This month the boxing action features a returning legend looking to make history, a top prospect looking to earn respect, and plenty of other solid match-ups. Also, one of the sport's best recent wars will be revisited.
Here's a look at March's six "must see" fights:
Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KOs) vs. Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs)
Former undisputed middleweight champ and two-time lineal light heavyweight titlist, Bernard Hopkins, will be looking to break his own mark as the oldest fighter to win a world title. The 48-year-old future hall of famer will be challenging for 31-year-old Tavoris Cloud's IBF light heavyweight title. Hopkins has spent the last several years defying the odds and scoring upsets over younger, fresher opposition. This latest challenge should represent either the end of the line or the continuation of an unlikely boxing fairy tale.
Keith Thurman (19-0, 18 KOs) vs. Jan Zaveck (32-2, 18 KOs)
On the Hopkins-Cloud undercard at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, 24-year-old prospect, Keith Thurman, looks to maintain his rising star and undefeated record against former world titlist, Jan Zaveck. Thurman is crude and inexperienced, but extremely strong and aggressive. Slovenia's Zaveck is twelve years Thurman's elder, but has proven to be a solid, durable fighter. Thurman-Zaveck has been designated a WBO welterweight title eliminator, meaning that the winner will be in line to face WBO welterweight champ, Timothy Bradley.
Edgar Sosa (47-7, 28 KOs) vs. Ulises Solis (35-2-3, 22 KOs)
This pint-sized Mexican rivalry between former junior flyweight champs has produced nothing but thrills and solid ring action in its two previous chapters. There's no reason to believe that the third contest won't be similarly compelling. Sosa has dropped two close decisions to Solis, one in just his sixth pro fight and the other in a bid for Solis' Mexican junior flyweight title, but is looking to close out the trilogy with a win. Both warriors are now battle-weary veterans looking to make one more run at a world title as flyweights. Barring some fight-ending clash of heads or some other accident, this one is sure to be a compelling, entertaining battle.
Timothy Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) vs. Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KOs)
WBO welterweight champ, Bradley, likely had no idea that his controversial split decision upset of Manny Pacquiao last year would wind up being a career dead end. However, with Pacquiao unwilling to pursue a rematch and Bradley's promoter, Top Rank, seemingly unmotivated to look for something bigger, Bradley has found himself pushed into this odd match-up. Russia's Provodnikov is a solid fighter who always puts on an entertaining scrap, but he's barely a fringe contender in his own junior welterweight division and pure Friday Night Fights fodder, not HBO material. Still, Ruslan comes to fight and Bradley is generally not hard to find. A welterweight time-killer and schedule-filler could be much worse.
Arthur Abraham (36-3, 28 KOs) vs. Robert Stieglitz (43-3, 24 KOs)
Given his poor showing in the late stages of the World Boxing Classic Super Middleweight Tournament, it's safe to say that Abraham is not an elite-level 168 lb. fighter. It's also safe to say that Stieglitz, despite a run as WBO champ, is also not an elite. The two fighters, though, are at a similar level and can produce some solid action, as evidenced by Abraham's title-winning unanimous decision victory over Stieglitz last August. Now, Armenia's Abraham and Russia's Stieglitz will meet once again in their adopted nation of Germany with the WBO title up for grabs.
Brandon Rios (31-0-1, 23 KOs) vs. Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs)
Rios-Alvarado I was 2012 Fight of the Year on many lists and it's hard to argue with that designation. A brutally beautiful battle of wills, the October clash saw Alvarado take an early lead in the bout, only to be worn down and eventually stopped in the seventh round by the non-stop aggression of Rios. The back-and-forth war had fans on the edge of their seats and this rematch will likely pick up where the first one left off.
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.
Boxrec, Boxing Records and Stats
- Sports & Recreation
- Bernard Hopkins
- Tavoris Cloud
- Keith Thurman
- Timothy Bradley