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PREDICTION PLANET: Big Mac’s Expert Panel–Pacquiao-Bradley 2 Edition

Kelsey McCarson

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— Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank

It’s that time of year again. A big fight beckons, so your old pal McCarson gathered picks from around the boxing world to see who will come out on top Saturday when Manny Pacquiao faces Timothy Bradley at the MGM in Las Vegas.

While the majority of TSS writers like Pacquiao to win a decision, a panel of 15 other boxing gurus ended up muuuuuch closer: 8 see Bradley winning, 6 see Manny the victor, and one abstained, on principle.

One panelist, boxing writer Matt McGrain, gave perhaps the most interesting response of the bunch. McGrain won’t pick a winner and won’t even watch the fight because he says fight fans “were robbed” back in 2012 when two boxing judges gave Bradley the nod in a bout most everyone else saw a clear Pacquiao win.

Without further adieu, here are Pacquiao-Bradley predictions from boxing’s best panel of pickers.

TSS Crew Picks Pacman 8-1, Woods Says Draw

I’m going with Tim Bradley again. I picked him in the first fight and I pick him again in the rematch. He cleaned out the junior welterweights and now is targeting the welters. Bradley by TKO. — David Avila, TheSweetScience.com

I’ve never been so timid to call a fight with conviction… I can genuinely see this going either way. I’m going with Pacquiao via majority decision, with one knockdown being the difference in the fight. — Blake Hochberger, TheSweetScience.com

Pacquiao won the first time and did everything right except get the decision. Manny will try and turn up the heat and pressure more this time (because he doesn’t believe Bradley can really hurt him) and Bradley will try to box and move a little more…The fight will go the distance and Pacquiao’s hand will be raised regardless of whether or not he deserves the decision. — Frank Lotierzo, TheSweetScience.com

I am not going to want this fight to end. I love Bradley’s game. He continues to get better and looked great against Marquez. I would love to see Bradley fight Mayweather because of their styles. But Bradley doesn’t have an answer for Pacquiao’s speed. If I have to choose a winner, I like Pacquiao to win a close, highly competitive fight by KO. Pacquiao’s speed and timing will be the deciding factor. — Raymond Markarian, TheSweetScience.com

Bradley is going about it all wrong. He convinced himself he won the first fight when all but a very few people actually believed that to be the case. He’ll go into the rematch thinking he can do the same thing and get the win. He can’t. Pacquiao will defeat him more convincingly this time and win a wide unanimous decision. — Kelsey McCarson, TheSweetScience.com

Freddie, as always, is making big promises about the “Old Manny” returning. It might sound like a tired tune, but the last time he said it, Manny almost finished off Marquez, even though it didn’t quite pan out. If Freddie isn’t just blowing smoke, an aggressive Manny could be all wrong for Bradley. This is a different Tim Bradley, though. After surviving Provodnikov and legitimately beating Marquez, Bradley rightly believes he’s ready for prime time. I see a close, exciting fight with the difference being that Bradley won’t be able to really hurt Pacman. That will allow Pacquiao to eek out a tight, unanimous decision. — John Nguyen, TheSweetScience.com

After Bradley beat Pacquiao by split decision in 2012, Lennox Lewis said the outcome was “maybe not worse than my draw with Holyfield but still bad nonetheless.” In that particular rematch, Holyfield performed better, but Lewis still won a unanimous decision. In this rematch, Bradley will show that he has the skills of a top-level fighter, but Pacquiao will walk away with a unanimous decision. A rubber match is inevitable. — Aaron Tallent, TheSweetScience.com

Tim Bradley is good. Real damn good. I thought he’d be damaged goods after Ruslan gave him some wicked thumps. But he showed me YET AGAIN that my omniscience is a work in progress. The man has skills, and even if those skills don’t include much in the pop department, he can box a doozy. The other guy can still too, and his flashy, still-present hand speed will get judge love onApril 12. And maybe you recall, they kind of owe Pacquiao one, don’t they? I see 12 rounds that can go either way, though, and a MAJORITY DRAW. — Michael Woods, TheSweetScience.com

