Sherdog’s Weekend Boxing Preview

By James Kinneen Nov 2, 2018

What: Miguel Berchelt vs. Miguel "Mickey" Roman, Junior Lightweights When: Nov. 3
How to Watch: ESPN+ 9:30 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: To See if Mickey Roman can bring the exciting out of Miguel Berchelt.

Miguel Berchelt is a very good fighter at 130 pounds, maybe the best fighter at 130 pounds, but after his last two fights resulted in easy victories that left fans bored, the people in charge of Berchelt needed an opponent to force him into an exciting, all-action fight.

Enter Mickey Roman. See, Mickey Roman has stopped 10 of his last 11 opponents, including the only fighter to beat Vasyl Lomachenko, Orlando Salido, in a fight many considered one of the most exciting of the year. The Mexican veteran of 72 professional prizefights is in the midst of a career renaissance, having won four straight fights since being stopped by Takashi Miura, and this fight against Berchelt will likely be his last chance at winning a championship belt (Berchelt is the WBC Super featherweight champion).

Can Mickey Roman beat Miguel Berchelt? Of course, anyone who’s faced the fighters he’s faced over the course of 72 fight can beat a guy like Berchelt. But while that’s not guaranteed, it is guaranteed Roman will make Berchelt fight him toe to toe at some point and create an exciting fight for the fans. And for the people in charge of Belchert’s career, that may be just as important.

What: Miguel Marriaga vs. Jose Estrella, Featherweights When: Nov. 3
How to Watch: ESPN+ 9:30 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: To see if Miguel Marriaga looks good enough to get another shot at one of the famous fighters he keeps losing to.

Miguel Marriaga has lost three times in his career, and you’ve heard of all three opponents that beat him; Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicolas “The Axeman” Walters and Oscar Valdez. Jose Estrella has lost fourteen times to a bunch of guys who are pretty good, and you may have heard of, but are not necessarily household name fighters. So, Miguel Marriaga should win this fight easily, right?

Yup, he should. There’s no twist here, this is a fight for Miguel Marriaga to get back on his feet after suffering losses in three of his last nine fights to some of the most elite fighters in the lighter weight classes. But, the bigger question in this fight is whether Marriaga will look good enough to get another shot at one of the huge stars in his division, the huge stars he can never seem to beat. But if he wants another chance at one of those guys, he doesn’t just have to win, he has to look good doing it.

What: Josh Taylor vs. Ryan Martin, Junior Welterweights When: Nov. 3
How to Watch: DAZN 5:00 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because it’s a fight between two “can’t miss” prospects, that may prove to be iconic later in life.

You know when you watch ESPN Classic and realize that a college football game on an average Saturday afternoon was so much more iconic than you remember it being, because so many of the players involved went on to become NFL superstars? That might be the case with the fight between Josh Taylor and Ryan Martin, two fighters considered can’t-miss prospects by many in the boxing community.

Josh Taylor is undefeated, 13-0 with eleven knockouts after winning a decision over onetime WBC light welterweight champion Viktor Postol in his last fight. He was a 2012 Olympian for Scotland and won the gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth games.

Ryan Martin is also undefeated; he’s 22-0 with 12 knockouts. As an amateur, he won the 2010 under-19 national championship and a silver medal at the 2009 National Junior Olympics. And although he failed to qualify for the Olympics due to a loss to Robert Easter Jr., he is considered such a can’t-miss prospect that his nickname is simply “Blue Chip.”

This may not seem like a big fight, it’s not getting heavily promoted and involves two guys most people have never heard of, but while it doesn’t seem big at the moment, ten years from now we may watch a replay on YouTube and realize just how big it was.

What: Ryan Burnett vs. Nonito Donaire, Bantamweights When: Nov. 3
How to Watch: DAZN 5:00 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because Nonito Donaire thinks dropping two weight classes can rejuvenate his once promising career, and Ryan Burnett doesn’t.

Remember Nonito Donaire? The Filipino who was renowned for his knockout power was once considered one of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world, and had pundits arguing he belonged on the list above Floyd Mayweather Jr. as recently as 2011. But, after losses to Nicholas Walters, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Jessie Magdaleno and Carl Frampton, Donaire went from possible all-time great to a “whatever happened to” fighter in a Filipino flash. These days, nobody believes he can become a world champion again, never mind a pound for pound great. So, looking to rejuvenate his career Donaire entered the bantamweight World Boxing Super Series, forcing him to drop two weight classes at 36 years old.

His opponent is Ryan Burnett, the second-ranked fighter in the WBSS tournament. He is 26 years old, undefeated at 19-0 with 9 knockouts, and fighting in Scotland not all that far from his hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. He is the current WBA bantamweight champion and once held the IBF belt after defeating Lee Haskins. He is desperate to advance in the tournament, to take the WBO belt off South Africa’s Zolani Tete, but needs to be wary of Donaire’s power.

Nonito Donaire was once a huge deal in the world of boxing, while Ryan Burnett knows becoming a unified title holder would make him a huge deal right now. On Saturday, we’ll see if Nonito Donaire can produce flashes of the hard-hitting puncher he once was, or if Ryan Burnett can gracefully lead the past-his-prime fighter into retirement.

What: Sullivan Barrera vs. Seanie Monaghan, Light Heavyweights When: Nov. 3
How to Watch: Facebook Watch 7:00 p.m. ET
Why You Should Care: Because the New York crowd may be the only thing that can keep Seanie Monaghan from getting beaten up by a superior fighter.

Sullivan Barrera is really good. Seanie Monaghan is really popular. This is why Monaghan (who is from Long Island) will get to fight in New York City on Saturday, while Cuba’s Barrera will have to travel to Monaghan’s hometown. This may prove to be the only advantage Seanie Monaghan has in this fight, as (on paper at least) Sullivan Barrera should dominate him.

Say this about Seanie Monaghan, he knows what he’s getting into. He was recently quoted as saying “Barrera is the man. He’s probably the most dangerous guy right below world champion level there is. His only two losses were to world champions, and he took them to deep water and gave them a hard time.”

This is correct. Sullivan Barrera has only lost twice as a professional boxer, to Dmitry Bivol and Andre Ward. Those two guys aren’t just world champions, they’re special fighters. But it’s not just his losses that define him, Barrera also won the AIBA World Championships gold medal for Cuba and has beaten guys like Joe Smith Jr. and Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy as a professional. Seanie Monaghan, on the other hand, has neither the amateur background or the professional pedigree that Barrera has, and was stopped in the second round by Marcus Browne in 2017. Browne is very good, but he’s not on the level of Ward or Bivol.

This fight should play out similarly to Barrera’s fight with Joe Smith Jr., a good fight that showed the New Yorker to be tough, but ultimately not skilled enough to beat Barrera. That is, unless the New York crowd can lift their hometown fighter to become something more than he is, something better than anyone thought he could be.


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