If the month of March seemed pitifully slow in terms of boxing action, fear not. The sport is about to heat up.
The month of April has enough high-profile fights to satisfy even the most diehard fight fans. And most of the marquee matchups of the month are significant. Every Saturday in April features a showdown between two RING-rated fighters.
The action between the RING-recognized standouts begins with the anticipated rematch between the magazine’s junior flyweight champ Giovani Segura and the No. 1 contender, former champ Ivan Calderon, on April 2 in Mexicali, Mexico. The return match of THE RING’s Fight of the Year for 2010, which was won by Segura, will be broadcast on Integrated Sports PPV in the U.S.
On April 9, No. 3-rated lightweight Michael Katsidis takes on No. 10-rated contender Robert Guerrero on the Marcos Maidana-Erik Morales undercard in Las Vegas. The intriguing 135-pound matchup is part of the HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast.
On April 16, No. 3-rated welterweight Andre Berto is set to defend his 147-pound strap against No. 9-rated junior welterweight Victor Ortiz in Mashantucket, Conn. The welterweight bout will be televised on HBO, which will also show a tape-delay broadcast of No. 2-rated junior welterweight Amir Khan’s title defense against No. 10-rated contender Paul McCloskey from Manchester, England.
On the same night in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, No. 1-rated featherweight Juan Manuel Lopez will defend his 126-pound belt against the No. 4-rated contender Orlando Salido in a Showtime-televised bout.
On April 23, No. 3-rated bantamweight Joseph Agbeko will take on the No. 4-rated contender Abner Mares in the final of Showtime’s bantamweight tournament in Los Angeles. In the co-featured bout of the Showtime broadcast, No. 6-rated Yonnhy Perez battles No. 8-rated Vic Darchinyan in the tournament’s consolation match.
And finally, on April 30, No. 5-rated junior flyweight Luis Lazarte defends his 108-pound strap against No. 8-rated Ulises Solis in a rematch of their controversial first bout in Buenos Aires.
It’s rare to have so many fights that carry ramifications in the magazine’s ratings take place in a single month, but Nigel Collins, Editor-In-Chief of THE RING, was kind enough to provide his thoughts on some of the more compelling matchups in April.
“The first Giovani Segura-Ivan Calderon bout was THE RING’s 2010 Fight of the Year,” said Collins. “Whether or not the rematch will live up to its predecessor remains to be seen, but there’s certainly a lot at stake, including THE RING junior flyweight championship belt that Segura took from Calderon in their breathtaking first encounter. The only downside is that Segura has already stated it will be his last fight at 108 pounds. If he beats Calderon again and relinquishes the title, there will be another vacancy to fill.”
“The winner of Michael Katsidis and Robert Guerrero match could possibly find himself in an excellent position to fight for THE RING lightweight championship if reigning champ Juan Manuel Marquez gets his long-awaited third fight with Manny Pacquiao,” said Collins. “Of course, Marquez doesn’t have to relinquish the title to fight Pacquiao, but if he wins or takes a bad beating, he might never fight at 135 pounds again. Katsidis and Guerrero are the number-three and number-10 contenders, respectively, and it will take a spectacular performance by the Katsidis-Guerrero winner to overtake number-one contender BrandonRios and number-two contender Humberto Soto. But at the very least, the Guerrero-Katsidis winner will remain a major player in the division.”
“Andre Berto is THE RING’s third-ranked welterweight and has a lot to lose in his match with Victor Ortiz, who is rated number nine at junior welter,” said Collins. “Losing to a smaller, lower-ranked fighter would send Berto tumbling down the ratings and put him out of the running to win the vacant RING welterweight championship. But if he wins, as many expect him to, he’ll be in a perfect spot to fight number-one contender Manny Pacquiao. That’s because if number-two contender Floyd Mayweather does not sign for a fight by May 1, he will be removed from the rankings for being inactive for more than a year.
“If Berto beats Ortiz in convincing manner and Mayweather remains inactive, Berto would move into the number-two slot, directly behind Pacquiao. If Ortiz springs an upset, he will not only convince the skeptics that he’s for real, he too would advance in the welterweight ratings.”
“Considering how sensational Yoriokis Gamboa looked knocking out Jorge Solis last Saturday, Juan Manuel Lopez’ status as THE RING’s number-one featherweight contender hangs in the balance,” said Collins. “Fortunately for ‘JuanMa,’ he is fighting Orlando Salido, who lasted the 12-round distance with Gamboa in his previous start and even had the Cuban on the floor in the eighth round. If Lopez can stop Salido, he’ll be one up on Gamboa and most likely retain his top spot at 126-pounds.”
“So far, every single bout in Showtime’s bantamweight tournament has been outstanding,” said Collins, “and the finals should be no exception. The winner of the Joseph Agbeko-Abner Mares fight could possibly qualify to take on number-one contender Nonito Donaire for the vacant RING 118-pound championship. Agbeko and Mares are rated numbers three and four, respectively, while Anselmo Moreno is number two.
“At the moment, it looks like Moreno might beat the winner of Agbeko-Mares to the punch and fight Donaire for the vacant belt. But if that falls through, the Agbeko-Mares winner could certainly take Moreno’s place against Donaire. And even if Donaire-Moreno does happen, the Showtime tournament winner would be the logical next challenger.”
“While title-shot consideration for the winner of the Yonnhy Perez-Vic Darchinyan is currently remote,” said Collins, “they are both world-class, fun-to-watch fighters. And the winner of their consolation match on the Mares-Agbeko undercard would probably remain a significant contender in the bantamweight division.”
Ring Ratings Update:
Heavyweights: Alexander Dimitrenk (No. 8 last week) moves up to No. 7 on the strength of his knockout of Albert Sosnowski. This pushes down Denis Boytsov (No. 7 last week) to No. 8.
Light heavyweights: Chris Henry (No. 9 last week) departs because he has been inactive for more than a year. His exit allows Gabriel Campillo (No. 10 last week) to rise to No. 9 and makes room for Isaac Chilemba to debut at No. 10.
Junior featherweights: Takalani Ndlovu (No. 8 last week) takes over the No. 5 position, thanks to his decision over Steve Molitor (No. 5 last week). Molitor sinks to No. 8.