Boxing Preview: Anthony Joshua returns, Serrano vs. Hawkins in Philly
Anthony Joshua returns
The major fight of the weekend will see one of the stars of boxing, WBA and IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua taking on IBF heavyweight champion Joshua Parker at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
Joshua, an Olympic gold medalist, is now looking to cement his legacy as he is trying to acquire all of the belts in the division. Joshua is a power puncher, who is best known for his spectacular knockout of hall of fame heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko as well as a larger than life persona which has elevated him to stardom in the U.K.
Parker a talented fighter in his own right has fought his way into this spot defeating Andy Ruiz Jr. as well as Hughie Fury to get him into this massive fight. Parker doesn’t have one particular skill that stands out, but is very solid and won’t beat himself. Parker also has a terrific YouTube series that is worth a watch.
The elephant in the room is WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder, who has stated on numerous occasions that he wants to fight Anthony Joshua although it was announced earlier this week Wilder will not attend this bout.
The multiple time PED abuser, heavyweight Aleksander Povetkin, will be in action this weekend against fledging heavyweight David Price, who has been stopped four times in his career including two brutal KO losses to Tony Thompson that seemingly shut the door on his prospect of the year tag, he had been touted prior.
Povetkin, a former world champion, who has a sketchy past with performance-enhancing drug, will look to do what fighters of lesser caliber than himself have done, which is to stop Price. Povetkin, a top five heavyweight in terms of talent has always had things outside of boxing interfere with the enjoyment of his bouts from Teddy Atlas suddenly stop training him to multiple drug tests coming up positive to just not being active, it feels like Povetkin is a fighter who will always been surrounded by problems.
This Saturday as fight fans we hope this is the start of a change in this pattern.
Burnett is the current IBF super bantamweight world champion, who has wins over Lee Haskins and Zhanat Zhakiyanov. This will be Burnett’s second title defense against another opponent, who is game, but without any real drawing power. Burnett is an interesting character outside the ring, a fun-fighter in the ring.
Josh Kelly vs. Carlos Molina
Super lightweight Josh Kelly will face former Amir Khan and Adrien Broner opponent in Carlos Molina, not the former world champion. Kelly is a highly touted U.K. fighter who has pasted the eye test of skill, look and fanbase, but now needs to continue to prove it in the ring.
Fun fact, Adam Booth, a tremendous trainer coaches both Burnett and Kelly.
Crolla is back, but now on the undercard after two failed world title fights against Jorge Linares. Crolla returned with a bounce back with a win over Ricky Burns, but now seems to be in a stage in his career in which he is staying active and looking to land a big fight when the opportunity happens. Crolla will do what is needed of him on this undercad more than likely
Tito Serrano vs. Malik Hawkins
The most competitive bout of the weekend (on paper) will not even be broadcast on television as Philly’s welterweight Raymond “Tito” Serrano will face Maryland’s undefeated prospect Malik “Iceman” Hawkins, which will take place at The Fillmore in Philadelphia.
Serrano, a hard-luck pro, who has a lot of skill, but just seemed to see a lot of missed opportunities as Karim Mayfield stopped him on television, Alex Saucedo just edged him as well as losses to Emmanuel Taylor and Brad Solomon somewhat seemed to shut the door on getting to the next level in his career. Serrano is a fighter, who hasn’t quite gotten over the hump to become a household name, but is a fighter that gets a lot of respect in the gym for the type of work he brings to other fighters and is able to upset prospects. Serrano has a lot of experience and is training at Wild Card Boxing Gym with Freddie Roach as well.
Malik Hawkins is a powerful and tall welterweight as at six feet tall, Hawkins seemingly dwarfs nearly all of his foes. Hawkins is also known for his power as 75% of his professional opponents have not seen the final bell. For Hawkins, this is a fight that would take his career to the next level as Serrano is a well-respected opponent and Hawkins is fighting Serrano, in Serrano’s hometown, which most prospects wouldn’t do.
This is the fight of the weekend.
Ronald Ellis is making a quick return after his draw with Junior Younan as he fights formidable Taneal Goyco, a man I saw fight about two years ago in Oakland. Ellis is a high guard pressure fighter who is looking to test the cardiovascular endurance of his foes, especially those who come in as professional opponents. This fight is a good bounce back from a very tough fight with Younan as Goyco is no pushover, but at the same time if Ellis is in full capacity he should have every stylistic advantage.
Highly touted super bantamweight southpaw Tremaine Williams, who is signed to Roc Nation Sports, is looking to get his career to the new level as he returns this weekend on the undercard. Williams is a tremendous puncher for the lower weight classes, but has a very awkward nickname as he is referred to as “The Mighty Midget”.
Roc Nation Sports heavyweight Darmani Rock is looking to get into the heavyweight mix as the 21-year-old fighter from Philadelphia will look to say active this year. The decorated amateur will be in his eleventh fight in a little under two years as Rock has been one of the most active Roc Nation Sports fighters.
Joey Alday Jr.
Joey Alday Jr., a super welterweight, I saw fight in his pro debut at Treasure Island in Las Vegas, Nevada, will return to action as well. I always remember people who have to fight after the main event and Alday Jr. made his pro debut that way. I will look for this bout as well.
Golden Boy on ESPN2, Saturday
Golden Boy is brining their fights to Massachusetts this Saturday on ESPN2, a few weeks after St. Patrick’s Day, in another interesting fight card that is worthy of a watch. The card is headlined by 20 win professional Mark DeLuca, who is coming off the biggest win of his career against game veteran Anthony Lenk. Lenk nearly beat decorated amateur Ricardo Williams Jr. at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA when Andre Ward fought Chad Dawson.
I have yet to see much of DeLuca, so I can’t comment beyond this, but will be watching on Saturday.
Jason Quigley is returning after a year layoff when he injured himself in a fight on ESPN against Glen Tapia in one of the first bout Golden Boy did with the ESPN contract. Quigley, a talented Irish fighter with good length and skills for his division, will face a formidable foe in Daniel Rosario. One thing of note is Rosario has not lost a fight without heavy debate as all three of his losses have come via split decision or majority decision. This is an interesting opponent to have a fighter comeback against albeit Rosario is be moved up from 154 lbs. to 160 lbs.
Philly’s lightweight Damon Allen will be back in action as the Golden Boy promotions fighter has not had many televised fights over the past few years.
Middleweight Yamaguchi Falcao is also in action as he is thirty years old will be getting his shot sometime soon, if for no other reason than age.
Former Sergey Kovalev opponent, Nadjiib Mohammedi will face Hadillah Mohoumadi in a super middleweight bout in France. It doesn’t move the needle for us, but since Mohammedi fought on HBO before we thought we should tell you.