Pacquiao’s turn to take a close, questionable call, as he’s done in Vegas a few times already. This time Arum will borrow a page from Bradley’s book and show up with a poster for Pacquiao-Bradley 3. — Phil Woolever, TheSweetScience.com

Contrary to popular belief, I thought the first fight was highly competitive. I’m expecting more of the same. However, this time, whether he deserves it or not, Pacquiao will be the one who has his arm raised.Pacquiao by SD. — Lee Wylie, TheSweetScience.com

Other Panelists See Bradley A Winner, 8-6, McGrain Abstains

I like Pacquiao to win a competitive unanimous decision. He will be a lot more active in the ring and throw more eye-catching shots than Bradley will. I also think Pacquiao’s power will be a big difference in the fight. He throws the type of punches that judges respond to—at least the competent ones. — Adam Abramowitz, SaturdayNightBoxing.com

In their first tilt, Pacquiao did not land fractionally as often as he was expected, or in many cases seen, to do. Bradley’s performance, too, was sub-par. Pacquiao will be slower but more aggressive this time. Bradley will be quicker but less aggressive. And it will be make-up day on the scorecards: Fans and pundits will see Bradley win on effectiveness, Las Vegas judges will see Pacquiao win on activity, and acrimony will ensue. — Bart Barry, 15Rounds.com

Two years removed from a decision win he didn’t deserve, Timothy Bradley Jr. has done nothing in the interim but improve. Now, at the peak of his absolute prime, expect the versatile boxer-puncher to utilize his speed, guile and fearlessness to claim a tight decision that’s justified. Pacquiao remains one of the very elite fighters in the sport. But he’s slowing down just a bit. Look for Bradley to utilize the confidence gained in the final few rounds of their first fight when he outboxed Pacquiao to score enough points to offset the Pacman’s power shots that will likely sway the crowd in his favor. — Brian Campbell, ESPN.com

While I agree with the masses that Pacquiao deserved to win the first go-round in 2012, I also think the intervening two years have been kinder to Bradley. Particularly in his Marquez fight, he showed the varied skills he’ll need to handle a Manny who’s either still what he was back then, or a trifle diminished. He’s got speed, he’s got guts and he’s got the patience and the smarts to stick to a game plan that might make for a dull fight… but a successful ending. Give me Tim by a close decision, 115-113 let’s say, and get ready for the third match. — LyleFitzsimmons, CBSSports.com

It seems that most of the questions for this fight revolve around Manny. Is he still hungry? How much has he slipped? Does he still have that old killer instinct? Bradley is solid and has many tools. However, Manny looked quite good against Rios in November. So I say he’s still got it. Pacquiao by unanimous decision. — John DiSanto, PhillyBoxingHistory.com

There are very few ELITE fighters and even fewer elite fighters that love to slug it out: we are getting a combination of both in #PacBradley2. It’s going to be a battle of who has the toughest chin, and right now, I think that is Bradley. But who has the most heart? — GeorgeForeman IV, Foreman Boys Promotions

I’m still not convinced about the “not wearing socks” excuse. At the highest level, I’d imagine Bradley’s feet being conditioned to fight without socks and to also prepare for “spongy” rings. I’ve fought all over the world in different conditions. A fighter shouldn’t be surprised of the environment. Second, Bradley was able to utilize his skills against a much slower Marquez, who also took a lot of punishment from his last fight, which was with Pacquiao. Can we agree that Pacquiao is much faster than Marquez? I can’t base Bradley’s performance with Marquez being a “litmus test” of how much he’s improved. No disrespect to Bradley, he’s a great fighter, but whether he wears socks or not, I give the edge to Pacquiao winning. — boxer Ana Julaton, former world champion

I like Bradley by unanimous decision with a display of athleticism and skill. — Andy Lee, middleweight contender

