This Week In Boxing: August 22–26

By a c

Rosie Cohe/Showtime

Floyd Mayweather faces Conor McGregor, Miguel Cotto fights for a world title, Sergiy Derevyanchenko takes the next step, and Juan Carlos Payano returns.

Tuesday August 22, 2017

From Sam’s Town Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada
Time: 6:00 PM PDT, 9:00 PM EDT, 2:00 AM BST
TV: FS1 (US)

Juan Carlos Payano 18–1 (9 KOs) vs Alexis Santiago 21–4–1 (8 KOs)

10 rounds
bantamweight division

Just last week we saw the bantamweight division get turned on it’s head when Shinsuke Yamanaka was stopped. There’s no surprise there either. Very rarely do we see an older champion in a division below 126 age gracefully. Yamanaka had an ugly crash and burn, as did Anselmo Moreno. Juan Carlos Payano’s time is coming with the new wave of young talent at 118.

Bantamweight division was loaded with 30+ year old fighters and we will soon see an influx of young talent led by 22 year old Luis Nery. Does that mean we can expect Santiago to be one of those? Very unlikely. Santiago is buried deep in the rankings of 118 and most recently lost to Jose Cayetano who most recently took losses to Kid Galahad, Scott Quigg, and most famously Leo Santa Cruz.

This is a winnable fight for Payano, but the point has been made. Time is ticking on the aging contender.

Saul Rodriguez 21–0–1 (15 KOs) vs Harmonito Dela Torre 19–0 (12 KOs)

10 rounds
super featherweight division

This fight has slipped below everyone’s radar and it’s a shame because it’s explosive. Dela Torre has been kicking around for a while without a major promoter to back him up. Saul Rodriguez is one of Mayweather Promotions newest signings and though he looked flat in his last fight, he’s an exciting fighter who could be special if he were to bring all of his skills together.

But Tuesday it’s sink or swim for both prospects. They’re both young enough that they could easily rebuild if they lose, but stardom could await the winner given they both fight in one of the most talent-rich divisions in all of boxing.

Jamel Herring 16–1 (9 KOs) vs Ladarius Miller 13–1 (4 KOs)

10 rounds
lightweight division

Herring looked promising as a prospect and had rarely lost a round heading into the Denis Shafikov fight. What we saw when he got in the ring with Shafikov was that despite the skill he’d displayed previously, it was against marginal opposition and amounted to nothing the moment he felt the power of a world level fighter.

Herring has natural gifts, but he’s 31 and if we’re to judge him by the Shafikov fight, it might be too late.

Friday August 25, 2017

From Buffalo Run Casino, Miami, Oklahoma
Time: 6:00 PM PDT, 9:00 PM EDT, 2:00 AM BST
TV: FS1 (US)

Tureano Johnson 20–1 (14 KOs) vs Sergiy Derevyanchenko 10-0 (8 KOs)

12 rounds
middleweight division

This is a fight worth getting excited for. Johnson and Derevyanchenko are two middleweights knocking on the door of a middleweight title and the only thing standing in the way is each other.

Now, the obvious question you may be asking is can they beat Gennady Golovkin or Canelo? If that’s the question, you’re out of your mind. The first question is whether or not they can get past Jermall Charlo. If you can’t get past Charlo, well you have no business asking about or inquiring on the prospect of a fight with Golovkin of Canelo.

The answer is that Derevyanchenko has shown he might legitimately be good. Johnson is very good, but hasn’t shown any sign that he has elite skill.

Derevyanchenko should win this in a hard fought match, but the real question is how much of a hinderance will Derevyanchenko’s lack of heigh have as he faces better opposition. Against a massive middleweight like Charlo, it could turn into a serious problem.

Immanuwel Aleem 17–0–1 (10 KOs) vs Hugo Centeno Jr 25–1 (13 KOs)

10 rounds
middleweight division

Another exciting middleweight matchup and the truth is, the best talent on this card could very well be Immanuwel Aleem. He came out of nowhere in April of 2016 against Jonathan Cepeda in a fight that should have been tough. Instead Aleem wiped the floor with him. Soon he was put in with hotshot Ukrainian prospect Ievgen Khytrov and managed to make him look pedestrian and stopped him in 6. Now he faces another former standout prospect in Hugo Centeno Jr and Aleem could catapult himself into title contention with a win.

