PREDICTIONS FOR TODAY'S BIG FIGHTS
By Rob Soucy
Here are predictions for Saturday's HBO, Showtime, and CBS bouts:
[Prior overall record: 2-2]
Nonito Donaire (30-1) vs Jorge Arce (61-6-2): The HBO main event features, by most accounts, one of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Nonito Donaire, who comes in having won 10 of his last 14 fights by knockout, is fighting Jorge Arce in what should be a decent scrap. Besides having been stopped by Vic Darchinian on cuts, Arce hasn't lost inside the distance in over 13 years! Donaire naturally bigger and the more explosive puncher but Arce is as tough as they come. Donaire will look to use his superior hand speed and try to land that signature left hook. Arce is the much more shopworn fighter and it will show if the fight gets to the middle rounds. Donaire's better boxing skills will take over by the eigth round and the only question will be whether or not he will be able to stop Arce. As frustrating as it is, boxing fans can forget about a Donaire fight against Abner Mares because Bob Arum of Top Rank and Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy refuse to work together which is hurting the sport. As far as an official prediction, I'll go with Donaire by late stoppage or clear unanimous decision, 118-110.
Carlos Molina (17-0) vs Amir Khan (26-3): Call it what you'd like but this fight is nothing more than a comeback and confidence builder for Amir Khan. The choice of opponent is highly unknown and untested, but undefeated Carlos Molina. The combined record of Molina's 17 career opponents is 153-128. Enough said. Keep an eye on the chemistry and cohesiveness between Khan and new trainer Virgil Hill as it should be more interesting than the fight itself. This fight figures to be a gross mismatch with Khan looking to win impressively before getting another meaningful fight. It's been almost three years since Molina has won by knockout, so don't look for him to test Khan's suspect chin. Molina was offered this fight for a reason so even without having seen his fights, I don't think it would be a stretch to call him feather fisted. Khan will display far too much speed and accurate punching which makes a distance fight very improbable. The official prediction is Khan by mid- to late-round knockout, before lobbying for a shot at the Danny Garcia-Zab Judah winner in February.
Leo Santa Cruz (22-0-1) vs Alberto Guevara (16-0): A return to network television is great for the sport of boxing, however a more interesting fight should have been showcased on CBS. I think that I'd rather watch Alberto Del Rio in action than see the little known Alberto Guevara take what will probably be a vicious beating from Leo Santa Cruz. The only thing that may save the day is that Santa Cruz is quickly becoming must-see TV for boxing fans! From that perspective only, I will give Golden Boy a pass. Guevara is fighting in the United States for the first time but I don't know much about him other than what I have read. Anyway, the official prediction is that Santa Cruz knocks him out fairly early. It's a stretch weight wise, but Santa Cruz vs Mares anyone?
Deontay Wilder (25-0) vs Kelvin Price (13-0): These two undefeated heavyweights have fought just about the same lackluster competition. In Price's case it is a little bit more understandable as he turned pro at the age of 31 and didn't possess the amateur background of his opponent. Wilder on the other hand, is a 2008 Olympic medalist with a terrific amateur pedigree. But for some reason Wilder has not increased his level of competition at all through 25 fights. He has the size and power to be ready for a real challenge, but instead is stepping up his competition slightly. I would say he is going from fighting "F" level competition to basically a "C" level fighter in Price. Not a big step up but one nonetheless and at this point we can't expect much more from Wilder. For the first time in his career Wilder is fighting someone who can match his 6'7 frame, however, Price isn't a puncher. Wilder is much more athletic, explosive, and has a 10 year age advantage. The only chance I see for Price to win this fight would be to catch Wilder early, probably within the first three rounds, and knock him out. The problem for Price is that he may get caught early himself as he opens up trying to take Wilder out. Assuming Wilder beats Price he needs to take another step up and fight someone more credible. I'd love to see him fight another former U.S. Olympian heavyweight in Jason Estrada. The official prediction is Deontay Wilder by early knockout.
Alfredo Angulo (21-2) vs Jorge Silva (19-2): Wow, another seemingly over matched opponent fighting a familiar name on a Showtime card that may have viewers disappointed by the time it's over. Alfredo Angulo continues on the comeback trail after a brutal knockout loss to James Kirkland. For Angulo it's been quite a journey as he was locked up in a facility for several months during a legal battle. He returned with a bang knocking out a grossly over matched Raul Casarez in one round. For Angulo, this fight is about getting his confidence back up to where it was while he was undefeated and viewed as a killer. Unfortunately for "Perro" he was out boxed in a loss to Kermit Cintron and out slugged in the loss to Kirkland. It remains to be seen just how far Angulo can go but a win over fellow Mexican Jorge Silva won't provide any answers. Silva is an orthodox fighter who is moving up in weight to fight Angulo. Despite 15 knockouts in 19 wins Silva doesn't figure to be able to hurt his bigger opponent. The official prediction is Angulo by brutal early knockout.