This is a huge weekend for boxing as interesting fights, big name returns, rematches and crossroad matchups are all set to befall. But, if you don’t have the luxury of time to watch everything, here are five fights you shouldn’t miss:
Diego De La Hoya (20-0, 9KO’s) vs. Jose Salgado (36-4-2, 29 KO’s)When: Friday, June 8
How to Watch: ESPN3 at 9 p.m. ET if you want to watch it live; ESPN2 at 12:30 a.m. ET if you don’t mind tape delay.
Why You Should Watch: To see if Oscar’s unbeaten first cousin, who goes by the derivative nickname "The Golden Kid," is the real deal.
Diego De La Hoya is the heavily promoted cousin of Oscar De La Hoya’s “Golden Boy Promotions.” Although he shares the same last name of his famous cousin, he did not inherit the family’s punching power, having only stopped nine of his 20 opponents. He is facing a heavy puncher in Jose Salgado, a man that has knocked out 29 opponents. While the younger De La Hoya hasn’t been coddled, he has not faced anywhere near the competition Salgado has, having faced fighters like Carlos Cuadras and Sor Rungvisai. Although Salgado has lost two of his last four, it will still be interesting to see how the lesser known De La Hoya deals with a tough, rugged and powerful opponent, and should tell us a lot about whether he is headed to championship fights or the “Golden Boy” mail room.
Jeff Horn (18-0-1, 12 KO’s) vs. Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KO’s)When: Saturday, June 9
How to Watch: ESPN+ (ESPN’s new streaming service) 9:30 p.m. ET
Why You Should Watch: Because Terence Crawford might be great, but Jeff Horn has defeated greatness already.
Omaha’s Terence Crawford may be the one of the best boxers on the earth right now (ESPN ranked him 3rd on their pound for pound list), but without the flashy brilliance of Vasiliy Lomachenko, the cartoonish knockouts of GGG or the backing of a major metropolitan city, he has had a hard time connecting with casual fans. Enter Jeff Horn. The Australian fighter became well known last year for his shocking and controversial win over Manny Pacquiao. If Crawford, in his first fight ever at welterweight division, manages to stop the man who beat Pacquiao, then ESPN will have a legitimate American star to carry their new streaming site. But, while that is what should happen (Crawford is an over 9 to 1 favorite), “The Hornet” has shocked the world before.
Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KO’s) vs. Abner Mares (31-2-1, 15 KO’s)When: Saturday, June 9
How to Watch: Showtime 10 p.m. ET
Why You Should Watch: Because their first fight in 2015 was a “ferocious battle” and “fight of the year candidate for sure,” according to ESPN's Dan Rafael.
Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares fought back in 2015 and produced a fight of the year candidate, with Santa Cruz ultimately winning the decision. Both fighters hail from Southern California, and though there is a mutual respect between the two, this does create a strong local rivalry among their respective camps and trainers with the fight being billed as the “Battle of Los Angeles.” Having won the first fight, Santa Cruz is the favorite, but Mares has not been defeated since their 2015 tussle while Santa Cruz was outboxed by Carl Frampton, though he later avenged that loss.
Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KO’s) vs. Austin Trout (31-4, 17 KO’s)When: Saturday, June 9
How to Watch: Showtime 10 p.m. ET (Co-main event of Mares-Santa Cruz)
Why You Should Watch: Because Jermell Charlo maybe able to outbox both GGG and Canelo Alvarez.
Jermell Charlo is undefeated, slick and cocky. He’s also really good. Both Jermell and his fellow undefeated brother Jermall have been calling out GGG and Canelo as those two marquee fighters posture and negotiate their rematch. It is very unlikely that either of those big names want any part of either of the Charlo’s, because their slick boxing styles could very well give either of them fits. Brother Jermall has already outboxed Austin Trout, and it’s very likely this fight will look just like that one. But, if you want to see somebody who could end GGG’s middleweight reign or make Canelo the cash cow go broke, tune in to watch Jermell Charlo on Saturday.
Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KO’s) vs. Sefer Seferi (23-1, 20 KO’s)When: Saturday, June 9
How to Watch: Streaming on “Showtime Youtube” and Facebook, 4:30 p.m. ET
Why You Should Watch: Because everything Tyson Fury does is wildly entertaining. And I mean everything.
This fight won’t be good, but hey, Fury is back! And he’s somewhat skinny again! Will he show up in a Batman suit or awkwardly sing to his girlfriend after he wins (he will definitely win)? Who knows? But how can you not want to tune in and see?
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