Weekend Preview: Holyfield is unfortunately back in action
LUCAS MATTHYSSE vs. DEMARCUS CORLEY
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior welterweights
Location: Mendoza, Argentina
The backdrop: Matthysse (27-1, 25 KOs) almost got the job done against former champ Zab Judah last November. The Argentine tough guy dropped Judah en route to losing a razor-thin split decision. Had Matthysse prevailed, a new contender in the deep 140-pound division might have been born. However, the 28-year-old power puncher did well enough against the veteran to earn a quick televised ring return. Enter Corley (37-15-1, 22 KOs), the 36-year-old former beltholder who dropped a split decision of his own to Judah 7¾ years ago and has gone 9-13 since. The crafty southpaw is now a journeyman but has only lost to quality opposition, including the undefeated likes of Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto and Devon Alexander.
Also fighting: Juan Carlos Reveco vs. Miguel Tellez, 10 rounds, flyweights
Rating the card: B. The main event of this special Solo Boxeo card from Argentina features an exciting up-and-comer against a familiar name. Matthysse should be too young and strong for Corley, but the veteran will probably give him some quality rounds. Despite suffering a one-punch KO to Freddy Hernandez last February, Corley had enough left to compete with formidable contender Marcos Maidana in a 12-round loss last August. The co-featured bout doesn’t involve recognizable names in the U.S. but Reveco (25-1, 15 KOs) is a talented former 108-pound titleholder who should get some decent rounds out of Tellez (20-13-1, 6 KOs), an experienced journeyman from Nicaragua.
EVANDER HOLYFIELD vs. SHERMAN WILLIAMS
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / heavyweights
Location: White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Television: Integrated Sports PPV
The backdrop: What can be said about this abomination of a pay-per-view “event” that hasn’t already been written? Here’s a statement: If you’re already sour on heavyweight boxing, this show will probably make you give up on it forever. Holyfield (43-10-2, 28 KOs), the Don Quixote of the division, says 40 is the new 30, but someone should remind the former undisputed champ that he’s pushing 50. The 48-year-old veteran is 5-5 in his last 10 bouts. But it should be noted that three of his losses occurred in back-to-back-to-back bouts between 2002 and 2004 with world-class defensive boxers Chris Byrd, James Toney and Larry Donald in terrible style matchups for Holyfield. The other two losses were recent title bouts against Russian belt holders Sultan Ibragimov (UD 12) in 2007 and Nikolai Valuev (MD 12) in 2008. Some observers thought Holyfield should have won the Valuev fight, but he didn’t, and now he’s two years older and still chasing his impossible dream. Even at his advanced age, Holyfield still has the ability to beat the likes of Williams (34-11-2, 19 KOs), a squat pressure fighter whose last bout was a 10-round loss to Germany-based prospect Manuel Charr in October of 2009, and slightly better fighters such as Brian Nielsen (who he’s scheduled to fight in March). How does he still do it? He’s an all-time great, which is why it’s so sad (especially for those who saw him fight during his prime) to watch him continue to fight.
Also fighting: Kevin Johnson vs. Julius Long, eight rounds, heavyweights; Monte Barrett vs. Charles Davis, 10 rounds, heavyweights; Donatas Boudoravas vs. Willie Fortune, eight rounds, junior middleweights
Rating the card: D. The main event obviously has name recognition, and it might actually produce a fun fight thanks to Williams’ aggressive style, but it has absolutely no significance and it probably shouldn’t be happening for safety reasons. The co-feature between Johnson (23-1, 10 KOs), a late-sub for prospect Travis Kauffman who is coming off an embarrassingly one-sided decision loss to Vitali Klitschko, and Long (15-14, 13 KOs), a 7-foot-1 journeyman who has lost his last six bouts, adds nothing to the pay-per-view value. The 10 rounder between Barrett (34-9, 20 KOs) and Davis (19-21-2, 4 KOs) actually detracts from the card. The opening matchup between Boundoravas (10-1-1, 3 KOs) and Fortune (9-0, 5 KOs) might be interesting.
DIEGO MAGDALENO vs. MARCOS JIMENEZ
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior lightweights
Location: Las Vegas
Television: Fox Deportes
The backdrop: Magdaleno (17-0, 5 KOs), a sharp-boxing southpaw with a strong amateur background, fights in his first televised headliner against Jimenez (18-2, 12 KOs), arguably toughest opponent of his three-year career. The 24-year-old Las Vegas resident will be tested by the 26-year-old boxer-puncher from the Dominican Republic, but if he wins, he’ll earn a vacant regional title as well as a Top-10 alphabet ranking.
Also fighting: Roberto Marroquin vs. TBA, eight rounds, featherweights; Jose Benavidez vs. Fernando Rodriguez, six rounds, junior welterweights
Rating the card: B. The main event should produce a competitive fight, and the undercard includes two of the sport’s hottest prospects. Marroquin (17-0, 13 KOs) was scheduled to fight Leon Bobo but the well-traveled journeyman fell out of the bout, so the former amateur star from Dallas faces the every-popular “TBA.” It doesn’t matter who Marroquin fights. He’s the total package and worth watching. So is Benavidez (9-0, 9 KOs). The 18-year-old ultra talent takes a very slight step up in competition with Rodriguez (5-1, 3 KOs), a 21 year old from Dallas who has never been stopped. There’s a first time for everything. Don’t blink when Benavidez is in the ring.
Also fighting: Hard-punching Colombian prospect William Urina (17-0, 14 KOs) takes on Johnny Garcia (9-2-1, 5 KOs), of Mexico, in a 12-round junior bantamweight bout in Mexico City on Friday. The bout will be televised on Telemundo (in the U.S.).