By Jake Donovan

You know things are slow in the sport when we’re still adamantly discussing Manny Pacquiao’s knockout of Ricky Hatton more than a month after the fact.

Not because it was that spectacular – although it was; but more so because there hasn’t been anything else worth talking about in the ring between then and now.

OK, it’s a slight exaggeration. There was of course, Kermit Cintron’s major upset of Alfredo Angulo a couple of weeks ago.

There was also… um, well Showtime offered – no wait; that was last year.

Azteca America? If it’s on, we’re hardly hearing about.

ESPN2 must be spending a fortune in merchandising promo with all of the changes to their cards as of late.

Boxing on VERSUS has been nonexistent ever since the conclusion to season four of The Contender (and hardly worth watching while the series aired).

Thankfully, that’s about to change, beginning with this weekend. After three straight weeks of one card or less gracing stateside television screens, boxing fans are treated to a whopping four telecasts from Thursday through Saturday. None air on pay-per-view, and some of them actually have fights – or at least fighters – worth watching.

Not that boxing fans are particularly choosy these days. Give a starving man a cracker and he’ll swear it’s a meal. Consider this week a smorgasbord.

While all eyes are on the big welterweight collision on HBO between Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey, our week truly begins on Thursday, when VERSUS offers their first non-Contender boxing entry of 2009.

The latest network to get in bed with Golden Boy Promotions, this Thursday marks the start of the new “Fight Night Club” series. Never before has the term “club show” been so befitting of a boxing card. Your garden variety boxing club show usually consists of an A-side list of fighters matched extremely soft for the sake of padding their record, while fighting in an intimate atmosphere.

Most non-premium boxing telecasts (read: anything not offered on HBO or Showtime) go this route, only with a greater budget than your usual club show. Golden Boy’s new series goes above and beyond. The shows take place in a night club atmosphere, complete with DJ, music and a VIP room as well as a unique setup where the ring is on Club Nokia's stage with standing room area for fans in front of the ring, as well as reserved seating in the balcony.

Unlike most boxing cards, the night doesn’t end once the final bell sounds. Fans will have a chance afterward to dance and mingle with the fighters as the venue will convert back into a night club.

Oh – and somewhere along the way, there is also boxing to be enjoyed.

The matchups for the series were initially offered with a caveat emptor disclaimer, but the inaugural show isn’t all that bad. The main event features David Rodela, a super featherweight prospect who has served as a main sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao. The Oxnard (CA) product faces once-noted prospect Juanito Garcia in a six-round bout.

The co-feature pits undefeated featherweights Charles Huerta (10-0, 6KO) and Noe Lopez Jr (4-0, 3KO) against one another. Huerta is being packaged as a star of the future, but has yet to grace a television screen. That changes this Thursday, and the possibility of his becoming a series regular and a future star obviously depends on his performance against Lopez. 

A current star hopes to reclaim some of his past glory, when Robert Guerrero returns home to headline an ESPN2 Friday Night Fights telecast one day later. The former featherweight titlist was to face Johnnie Edwards, but a back injury forced the South Carolina journeyman off of the show. Replacing him is 37-year old Efren Hinojosa in a bout where just winning will not be enough for Guerrero.

The bout will be his first since his disappointing hometown showing in his all-too brief HBO Boxing After Dark debut this past March. The southpaw was matched with undefeated Indonesian contender Daud Cino Yordan. Guerrero endured a rough first round, and then a severe cut in the second, to which he claimed his vision to be compromised and opted out of the fight when asked if he was able to continue.

Reviews were mixed on the outcome, with post-fight damage control swaying the minds of some, giving the usually die-hard warrior the benefit of the doubt. Others remained harsh in their criticism, claiming he had the chance to make a major statement by fighting though the blood and injury, but instead bolted for the nearest exit.

Very little of that goes way regardless of what happens against Hinojosa this Friday. At stake is a return performance on HBO later this summer, hence the need to not just win, but to look spectacular in the process.

An hour or so before Guerrero embarks on the road to redemption, one of the sport’s best – and untapped – products makes his televised debut, when undefeated welterweight Danny Garcia meets Pavel Miranda in the evening’s co-feature.

If you’ve been to a big show presented by Golden Boy Promotions in the past few months, chances are you’ve seen Garcia somewhere on the preliminary portion of the card. The Philly standout made his pro debut on the non-televised undercard of a November 2007 HBO telecast and has appeared on more than his share of major cards ever since.

There’s a bit of irony to his making his televised debut on a considerably smaller show, but it lays the foundation for the kid known as “Swift” to make an impression and build a foundation for which greater spoils are to follow.

Slightly overlapping the ESPN2 Friday Night Fights telecast, Telemundo returns to the boxing scene for the first of two televised offerings this month. Headlining their show is former junior welterweight titlist Diosbelys Hurtado, who has become a series regular as of late. The aged Cuban faces Manuel Garnica in what amounts to a loser leaves town match in Miami, Florida.

By the time Miguel Cotto returns to Madison Square Garden for his annual pre-Puerto Rican Day Parade headliner against Joshua Clottey, boxing fans will have been given a sufficient amount of priming. The fact HBO viewers will only see one bout on this particular telecast almost means little. It’s a hell of a fight, one that can afford to stand on its own – and even better that it follows a late week surge where fight fans get to do something other than reminisce about what it was like to regularly watch boxing on television.

Jake Donovan is the managing editor of and an award-winning member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Contact Jake at