BoxNation kickstarts its international campaign for 2013 with
live coverage of HBO's triple world title bonanza from Madison
Square Garden, New York City on Saturday evening.
Orlando Salido v Mikey Garcia
Pick of the bunch has to be the WBO featherweight clash in which
grizzled Mexican champion Orlando Salido enters his third defence
against California's Miguel Angel 'Mikey' Garcia as a 2/1
Salido (R) will be the underdog against Garcia
Starting as the unfavoured pick is nothing new to the 32 year old
from Sonoro. During a 17 year, 52 fight pro career that commenced
at the age of just 15, 'Siri' has shared the ring canvas with Juan
Manuel Marquez (lpts12), Roberto Guerrero (No Contest 12, after
Salido tested positive for a steroid), Cristobal Cruz (lpts12,
twice) and Yuriorkis Gamboa (lpts12).
However, belatedly, with 11 defeats already on his card, he has
hit a rich vein of form over the past two years. He has twice
defused and outlasted Puerto Rico's vicious hitting Juanma Lopez
(30-0 entering their first dust-up), to record stoppage wins in
eight, then ten rounds. Both victories were executed in his
victim's home nation.
This is one seriously tough hombre; strong, rugged, sometimes
crude but increasingly savvy and battle hardened over the 12 round
It is a measure of the esteem in which challenger Garcia's talent
is held that he enters this, his first world title gig, as the
Boxing is clearly in the Californian's DNA. Father Eduardo was the
long term trainer-mentor to, among many others, ex WBA/IBF
light-middle champion Fernando Vargas, while elder brothers Danny
and Robert preceded him as prizefighters. The latter was once IBF
super-featherweight champ and now heads his brother's coaching
celebrates a win over Rafael Guzman
Despite the rich family fighting heritage, 'Mikey', the youngest
of seven, initially rejected the sport and his amateur bow was
delayed until after his 14th birthday.
Since entering the paid sphere in July 2006, the now 25 year old
father of two has racked up 30 successive wins against
progressively taxing opposition, with all but four failing to make
it to the finishing post. He's ready to step up.
In addition to his concrete fists, he is a neat and classy
technician who boxes 'smart first, brave second'. He is far
smoother and more versatile than the champion but his career thus
far has been conducted at a level several rungs below. Win or lose,
this fight should reveal significantly more about his resilience
and his thirst for combat when it gets 'down and dirty'.
For Garcia to succeed, it's imperative he retains his discipline
and controls a box-off, rather than succumbing to a 'tear-up', for
as long as he is able. Inevitably, there'll be times when he's
forced to bite hard on his mouth guard and negotiate some rocky
patches, particularly if the fight extends past half way, as I feel
But I sense that, ultimately, the young challenger's greater class
and freshness will prevail. For me, it's Garcia by stoppage,
probably in the final quarter. If he gets through this, he
could evolve into a major star.
Gennady Golovkin v Gabriel Rosado
The world middleweight division is presently overloaded with
talent such as Sergio Martinez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr, Daniel
Geale, Peter Quillin, Dmitry Pirog plus the British trio of Matt
Macklin, Darren Barker and Martin Murray.
However, none are showing much enthusiasm to chance their arm
against Kazakhstan's unbeaten WBA king Gennady Golovkin who instead
defends against Philadelphia's underrated but probably undersized
A product of the excessively harsh Kazakh amateur regime, the 30
year old ex-world amateur champion and 2004 Olympic silver
medallist has already clattered 24 consecutive pro opponents, with
21 capitulating early.
His angel face and slim frame disguise potent power and all the
compassion of a guillotine operator. In the amateur code he scalped
the likes of Andy Lee, Matt Korobov, Andre Dirrell and annihilated
Lucien Bute inside schedule.
Since debuting under Stuttgart based promoters Universum in May
2006, he has had things very much his own way and is yet to go
beyond the ten rounds it took him to maul ex IBF light-middle king
Kassim Ouma 19 months ago. All six of his WBA title fights have
been brought to an early conclusion.
Golovkin enjoyed a good
amateur career before turning pro in 2006
Following an acrimonious split with the Germans, he realigned
with the Klitschko's K2 Promotions and is encamped in the Big Bear
Mountains in California where coach Abel Sanchez - guru behind Hall
of Famer Terry Norris, no less - lists Golovkin as the biggest
talent he's been involved with.
This shall be his second consecutive HBO televised US start, after
Poland's reigning European champion Greg Proksa was forced to kiss
the canvas three times prior to being dispatched in five in upstate
New York last September. Rosado, a 9-1 underdog, is commonly
believed to be heading to a similar fate.
The challenger, a Puerto Rican descendant, enters with moderate
21-5 (13) stats that were largely accumulated down in the
light-middleweight division. Don't be too deceived by them.
Rosado gets his first World title challenge on
Rosado joined the pro ranks in January 2006, aged 20, after just
11 amateur bouts. All five setbacks came in his first 19 bouts
while he was a part-time pro yet only mallet-fisted Mexican Alfredo
Angulo (rsc2) managed to put him away early.
Since working alongside the great Bernard Hopkins, the 6ft Phillie
fighter has developed into an altogether tighter and smarter
article. Over the last 30 months he has been victorious in seven
straight, five ahead of schedule, to earn mandatory challenger
status to IBF light-middle boss Cornelius Bundrage. It is testament
to Rosado's courage and confidence that he snubbed that to confront
However, it's a decision I fear he will grow to regret. The Kazakh
champion might just be Top Dog in a talent loaded division and an
explosive performance on HBO provides the best means to secure the
unification fights that will help him to prove it. Expect him to
deliver on Saturday night.
Golovkin by stoppage, any time before round eight.
Roman Martinez v Juan Carlos Burgos
In a third championship spat, Puerto Rico's Roman 'Rocky'
Martinez opens the defence of his second stint on the WBO
super-featherweight strap against Mexico's Juan Carlos Burgos. With
combined stats of 56-2-1, and with 36 kayos, it promises to be
The 29 year old champion will be familiar to British fans, having
begun and concluded his initial reign in the UK. In March 2009, he
brutally dispatched Dagenham's Nicky Cook with left hooks (rsc4) to
collect the belt then, after twice retaining by kayo, he was tamed
over 12 rounds by Ricky Burns at Glasgow's Kelvin Hall in September
Martinez (R) lost out to Ricky Burns in 2010
Formidably big and powerful for 130lbs, the man from Vega Baja
regained the vacant belt last September, prevailing by split
decision against Mexico's 27-1 Miguel Beltran Jnr in Vegas, a win
which raises his stats to 26-1-1 (16).
A tough, swarming pressure fighter with heavy hands and a strong
jaw, Martinez isn't shy to oblige the division's elite and appears
to have found another stiff test in Burgos.
The 25 year old Mexican, an inch taller at 5ft 9in, has lost just
once in a 31 fight career that began in December 2004, at the age
of 16. That reverse came in November 2010 in Nagoya, Japan when
home southpaw Hozumi Hasegawa decisioned him over 12 in a ruck for
the vacant WBC crown, down at featherweight.
Burgos celebrates a win over Luis Cruz
A nephew of ex IBF light-flyweight king Victor Burgos, Tijuana
based- Juan Carlos has re-established himself with five highly
credible wins over the likes of 19-0 Luis Cruz, ex IBF feather boss
Cristobal Cruz (both pts10) and 25-0 Cesar Vasquez (rsc3).
It promises to be frighteningly competitive and the bookies can't
split them. However, I'll tentatively plump for challenger Burgos,
the more rounded and better polished, to eke out a decision after
12 savage rounds.