Super bantamweights Scott Quigg, Kiko Martinez and Carl Frampton are all in action this weekend, with Martinez acting as measuring stick for both.
IBF champ Frampton has fought and beaten Martinez twice, the first time resulting in a stoppage in the ninth round in 2013 while the second contest went the distance last year, with Frampton taking the Spaniard’s IBF belt.
Martinez is no mug, he is a good gatekeeper, and a solid operator. He is perfect at testing an opponent to see if he belongs at world level or European.
A short, squat fighter who stays very busy on the inside and hits hard, Martinez’s pressure can give all kinds of rivals nightmares.
As Frampton has bested him, twice, it will be interesting to see how WBA “regular” champ Quigg deals with Martinez tomorrow night when they clash at Manchester Arena in England.
The styles on paper say it should be a good fight, but it is all on Quigg to make a statement, to go out there and do it better than Frampton did.
I don’t know if he can, personally, I think Frampton is the better fighter, but as they are not fighting each other, this is kind of the next best thing and at least we will be able to gauge where Quigg is after Saturday.
Frampton, however, will be on the other side of the Atlantic at Don Haskins Convention Cener in El Paso, Texas on Saturday evening, fighting challenger Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, who looks no more dangerous than Chris Avalos, Frampton’s most recent opponent.
In fact, Avalos was probably a better fighter. So, expect Frampton to come through that, and hopefully some sort of unification between Quigg and Frampton will take place at a later date.
Although it has been mentioned that if they are to go separate routes then it could be WBC champ Leo Santa Cruz for Frampton and former multi-weight world champ Nonito Donaire for Quigg.
Should that occur, they are both exciting fights, especially Frampton vs. Santa Cruz, that has fireworks written all over it, so I can see where Frampton’s management are going.
Quigg vs. Donaire is a good fight as well, mainly because of timing. Is Donaire the same fighter as he was or is he on the downward slide? Quigg would find out, but first he has to get past Martinez.
Of course no one will talk of the other, rather slippery, Cuban elephant in the room by the name of Guillermo Rigondeaux, the WBA “super” and WBO champion at super bantam.
At lightweight, Anthony Crolla makes his comeback against Darleys Perez on Saturday night, also at the Manchester Arena.
This is a hard first fight back for Crolla after an eight month layoff due to injury. Perez can punch a bit and is a rangy boxer who has only lost to former featherweight world champ Yuriorkis Gamboa, which speaks volumes.
Crolla is a decent fighter with a fantastic engine and his recent injury, attained when helping his neighbours whilst their house was being broken into, shows what kind of a man he is.
Which is why I hope he wins, and if he is firing on all cylinders he can, through work rate and intelligent pressure.
Arthur Abraham is fighting Robert Stieglitz in Germany for the WBO super middle belt, this will be the fourth time they have fought, which Abraham winning twice. Last time out, Abraham dropped Stieglitz in the twelfth and just scraped by with a close points decision, expect much of the same this weekend.
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr makes a hasty return after his loss at light heavyweight to Andrzej Fonfara, which is good to see, as it is how a boxer returns after a loss that shows character and determination.
Chavez meets veteran Marcos Reyes at super middleweight as the headlining event in El Paso, Texas tomorrow night.