The long dry spell is just about over and boxing is ready to resume a full schedule. While January is light on big names, it's not light on quality match-ups.
Here's a look at January's best under-the-radar boxing action:
Ronny Rios vs. Rico Ramos
Ramos (21-1, 11 KOs), one of the players in this clash of 20-something prospects, already has a world title under his belt, although he was quickly relieved of the honor against a better-skilled, more mature fighter in Guillermo Rigondeaux. Now, he faces fellow-prospect, Rios (19-0, 9 KOs) for the NABF featherweight title in a solid, well-matched, and more career-appropriate contest. Fight fans do not need to be reminded of just how rare prospect vs. prospect bouts have become in boxing.
Roman Martinez vs. Juan Carlos Burgos
Puerto Rico's "Rocky" Martinez (26-1-1, 16 KOs) became a two-time world super featherweight last September by taking the vacant WBO title in a bout against Miguel Beltran Jr. Burgos (30-1, 20 KOs) is an underrated young, Mexican talent with a growing skill set and ring presence. Forget the lack of star power in this contest, this Puerto Rico vs. Mexico clash should be as solid as they come.
Gennady Golovkin vs. Gabriel Rosado
Kazakhstan's Golovkin (24-0, 21 KOs) is WBA middleweight champ, but is still looking to face a world class, main stage middleweight. Junior middleweight import, Gabe Rosado (21-5, 13 KOs) is not that world-beating 160-pounder, but he's solid enough and tough enough to put up quite a battle. By the end of the contest, Golovkin may be too strong for Rosado, but expect fireworks for as long as the fight lasts.
Orlando Salido vs. Miguel Angel Garcia
This battle for Salido's WBO featherweight title features the old school Mexican champ against the upstart Mexican-American top challenger. Salido (39-11-2, 27 KOs) is true grit and classic boxing technique. Garcia (30-0, 26 KOs) is calm, cool precision and lethal accuracy. This one could very well be the fight of the month and a real treat for hardcore fight fans.
Sergey Kovalev vs. Gabriel Campillo
Spain's Campillo (21-4-1, 8 KOs) has been on the pointy end of at least a couple of high-profile screw jobs (vs. Beibut Shumenov and vs. Tavoris Cloud), but is still regarded as one of the top challengers in the light heavyweight division. Kovalev (19-0-1, 17 KOs) is a hard-charging Russian battler whose last eight fights have ended within the distance. Campillo-Kovalev will pit the Spaniard's class and style against the Russian's full-on aggression. The potential for a stifling boxing lesson is there, but so is the possibility of a brutal blow-out.
Demetrius Andrade vs. Freddy Hernandez
Is the 24-year-old Andrade (18-0, 13 KOs) finally taking a step up in class? The answer is, "yes and no." The 33-year-old former world title challenger, Hernandez (30-3, 20 KOs), has a fairly solid resume and is certainly game enough, but he lacks the world class skill set of a true main stage player. If everything plays out true to form, though, Hernandez should push Andrade like very few of the young talent's previous foes.
Serhiy Dzinziruk vs. Brian Vera
Whether the Ukraine's Dzinziruk (37-1-1, 24 KOs) is making a full-time move to middleweight or his fight with the rough and tough Vera (21-6, 12 KOs)is merely a junior middleweight scrap with a couple of added pounds, the bout, itself, promises to be a nice little scrap. Dzinziruk-Vera is a clash of styles with the precise, calculating Dzinziruk meeting the brawling mindset of Austin, Texas' Vera.
Daniel Geale vs. Anthony Mundine
This all-Australia middleweight world title clash may be light on intrigue in the States, but it'll be a big ticket item among Australian fight fans. The bout also carries major implications for the middleweight championship scene since Geale (28-1, 15 KOs) is the reigning IBF titlist and will likely meet the winner of February's Felx Sturm-Sam Soliman world title eliminator. The veteran, Mundine (44-4, 26 KOs), on the other hand, will be fighting with the understanding that this could very well be his last shot at a real world title.
Also This Month: Juan Jose Montes vs. Sonny Boy Jaro (Jan. 12), Lucas Matthysse vs. Mike Dallas Jr. (Jan. 26), James DeGale vs. TBA (Jan. 26)
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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