One of the greatest aspects of boxing from a fan’s perspective is the unexpected virtue of excitement. They call it the “theatre of the unexpected,” but that term is used mostly to classify the unforeseen occurrences such as “Fanman,” ear biting and Diego Corrales style comebacks into one catchy expression.
But what I’m referring to is that brilliant moment when a fight between two guys you might not be familiar with or even care about give us all a tremendous fight. It can happen on an undercard, such was the case this past Tuesday when Moises Flores and Luis Emanuel Cusolito went to battle on the undercard of Julian Williams-Luciano Leonel Cuello’s Fox Sports 1 card. Going back a bit further, another example would be Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov’s unforgettable slugfest, which makes the list because it was supposed to be easy work for Bradley and not many boxing fans expected a very competitive bout, let alone a contest filled with action.
In the spirit of the sweet science’s most unappreciated quality, Thaboxingvoice.com will give you a list of fights/fighters going under the radar. The term “under the radar” is being used quite broadly and could represent fights off TV, undercard matchups on or off TV, matchups being broadcasted on a smaller network or prospects/contenders in an important matchup. Highlighted prospects could simply be a heads up on a fighter that fans should take awareness of now.
Regardless, the only real criteria for a fight or fighter making this list is being undervalued by a majority consensus. We may even highlight an HBO main event or PPV fight if that matchup isn’t getting the notoriety we feel it deserves.
If this blog was published earlier in the week we would’ve, for example, included the off TV WBC bantamweight title fight between Shinsuke Yamanaka and Anselmo Moreno from Japan – a bout that Yamanaka won by split-decision.
Juan Francisco Estrada VS Hernan “Tyson” Marquez, 12 rounds, for Estrada’s WBA/WBO flyweight title: Starting with one of the most undervalued division in all of boxing, this matchup is important for a variety of reasons. This matchup is so important that Thaboxingvoice decided to title its Thursday podcast after this fight as opposed to Deontay Wilder’s heavyweight title defense because he isn’t facing a compelling opponent, and he has all kind of recognition at this point.
The fight will be broadcasted on beIN Sports Espanol. Some of you may not have access to this channel, but I recommend you do whatever is necessary to watch it. This could be one of the most memorable fights of 2015, and even though Estrada is a heavy favorite, it would not surprise me if Marquez made a decent showing of himself. There will be plenty of action as both fighters tend to abandon safety and engage in compelling action. A firefight or two is very likely, and if we get more than a handful I promise it will end up being a “Fight of the Year” candidate.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this fight has to do with the champion Estrada, who is a likely opponent for Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez at some point next year. Gonzalez has been showcased by HBO recently and the network seems very interested in a continued partnership with the “pound for pound” best fighter in the world on most lists. Estrada is his ultimate rival at this point and you want to familiarize yourself with him now so that you can truly appreciate this HBO showdown when it happens in 2016.
Fedor Chudinov vs. Frank Buglioni, 12 rounds, for Chudinov’s WBA “regular” super middleweight title: This matchup is completely under the radar and most familiar with it assume that Chudinov will walk through his opponent. But Buglioni has looked impressive, especially in his last outing when he KO’ed Fernando Castaneda in the 5th round of their July fight at Wembley.
Chudinov is the fighter to watch. His power seems authentic and he spices up a super middleweight division that is starting to heat up again. These two have been on a collision course for each other and the winner will be propelled even further.
Javier Fortuna vs. Carlos Velazquez, 12 rounds, for Fortuna’s WBA “regular” junior lightweight title: Technically this fight is next Tuesday, but I decided to put it on this list so that I could procrastinate on next week’s (this list is being published on the day of most of these fights). When I was covering the PBC card a couple Sundays ago, I got a chance to speak with a lot of trainers, fighters and managers. They all seemed very drawn to this fight. The matchup is a good one, and there is some saying in boxing about styles making something or another?
Fortuna has looked more and more human over the past couple years, and Velazquez is 4-0 since suffering his only career loss to Rico Ramos in 2013. This is athleticism versus fortitude, God-given skills against a highly efficient work ethic. The rumor is that the winner will get a significant fight at the beginning of 2016, although I’m not sure what would be considered significant in the junior lightweight division, perhaps a move up will be in store for the winner?
This will be a fun fight for sure. There is a chance that Fortuna shows up and allows his natural ability to take over, in which case he completely dominates this fight. However, Fortuna showcasing the best of his skills against a willing participant in Velazquez will still be fun, in the same way an unguarded LeBron James would dazzle spectators during a dunk contest. Still, I’m willing to bet this fight ends up much more competitive than anyone probably expects.