HBO is presenting a 4 fight card this Saturday night as its complete Ward/Kovalev II package. There is much to be said, and already has been said to the nth degree, about this rematch, so here I look to spend a little digital ink on the worthy undercard bouts which fight fans should dine on as an appetizer to the Light heavyweight main course. A few whiskys will surely compliment the night as well!
Luis Arias vs. Arif Magomedov
The PPV kicks off with a 10 round middleweight scrap between the Cuban-American Luis Arias and the Russian Arif Magmedov. Both fighters are experienced younger prospects, albeit Arias being a little older at 27. Both fighters are also making their Las Vegas and PPV debut. Arias will be defending his USBA Middleweight title. A convincing and impressive victory from either fighter, especially by the younger Magmedov, could catapult their name into the higher contender levels of the stacked Middleweight division. It should be a good bout to whet our boxing appetites.
Dmitry Bivol vs. Cedric Agnew
The second course on Saturday’s HBO boxing feast will feature the highly touted up-and-comer Dmitry Bivol against the former light heavyweight contender Cedric Agnew. Bivol, while being a clear favorite, will be facing his biggest name and challenge in the seasoned Cedric Agnew. Agnew’s career appears to be winding down since his tough 2014 loss to Kovalev but he should not be an easy out for the active Bivol. Agnew’s tenacity should provide a decent defense and challenge for Bivol, enough of one to make the fight interesting and a worthy light heavyweight appetizer.
Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Moises Flores
This WBA super bantamweight title bout had originally been scheduled for February 25th as the Cotto-Kirkland undercard but Kirkland’s injury and withdrawal delayed the match. Rigondeaux has a bit of Andre Ward syndrome in that he is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers around but he has only fought 3 times in about 3 years. That kind of inactivity, as was seen with Ward, will naturally place a boxer in the out-of-sight out-of-mind status. Moises Flores will be a stiff contender. He has 17 KOs in his 25 victories and he is never afraid to ‘throw hands’. This will certainly be Rigondeaux’s toughest challenge in some time and should serve as a solid championship teaser to send us off to ‘The Rematch’.