We've got ourselves a very nice boxing weekend, don't we? Start off with ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" with former heavyweight titleholder Chris Byrd unveiling his new light heavyweight body as he attempts to reshape his career at 175 pounds against Shaun George.
Make sure to set the DVR for Telefutura's "Solo Boxeo," which features a nice little junior featherweight scrap between former titleholders Jhonny Gonzalez and Mauricio Pastrana.
And then comes Saturday, where the main show of the weekend is HBO's very interesting "Boxing After Dark" card featuring a trio of exciting prospects in step-up fights: ultra-exciting 2004 Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa against Darling Jimenez in a junior lightweight fight; all-action brawling junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo against Richard Gutierrez and pure puncher James Kirkland in a junior middleweight fight against tough Eromosele Albert. This is a true throwback "BAD" card where all three fights could be entertaining and all three prospects are in harm's way.
But for the truly hardcore fight fans, Saturday also features competing Hispanic-themed pay-per-view cards.
To me, it is utter nonsense for there to be two PPV cards on the same night that are both after the exact same audience: Hispanics and the most dedicated Fight Freaks.
Maybe some nut jobs, like me, will order both PPVs. But what if you can only afford one? Which one to buy? I am here to offer guidance.
First, a look at what you get on each show, both of which begin at 9 p.m. ET:
Mexican promoter Nacho Huizar's KO Entertainment, along with distributor Integrated Sports, has a card from Gomez Palacio, Mexico. This one costs $29.95 and the main event features Cristian Mijares against Alexander Munoz in a junior bantamweight unification fight.
The rest of the scheduled TV lineup includes a flyweight title eliminator between Omar Salado and Julio Cesar Miranda and a middleweight fight between Martin Avila and Alberto Hernandez. If the fights are short, it is likely that swing bouts will be added to the broadcast.
The other show emanates from Aguascalientes, Mexico, and is the latest installment of Top Rank's "Latin Fury" series. This baby costs $34.95 and is headlined by a junior bantamweight title eliminator between Jorge Arce and Thailand's Devid Lookmahanak, who, ironically, will fight for the right to face the winner of Mijares-Munoz. And don't forget, on a "Latin Fury" PPV last spring, Mijares schooled Arce in a lopsided, although entertaining, fight.
Also scheduled for TV: lightweight prospect Humberto Gutierrez vs. Guadalupe Rosales; featherweight contender Jorge Solis vs. Miguel Roman and junior featherweight prospect Brandon Rios vs. Ricardo Dominguez. Time permitting, we'll also see lightweight Omar Chavez (yes, Julio Cesar Chavez's other fighting son) take out some hobo.
Neither card blows me away, but the Mijares-Munoz main event blows away the other one. This is an excellent match of styles with Mijares being the classy boxer and Munoz a big puncher. I think it has potential to be a really good fight. It's also a historically significant fight in that it is the first 115-pound unification bout since Johnny Tapia outpointed Albuquerque, N.M., rival Danny Romero on July 18, 1997.
There's nothing wrong with Arce-Lookmahanak, but this is simply not worth 35 bones. As closely as I follow boxing, I'm not even all that familiar with Lookmahanak, an obscure fighter from Thailand who has never fought a notable opponent and never fought outside of his country. There's almost no way to handicap the fight. Maybe Lookmahanak will be a really tough guy who makes an exciting fight with Arce. And maybe Lookmahanak will be just like Medgoen Singsurat, the Thai boxer whom Arce fought in his last fight and blew away in 47 seconds.
The Mijares-Munoz undercard does nothing for me at all. Salado and Miranda will fight for the right to challenge flyweight titlist Daisuke Naito. Avila-Hernandez has no significance and neither fighter is a known commodity.
The Top Rank undercard is little better, even if the main event is weak. First, you get an extra scheduled bout compared to the other card. But the show is also $5 more. In any event, Gutierrez is an excellent prospect and Rosales is solid veteran. This one could be interesting. Solis was a late addition to the show, taking the slot of his brother, ill junior flyweight titlist Ulises "Archie" Solis, who withdrew from his defense against Glenn Donaire earlier in the week. Roman is a fringe contender. Maybe there could be some fireworks. Rios is an exciting kid stepping into his first 10-rounder. Dominguez could be fodder. Two fights ago, Zahir Raheem blew him away in one round on ESPN2. I don't expect much from this fight.
What we really have here are two cards that ought to be one. Take Mijares-Munoz as the main event, Arce's fight as the co-feature and throw in some of the other matches to round out a nice card.
As separate shows, these are tough to swallow for the price. But if you can't live without your PPV fix, here's the pick: for $5 less and a superior main event, take the Mijares-Munoz card.