Weekend Preview: Sturm returns vs. tough Lorenzo
FELIX STURM vs. GIOVANNI LORENZO
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / middleweights
Location: Cologne, Germany
The backdrop: Sturm (33-2-1, 14 knockouts), the German middleweight beltholder best known to U.S. fans for his controversial decision loss to Oscar De La Hoya in 2004, returns to the ring after more than a year of inactivity to take on Lorenzo (29-2, 21 KOs). The dangerous Bronx-based Dominican has won two in a row since dropping a split decision to Sturm’s countryman Sebastian Sylvester last September in Germany. Sturm, the more experienced fighter, is also a better boxer, technician and overall athlete than Lorenzo, but the 29-year-old challenger has the edge in power and makes up for his technical short comings with toughness. Lorenzo has a terrific opportunity given Sturm’s inactivity — the three-time beltholder has not fought since out pointing Khoren Gevor last July — and his aggressive style. Lorenzo, who likes to pressure his opponents and go to the body, has similar ring strengths to Javier Castillejo, the only fighter to have decisively defeated Sturm (a 10th-round TKO in 2006). If Lorenzo is in tip-top condition, which his handlers claim him to be, he could give Sturm a stern challenge, particularly over the second half of the bout.
Also fighting: Benjamin Simon vs. Juan Camilo Novoa, eight rounds, middleweights
Rating the card: B. This is a very solid middleweight matchup. (Thanks to ESPN3.com for broadcasting it live so that fans outside of Germany get a chance to watch it).
JORGE SOLIS vs. FRANCISCO CORDERO
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / junior lightweights
Location: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Television: Fox Sports en Espanol
The backdrop: Solis (39-2-2, 28 KOs), a 30-year-old veteran best known for a respectable showing against Manny Pacquiao in 2007, defends an interim 130-pound belt against undefeated but unproven Cordero (23-0, 15 KOs) in Solis' hometown. Cordero has a nice record but the 23 year old is little more than a prospect who has faced non-descript opposition in Colombia in mostly six- and eight-round bouts. At least Cordero showed he could win on the road in his one bout outside of Colombia when he beat Japanese prospect Koseki Nakama in Okinawa. However, Solis, who has defeated fringe contenders Monty Meza Clay, Miguel Roman and Mario Santiago in his last 10 bouts, should be able to handle the Colombian upstart. Omar Nino Romero (29-3-2, 11 KOs), the junior flyweight beltholder in the co-main event, owns decision victories over Brian Viloria and Rodel Mayol. The 34-year-old Guadalajara native should outclass Ronald Barrera (27-7-2, 17 KOs), a tough and experienced former strawweight title challenger who has always come up short in fights with world-class opposition. Perhaps Barrera’s youth (the Colombian is only 25) will aid his challenge, but he’s 5-4-1 in his last 10 bouts, which doesn’t speak well of his chances. Although it should be noted that Barrera’s recent losses are to former beltholders Juan Carlos Reveco and Raul Garcia (twice) and to tough former title challenger Juan Landaeta via a split decision.
Also fighting: Omar Nino Romero vs. Ronald Barrera, 12 rounds, junior flyweights
Rating the card: B-. This is a solid but not spectacular Top Rank Live card. The co-featured bouts feature experienced and very skilled Mexican veterans, however the superior-boxing beltholders are in with merely serviceable Colombian sluggers.
Also in action:
Oleydong Sithsamerchai, THE RING’s No. 2-rated strawweight, will defend a 105-pound title against countryman Pornsawan Porpramook on Friday in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Puerto Rican slugger Rocky Martinez, THE RING’s No. 2-rated junior lightweight, defends his 105-pound belt against Scotland’s Ricky Burns on Saturday in Glasgow, Scotland.
Argentine veteran Luis Lazarte, THE RING’s No. 5-rated junior flyweight, defends his newly acquired 108-pound belt against Nerys Espinoza on Saturday in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
Jan Zaveck, THE RING’s No. 8-rated welterweight, will defend his 147-pound belt against Rafal Jackiewicz, THE RING’s No. 7-rated welterweight, on Saturday in Ljubljana, Slovenia.