By Rory Fitzgerald
What to look forward to this week:
Keith Thurman will be looking to impress Floyd Mayweather this Saturday night as he defends his WBA world welterweight title against former Ricky Hatton foe Luis Collazo in Florida.
“One Time” is still hoping to fill the lucrative spot as Mayweather’s September 12 opponent in what could be the last time we see “TBE” in a ring.
If Thurman (25-0-0) can get past Collazo (36-6-0), he will put himself in contention for some huge fights later in the year. Kell Brook, Amir Kahn, Errol Spence Jnr or even Mayweather himself could be next up for the highly talented Clearwater man.
August 2011 was the last time Ruslan Chagaev was defeated (a Unanimous Decision defeat by Alexander Povetkin) and since then has put together 6 straight victories. He will be looking to put his name back into the red hot heavyweight pot with victory over Francesco Pianeta.
On Saturday night Chagaev defends his WBA world heavyweight title against the Italian who’s only loss to date was to the man most heavyweights fall short against, Wladimir Klitschko. Pianeta is still relatively unknown despite a 33 fight career, but a victory over the man known as the “White Tyson” will put him in touching distance of a world title fight.
Terry Flanagan, the man who defeated Stephen Ormond in February has the biggest fight of his career so far on Saturday night in Manchester. The 26 year old takes on tough Californian Jose Zepeda for the vacant WBO world lightweight title.
“Turbo” is very highly rated and boasts and impressive record of 27 victories from his 27 fights and 10 knockouts but he faces a very tricky opponent with a similar record.
Jose “Chon” Zepeda is a knockout specialist. With a very impressive record of 23 wins from his 23 fights, he has dispatched no fewer than twenty of his opponents inside the distance.
One could argue that Flanagan’s hit list may look a bit more impressive than that of his opponent. Derry Matthews and of course Stephen Ormond have both been beaten by the Manchester man.
One thing is for sure, we are in store for a cracking contest and for the winner, some huge fights await.
Paul Butler will be looking to put the disappointment of his first career loss behind him as he takes on Gustavo Molina in Manchester on the Flanagan/Zepeda undercard. Butler was heavily knocked out by Zolani Tete in March and will hope to use this fight as a springboard towards a world title shot in the future.
Also on that card, super lightweight prospect Jack Catterall takes on Gabriel Fernando Punalef Calfin for the WBO Inter-continental super lightweight title.
News from around the world:
Kevin Mitchell’s unhappiness at Jorge Linares demands for a rematch has prompted him to look at the winner of Darleys Perez v Anthony Crolla as a possible future opponent. Linares would like to have a rematch with Mitchell but only in his home country of Venezuela, something that the Londoner is not keen to pursue.
Anthony Crolla challenges Darleys Perez for the WBA world lightweight title next Saturday and Mitchell is keen to fight the winner.
The war of words between Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton seems to be gathering pace in recent weeks with both fighters blaming each other for the reason this fight has not happened.
“The fight’s not happening because they don’t want it to happen and that’s final” Quigg told Toe2Toe , who has to face the tough Kiko Martinez next Saturday night. Comparisons will surely be drawn, as Frampton has twice defeated Martinez.
Let’s hope the situation between these too can be resolved soon and both teams can lock themselves in a room and not leave until the fight has been made.
Manny Pacquiao will fight on!
The dust has still not settled since his showdown with Floyd Mayweather in May, with “Money” still making fun of Pacquiao and the way he conducted himself in the aftermath of the defeat. The torn rotator cuff “Pacman” suffered before his defeat to Mayweather is on the mend and he will be back in action in 2016.
Staying with Floyd Mayweather and it has been confirmed that he has been stripped of the WBO title that he won against Pacquiao on May 2nd. He has 14 days to appeal the verdict.
Tyson Fury finally gets his shot at a Klitschko brother when he takes on Wladimir Klitschko for the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world titles in Dusseldorf in October.
The unbeaten Fury has long been chasing the brothers and for a long time it looked like his chances were slim at best. On the 24 October he gets his chance and will hope to take it with both hands. Dr. Steelhammer has not lost in 11 years so the Manchester man will have to perform at his very best to rip the titles off the 39 year old.
* For the avid boxing readers, I would highly recommend “Ricky Hatton’s Vegas Tales”. In his own comedic way, Hatton talks about the good times and the bad times from his Vegas travels, inside and outside the ring. After reading it you will feel you were apart of his huge army of fans that followed him everywhere he went. Without doubt, the “Hitman” gave his fans some of the best nights of there lives.