Amir Khan, here hitting mitts with trainer Freddie Roach during a recent media workout at the Trinity Boxing Club in New York City, faces Paul Malignaggi in the highest profile bout of a very busy weekend of boxing. Photo / Ed Mulholland-Fightwireimages.com
SERGEI DZINZIRUK vs. DANIEL DAWSON
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: Santa Ynez, Calif.
The backdrop: Undefeated titleholder Dzinziruk (36-0, 22 knockouts), a talented Ukrainian southpaw boxer formerly based in Germany, makes his U.S. debut against rugged, once-beaten Australian Dawson (34-1, 24 KOs) in an interesting boxer vs. pressure fighter matchup.
Also fighting: Vernon Paris vs. Justo Sanchez, 8 rounds, junior welterweights
Rating the card: B. The main event isn‘t your typical fare for ShoBox, which usually showcases up-and-coming talent. Dzinziruk and Dawson are both seasoned professionals who happened to be training in Southern California at the same time and the 154-pound title bout fell into Showtime’s lap. The only question about the fight, which looks like a good one on paper, is how much inactivity (both fighters have been off for more than a year) will affect the veterans. Paris (20-0, 13 KOs), a fast and flashy prospect from Detroit who served as a sparring partner for Amir Khan in the Brit‘s recent camp for Paul Malignaggi, should have little trouble with tough-but-light-punching Sanchez (17-24-1).
JULIO DIAZ vs. HERMAN NGOUDJO
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior welterweights
Location: Primm, Nev.
The backdrop: This is a must win fight for former lightweight beltholder Diaz (36-6, 26 KOs) and former 140-pound contender Ngoudjo (18-3, 10 KOs) as it’s doubtful the loser will ever be in title contention again. Diaz is coming off back-to-back losses to Rolando Reyes and Victor Cayo. Ngoudjo is 3-3 in his last six bouts.
Also fighting: Dominic Salcido vs. Guillermo Sanchez, 8 rounds, junior lightweights
Rating the card: B. Diaz-Ngoudjo is a solid veteran matchup between a fast boxer-puncher and a strong pressure fighter that should be entertaining. Salcido (17-2, 9 KOs), a talented prospect coming off his second loss, is in desperate need of a victory but undefeated Sanchez (11-0, 5 KOs) won’t oblige him.
ADRIAN BRONER vs. RAFAEL LORA
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / lightweights
Location: Bronx, N.Y.
The backdrop: Former amateur standout Broner (14-0, 11 KOs) is as entertaining as he is talented. Lora (11-2, 5 KOs), who is coming off back-to-back losses to Matt Remilard, is in a must-win position.
Also fighting: Mike Perez vs. Francisco Reyes, 6 rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: C. The four featured prospects will be fun to watch but Broner, nicknamed “The Problem,” should have little problem with Lora, a natural featherweight, while the extensive amateur background of Perez (7-0, 3 KOs) should prove too much for Reyes (5-0, 2 KOs).
JESUS RUIZ vs. CUAUHTEMOC VARGAS
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / junior featherweights
Location: Mexico City
The backdrop: Ruiz (21-2-2, 18 KOs) and Vargas (15-2, 10 KOs) are two hard-punching young Mexican prospects who are looking to advance to contender status.
Also fighting: Johnny Navarrete vs. Iran Ramirez, 8 rounds, welterweights
Rating the card: C. Ruiz-Vargas should be a crowd-pleasing battle for the Mexico City fans, but Navarrete (13-3-1, 7 KOs) is in with a stiff (according to his record on BoxRec.com) with Ramirez (0-4).
AMIR KHAN vs. PAUL MALIGNAGGI
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / junior welterweights
Location: New York City
The backdrop: Speed demons Khan (22-1, 16 KOs) and Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KOs) battle it out for the popular Brit’s 140-pound belt and elite junior welterweight status.
Also fighting: Victor Ortiz vs. Nate Campbell, 10 rounds, junior welterweights
Rating the card: A-. Khan’s U.S. debut in Malignaggi’s hometown is a significant matchup with future implications as is the do-or-die crossroads bout between 2008 prospect of the year Ortiz (26-2-1, 21 KOs) and former unified lightweight titleholder Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KOs).
HUMBERTO SOTO vs. RICARDO DOMINGUEZ
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: Los Mochis, Mexico
Television: Fox Sports Net/ Fox Sports en Espanol
The backdrop: Veteran lightweight titleholder Soto (51-7-2, 32 KOs) takes a stay-busy fight with popular young TV fighter Dominguez (31-5-2, 19 KOs).
Also fighting: Daniel Ruiz vs. Joksan Hernandez, 10 rounds, junior lightweights
Rating the card: B+. This is a quality all-Mexican card that should provide good old-fashioned action in every bout. Soto has too much experience and skill for Dominguez, but the younger man will make it a fun fight while it lasts. Ruiz (18-2, 12 KOs) and Hernandez (19-2, 12 KOs) are aggressive young up-and-comers who have only lost to decent opposition. The Top Rank card will also feature Texas-based junior featherweight prospect Robert Marroquin.
Also: Friday — Hector Camacho Sr., who is pushing 49, is scheduled to take on Saul Duran in a pointless 10-round middleweight bout in Kissimmee, Fla, that can be seen on NESportsTV.com. Saturday — Lightweight contender Michael Katsidis defends an interim belt against undefeated Kevin Mitchell in a scheduled 12 rounder in London; featherweight beltholder Cristobal Cruz battles Orlando Salido in a 12-round rematch in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico; cruiserweight contenders Giacobbe Fragomeni and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk will vie for a vacant title in Lodz, Poland; and longtime flyweight beltholder Omar Narvaez will step up one weight class to challenge Evert Briceno for a vacant interim junior bantamweight title in Buenos Aires.