PACQUIAO BY UNANIMOUS DECISION. I had Manny up by two rounds in their first fight. Even though he out-landed Bradley, in the middle round his activity level slumped after the 6th stanza. Manny is inspired for this one and I believe he will consistently press the attack this time around. In their first fight, Bradley was often able to slip Pacquiao’s third and fourth punches. The Pacman has to change that on Saturday night and score his signature long combinations. Pacquiao has no respect for Bradley’s power – which is both a plus and a minus. The minus is, of course, that Bradley could surprise him with a potent counter-right. The plus is that the power differential will make Pacquiao more comfortable staying in the pocket and throwing punches in bunches. Either way, I can’t wait for this one – two amazing fighters and ambassadors for boxing. —Gordon Marino, Boxing.com

Pacquiao by decision. He won the first fight, no reason to think he won’t win the second one as well, especially since he’ll be coming in hungry to right the past. — Rachel McCarson, Boxing Photographer

Not only am I not picking a winner for Pacquiao-Bradley II, I won’t be watching. The day after the first fight I wrote that “anyone who buys the sequel is in some way endorsing the decision in the first fight”, and that is how I feel about it. In the summer of 2012 we were robbed – you, me, every other boxing fan, Pacquiao, and not least of all Bradley, who supposedly came close to retiring in the wake of the hatred that enveloped him in the wake of that first ridiculous decision. Who robbed us? Some s——d that was after our money or two idiots that don’t understand boxing. Doesn’t matter. Pacquiao outclassed Bradley last time around, and the only reason there is a rematch is because of those idiots – or those criminals. My prediction is losers all round – the writers that cover it like it is a real fight, the fans that buy tickets, the fighters that got duped the first time around. Bob Arum will win though. Unlike other picks, this one is inarguably correct, and unaffected by the outcome. — Matt McGrain, Boxing.com

Timothy Bradley Jr. is a dangerous fighter. He’s highly skilled, determined and feels like he has something to prove. That’s a dangerous mix, especially against an opponent who has been half in and half out of boxing for the past several years. In this fight, you can expect a lot of close, competitive rounds. But when the judges award them to Bradley, this time, he’ll have earned them. He’s just more intense and more desperate to prove himself than Pacquiao. Bradley “avenges” his win in the first fight with a close unanimous decision. — Kevin McRae, BleacherReport.com

Many observors are picking Pacquiao, and understandably so. He’s come back well after the sickening knockout loss to Marquez, as he looked fairly decent against Rios last November. Personally, I thought Manny would’ve been damaged goods after Marquez planted that bomb on his chin, but he’s proved me wrong so far. But let’s see what happens when he’s hit regularly with full blooded punches and is truly tested. Bradley doesn’t need to fully commit himself – yes, I’m talking about being pretty aggressive – to win via knockout or on points. He should hang back a little bit behind the jab while using his speed and movement, occasionally stepping in with countering power punches, then swiftly departing – Marquez style.  To sum that up in a simple format: Boxing combined with sporadic attacks, making himself multi-dimensional. He’s got the speed, timing, athleticism and style to accomplish such a strategy. However, he’s got to adjust to what Manny does as the fight progresses. Another thing he needs to do is match, or surpass, Manny for workrate to hang in there when it comes to convincing the judges. Crucial. When Manny is in the mood and firing on all cylinders, he’s no joke. Although not with concrete conviction, I’ll go for Bradley on points. –fighterwriter Robbi Paterson

A lot has happened since Pacquiao and Bradley first met in the ring. The Bradley vs. Provodnikov fight is one of the most memorable I’ve seen. I remember where I was, who I was with, and thinking, “HOLY?COW.” Although Tim took quite a beating, he served one greater. I think he will do the same with Manny. This is Tim’s chance to shut people up for all the detestation after their first fight, and I think he will take full advantage of it. In other circumstances, the idea of having to avenge a win doesn’t make sense, but here it does. Hopefully this will be the final statement to bring Tim the respect he deserves. Of the Bradley fight, JMM said, “…you don’t have to knock a guy out to win.” But with Tim Bradley, maybe you do. That is something I don’t see happening. It will be a battle, and I can’t wait to see it. Bradley SD — Stephanie Trapp, Trappfotos.com

