Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview

By James Kinneen Jul 13, 2018


What: Joet Gonzalez vs. Rafael Rivera, Featherweights

When: Friday, July 13th
How to Watch: ESPN 7PM ET
Why You Should Care: Because Gonzalez keeps calling out Gervonta Davis, whom he beat twice (and stopped once) as an amateur, but will have to get by the rugged Rafael Rivera first.

Joet Gonzalez is an unbeaten, Golden Boy-promoted featherweight with eyes on becoming a superstar. As an amateur he beat Gervonta Davis twice, including a third-round stoppage, and despite Gonzalez fighting at 126, he openly talks about moving up to 130 to take on Davis sometime soon. That’s confident talk for a man facing a 25-1-2 fighter in Rivera, whose lone loss was as a short notice opponent to American fighter Joseph Diaz Jr., whose sole loss was in turn to Gary Russell Jr.) Let’s see if Gonzalez deserves to be that confident.

What: Regis Prograis vs. Juan Jose Velasco, Junior Welterweights

When: Saturday, July 14th
How to Watch: ESPN 7PM ET
Why You Should Care: Because Regis Prograis is a killer, but pressure and hype could do him in.

With Terence Crawford abandoning the 140 lb division, an opportunity has been left for someone to fill the void as the king of that weight class. Enter Regis Prograis, the New Orleans native who openly talks about looking to hurt his opponents and, with a record of 21-0 with 18 knockouts, backs up his words in the ring. But Juan Jose Velasco is a man with very little pressure on him. Prograis is fighting in his hometown, Prograis’ victory was suggested to be a foregone conclusion by Dan Rafael and Prograis is already being called the favorite for the World Boxing Super Series Tournament -- which he hasn’t even qualified for yet. Killers perform best in the shadows; let’s see if Prograis can handle the spotlight.

What: Carlos Canizales vs. Bin Lu, Junior Flyweights

When: Saturday July 14th
How to Watch: ESPN+ 9PM
Why You Should Care: Because Bin Lu Thinks He’s Ready for a Title Shot, With One Professional Boxing Match.

Carlos Canizales, the undefeated WBA flyweight champion, puts his title on the line against China’s Bin Lu, a man with one professional boxing match. Granted, he is an Olympian from the 2016 games in Rio where he lost in the round of 16, but this is still a bad idea. We have seen far superior fighters like Vasyl Lomachenko and Pete Rademachar pay the price for seeking high level professional fights right off the bat following successful amateur careers. We’ll see if Mr. Li can do any better.

What: Jhack Tepora vs. Edivaldo Ortega, Featherweights

When: Saturday, July 14th
How to Watch: ESPN+ 9PM
Why You Should Care: To See a southpaw Filipino knockout machine (now that the other one isn’t so good).

Jhack Tepora is facing Edivaldo Ortega for the vacant WBA featherweight title but make no mistake: this fight is all about Tepora. Jhack Tepora has stopped eleven of his last twelve opponents and sixteen of his 21 opponents overall. He is undefeated, twenty-five years old, and with a place on a Manny Pacquaio undercard, clearly being groomed to be the next Pacquaio. Now, Ortega is no joke. He’s ranked third by the WBA at 126 and has lost only once in his career, a decision loss two years ago to Eduardo Ramirez.This will be a stiff test for Tepora, but a big win, especially a highlight reel knockout, could make him the Filipino fighter boxing fans are talking about on Sunday morning.

What: Lucas Matthysse vs Manny Pacquiao, Welterweights

When: Saturday, July 14th
How to Watch: ESPN+ 9PM
Why You Should Care: Because we’re not going to get many more chances to see Manny Pacquiao, and that may be a good thing.

At this point, Manny Pacquiao is pretty much shot. Make no mistake, he is a first ballot hall-of-famer and is still good enough to beat many welterweights -- and is in fact favored to beat Matthysse -- but putting him in with the elite of the elite like Terence Crawford would be an in-ring disaster, and a very sad night for fans of the 39 year-old legend. So why watch him this weekend? Because Lucas Matthysse is not Terence Crawford.

Lucas Matthysse is the hardest puncher Manny Pacquiao has faced since Antonio Margarito. He is 39-4 with 36 knockouts, but we’ve seen him get outboxed by lesser fighters like Viktor Postol and slick southpaws like Zab Judah. That combination makes this fight fascinating.

Will Manny Pacquiao outbox Matthysse and go out on a high note? Will Matthysse leave Pacquiao face first on the canvas, forcing him into retirement with a vicious knockout that leaves the Asian, pro-Pacquaio crowd stunned and depressed? I’m not sure, and if Pacquiao fights after this one you can count me out, but I’ll gladly tune into watch Manny this one last time.

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