HENRY LUNDY vs. PATRICK LOPEZ
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds, lightweights
Location: Mashantucket, Conn.
The backdrop: Lundy (19-1-1, 10 knockouts) is a talented and well-schooled boxer from Philadelphia who is as gutsy as he is flashy. However, his confidence (some would say arrogance) got the better of his common sense in the late rounds of his fight with John Molina last July. Lundy was winning the fight handily by boxing but he got greedy and tried to take it to the plodding power puncher, who he taunted before and during the bout. Big mistake. Molina blasted Lundy to the canvas in the eighth round and closed the show by hurting him along the ropes in the 11th. Lundy, who rebounded with a unanimous decision over Omri Lowther in August, has an opportunity to grab a vacant regional 135-pound title in front of a national audience against Lopez (20-3, 12 KOs), a junior welterweight fringe contender who is coming off a brutal third-round KO to Tim Coleman last October. Lundy should win the fight but he needs to respect the Venezuelan veteran, who gave tough fringe contender Josesito Lopez fits in a split-decision loss in 2009 and scored a third-round TKO of unbeaten prospect Prenice Brewer last August. On the undercard, Providence-area super middleweight prospect Vladine Biosse (10-0, 5 KOs) looks to extend his record against St. Louis stepping stone Tim connors (10-2-2, 7 KOs), who is coming off a first-round stoppage to Erislandy Lara.
Also fighting: Vladine Biosse vs. Tim Connors, 10 rounds, super middleweights
Rating the card: B-. Lundy is a talent worth watching and Lopez could manage to be competitive in spots. Biosse should have little trouble with Connors, who has never lasted the distance with a prospect and doesn’t figure to start now.
Prediction: Lundy has the youth, speed and mobility to outmaneuver and outhustle Lopez, who at 33 may have a hard time making the 135-pound limit. The hardnosed southpaw has never fought that light in a pro bout. The 27-year-old Philly native will win a unanimous decision.
ERIC MOREL vs. LUIS MALDONADO
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, bantamweights
Location: Indio, Calif.
The backdrop: Morel (43-2, 21 KOs) was set to face fellow former titleholder Martin Castillo in a rematch of their 2005 junior bantamweight title bout, won by Castillo. However, the Mexican veteran hurt his foot in training and pulled out of the bout on Tuesday. Castillo was replaced by Maldonado (35-5-1, 26 KOs), a former flyweight contender who was knocked out in three title tries against Vic Darchinyan, Nonito Donaire and Fernando Montiel. There’s no shame in losing to those elite-level fighters, however, Maldonado’s back-to-back stoppages to Donaire and Montiel was followed by a decision loss to prospect Rodrigo Guerrero in 2009, which suggests that his days as a contender are over. Morel, a ring savvy former flyweight beltholder and 1996 U.S. Olympian, should have little trouble outboxing the faded Mexican veteran. On the undercard, junior featherweight prospect Randy Caballero (8-0, 4 KOs), a popular former amateur standout from nearby Coachella, Calif., takes on competent but undersized Felix Perez (7-2-, 3 KOs), of Puerto Rico.
Also fighting: Randy Caballero vs. Felix Perez, six rounds, junior featherweights
Rating the card: B-. Morel, THE RING‘s No. 7-raked bantamweight, is a bona fide contender in a stacked division, but his late sub doesn’t figure to give him much of a fight. Caballero is a talented 20-year-old boxer who sometimes allows the crowd to influence him into fighting more than he should. He’s worth keeping an eye on. Welterweight KO artist Michael Finney and lightweight slugger Ramon Valadez, who are also on the Solo Boxeo Tecate card, always make for fun fights.
Prediction: Morel doesn’t possess the power that Darchinyan, Donaire and Montiel have, so it’s conceivable that Maldonado, who held Crisitan Mijares to a 12-round draw in 2006, can go rounds with the Puerto Rican veteran. However, Maldonado’s inactivity (he only fought once in 2008 and 2009 and sat out 2010) will enable Morel to box his way to a one-sided unanimous decision.
GIOVANI SEGURA vs. IVAN CALDERON
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds, junior flyweights
Location: Mexicali, Mexico
Television: Integrated Sports Pay Per View
The backdrop: The fierce national rivalry and contrasting styles of Segura (26-1-1, 22 KOs), a relentless puncher from Mexico, and Ivan Calderon (34-1-1, 6 KOs), a pure boxer from Puerto Rico, combined to give fans one of the best fights of 2010. Segura, the younger, bigger, stronger man, gradually wore down Calderon to an eighth-round stoppage in the savvy veteran’s home town. The rematch of THE RING’s fight of the year should deliver as much excitement and drama as the first bout. Segura, who won THE RING’s junior flyweight title from Calderon, figures to bring just as much passion into the rematch as he did the first fight despite his well-documented struggles to make the 108-pound limit. The 28-year-old Southern Californian is in his prime, riding an impressive seven-bout win streak (all by KO), and he’ll be defending his titles in his native Mexico. Calderon, a proud boxer with underrated heart and toughness, is the quintessential former champ looking for one last great performance. He has the skill, technique and experience to pull it off, but at 36, does he have the legs? On the undercard, seasoned veterans Jorge Lacierva (38-7-6, 26 KOs), who fought Mark Johnson and Celestino Caballero in failed title bouts, and Fernando Beltran Jr. (35-4-1, 19 KOs), a two-time 122-pound title challenger, square off in a 12-round eliminator for a major featherweight belt. Ricardo Castillo (39-9-1, 26 KOs), the 31-year-old younger brother of former lightweight champ Jose Luis Castillo, takes on 24-year-old prospect Joksan Hernandez (21-3, 14 KOs) in what should be a good crossroads bout.
Also fighting: Jorge Lacierva vs. Fernando Beltran Jr., 12 rounds, IBF featherweight eliminator; Ricardo Castillo vs. Joksan Hernandez, 10 rounds, featherweights
Rating the card: B+. The support to this small pay-per-view is merely solid, but the main event is as good as it gets, even if only hardcore Mexican and Puerto Rican fans are excited about the Segura-Calderon rematch.
Prediction: Next to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Calderon was arguably the best pure boxer in the sport of the past 10 years. The 35-bout unbeaten streak — almost half of which were title fights — that the 2000 Puerto Rican Olympian took into the first bout with Segura is a testament to his dedication to the sport and his superb ring generalship. However, Father Time was beginning to take its toll on Calderon before he fought Segura, as his struggles with Rodel Mayol and Jesus Iribe suggested. It’s Segura’s time and the same relentless pressure and body attack he used to overwhelm Calderon in the first fight will wear down the former champ to a late-rounds TKO.
Also fighting on Saturday:
Luis Concepcion defends his WBA flyweight title against Hernan Marquez in Panama City, Panama.
Krzysztof Wlodarczyk defends his WBC cruiserweight title against Francisco Palacios in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Marco Huck defends his WBO cruiserweight title against Ran Nakash in Halle, Germany. Heavyweight prospect Robert Helenius takes on former beltholder Samuel Peter in a scheduled 12-round bout on the Huck-Nakash undercard.
John Murray defends his European lightweight title against Karim El Ouazghari in London.