Pacman moved up to a weight class where within the past 2 years, he has not been able to knock out an opponent. Timmy is younger, and very strong-willed. Two hungry fighters, I do not see a knockout… But I see a close decision for Timothy Bradley. Unless of course that one lucky punch comes. — boxer Kaliesha West, former world champion

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Tonight’s TSS Fight Coverage

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weigh in

Tonight, TSS will be providing coverage on the following three events. Be sure to look for Arne K. Lang’s fast results from Oklahoma City,  Bernard Fernandez’s article on the Ennis vs Serrano card in Philly, and David Avila’s perspective on Thompson Boxing’s card in Ontario, CA.

Maurice Hooker vs. Alex Saucedo

Maurice Hooker will defend his WBO junior welterweight title tonight when he faces Alex Saucedo at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The main event will be featured live on ESPN at midnight ET, and the co-main event will be headlining the ESPN+ stream at 6:30 pm ET.

Hooker: “I’ll fight anywhere. Outside your house, in front of your house, in the ring, on the sidewalk. I don’t care where I fight as long as I fight. I’m a fighter. I love to fight. I can outbox him. I can fight you on the inside. Come Friday, we’re going to see a good fight.”

Saucedo:“I grew up just around the corner I always had the dream to bring championship fights back to Oklahoma, and now its here. I’m not going to let this opportunity go. I’m ready. We prepared ourselves in Big Bear for a very good fight. Like I’ve said, I’m ready for anything Maurice brings that night. I’m going to take that belt from him.”

Weigh In Results

Maurice Hooker – 140 lbs. vs. Alex Saucedo – 139.4 lbs.
(WBO Junior Welterweight world title – 12 Rounds)

Egidijus Kavaliauskas – 146.6 lbs. vs. Roberto Arriaza – 146.8 lbs.
(NABF and WBO Inter-Continental Welterweight titles – 10 Rounds)

Cletus Seldin – 141.4 lbs. vs. Nelson Lara – 142.4 lbs.
(Super Lightweight – 10 Rounds)

Jonathan Guzman – 122.6 lbs. vs. Roberto Castaneda – 122.8 lbs.
(Super Bantamweight – 10 Rounds)

Albert Bell – 132.4 lbs. vs. Carlos Padilla – 132.4 lbs.
(Lightweight – 8 Rounds)

Trevor McCumby – 172.6 lbs. vs. Felipe Romero – 172.4 lbs.
(Light Heavyweight – 8 Rounds)

Tyler Howard – 161 lbs. vs. Isiah Seldon – 160.8 lbs.
(Middleweight – 8 Rounds)

Aaron Morales – 117.4 lbs. vs. Francisco Lapizco – 118.2 lbs.
(Bantamweight – 6 Rounds)

Rasheen Brown 120.6 lbs. vs. Sebastian Baltazar 120.6 lbs.
(Super Bantamweight – 4 Rounds)

Paul Kroll 149.6 lbs. vs. Travis Conley 147.4 lbs.
(Super Welterweight – 4 Rounds)

John Rincon 135 lbs. vs. Emanuel Williams (to weigh in later)
(Lightweight- 4 Rounds)

Jaron Ennis vs Raymond Serrano

Jaron Ennis takes on Raymond Serrano at 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, PA.  ShoBox: The New Generation will feature three fights live via Showtime at 9:35 ET.

Ennis: “He thinks he has more experience than me. No, he doesn’t. I grew up in this sport. I’ve been in the gym since I was in a jumper. I’ve seen it all. I got to see my brothers fight growing up. I’ve sparred pros since I was 12-years-old. They always say I don’t have the experience and I’ve never fought anybody. We’ll see. There’s nothing this guy can do.”

