WBA 115-pound titlist, Joshua Franco, is now a free agent. He had spent his professional career with Golden Boy. His last three bouts came against Andrew Moloney on Top Rank cards...I like many others was saddened by the passing of the legendary Vin Scully. My earliest memories of being a sports fan were of listening to radio broadcast of Dodger games with Scully on the call, late at night, with a transistor radio tucked under my sheets as I was supposed to be going to sleep.....I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com....

 

 

About Author
Weekend Fight Preview
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for UCNlive.com.
  • Was a boxing reporter for ESPN.com from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.