Weekend Preview: Martinez-Williams rematch
CARLOS MOLINA vs. JOHN FIGUEROA
Rounds / weight class: 8 rounds / junior welterweights
Location: Club Nokia, Los Angeles
Television: Fox Sports Net (delayed); RingTV.com (live stream)
The backdrop: Molina (13-0, 7 KOs) is one of Golden Boy Promotions’ growing stable of talented young fighters. The older brother of twins Javier and Oscar Molina, both successful amateurs, is a hard-nosed counterpuncher whose style is well suited for the pro ranks. Figueroa (7-7-3, 3 KOs) is a solid journeyman from Puerto Rico who gave another Golden Boy prospect, Luis Ramos, a competitive fight on the Fight Night Club card in September, although he lost a one-sided decision. Molina, who is from Rosemead, Calif., had been scheduled to fight David Rodela in what would’ve been a can’t-miss action bout but Rodela was injured in a car accident and had to pull out.
Also fighting: Ivan Redkach vs. Roni Alvarado, 6 rounds, lightweights; Salvador Rios vs. Gerardo Melendrez, 4 rounds, welterweights
Rating the card: B-. Molina doesn’t shy away from action. He’s fun to watch. And Figueroa comes to fight.
CARLOS BALDOMIR vs. AMILCAR FUNES
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: San Juan, Argentina
The backdrop: The former welterweight titleholder looked all of his 39 years in his sixth-round knockout loss against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September. Funes (22-9, 17 KOs) is probably more Baldomir’s speed. The Argentine has an impressive knockout ratio but has rarely ventured out of his native country, which normally isn’t a good sign. Baldomir (45-13-6, 14 KOs) can’t expect to regain his former status. He obviously is hoping to squeeze as much money as possible out of the short time he has left in boxing. Baldomir, also from Argentina, lives in Los Angeles.
Also fighting: Marcelino Lopez vs. Jailer Berrio, 10 rounds, lightwights
Rating the card: C-. An old fighter who is hanging on against a journeyman isn’t our idea of compelling fight.
ALSO FRIDAY: Ruslan Chagaev faces Travis Walker in an eight-round heavyweight bout in Hamburg, Germany. Also, Denis Boytsov fights Mike Sheppard in another eight-round heavyweight matchup.
SERGIO MARTINEZ vs. PAUL WILLIAMS
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / middleweights
Location: Atlantic City, N.J.
The backdrop: Martinez (45-2-2, 24 KOs) and Williams (39-1, 27 KOs) gave us one of the most-entertaining slugfests of 2009, Williams winning a majority decision that many believe was undeserved. Martinez, an Argentine, went on to take Kelly Pavlik’s RING middleweight championship in April while Williams beat Kermit Cintron by a technical decision in May when Cintron went flying out of the ring and couldn’t continue. Now comes the rematch, which promises to be as competitive as their first fight. Martinez, 35, is a late bloomer with excellent athletic skills and uncommon toughness who persevered in spite of several disappointments. Williams, a two-time welterweight titleholder from Augusta, Ga., throws a million punches and also has demonstrated resilience. The winner will improve his standing among the best fighters in the world, although both could gain if we see another compelling fight.
Also fighting: Tony Thompson vs. Paul Marinaccio, 10 rounds, heavyweights; Fernando Guerrero vs. Saul Duran, 10 rounds, middleweights; Zsolt Erdei vs. Samson Onyango, 8 rounds, light heavyweights;
Rating the card: A. We don’t often see two exciting fighters on most pound-for-pound lists facing one another. Enjoy.
RAUL MARTINEZ vs. RODRIGO GUERRERO
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / junior bantamweights
Location: Thackerville, Okla.
Television: Fox Deportes
The backdrop: Martinez (27-1, 16 KOs) met with disaster in his only title shot when he was stopped in four rounds by then-flyweight-titleholder Nonito Donaire in April of last year, Martinez’s first setback. The San Antonio product has bounced back with three victories against more-limited opponents to earn a spot in this junior bantamweight title eliminator. Guerrero (14-2-1, 9 KOs) also lost his only title shot, a one-sided decision against then-115-pound titleholder Vic Darchinyan in March. The Mexican outpointed Federico Catubay in July to remain in the title picture.
Also fighting: Matvey Korobov vs. Derrick Findley, 8 rounds, middleweights
Rating the card: C+. The winner will be in position to fight again for a major title, which adds some significance to this matchup. And both are capable. Beyond that, though, it’s hard to get too excited.
ALSO SATURDAY: Robert Stieglitz defends his super middleweight title against Enrique Ornelas in Dresden, Germany. And, in Uncasville, Conn., Paul Spadafora faces Diego Jesus Ponce in a 10-round junior welterweight matchup.