Serrano: “There’s going to be a lot of people in the crowd that want to see me lose. Ennis is the hot prospect with all the fans, but I think I may switch some people’s opinion. Beating Ennis will put me in the position to fight anybody.”

Weigh In Results

Jaron Ennis – 145 lbs. vs. Raymond Serrano – 146 ¾ lbs.                                                                (Welterweight – 10 Rounds)

Kenneth Sims Jr. – 139 lbs. vs. Samuel Teah – 140 ¾ lbs.                                                             (Super Lightweight – 8 Rounds)

Arnold Khegai – 121 ¾ lbs. vs. Jorge Diaz – 121 ¾ lbs.                                                               (Super Bantamweight – 8 Rounds)

Michael Dutchover vs Ruben Tamayo

Michael Dutchover will now be facing Ruben Tamayo as the “Locked ‘n Loaded” main event of Thompson Boxing’s season finale at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, CA. All bouts will be streamed on TP Presents: Path to Glory via their Facebook page, YouTube channel, and website. The event is scheduled to begin at 8:00 pm PT.

Dutchover: “I’m expecting a tough fight, but I’ve prepared well and I’m ready to put on a show just like I always do.”

Weigh In Results

Michael Dutchover – 134 lbs. vs. Ruben Tamayo – 134 lbs.                                                           (Junior Lightweight – 8 Rounds)

Pedro Moreno – 139.5 lbs. vs. Erik Aguirre – 136.1 lbs.                                                               (Lightweight – 6 Rounds)

Richard Brewart – 153.1 lbs. vs. Antonio Luis Hernandez – 155 lbs.                                               (Welterweight – 4 Rounds)

Leo Ruiz – 152.6 lbs. vs. Nam Phan – 153.9 lbs.                                                                     (Welterweight – 4 Rounds)

Mario Hernandez – 118.7 lbs. vs. Luis Montellano – 118.6 lbs.                                               (Bantamweight – 6 Rounds)

Arnold Dinong – 127.5 lbs. vs. Alex Solorio – 127.5 lbs.                                                             (Featherweight – 4 Rounds)

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‘Boots’ Ennis: Finding Opponents Has Been a Challenge for Co-Manager Cameron Dunkin

Bernard Fernandez

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Ennis

Given the fact that he has won his last 11 bouts inside the distance, there is a better-than-good chance that smokin’ hot welterweight prospect Jaron “Boots” Ennis (21-0, 19 KOs) will put away fellow Philadelphia fighter Raymond Serrano (24-5, 10 KOs) sometime before Friday night’s scheduled 10-rounder at the 2300 Arena in South Philly, to be televised via ShoBox: The New Generation, goes to the judges’ scorecards.

But another quick, emphatic and impressive demonstration of Ennis’ handiwork inside the ropes could make the task of procuring the next victim, uh, opponent even more daunting for co-manager Cameron Dunkin, whose list of fighter-clients past and present includes the celebrated likes of Terence Crawford, Nonito Donaire, Timothy Bradley Jr., Jessie Vargas, Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, Danny Romero, Stevie Johnston, Kelly Pavlik and the late Johnny Tapia and Diego Corrales.

If fellow co-manager Derrick “Bozy” Ennis, his son’s trainer, is to be believed, Serrano accepted the frequently painful challenge of swapping punches with the youngest and most talented of the three boxing Ennis brothers after a veritable Mummer’s Parade of other fighters had said thanks, but no thanks.

“I heard that something like 18 different people turned Boots down until Serrano said he’d take the fight,” said Bozy Ennis, a former middleweight who took older and now-retired sons Derek “Pooh” Ennis (24-5-1, 13 KOs) and Farah Ennis (22-2, 12 KOs) to minor titles before catching a legitimate glimpse of the big time with the baby boxer of the family. “I don’t know how true that is, but Serrano doesn’t back down from nobody. That’s my man. He used to spar at my old gym.”

