Boxing is back in business and this weekend represents the first in a long time with a somewhat full schedule of action. With three world titles on the line and a couple of key divisional battles on tap, there should be plenty of solid contests available for boxing-starved fight fans.
Here's a look at four questions that should be answered after this weekend's action:
Orlando Salido vs. Mikey Garcia: Can The Veteran Warhorse Stop The Charge Of The Prime Thoroughbred?
Nothing has come easy for the defending WBO featherweight champion, Orlando "Siri" Salido (39-11-2, 27 KOs). Born and raised in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico, Salido came up the hard way, learning his craft in hardcore boxing gyms and on the road as an opponent on the brutal Mexican club circuit. Eventually, though, Salido developed a reputation as a tough, no-nonsense old school boxer who could grind his opponents down if they weren't mentally tough enough. A win over Cristobal Cruz and a respectable showing against Yuriorkis Gamboa made him a name, but two tough, Fight of the Year candidate stoppages of Juan Manuel Lopez made him the consensus top dog in the featherweight division.
25-year-old Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia (30-0, 26 KOs) appears to be the heir apparent to the featherweight throne and has shown the skills and raw talent needed to become an elite-level fighter. Wins over Bernabe Concepcion, Jonathan Victor Barros, and Matt Remillard confirmed his status as a top boxing prospect and his working relationship with brother, Robert Garcia, should provide him with the seasoning he needs to get to the top.
But what happens when the star prospect finally meets the veteran champ? Will the calm, cool, collected Garcia have enough fire to put away the tough-as-nails Salido? Can the 32-year-old Salido keep pace with a fresh, prime Garcia?
Sergey Kovalev vs. Gabriel Campillo: Another Screw-Job for Campillo?
Spain's Campillo (21-4-1, 8 KOs) is a former WBA light heavyweight world titlist, but is best known for being on the pointy end of some very nasty screw jobs over the last couple of years. Title bout losses to Beibut Shumenov and Tavoris Cloud were flat-out robberies. Campillo now finds himself back in the United States and hoping for a fair shot this time.
Campillo will be facing hard-charging Russian, Sergey Kovalev (19-0, 17 KOs), a usually busy fighter that could very well steal rounds from the slicker, more stylistic Spaniard.
Will Campillo once again win the fight, but lose the decision in an American showcase bout?
How "Real" is Gennady Golovkin?
Golovkin (24-0, 21 KOs) is the WBA middleweight titlist and already regarded by most as one of the best offensive fighters in the sport. What's lacking, though, is a real win over an elite middleweight.
Junior middleweight contender, Rosado (21-5, 13 KOs), is not an elite middleweight and may not even be an elite junior middleweight, but he is a much-improved and supremely tough fighter who will push Golovkin until the very end.
Rosado, 27, may be hopelessly overmatched, but he will lay leather on Golovkin and fight back like no other opponent in the 30-year-old's career. Fans should learn a bit about Golovkin's character this Saturday.
Will The Winner of Martinez-Burgos Be Ready To Move To The "Next" Level?
The temptation would be to hype this super featherweight bout as a low-rent Puerto Rico vs. Mexico clash. However, it would be more appropriate to classify it as a battle between two Top 10 130-pound fighters with aspirations to be the super featherweight king.
Puerto Rico's Roman "Rocky" Martinez (26-1-1, 16 KOs) is a two-time world titlist and current WBO champ while Mexico's Burgos (30-1, 20 KOs) is a former world super featherweight title challenger. Both are at just about the same level in terms of talent and skill.
The winner of Martinez-Burgos could very well go straight to the top of a fairly weak super featherweight class and, perhaps, be in line for a big-money bout with division newcomer, Yuriorkis Gamboa. Saturday's bout should clearly show whether either fighter is ready for such a big step up.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
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