by Cliff Rold
They share Brian Viloria in common.
Both suffered a stoppage loss at his hands.
Both fight this Saturday night for the chance to avenge that loss, once removed.
In a bit of good fortune for boxing fans, what originally looked like it would be a small pay-per-view show in the US is now a main event on UniMas’s “Solo Boxeo” (Saturday, 11 PM EST/PST). It won’t compete for our dollars, but it will compete for attention.
At roughly the same time, a well-promoted showdown at the Madison Square Garden Theatre will take place between WBA Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and puncher Curtis Stevens. It promises fireworks and, with HBO (Saturday, 10 PM EST/PST) set to air a preliminary bout, the two fights could go head to head.
If push comes to shove, Golovkin-Stevens is the fight that merits a DVR look later. Compared on paper, the real fight of the week is Giovanni Segura vs. Tyson Marquez.
More than just fireworks, Segura-Marquez might provide an outright Flyweight classic between violent Mexican southpaws.
The participants have a track record in that regard.
Segura (30-3-1, 26 KO), the former lineal Jr. Flyweight champion, is 3-2 since leaving the 108 lb. class behind. His two losses, a stoppage in challenging Viloria for the WBO Flyweight crown in 2011 and a competitive decision earlier this year to Edgar Sosa, take nothing away from what makes him a thrill to watch. Segura is a bombs away slugger with a reliable beard. After the Sosa loss, the handlers of then-undefeated Jonathan Gonzalez bet that Segura was past his best.
Gonzalez was out in round four.
Segura has been in his share of wars, none better than his 2010 BoxingScene and Ring Magazine Fight of the Year with Ivan Calderon. A rare unification bout at 108 lbs., Segura overwhelmed the Puerto Rican stylist in eight fantastic rounds.
Segura may need a similar effort this weekend and the man across the ring has a lot more firepower than Calderon could offer.
Hernan “Tyson” Marquez (36-3, 26 KO) won seven in a row after an errant challenge of Nonito Donaire at 115 lbs. in 2010. None caught the fancy of fans more than the Yahoo 2011 Fight of the Year between he and huge punching Panamanian Luis Concepcion. Both men were down in the first and Marquez dropped Concepcion again in the third and tenth rounds of a savage affair, the fight stopped prior to the start of the eleventh. Marquez had his hand raised as the new WBA Flyweight titlist.
Marquez dusted Concepcion in one round of a rematch and set the stage for a unification tilt with Viloria. In one of the best fights of 2012, Marquez was dropped three times before being stopped but pushed Viloria the whole way. He’s rebounded with two wins so far this year, the last a decision over former Jr. Flyweight champion Carlos Tamara.
Tamara once stopped Viloria for a title at 108, so perhaps Marquez took some solace in indirect revenge there. A bigger stake is available if he can beat Segura this weekend.
The winner will be named the WBO mandatory to unified WBO/WBA Flyweight Juan Francisco Estrada (25-2, 18 KO). Estrada came to prominence on the undercard of Viloria-Marquez, losing a spirited decision to Roman Gonzalez in a fight that flat stole the show. Estrada upset Viloria in Macau earlier this year and followed with an impressive defense against Milan Melindo. Estrada may not be the lineal king of the class, but by many estimates he has emerged as the best active Flyweight in the world.
That Segura and Marquez are likely to do some damage to each other before they can get to Estrada surely can’t disappoint the champion. It should be more than enough to make boxing fans salivate. Marquez has proven vulnerable but also shown the spirit to get up. Given his technical flaws, Segura often has to take shots to deliver on his torrent of offense.
It looks like as can’t-miss a fight as Ruslan Provodnikov-Mike Alvarado two weeks ago. This fight could end at any time, and unlike its HBO competitor on the night there is much more drama about just which man could be doing the ending. Nothing against Golovkin-Stevens, but if Stevens wins it’s a massive upset. This is, on paper, much more a two-man show.
It’s also part and parcel of an excellent run at Flyweight that should be embraced. For the first time in a long time, the top of this class is squaring off with some regularity and its depth is growing. It’s easily one of the three or four best divisions in boxing right now.
Roman Gonzalez (36-0, 30 KO) should be in the title mix by year’s end having finally abandoned his 108 lb. title claim to move up. He is expected to challenge Juan Carlos Reveco (32-1, 17 KO) for a WBA belt later this year or early next. Japan’s Kazuto Ioka (13-0, 9 KO), still a WBA beltholder at 108 and formerly a unified titlist at 105, is likely an inevitable arrival. Sosa (49-7, 27 KO) parlayed his win over Segura, and an earlier revenge knockout of old rival Ulises Solis, into a shot at all-action lineal and WBC king Akira Yaegashi (18-3, 9 KO) in December.
And Viloria (32-4, 19 KO), inactive since the Estrada loss, is still out there too.
The right fights are happening and organically producing more fights in their wake. It’s the way it should be.
Segura-Marquez is the way it should be in any division. Two men beautifully matched styles, tough losses in their recent past, and recent wins to wash them away square off with a chance for glory just over the horizon.
Glory comes with a price. They’ll pay it in leather this Saturday night.
Received advance copies of both the film and memoir for Mike Tyson’s Undisputed Truth. Reviews forthcoming for both. The book hits shelves November 11; the film debuts on HBO November 16…So Adrien Broner did something stupid non-boxing related again, huh? So what? He makes fun fights. In boxing terms, that’s all one should really care about…That said, all this social media apoplexy about a sex tape is hilarious. It exists, one assumes, because the reactions indicate it does. This scribe won’t know for sure because anything with a link to something called ‘Broner sex tape’ isn’t getting clicked. However, there appear to be a number of people who are so taken aback that they just had to watch it…and then again…and then take notes…Weak outrage masking keen interest…In news that matters, Bernard Hopkins did a big rating against Karo Murat last weekend. Fans won’t always pay for him on pay-per-view, but they want to see him. They know to appreciate a great one before he’s gone…Will he ever leave though? Hopkins could probably beat the Murat’s of the world until he’s sixty.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]