Another February famine
It was right around this time last year when I wrote about the rather barren boxing schedule in February. Well, as Yogi Berra would say, it’s deja vu all over again because, other than the gem of a fight on Feb. 27 in Manchester, England between rivals Scott Quigg and IBF junior featherweight champion Carl Frampton, there really isn’t much going on over the next few weeks.
Yeah, you have your usual schedule of developmental cards on FS1, UniMas, “ShoBox,” Telemundo and Estrella/RingTV.com (which, of course, are always a must-watch) and the extravaganza that takes place in Sloan, Iowa on CBS Sports Network on Feb. 19 (OK, mea culpa: I’m only saying that because I’m on the broadcast). You also have an HBO card on the last Saturday of the month that will go against a Showtime offering.
It’s a lot of flotsam and jetsam.
HBO’s lone broadcast of the month features the talented WBO junior welterweight titlist Terence Crawford versus the flighty Hank Lundy, who comes in losing two of his last three bouts (his victory coming against Carlos Velasquez, who came in with a record of 23-21-1). In the co-feature that evening (the one that will really sell the bulk of tickets at the Theater in Madison Square Garden) is Puerto Rican prodigy Felix Verdejo against William Silva. It’s a fight designed to make Verdejo look spectacular and the guess is he will.
Showtime’s telecast that very evening features WBA junior lightweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz taking on the faded Kiko Martinez. After his big win over Abner Mares last August, Santa Cruz has been put back on the non-conference portion of his schedule. The supporting bout figures to be a good little scrap between Luis Ceja and Hugo Ruiz, who put on a good show on the Santa Cruz-Mares undercard at the Staples Center in the summer. Ceja scored a fifth round stoppage in an entertaining slugfest. You get the feeling these guys can fight a hundred times and you’d get the same type of scrap every time.
Earlier that afternoon on Showtime Extreme, the long-awaited grudge match between Quigg and Frampton will be televised in the States. I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again in the next couple of weeks leading into this battle, I think it has the potential to be the UK version of Marco Antonio Barrera-Erik Morales or Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez. Yeah, I know that’s a high bar but I think these two guys’ styles really mesh well and there are bragging rights on the line. While there is a level of respect between the two sides, there has also been a simmering tension over the past few years as they have climbed up the boxing ladder. Frampton-Quigg is one of those all-too-rare fights that takes place in the wheelhouse of both boxers’ physical primes.
You also have other international bouts as Fedor Chudinov-Felix Sturm and Ola Afolabi-Marco Huck dot the schedule.
But, once again, February has proven to be a no-fly zone for the premium cable networks. This is a bit odd, given that the NFL season has come to an end; pitchers and catchers are just beginning to trickle into spring training and “March Madness” doesn’t start till…well, March. This month also includes the dog days of winter for the NBA and NHL, when many teams just start playing out the string.
For boxing in the States, it’s a time to hibernate.
HBO’s spring schedule is starting to come together as heavyweight Tony Thompson was signed, sealed and delivered as Luis Ortiz’s dance partner on March 5 at the DC Armory in the nation’s capital. Also on that broadcast will be Sadam Ali-Jessie Vargas for the vacant WBO welterweight belt.
And finally, on Tuesday, it was announced that a deal for Sullivan Barrera to face Andre Ward on March 26 at the Oracle in Oakland was consummated.
OK, let’s stop screwing around and make a bout between Francisco Vargas-Orlando Salido for “Boxing After Dark” and stick it in the StubHub Center.
Sometimes you just can’t overthink this stuff.
OK, we’re breaking up “The 3 Knockdown Rule” podcast, starring Mario Lopez and me, into two segments moving forward. Here’s this week’s first installment.
You can also listen to it here…
…and download it here.
A press release from Top Rank Promotions announced that right around 36.5 million people in China tuned into Zou Shiming’s latest fight. That’s not bad…Golden Boy Promotions announced the signing of junior lightweight Oscar Duarte, 4-0-1 (3), and he’ll be fighting on the Feb.19 edition of “LA Fight Club”…So what happened to Chris “Cheech” Arreola now?…Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m still an unabashed Cam Newton fan. But, for the time being, all dabs will be at half-mast…Von Miller was an absolute monster in the Super Bowl. He’s Derrick Thomas 2.0…Anyone watch “Madoff” on ABC last week? I thought it was excellent and Richard Dreyfuss really nailed the titular role…Miami’s spring game is April 16. That’s perfect, a week before Gennady Golovkin’s next bout…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.