To be fair, the 29-year-old Serrano has a vision of significantly boosting his own stock should he upset Boots Ennis, 21, who has been hailed by some as the best young prospect to come out of the great fight town of Philadelphia since Olympic gold medalist and future two-division world champion Meldrick Taylor in the mid-1980s. “I am excited. This is Philly vs. Philly,” Serrano said when the bout was announced last month. “We are two of the best welterweights going at it. With a win, this will lead me to even bigger fights.”

Maybe, but then the formerly undefeated Armando Alvarez figured he’d be the one to take some of the shine off Boots when they squared off for the fringe WBC Silver welterweight title on July 20 in Sloan, Iowa, which also was televised by ShoBox: The New Generation. Alvarez, who went in with an 18-0 record with 12 knockouts, was floored four times in the third round before referee Adam Pollack stepped in and waved off the surprisingly one-sided – well, at least to some – beat-down.

With what arguably was Boots Ennis’ most impressive victory as a pro, the cost to Dunkin of lining up the next opponent jumped even higher than it already had been.

“It’s really find hard guys willing to fight Boots,” said Dunkin, who has been down this road before with other future champions and knows he will have to go down it again, maybe with acclaimed amateur David Stephens, a winner of multiple national championships who will be turning pro as a cruiserweight on Friday’s card. “You get people who will fight him because they’ve given up, their careers are over and they’re just looking to get paid. Of course, TV and the commissions don’t want them. Guys who are young and still have a lot of hope and promise don’t want to go near Boots because they know they’ll probably lose.

“All you can do is hope you can pay enough money to get someone to fight him. To Serrano’s credit, he has a ton of guts. He’s a real fighter and he accepted the challenge. But, you know, we’ve been dealing with this for a long time. It’s not easy getting anyone to fight Boots. We’ve highly overpaid guys for six-rounders and even-four rounders. We’ve paid top dollar and even beyond top dollar. I tried to keep the lid on Boots a little bit and told Bozy that the more his son won, the harder it was going to be to get guys to fight him. And the cost of finding opponents keeps going up. We could have fought for the WBC Silver belt sooner, but after what Boots did to Alvarez I knew the cost of getting opponents had just gone up another $10,000.”

Curiously, Boots Ennis is not ranked among the top 15 welterweights by any of the four major world sanctioning bodies. Dunkin said that is partly by design, a resistance to prematurely pushing a gifted kid into matches with more experienced fighters before he’s ready. He said this Boots was made for walking, at least until he’s ready to run at the level his skill set is sure to take him when the time is right.

“He’s a super talent,” Dunkin said. “He’s so fast and so quick and he hits really hard. His reflexes are unbelievable. I can go on and on about all the attributes he has. Oh, and he’s also a gym rat. He lives in the gym and soaks everything up. He’s always working on things in order to become a more complete fighter. And he’s only 21 years old! It isn’t often you find someone who’s so skilled and yet so mature at that age.

“Bozy and I decided at the outset that there was no need to rush things along. He was only 18 when he turned pro. Somebody that young, you don’t know when he’ll get all his physical strength and learn all the things that only come with experience. Boots listened and he agreed to go along with the program. He said, `When my dad decides I’m ready to step up, I’ll step up.’

“Back then, he thought he could be a great fighter. Now he knows it. There’s a big difference. He’s so close even now. The moment he beats a `name’ fighter, he’ll be in the ratings. There are now one or two guys now (Crawford and Errol Spence Jr., maybe?) I’d be concerned with putting him in with at this point. Everyone else, I’m OK with. He’s that good. But he can be so much better.”

So how does Boots feel about the slow-and-steady approach favored by his dad and Dunkin?

“It’ll happen when it happens,” he said of his expected grand arrival on the big stages where stars and reputations are made. “I’m only 21. For now, all I can do is keep beating everybody they put in front of me.”

