On Saturday, January 25th, several world champions will be putting their titles on the line in hopes of elevating their status and overall ranking in their respective weight divisions. Many of these contenders are up and coming fighters in the sport, each of whom not only wants to become a megastar, but is expected to. It should be a very interesting night full of knockouts and beautiful boxing performances.
The first card, which will be on HBO, will feature Bryant Jennings versus Artur Szpilka, in what has the potential to be an incredible fight in the opening bout. These two up and coming heavyweights boast undefeated records, Jennings is 17-0 with 9 knockouts, while Szpilka is 16-0 with 12 knockouts. This fight is a classic boxer versus puncher matchup that fight fans always want to see. In order to remain undefeated, Jennings will need to outbox Szpilka with his quick hands and remarkable footwork. He needs to keep Szpilka in the middle of the ring and utilize his jab the way that he has in his first 17 professional bouts. Szpilka strategy needs to be the exact opposite. His only chance at victory is to knock Jennings out. Szpilka will need to rough Jennings up, keep him on the ropes and hope that his power will be enough to slow down his quicker opponent in order to set up a knockout. Szpilka will be the one to keep this fight entertaining, with his huge left hands and hay-makers coming from all angles, but expect Jennings to showcase his discipline and natural boxing ability.
My Pick: Jennings by decision
The main event on this card will be Mikey Garcia versus Juan Carlos Burgos fighting for the WBO Super Featherweight Title. This fight is set up to be a complete thriller, for both of these fighters are the top knockout artists in their division. The champion, Mikey Garcia, has all of the physical tools, motivation, and an exciting enough style to become the next American superstar. With 28 knockouts in 33 professional fights (all wins), he has become a perennial pay per view fighter and is definitely the new marquee fighter in Top Rank’s stable. Although Burgos is a legitimate fighter and is deserving the number one contender, this fight is a showcase for Garcia. It’s to prove that he’s truly the cream of the crop in boxing and that he cannot be stopped. Expect Garcia to feel him out in the first few rounds and to start going for the knockout by the 4th round. This fight has the potential to render a highlight reel knockout because of Mikey’s power. It should be a very exciting fight, while it lasts.
My Pick: Garcia by 5th round knockout
The second card will be on Showtime and consists of two other bouts that will be worth while to watch. The co-feature will include undefeated prospect Jermell Charlo (22-0 with 11 knockouts) taking on Gabriel Rosado (21-7 with 13 knockouts) in a huge step up in competition. Although his promotional team insists that he is the real deal, Charlo has been both untested and overall unimpressive in his 22 victories. He lacks the punching power needed in the Junior Middleweight Division, and is in for a rude awakening if he doesn’t make some in fight adjustments. Rosado loves to fight coming forward, and will walk through Charlo’s punches. Jermell cannot afford to get caught up in the emotions of this fight and will need to get on his bicycle in order to avoid overstaying his welcome on the inside. I expect Gabe’s experience and toughness to be too much for Charlo in a CRAZY upset to kick off the new year on Showtime Championship Boxing.
My Pick: Rosado by 8th round knockout
The main event on this card will be Dierry Jean versus Lamont Peterson in a fight for the IBF Light Welterweight Title. Jean will be putting his undefeated record on the line (25-0 17 knockouts) versus a more experienced and slightly favored Peterson (31-2-1 with 16 Knockouts) who will be fighting out of his hometown, Washington D.C.. Dierry Jean is a very fundamentally sound fighter. He works the body incredibly well, has near perfect conditioning, and has the killer instinct of a true champion. He is generally untested for a fight of this magnitude, but I believe that he will remain calm and will be ready to fight under the bright lights of Showtime Championship Boxing. Peterson is no walkover though, he has impressive victories over well known fighters including Amir Kahn and Kendall Holt, plus he will have the crowd behind him. What makes Peterson an underdog in my book is that fact that he is coming off of an eight month layoff and will need to shake off the ring rust early, which is difficult for any fighter not named Floyd Mayweather to do. In addition, he has been knocked down several times in his career, and Jean is not the type of fighter that you want to give any extra confidence to. Jean’s discipline and punching power will overwhelm Peterson in front of his home crowd in what will be a statement victory for Jean and will put himself on the map in the boxing world.
My Pick: Jean by 7th round knockout
All four of these fights offer different stylistic match-ups in different weight divisions. Saturday will be a great night for fans of the Sweet Science!