We’re back for the New Year boxing fans, and even though boxing for 2013 may have started 2 weeks ago, this weekend should be recognized as the real grand opening as tomorrow Top Rank Promotions and K2 Promotions will present a trio of championship fights. In Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena, Roman “Rocky” Martinez will defend his WBO junior lightweight title against Juan Carlos Burgos, Gennady Golovkin will defend his WBA middleweight title against Gabriel Rosado, and in the main event, Orlando Salido will defend his WBO featherweight title against Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia.
The opening bout on the HBO televised card may end up being the best of the night as, the 29 year old, Roman Martinez (26-1-1 with 16 KOs) squares off against, the young hungry Mexican, Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1 with 20 KOs). Martinez, who hails from Puerto Rico, has had some impressive wins, as he beat Nicky Cook in his backyard, in the UK, to win his 1st world title. He fought hard against Ricky Burns, also on the road in the UK, even though he ended up losing that fight. His most recent fight was a close split decision fight against Miguel Beltran, last September, which won him the title he’ll be defending. The 25 year old Burgos is a hard puncher who lost in his only world title fight, when he was 23, to Hozumi Hasegawa, over in Hasagawa’s home country of Japan. His most impressive fights was a majority decision win against Luis Cruz at the end of 2011 and his last fight, which was a 3rd rd TKO against Cesar Vazquez this past July.
As I said, this could end up being the best fight of the night. Most bets have this as an even fight split right down the middle. Martinez is a tough fighter and is hard to knockdown, but, you can win by stoppage without a knockdown, so I’m going with the younger, more powerful fighter and picking Juan Carlos Burgos to win by TKO in the 7th.
The next bout will be the most talked about fight. Most people think it is actually the REAL main event of the night as “King” Gabriel Rosado steps up in weight from 154 to 160 to fight the guy I like the call the hammer, Gennady Golovkin. The 27 year old Puerto Rican Philly fighter, Gabriel Rosado (25-5 with 13 KOs), has shot up the rankings of 154 over the past year. Until now, he just hasn’t been given that “shot” at a big time fight at 154, so he has moved up to 160 to get exactly that. Most people are not giving him a chance, but this will be better than people think. The 30 year old, Gennady Golovkin (24-0 with 21 KOs), hits like a truck. All you have to do is go through almost everyone of his fights to see that, but it was put in the spotlight against Grzegorz Proska last September. His plan will be to get inside and use his powerful punches to wear down the body of Rosado till he can no longer survive.
If Rosado uses his reach advantage and uses the jab to keep Golovkin on the outside, he can and will win this fight. However, from his comments on twitter, he sounds like he want to win this fight definitively, by stoppage, and that’s a mistake. Assuming he does fight that way, he gets caught with a right uppercut and Golovkin wins by TKO in rd 5.
In the main event of the night, Mikey Garcia (30-0 with 26 KOs) will challenge Orlando Salido (39-11-2 with 27 KOs) for not only Salido’s belt, but most likely the right to be called the best featherweight in the world. Mikey Garcia doesn’t have any “signature” wins as of yet. The 25 year old is still young and has shown some big time technical boxing skills. Sometimes it seems as if he is bored in the ring and needs to be hit before he wakes up. Because of that, his fights last longer than they should, but eventually his combination of skill and power normally are enough to wear his opponent down. The 32 year old Mexican veteran, Salido, turned his entire career around when he took out then rising Puerto Rican star, Juan Manuel Lopez in the middle of 2011. He further proved it wasn’t a fluke by beating him again at the start of last year. Now, Salido will be out to prove that he has improved as a fighter overall, instead of him just having Lopez’s number.
This is a predictable fight in that Salido will chase and Garcia will move and box. I think Garcia has the youth, power, and skill advantage in this fight, but Salido will have the experience and he’s more aggressive. When it comes down to is, I usually favor power punchers who can box, so I’m going with Garcia to win his 1st world title by TKO in the 9th.
All in all, it’s great to have boxing back. When you have any event with 3 world titles on the line, it’s going to be a special event. When you add to it the atmosphere of Madison Square Garden and all the skill and power that can and should be showcased in each fight, this could end up being a memorable night. The 1st salvo has been sent by Top Rank with this great card, so Golden Boy, I guess that means you’re up, enjoy the fights.