The PBC has revealed a list of fights scheduled on FOX and FS1 as part of their new TV deal. There is the odd tasty clash on the roster. Many are filler bouts which are standard in boxing; you can’t have the best fighting the best, fight after fight. Hopefully, some of them will lead to bigger fights.
Jermall Charlo vs. Willie Monroe Jr – December 22, 2018
Charlo vs Monroe feels like something we’ve already seen. Throw in twin brother Jermell Charlo’s fight with Tony Harrison, and this could’ve been a 2015/2016 card. As if Frampton-Warrington and Whyte-Chisora II wasn’t enough on December 22 this card brings some Stateside action to the party.
Monroe Jr is a smart boxer who finds it difficult to transition his form at contender level to the biggest stage. Billy Joe Saunders outboxed him, while Golovkin failed to respect his power and smashed through him. Charlo should beat him on points. As for Jermell Charlo, and his 154-pound clash with Tony Harrison, the Texan should take over after some nip-and-tuck early rounds. Harrison has a reputation for slowing down, and that i believe that is when Charlo will take over and stop him. Hopefully, this will lead to Charlo boxing Jarrett Hurt in the first quarter of 2019 provided Hurd dismisses Jason Welborn on December 1.
Heavyweight action sees Dominic Breazeale take on unheralded Carlos Negron. Breazeale should win, and keep himself in the picture for a title shot.
Jose Uzcategui vs. Caleb Plant – January 13, 2019
I’m a fan of Uzcategui. I like his attitude, his fighting style and the way he goes about his business. The way he was treated at the end of the first Andre Dirrell fight was despicable (Dirrell’s trainer and uncle, Leon Lawson, sucker punched Uzcategui after the bout had ended controversially). Uzcategui won handily in the rematch, taking hold of the interim IBF super-middleweight strap.
The Venezuelan has since been upgraded to IBF champion proper after James DeGale dropped the belt. Challenger Plant is unbeaten in 17, but his safety-first style has failed to impress. Perhaps the aggression of the champion will draw Plant’s skills out. On the authority of gym insiders, the challenger is talented, so this could be a better fight than expected if Plant lets his hands go.
Keith Thurman vs Josesito Lopez – January 26, 2019
The fact that Thurman is back in the ring must be viewed as a plus point, despite the mediocre choice of opponent. This is all about “One time” sharpening the tools and getting a feel for the canvas once again, following a lengthy layoff and elbow surgery that curtailed much of his 2017 and entire 2018. Keith will have been absent from the ring for almost two years when he dusts off the gloves against Josesito Lopez.
As for Lopez, he has seven losses on the record; in fairness, the most recent ones have been to top-level talent like Canelo, Marcos Maidana, and Andre Berto. The Mexican, unbeaten in his last three fights, is probably still dining out on a 2012 upset win over Victor Ortiz. He’s far removed from that type of form and has not been brought in to beat Thurman.
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Miguel Flores – February 16, 2019
Just when you think the run of dire Santa Cruz opponents has ended, here comes Miguel Flores. Talk of a “unification” (Santa Cruz holds a couple of baubles) with WBC king Gary Russell Jr is a tantalising proposition, but it appears that Leo has to keep slotting in a couple of paydays before every meaningful bout. Santa Cruz should be seeking a third fight with Carl Frampton or securing the aforementioned bout with Russell Jr (who is admittedly tricky to coax into the ring it must be said).
Flores’ best win on a 23-2 slate is over Ruben Tamayo. Flores has lost two of his last three, including a retirement defeat to Chris Avalos. Santa Cruz defeated Avalos two fights ago, highlighting the folly of this matchup.
Anthony Dirrell vs Avni Yildirim – February 23, 2019
Nobody ever thought that Yildirim was any good. OK, confession, I picked him to win the World Boxing Super Series at super-middleweight. That says more about my predicting skills than his boxing skills though. Dirrell is capable, and should have too much for the one-paced, literal “Mr Robot”.
One interesting side note could be a potential out-of-the-ring slugfest between Yildirim’s hot-headed manager Ahmet Oner and Dirrell’s Uncle Lawson. Those two going at it at in the VIP section could be Pay-Per-View fare.