Some good fights supporting the big one this Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, let’s have a look at them and a few Brits who are competing…
Ogogo (5-0: 2KOs) makes his Las Vegas bow in his 2nd fight across the pond against Jonel Tapia (8-4: 5KOs) .
The 2012 Bronze Medalists fight unfortunately won’t be televised on BoxNation in the UK, but will be shown at a later stage.
The 25yr old from Lowestoft last fought on the Burns v Crawford card in March and will be looking to continue to grow his profile Stateside.
Tapia, was knocked out in 1 round by Badou Jack of The Money Team (TMT) last year.
“Treasure” Theophane (34-6: 10KOs) faces American Angino Perez (15-4: 13KOs).
Perez, 30 has fought Carlos Molina in 2012 and lost on a unanimous decision.
Theophane, 33 has had a fairy-tale journey to the Mayweather Gym in Chinatown Las Vegas. He has been described by many as a journeyman boxer, having fought the majority of his career in small arenas in the UK, York Hall being the “plat principal”.
The rags-to-riches tale sounds like fictious football player making the grade at a star team, Theophane quickly earned a credible reputation as a solid sparring partner in New York and subsequently went to Las Vegas for a change of scenery.
It was there that he came to Floyd Mayweather Jnr’s attention and under his watchful gaze he received plaudits Stateside for his hunger to learn and train with the intensity usually displayed in a young pro.
The one wrong he wishes to right is against Danny Garcia who he lost to on a split points decision some years ago.
Theophane is 2 wins away from the opportunity of sharing the ring with Garcia or Lamont Peterson and the first semi-final is on Saturday night.
J’Leon Love v Marco Antonio Periban
Firstly I rate Love, he is the most talented fighter in the TMT stable bar Money May.
Learnt to fight at the Jerusalem of boxing; the Kronk Gym in Detroit before turning pro and joining Mayweather Promotions.
Having steamrolled through the majority of his first fights with stoppages galore, the acid test finally arrived against menacing Gabriel Rosado.
Watching the fight back, Love was fortunate to get the win, when many myself included felt Rosado had done enough to get the victory.
Coupled with him failing a post-fight drugs test and a 6 month suspension he then had a Soprano-style “sit-down” with Floyd and CEO Leonard Ellerbe who spelt out what the expectations of him were.
He was labelled by many as the next big thing and a change in behaviour & more focus in training has encouraged Floyd & Ellerbe that they were right to stick by their man.
Love (17-0: 13KOs) is now operating at Super-Middleweight has to really deliver in emphatic fashion on Saturday evening.
In front of the 26 yr old stands Marco Antonio Periban a former WBC challenger, having lost to current champion Sakio Bika for the title vacated by Andre Ward in 2013.
Periban, (20-1-1: 13KO’s) is regarded by some as a gate-keeper, but I feel he warrants better labeling than that. Having drawn against fellow TMT stable-mate Badou Jack, make no mistake that Periban is not in Vegas for the Lobster Buffet this weekend.
He is a tall ask for any 168lb fighter and I take my hat off to Mayweather Promotions for making this fight as it is a dangerous one for a prospect on the verge of world honours.
There will be no love lost from Periban as he focuses on his own path of contesting for world honours (sorry had to get a pun in!)
Intriguing one to watch unfold and I would favour the 29yr old 60-40 from the outset but I envisage Love to win by late stoppage.
Adrien Broner v Carlos Molina
Adrien “The Problem” Broner has picked up where he left off with his narcissism after his first defeat to Marco Maidana.
I admire the man as a boxer, he has unquestionable ability that has made him a 3 weight-world champion at the tender 24 yrs of age, but outside the ring he has plenty to improve on.
Broner (27-1: 22KO’s) faces Carlos Molina a man he yesterday described as a “punching-bag”.
“People want to know if the loss [against has humbled me and of course it has,’ he said.
‘If I would have won that Maidana fight people would be calling me an asshole”
“People still call me that, but now I thank God that he slowed me down in my tracks even though it is still a heavy and fast train. Right now, Denzel Washington couldn’t stop this train”
“This fight is huge for me. Everyone wants to see what Adrien Broner is going to do next after this devastating loss I took in the early part of my career. I know why everyone has their eyes glued to me.
“Carlos Molina is a hell of a fighter and he is going to come to fight. He’s going to come to kick my ass because I’m sure as hell going to come to kick his.”
“I’m trying to have some fun. I will be pretty, fresh, fly and still flashy”
“I do agree with Broner that Molina should be “easy-work” and I fully expect him to win via a KO within 5 rounds.”
“In the 140lb Jnr Welterweight division, there lays some big money fights for him; most notably Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse as he looks to gradually climb back to Welterweight.”
Whilst he would never admit it publicly, I do believe Broner slightly regrets the jump from Lightweight to Welter, in hindsight he should have allowed his body to naturally adapt to the increase in weight.
Amir Khan v Luis Collazo
Amir “King” Khan (28-3: 19KO’s) makes his bow at 147lbs as the chief support for Mayweather Maidana.
Khan 27, appears to have finally got over missing out on the “Mayweather Lotto Sweepstakes” and now gracefully admits that the time wasn’t right for him to jump straight in to that fight.
Collazo (35-5: 18KO’s) is coming off the back of a brutal KO to Victor Ortiz in January.
I for one am delighted that Khan is finally getting back in the ring, mainly as the talking will stop about him and Mayweather – for now and he can focus fully on boxing.
This for me will be fight of the evening, I fully expect both men to go toe-to-toe, King Khan has spoken repeatedly about boxing differently, being patient and not getting sucked in to a war.
But despite the change in trainer and a prolonged 13mth absence from the ring, I feel it is very difficult to make adjustments to your style after 10yrs as a pro.
I fancy Khan to get a late stoppage, around round 9, but Collazo will put him under intense pressure and almost certainly put the Brit on the canvas early on.
“You’re going to see an improved Amir Khan, the best Amir Khan, there’s no doubt in my mind about that,” he said.
“Over the last 12 months I’ve been in camps with Virgil and we’ve been working on certain aspects of my game that I never really got the chance to work on because I just didn’t get the time as I was fighting so often.
“Through the last few months I’ve been focusing on improving myself and adding certain things to my game. Because I didn’t have an opponent lined up and I wasn’t fighting I had the time to look at myself and work on things I wanted to work on.
“On May 3rd I’m going to put that all into practice on the biggest stage and not only beat Collazo but look to beat him in real style.”
Tune in tomorrow for my surgeon esq dissection of the main event, Mayweather v Maidana.