I've been hitting the boxing pads with Sideshow almost every night for the last week and it's helping to replenish my blackened lungs (now healing from the break/heave ho I gave cigarettes). In a few weeks, I might be able to beat up a nine year old girl.
The motivation is from a downright bitchin' upcoming fight schedule that is televised the way it should be for a good majority of the fights. This weekend in San Antonio Manny Pacquiao takes on Jorge Solis as a mandatory challenger with an undercard that features Jorge Arce, Brian Viloria and Julio Cesar Chavez as favorites in three seperate fights. That's 4.5 elite fighters out of eight in the main fighta on that card and it's there for the taking on Top Rank pay per view. The pay is a pain but no one that knows the fight game can say the card doesn't deliver.
Oh by the way, ESPN's Dan Rafael tossed in a cheesy Eminem writeup for Jorge Solis in this month's division rankings:
"In his song 'Lose Yourself,' Eminem raps, 'Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?' That's what Solis must ask himself as he prepares for the fight of his life against Manny Pacquiao. It's the kind of opportunity that comes once in a lifetime for a good, but totally unknown fighter like Solis."
Mike Arnaoutis fights Kendall Holt in Showtime next week. Arnaoutis should be undefeated, having been robbed into the end of the stick on a split decision against Ricardo Torres in his last fight. This cat throws sharp, heavy punches. Put him in the pile of dangerous assasins in the welterweight range. Holt is a marginally talented fight with an inflated record that will probably get mopped. However, he has put the hurt on a few fighters before and was only defeated by Thomas Davies. Davies, a journeyman with an 11-4 record and 7 KOs, was outslicked into a 6 round unanimous decision loss by crafty southpaw Luis Collazo. The point is, Araoutis should fly and it will be a good one to watch.
In Minnesota on April 25th you can catch Jason Litzau on ESPN. Litzau is a slick, heavy-handed, stick and move fighter with excellent ring generalship. He is uber-marketable, a law school student at NYU while he was undefeated and a pseudo-Eminem personality. Why would anyone ever put a fighter like this on ESPN rather than HBO? Well, he WAS on HBO... until he met a guy named Carlos Hernandez. Hernandez fights Rocky Juarez on the undercard of the May5th Mayweather-Delahoya superfight. Juarez was defeated in two close fights against Marco Antonio Barrera, the first of which was an exciting primetime performance and close as could be.
Anyway, Hernandez was fighting the faster and more athletic Litzau and being outscored bya wide margin in the seventh round of the fight. Hernandez knocked him down in the first round and rocked him hard but Litzau came back to fight in steady and controlling fashion. HE could not hurt Hernandez; as my friend Steckle said during the fight,"That guy's body looks all rubbery like a little kid, like he can't get hurt." In the eighth, Hernandez began throwing his right hand over the top rather than the straight shot he was using before. It landed fresh on the button and tore down Litzau. It will be interesting to see where each of them go from here.
Three days later marks and HBO open television shot of one of the best fights of the year: Acelino Popo Freitas vs. my H-town bull Juan Diaz. Diaz is smooth, strong and well-rounded. His regiment has paid dividends with absurd endurance, blinding hand speed, decent pop in both hands and tactical prowess, shoving, dipping, cutting and slipping his way to being undefeated with relative ease. This is a championship unifier that actually matters as it will likely decide the Ring Magazine lightweight champ and push one of the men into the Pound for Pound discussion.
The Super Fight the following week ends the run of beautiful boxing but fight fans can salivate the schedule that is to come several weeks after. This Summer features Jermain Taylor against Cory Spinks and Edison Miranda against Kelly Pavlik on one lineup, Shannon Briggs vs. Sultan Ibragimov, Miguel Cotto vs. Zab Judah, Humberto Soto vs. Bobby Pacquiao, Ricky Hatton vs. Jose Luis Castillo for Hatton's Ring Magazine belt, Wladimir Klitschko vs. Lamon Brewster, the interesting-on-paper-but-sure-to-be-boring Hopkins-Wright matchup and the yet to be announced mandatory freak brawl between Paul Williams and Antonio Margarito.
I have to go punch some pads now. If you aren't a fight freak currently, get yourself together and see some of these matchups before we're back to watching Ray Austin and Jaidon Condrington get floored in flashy fashion like we were before.