In other TV fights, both scheduled eight-rounders, super lightweight Samuel “Tsunami” Teah (14-2-1, 7 KOs), from Philly by way of his native Liberia, takes on Chicago’s Kenneth Sims Jr. (13-1-1, 4 KOs) and super bantamweight Jorge Diaz (19-5-1, 10 KOs), of New Brunswick, N.J., faces Arnold Khegai (13-0-1, 9 KOs), a Ukrainian now fighting out of Philadelphia.

Teah, 31, might have perished along with five relatives and a family friend – including two brothers, two nieces and an 18-month-nephew – had he been at home on Dec. 26, 2008, when a kerosene heater exploded in the basement of their Southwest Philadelphia residence, igniting a conflagration that razed the three-story brick duplex. The human tragedy of that night (Teah’s mom and three other family members survived) has stamped Teah as a survivor in more ways than one.

Bernard Fernandez is the retired boxing writer for the Philadelphia Daily News. He is a five-term former president of the Boxing Writers Association of America, an inductee into the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame and the recipient of the Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism and the Barney Nagler Award for Long and Meritorious Service to Boxing.

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The Avila Perspective Chap. 21: Spence vs. Garcia, Diego De La Hoya and More

David A. Avila

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Mikey, Errol & Diego

After weeks of dilly dallying Premier Boxing Championship unveiled its Fox network schedule for the upcoming six months including the blockbuster announcement that Mikey Garcia (pictured at yesterday’s confab with Lennox Lewis) will challenge IBF welterweight kingpin Errol Spence Jr.

It doesn’t get bigger than that.

A press conference at Fox Television headquarters in Century City on Tuesday saw two dozen of PBC’s top fighters gathered to speak to reporters about their upcoming clashes to be televised on Fox and its affiliates beginning in December through April 2019.

Included in the announced array of top prizefighters are Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, Leo Santa Cruz, and the brothers Jermell and Jermall Charlo opening up the Fox fight series on December 22 in Brooklyn, New York.

But the fight that has been resonating since last July, when Garcia publicly announced he wanted to fight Spence, has finally sprouted wings and now takes place on March 16, in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium.

“I just want to get the biggest fights available and make the biggest splash,” said Garcia, 30, who has won world titles in four weight divisions.

Spence, who is world champion at a weight category two weight divisions heavier than Garcia, welcomes the challenge. Both he and Garcia are considered by many among the top 10 prizefighters pound for pound in the world.

“It’s a dream come true. I have a lot of fans and he has a lot of fans too,” said Spence.

Their clash will be shown on Fox pay-per-view. It’s the crown jewel of all the planned matchups planned by PBC. It’s one of the best possible fights to be made in 2019.

One other fight that looks interesting is Jose Uzcategui defending the interim IBF super middleweight title against Caleb Plant on January 13, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

It was a masterful move to announce the upcoming schedule to the media for the next five months. It allows fans the opportunity to plan their way around the fight scene that grows bigger every year. This upcoming year will be bigger than the world has ever seen before.

With Fox, Showtime, ESPN and DAZN all jumping in with hundreds of millions of dollars into the boxing pot, the world of prizefighting is booming.

De La Hoya in Mexicali

Undefeated Diego De La Hoya (20-0) defends the NABF super bantamweight title against Venezuela’s Edixon Perez (17-2) on Saturday Nov. 17, at Mexicali, Mexico. It’s the first time he’s fought as a professional in his hometown. It will be televised on Azteca TV.

“This fight is good for him because he hasn’t fought in Mexico. This is a great opportunity for the fans in Mexico to get to see him. Millions will be tuning in. that’s great exposure for him in Mexico,” said Joel De La Hoya who manages Diego De La Hoya. “You want that Mexican fan base behind you as well.”

