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Weekend Preview: Bradley-Abregu

14
Jul

FRIDAY

ZAB JUDAH vs. JOSE ARMANDO SANTA CRUZ
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / welterweights (143-pound catch weight)
Location: Newark, N.J.
Television: ESPN2
The backdrop: Judah (38-6, 26 KOs) has been a title contender — or least close to that — for more than 10 years, which a testament to his ability and commitment to the sport. He hasn’t accomplished much lately, though. His last important victory was over Cory Spinks in 2005. Since then, he’s only 5-4 (with one no contest and no victories over an elite opponent). Still, at 32, the speedy southpaw from Brooklyn would like to take on the top young guns at 140 pounds even though he hasn’t fought at that weight since 2003. Santa Cruz (28-4, 17 KOs) is a solid fighter with some good victories but has failed against elite competition. The Mexican-born resident of Los Angeles has lost to David Diaz, Joel Casamayor (by split decision) and Antonio Pitalua in the past four years.
Also fighting: Alex Perez vs. Edvan Barros, eight rounds, welterweights
Rating the card: B-. Santa Cruz proved against Casamayor that he can give a talented southpaw some trouble but that was three years ago. Plus, he’s fought only twice above 135 pounds, which means he’ll be the naturally smaller man. This should be a good showcase for the veteran from New York.

FERNANDO GUERRERO vs. ISHE SMITH
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / middleweights
Location: Southhaven, Miss.
Television: Showtime
The backdrop: Guerrero (18-0, 15 KOs) is stepping up and out — up to a proven opponent in Smith and out of his hometown of Salisbury, Md., where he has fought five times and become a local hero the past few years. The 23-year-old native Dominican, coming off a sensational second-round KO of Michael Walker, has the ingredients to become a star — ability, exciting style, engaging personality — but must prove he can handle elite competition. Smith isn’t in that class but was once a significant prospect — having outpointed Randall Bailey — and has acquitted himself well against top-level opponents. This is a test for Guerrero.
Also fighting: Shawn Porter vs. Ray Robinson, 10 rounds, junior middleweights
Rating the card: B. Guerrero is fun to watch and Smith is no pushover, which could make for an interesting fight. Shawn Porter probably couldn’t have beaten that Ray Robinson but the talented young prospect should have no trouble with this one.

CARLOS VELASQUEZ vs. EDUARDO ARCOS
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / featherweights
Location: Cata├▒o, Puerto Rico
Television: Telefutura
The backdrop: Velasquez (12-0, 10 KOs) has a gaudy record — we like the KO ratio — but has yet to face a significant test. The Puerto Rican-born resident of Miami will be fighting in front of a partisan crowd in Cata├▒o, where he was born. Arcos (15-1, 12 KOs) lost for the first time in his most-recent fight, a seventh-round knockouts against light-punching Christopher Martin. Arcos is from Mexico.
Rating the card: C. A showdown between a Puerto Rican and a Mexican is usually fun to watch. And Velasquez’s apparent power could provide some fireworks.



ALSO: Matthew Hatton defends his European welterweight title against Yuri Nuzhnenko in Bolton, England.

SATURDAY

TIMOTHY BRADLEY vs. CARLOS ABREGU
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / welterweights
Location: Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Television: HBO
The backdrop: Bradley (25-0, 11 KOs) is evolving into one of the bright young stars in the sport, with an alphabet belt and victories over Junior Witter, Kendall Holt, and Lamont Peterson. And, in what amounts to a stay-sharp fight, he’ll probably have little trouble against Abregu — probably. Bradley is stepping up in weight to fight an undefeated opponent with considerable knockout power. Abregu (29-0, 23 KOs) has never faced an opponent with anything resembling Bradley’s ability, though.
Also fighting: Alfredo Angulo vs. Joachim Alcine, 12 rounds, junior middleweights; Antonio DeMarco vs. Daniel Attah, 10 rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: B+. We’d rather see Bradley fighting Devon Alexander, Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana or another 140-pound stud but it should be fun watching him fight out of his weight class against a solid — and bigger — opponent. The undercard is terrific. Angulo-Alcine is an explosive matchup between a relentless top-10 contender and an aggressive former titleholder. DeMarco remains a good prospect in spite of his knockout loss to Edwin Valero in February.

FERNANDO MONTIEL VS. RAFAEL CONCEPCION
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / for Montiel’s bantamweight titles
Location: Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico
Television: Fox Sports en Espanol
The backdrop: Montiel (42-2-2, 32 KOs) was supposed to have defended his titles against streaking former flyweight titleholder Eric Morel, which would’ve been fascinating, but the former Puerto Rican Olympian pulled out because of a back injury. Concepcion (14-4-1, 8 KOs) is a rugged fringe contender from Panama who gave Nonito Donaire some trouble (although he came in overweight) but he’s not in Morel’s class. We hope Donaire’s recent victory over Hernan Marquez and a Montiel victory on Saturday lead to a very compelling fight against one another before the end of the year.
Also fighting: Michael Medina vs. Gilberto Flores, 10 rounds, junior middleweights
Rating the card: B-. Montiel is one of the most-exciting little fighters in the world, even when he’s not up against a fighter in his class.

DAVID TUA vs. MONTE BARRETT
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / heavyweights
Location: Atlantic City, N.J.
Television: Integrated Sports PPV
The backdrop: Tua (51-3-1, 43 KOs) has come back from a two-year hiatus from boxing at 37 to win two fights and add a bit of spice to a bland heavyweight division. A KO of Shane Cameron and decision over Friday Ahunanya don’t mean much but they’re a start. Barrett (34-9, 20) has become an “opponent” at 39 but his name and the fact Tua is fighting in the U.S. and on TV should give him more momentum. Can Tua beat one of the Klitschkos or David Haye? Probably not. But a lot of people would tune in because one never knows what havoc immense power will wreak. Barrett probably will find out the hard way on Saturday.
Rating the card: B-.

ALSO: Jurgen Brahmer defends his light heavyweight title against Alejandro Lakatos in Schwerin, Germany; Johnny Tapia, 43, faces Frankie Archuleta in a 10-round lightweight bout in Ohkay Owingeh, N.M. They split two earlier fights.

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