December is shaping up
As October grinds along – and it’s certainly been an uneventful month for the sport of boxing – it looks ahead to a very busy November schedule. Now, December is coming together and it’s much busier than usual with various fights coming to fruition and a notable one being tabled until the early part of 2017.
The fight most fans were looking forward to was the WBA middleweight title clash between unified champion Gennady Golovkin and Danny Jacobs that was scheduled for Dec. 10 at Madison Square Garden. However, the decision was made last week to continue and negotiate that fight for February or March of 2017 and now Golovkin will head up to Big Bear, California, for a training camp without a fight.
It will be the first time since 2012 that “GGG” will have less than three bouts in a calendar year.
With that, HBO has an opening and the network made it clear it was going on with a boxing broadcast on this date. And if it were up to Top Rank Promotions’ Bob Arum, it would feature Terence Crawford, who, before all this, was scheduled to fight in late January and was seemingly relegated to just two fights this year. Back on July 23, “Bud” unified the WBC and WBO 140-pound titles by outpointing Viktor Postol and it will be interesting to see whom he faces.
Antonio Orozco, who has been on HBO before and is the top ranked junior welterweight contender in the WBC, would make sense in this slot. The undefeated native of Garden City, Kansas, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
This day could also see the return of IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua on Showtime and the plan is for Andy Ruiz Jr. and Joseph Parker to square off for the vacant WBO heavyweight title.
And, on this day, from the Galen Center on the campus of USC, you have the return of Richard Schaefer as a promoter, with a doubleheader that has Julian Williams facing Jermall Charlo for the IBF junior middleweight belt and Abner Mares taking on Jesus Cuellar for his version of the WBA featherweight title. This is a solid return for “The Swiss Banker” and his nascent company Ringstar Sports, which is co-promoting this event with TGB Promotions.
HBO Latino returns on Dec. 16 from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino with a really good light heavyweight match-up between Sullivan “Sully B” Barrera and Vyacheslav “Slava” Shabranskyy. Barrera is coming off a loss against Andre Ward and Shabranskyy is knocking on the door of real contention at 175. This could be a really entertaining scrap as neither guy is hard to find in the ring and both have above-average power. Rounding out this broadcast are Eddie Gomez-Rashidi Ellis and Ronny Rios-Roy Tapia as Golden Boy pits its prospects against one another to see whom advances up the ladder and whom, quite frankly, has a future with the company.
(Here’s hoping this platform is used more often by HBO in the future. It says here that it’s a great way to continue the development of promising boxers before they are actually ready to perform on the premium cable level.)
The following day, HBO has a card at the Forum in Inglewood, California, that has the retirement – and no, this time he means it! – of Bernard Hopkins, who faces the heavy-handed Joe Smith Jr., who burst onto the scene by stopping Andrzej Fonfara on NBC earlier this year. There was a huge buzzkill to this card when Orlando Salido hurt his back and had to pull out of his junior lightweight showdown with Takashi Miura. This was one of the most anticipated fights that was made this year and now it’s not clear if it will be rescheduled.
As for whom will round out the remainder of this card, young featherweight hopeful Joseph Diaz Jr. is in play to grab the other HBO slot and Golden Boy Promotions plans on loading up Its undercard with prospects like undefeated lightweight Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez.
Between and around these, you have your usual cards that take place on Estrella/RingTVLive.com, beIN Sports and UniMas and title fights from Japan on New Years Eve.
It’s a pretty good end to what honestly has been a bad year for boxing.
Saw former amateur flyweight standout Joselito Velazquez spar for the first time on Friday. I liked what I saw. He is currently working with trainer Manuel Robles at the Rock in Carson, California…Keep an eye out for junior middleweight Brian Castano; he just might be the next really tough Argentine boxer. He’s handled by the same people who worked with Marcos Maidana…Oh, and December has the return of one Julio Cesar Chavez Jr!…Can anyone knock off ‘Bama?…What an ending in Happy Valley, huh? That’s why you play the games…Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end I’ve seen…Are the Chicago Cubs really in the World Series?…Yes, I will be in South Bend, Indiana, this upcoming weekend for the ‘Canes vs. the Fighting Irish…I can be reached at email@example.com 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.