Diego De La Hoya, 24, has been fighting professionally for five years now. Ever since he first stepped into the prize ring big things have been expected from the cousin of Oscar De La Hoya the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. Generally, he’s delivered.

In his last two fights Diego De La Hoya defeated two former world champions. This past June the Mexicali fighter stopped Jose Salgado in the seventh round in a fight that took place in upstate New York. Before that, he handed talented Randy Caballero his first defeat as a professional.

Golden Boy has carefully plotted his career though at times it seemed he was bored with fighting lesser talent.

“He was still in his second year when big fights were offered. We kind of held off to give him more time to mature. He’s got the skillset,” said Joel De La Hoya, brother of Oscar De La Hoya. “Once you win the world title you can’t take any more soft touches. That’s not the way we grew up, me and my brother.”

Though world title fights were offered the De La Hoya’s declined. But now the team feels ready to move to the next step after this fight.

“This is more of a stay busy fight, but anytime someone faces a De La Hoya they’re going to come with everything against the De La Hoya name,” said Joel De La Hoya. “But after this, we’re going to be pushing for a shot at the world title.”

The 122-pound limit super bantamweight division is blue hot with talent. It hasn’t been this loaded since guys like Israel Vazquez, Rafael Marquez, Jhonny Gonzalez and Oscar Larios were menacing the division and fighting each other from 2004 to 2010.

Today, the super bantamweight division is ripe with talent especially in Southern California where WBA super bantamweight titlist Danny Roman lives. It’s a match that can easily be made. Others holding belts are Mexico’s Rey Vargas with the WBC title, Isaac Dogboe the WBO titlist, and Australia’s TJ Doheny the IBF titleholder. It’s a very talented weight division and one that De La Hoya fits into nicely.

“It’s hot right now for the super bantamweights. We’re excited. You have Danny Roman who has a world title and is a candidate for Fighter of the Year,” said Joel De La Hoya. “You also have Dogboe. We’re slowly but surely going to see them cancel each other off. They are very do-able fights considering Diego is ranked in the top 10 in each of those organizations.”

But first, this Saturday his hometown fans and fellow countrymen get an opportunity to see him perform before certain world title challenges.

“Once you fight for a world title there is no turning back,” De La Hoya said. “But Diego has a high boxing IQ.”

Thompson Boxing card

Texas bred Michael Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) meets veteran Daulis Prescott in the super featherweight main event on Friday Nov. 16, at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, Calif.

Dutchover, 20, is one of many talented Texans who are moving into Southern California to find more opportunity and preparation. He was signed by Thompson Boxing Promotions more than a year ago and is one of several top prospects moving up the ranks quickly.

“I’ve (sparred) with some of the top names in the sport and they teach me something different,” Dutchover said. “Danny Roman, Oscar Valdez, Jessie Magdaleno are a few that come to mind.”

The Thompson Boxing fight card will be streamed live on their Facebook page beginning at Friday 8 p.m. PT.

Fights to watch via streaming or TV

Fri. 3:30 p.m. PT/ 6:30 p.m. ET – Egidijus Kavaliauskas (20-0) vs. Roberto Arriaza (17-0) on ESPN3.

Fri. 9:00 p.m. PT/ midnight ET – Maurice Hooker (24-0-3) vs. Alex Saucedo (28-0) on ESPN.

Fri. 3:30 p.m. PT/ 6:30 p.m. ET – Branden Pizarro (12-1) vs. Gadwin Rosa (8-0) and several other bouts at: https://www.facebook.com/FaceFIGHTNIGHTLIVE/

Fri. 9:35 p.m. ET/PT – Jaron Innis (21-0) vs. Raymond Serrano (24-5) on Showtime television.

Sat. 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET – Jarrell Miller (22-0-1) vs. Bogdan Dinu (18-0); Claressa Shields (6-0) vs. Hannah Rankin (5-2) on DAZN.

Sat. 8 p.m. PT – Diego De La Hoya (20-0) vs Edixon Perez (17-2) on Azteca TV.

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