The best part about Aleem is that he’s only 23 and already shows poise and power in both hands. Aleem would likely crack the top 10 of a top prospect in boxing list and this fight should show how good he is.

Saturday August 26, 2017

From Plaza de Toros, Comunidad Valenciana, Spain

Kiko Maritnez 37–8–1 (27 KOs) vs Lorenzo Parra 32–12–2 (19 KOs)

10 rounds
featherweight division

This fight wouldn’t be so bad if it was happening 12–15 years ago when Parra was a flyweight champion. Now it’s just kind of sad featuring two guys in the twilight of their careers.

From Khao Bang Krak Gym, Uthai Thani, Thailand

Amnat Ruenroeng 17–1 (5 KOs) vs Thongchai Kunram 6–12 (2 KOs)

8 rounds
super bantamweight division

And you thought there was only 1 boxer vs MMA fighter going on today. Ruenroeng returns after a brief hiatus from the sport and he’ll take on an opponent with an upside down record.

From Stubhub Center, Carson, California
Time: 6:45 PM PDT, 9:45 PM EDT, 2:45 AM BST

🏅Miguel Cotto 40–5 (33 KOs) vs Yoshihiro Kamegai 27–3–2 (24 KOs)

12 rounds
vacant WBO world super welterweight title

Miguel Cotto has spent nearly 2 years on the shelf and now he returns with a new promoter (Golden Boy) in the most unfortunate situation he’s ever been in. Cotto’s return will have to go head-to-head with the biggest fight in combat sports history.

This should be an easy fight as long as Miguel Cotto remembers who Miguel Cotto is. Yoshihiro Kamegai’s best opponent of his career was Robert Guerrero 3 years ago. Since then he’s had a pair of fights with Jesus Soto Karass who has looked dreadful in recent years.

The big question heading into this fight is what is the end game for Miguel Cotto? Very likely it’s to gain some publicity and notoriety to his name and leverage that onto his prospects under Cotto Promotions as he tries to make a name for himself as a promoter. If Cotto’s intention is to make another run at 154 pounds, that’s a goal that may be ill-fated.

Cotto’s best run in boxing occurred at 140 pounds and his success above that has been opportunism at it’s finest. There are no notable wins for Cotto against any fighter north of 140 in their prime.

If the option is to get in the ring with Jermell Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, or Erislandy Lara, he’s going to have a bad time.

🏅Rey Vargas 29–0 (22 KOs) vs Ronny Rios 28–1 (13 KOs)

12 rounds
WBC world super bantamweight title

Rey Vargas makes the first defense of his newly won WBC title against Ronny Rios. Rios is an interesting opponent, but ultimately this should be an easy fight for Vargas. What Vargas is good at has worked in the past in either giving Rios trouble or beating him altogether.

Vargas is also a fighter on the rise. He’s trained by Nacho Beristain and throws in combination very much like you would expect a Beristain fighter to do. There’s much to get excited with Vargas and enough flaws to find in Rios to predict how this one ends.

From T-Mobile Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
Time: 6:00 PM PDT, 9:00 PM EDT, 2:00 AM BST
TV: Showtime PPV (US) Sky Box Office (UK)

Floyd Mayweather 49–0 (26 KOs) vs Conor McGregor (debut)

12 rounds
super welterweight division

Nearly everywhere you go you’ll find some sort of preview mocking this fight. Listing the reasons it’s a blatant money grab or that ______ has no chance. Let’s put all that aside and have some fun with this fight.

This is a fascinating match-up when you think about it. For just about 20 years, Floyd Mayweather has been one of the most dominant forces in all of sports. You can stack him up against Tiger Woods, the New England Patriots, and the San Antonio Spurs. Floyd’s dynasty stretches further.

What has become apparent in boxing is that Floyd isn’t being beaten by an ordinary boxer. Ordinary in the sense that they use all the fundamentals we’ve come to expect from a professional.

So now we get to see a what if scenario that the UFC has tried to use on their broadcasts for years. What if Floyd Mayweather fought an unorthodox, and unconventional fighter?

And let’s get this out of the way. McGregor is not some novice in the ring. The guy is one of the best stand-up fighters in all of mixed martial arts and that counts for something. He’s gotten into the ring and held his own against Paulie Malignaggi so at the very least we know he’s close to competent with a pair of gloves on.

