SAN DIEGO – December 15, 2012 – Boxing heads have some nice presents left under the 2012 Christmas tree to unwrap tonight. They include the return of boxing to broadcast network TV; two bouts that will tell us a lot about what’s to come in 2013; and the replay of last week’s stunning Pacquiao-Marquez IV bout on HBO. So let’s get the paper off those boxes and take a look.
Nonito Donaire vs. Jorge Arce
Toyota Center, Houston; HBO, 10 p.m. Eastern
You can’t ever accuse Nonito “Filipino Flash” Donaire of sitting on his hands. This guy likes to fight. Tonight marks his fourth bout of 2012. Booked officially just last month, Top Rank put together this bout between the Top 5 pound-for-pound junior featherweight champion Donaire (30-1, 19 KOs), 30, and the popular four-division titleholder Arce of Mexico (61-6-2, 42 KOs), 33.
Donaire is fan-friendly, aggressive in the ring, and capable of wickedly powerful punching. He’s a legitimate Fighter of the Year candidate thanks to great performances in 2012. But at times he’s also been… well let’s say it, boring. If Donaire is to be the heir apparent to Manny Pacquiao in the heart of fans, he needs to put on exciting fights every single time out.
Donaire weighed in at 121.5 pounds. Arce had to drop his shorts (literally) to make the 122-pound weight limit.
This fight seems tilted entirely toward Donaire. Arce has a lot of ring mileages on him, but he possesses one-punch potential. Fans will enjoy seeing Donaire with an opponent like Arce who engages. If Donaire wins big, the pressure to put together a fight with either Abner Mares or Rigondeaux in 2013 will grow even louder than it already is.
The scheduled undercard fight between rising Cuban star Rigondeaux (10-0, 8 KOs) and former titleholder Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (48-2, 33 KOs) from Thailand was called off when the Thai fighter failed a pre-fight blood test, although reportedly not due to performance enhancing drugs. It’s a shame; it would have been fun to see Rigondeaux and Donaire back to back as something of a preview. At least HBO’s Jim Lampley won’t be force to struggle through pronouncing the Thai fighter’s name.
Prior to the live bouts, HBO will replay the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez last Saturday, December 8. Even thought you know it’s coming, don’t take your eyes off the screen in the last minute of the sixth round as Pacquiao takes one of the most wicked knockout punches of the modern boxing era. I have watched it several times and I’m still wrapping my head around it. Call the MMA fans into the room for this one.
Amir Khan vs. Carlos Molina
Los Angeles Sports Arena; Showtime, 10 p.m. Eastern
Amir Khan’s career is in freefall after losing a close decision to a surprising Lamont Peterson, then getting a solid thrashing from Danny Garcia. Khan left trainer Freddie Roach and signed on with trainer Virgil Hunter. Tonight Khan (26-3, 18 KOs) gets the chance to put his new regimen to the test, and he’s got a lot to prove. Khan needs to do more than just win. He needs to beat the undefeated Carlos Molina (17-0, 7 KOs) impressively. Molina wouldn’t normally be considered a knockout threat, but given the concerns about whether Khan has a glass chin, Molina would like to prove he does by taking him out.
For Khan, this is make or break, a test to show if he can reinvent himself and be a force once again as an elite fighter at 140 pounds. Khan says he wants a rematch with Garcia after he beats Molina. He needs to take care of business tonight first and worry about a rematch later. This is also a fight that can further cement Virgil Hunter’s reputation as a makeover genius after boxer Andre Ward’s spectacular performance earlier this year.
Khan and Molina both weighed in Friday at 139.8. Both look to be in excellent condition.
On the undercard, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Deontay Wilder (25-0, 25 KOs) will go up against Kelvin Price (13-0, 6 KOs) in the heavyweight division. These two will see eye-to-eye at 6-7 each, though Wilder weighed in 16.5 pounds lighter than Price.
Alfredo Angulo (21-2, 18 KOs) and Jorge Silva (15-2-2) fight in the light middleweight division. Angulo is working his way back after a TKO loss to James Kirkland a year ago. He took out Raul Casarez in the first round on November 10, and he’s already back in the ring to finish the year out. This is only the second fight for Silva outside of Mexico.
This card takes place at the iconic Los Angeles Sports Arena, an arena that has much history but the current generation of fight fans doesn’t know too well. It’s now overshadowed by the Staples Center and Home Depot Center in Carson hosting more of the big events. Many greater fighters took center stage there over the years including Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Roberto Duran. It was also where the fights in the first two “Rocky” movies were staged.
On Saturday afternoon, CBS will show boxing for the first time in 15 years at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Bantamweight Leo Santa Cruz (22-0-1, 6 KOs) takes on Alberto Guevara (13-0, 6 KOs) in the main event from Los Angeles. CBS will also air the professional debut of 2012 Olympic featherweight boxer Joseph Diaz. CBS is a sister network to Showtime, which is producing the broadcast. Bravo to CBS and Showtime for offering casual sports fans something fun to watch instead of the third round of a snoozefest golf tournament.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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