When you think about Fight of the Year candidates so far this year, you think of April’s epic battle between Lucas Matthysse and John Molina Jr. Going back to last year, it was no doubt Ruslan Provodnikov v. Timothy Bradley and also memorable matchups such as Abner Mares v. Jhonny Gonzalez, Marcos Maidana v. Josesito Lopez, Erislandy Lara v. Alfredo Angulo, and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. v. Brian Vera 1. Lastly, going back one more year to 2012, the FOY was arguably Brandon Rios v. Mike Alvarado 1. So, where did all of these memorable battles take place, Las Vegas? Atlantic City? Barkley Center in Brooklyn? The up and coming Macau? If you answered yes to any of those venues, you would be wrong. They actually all took place at 18400 Avalon Blvd. in Carson, California better known as the StubHub Center or to you nostalgic types, the Home Depot Center.
This Saturday night, a new chapter will be written as Showtime’s Tripleheader is loaded with fantastic matchups and intriguing story lines. Any one of the following fights has the potential to steal the show and contribute to the legendary history of this venue, Gary Russell Jr. v. Vasyl Lomachenko , Robert Guerrero v. Yoshihiro Kamegai Devon Alexander vs. Jesus Soto Karass
Russell, 26, 24-0 (14KO) has all the talent in the world and we are finally getting to see him against an opponent that will bring out the best in him in Lomachenko, 26, 1-1 (1KO). Lomachenko while not as experienced as Russell in the professional ranks, is a 2X Olympic Gold Medalist with an extensive amateur background compiling a 396-1 record, some say the best amateur ever. He attempted to make history in his last fight, only his second as a pro, when he challenged Orlando Salido for the vacant WBO Featherweight Title but lost a controversial split decision. This fight will be a chess match pitting two southpaws against each other, both can box, have speed, and can surprise with power. This fight is not to be missed. Enjoy, Christmas has come early.
Guerrero 31, 31-2-1 (18KO) is the first fighter that I can remember that is touting the extreme training of CrossFit in preparing him for battle. Guerrero will be entering the ring after a year layoff, his last fight being a unanimous decision loss to Pound for Pound King Floyd Mayweather. Guerrero had been on quite a roll prior to that fight, unbeaten for 7 years. It will be interesting to see if there is any ring rust here, one thing’s for sure, he will be in tip top shape. You wouldn’t confuse Kamegai’s (31, 24-1-1 (21KO), opponents with a who’s who of boxing but he does come in with an 80% knockout rate so it’s apparent that he comes to bang. When he’s not boxing, Guerrero likes to move forward and make it a rough and tough affair so the leather is sure to fly in this one, don’t blink.
In a true crossroads fight, Alexander and Soto Karass will do battle. Alexander 27 25-2 (14KO), is slick, fast, and possesses excellent all around boxing skills with underrated power. He owns wins over the likes of Matthysse and Maidana but has suffered losses to Bradley and Shawn Porter. We need a little more consistency from Alexander; he needs a big win here to put himself in position to fight for a title and possibly become a belt holder again. Alexander better come prepared as Soto Karass, 31 28-9-3 (18KO), is as tough as they come. He flat out comes to fight and has been in some big wars with the likes of Maidana, Keith Thurman, and Andre Berto. Soto Karass will move forward and rarely takes a step back. Soto Karass could also move towards some big paydays with an impressive performance. Both fighters are coming off losses and need this fight to ignite a little momentum in their careers. This fight has some interesting dynamics as you have the classic boxing southpaw in Alexander against the gritty tough as nails orthodox fighter in Soto Karass so both will have to adjust throughout the fight to exploit the others weakness.
Whatever happens on Saturday night, ones thing’s for sure, the StubHub Center will be rocking. Don’t be surprised if one of the three fights, if not all; find themselves on the list for Fight of the Year in 2014.