The question now is how does he use the built-in advantages he has in being a UFC fighter converted into a boxer. His fans will talk about angles and that’s not quite right. McGregor’s best shot is his length. Floyd has an unnaturally long reach which allows him to fight in the pocket, but stay out of range. Floyd will need to get inside of McGregor which will be something he hasn’t had to do in a long time.

If McGregor can sit back and wait for Floyd trying to reach and connect with something, he can change the way the fight plays out. That’s easier said than done, however, as Floyd is risk-averse and will be trying to take away every offensive opportunity he leaves McGregor.

🏅Gervonta Davis 18–0 (17 KOs) vs Francisco Fonseca 19–0–1 (13 KOs)

12 rounds
IBF world super featherweight title

What’s the silver lining to this entire circus of a pay-per-view event? The showcasing of one of boxing’s brightest young talents. Gervonta Davis is just 22 years old and has already started to turn heads as he plows through competition he should not be plowing through at this point in his career. Now he gets a chance in front of millions to show what he’s capable of.

Thus far in his young career, Davis has fought like a guy who knows his opponent can’t win. He immediately walks opponents down and begins the punishment from the opening bell. Liam Walsh was hyped as the British fighter to make David another Jeff Lacy. The first round was quiet enough that maybe that looked like a possibility.

Two rounds later Liam Walsh looked pedestrian. Like he had no clue what he was doing in the ring and had zero punch resistance.

The future is bright for Davis. He resides in a packed division and he‘s got the age to outlast all of them.

🏅Nathan Cleverly 30–3 (16 KOs) vs Badou Jack 21–1–2 (12 KOs)

12 rounds
WBA world light heavyweight title

Assuming both guys are incapable of getting the other’s respect early in the right, this fight has sneaky potential to be a fight of the year contender. Cleverly is always vulnerable on defense and his offense is just good enough to keep him in fights. Jack is gritty and tough with an unorthodox offense that has proven to work at the world level.

Cleverly picked up his ‘title’ beating Juergen Braehmer last year. Badou Jack was a titleholder at super middleweight and should have gotten a decision win in a unification fight early this year, but ultimately he got a draw and moved up to 175.

Jack is a massive fighter and he’s consistently improved with each fight. Don’t let his record fool you. He’s a favorite heading into this one for a reason.

Andrew Tabiti 14–0 (12 KOs) vs Steve Cunningham 29–8–1 (13 KOs)

10 rounds
cruiserweight division

This is a perfect fight for Andrew Tabiti. Tabiti looks like he has the goods and has shown tremendous one-punch power, but we haven’t quite seen how he responds to an opponent who can box. Cunningham may have 8 losses, but he’s still one of those veterans who has avoided prolonged damage over his career so that he can still be effect in this exact role he finds himself in.

Tabiti could fall into the trap of a guy who thinks all he needs is one-punch and therefore gets himself outboxed and old-manned the way we frequently see young prospects get upset.

Given Tabiti is embedded in the Mayweather camp and culture, it’s unlikely we see that. It is a possibility though…

From T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Time: 4:00 PM PDT, 7:00 PM EDT, 12:00 AM BST

Yordenis Ugas 19–3 (9 KOs) vs Thomas Dulorme 24–2 (16 KOs)

10 rounds
welterweight division

It seems like Dulorme would have far more than 2 losses, but that might be because every time he’s stepped onto the world stage we’ve seen him falter. First it was to Luis Carlos Abregu and lastly it was to the unified 140 pound champion, Terence Crawford.

That alone suggests that Dulorme is probably better than what his reputation currently is. Does that mean he’ll win this fight?

This is a tricky one. Ugas’s record is also decepetive. Anyone who has seen him recently has seen him do nothing but upset prospects and win. Seeing that he has 3 losses doesn’t quite add up with what he’s done in the ring.

These two fighters are at a crossroads and desperately need this win. While every fight is like that, a win here could be the difference between a fight with someone like Shawn Porter or Danny Garcia and being relegated to the FS1 cards for prospects.

Juan Heraldez 12–0 (8 KOs) vs Jose Miguel Borrego 13–0 (12 KOs)

10 rounds
super lightweight division

Borrego might have it all. He’s got size, power, and charisma. Let’s look at some clips.

This Week In Boxing: August 22–26 was originally published in sundaypuncher on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.