Pick It: Xander Zayas vs. Patrick Teixeira 

When to Watch: Saturday, June 8, 11 p.m. Eastern Time / 4 a.m. BST

How to watch: ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ in the United States; Sky Sports in the United Kingdom

Why to Watch: Zayas is still young, a prospect who is continuing to develop after four-and-a-half years in the sport. This fight with Teixeira is a good opportunity to gauge just where the 21-year-old junior middleweight is in his development.

This show is also a nice spotlight for Zayas, who was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Zayas vs. Teixeira will take place at the Madison Square Garden Theater in a coveted headline spot — on top of the annual boxing show coinciding with the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. 

Zayas, who now lives in Sunrise, Florida, signed with Top Rank when he was 16. He turned pro a bit after his 17th birthday and has been regularly featured since. Zayas fought three times last year. First he outpointed Ronald Cruz on this same annual show, the 2023 version headlined by Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez. Then he stopped Roberto Valenzuela Jr. on the undercard of Luis Alberto Lopez vs. Joet Gonzalez. And Zayas wrapped things up in December with a knockout of Jorge Fortea on the undercard of Robeisy Ramirez vs. Rafael Espinoza. Zayas is now 18-0 (12 KOs).

Teixeira, a 33-year-old from Brazil, is 34-4 (25 KOs). He suffered his first loss, blown away by Curtis Stevens in 2016, but then worked his way into contention following a 2019 decision over previously unbeaten Carlos Adames. 

That earned Teixeira a title shot, but he lost a wide decision against Brian Castano in early 2021. This would be the first of three straight defeats for Teixeira, who went on to be disqualified for punching Paul Valenzuela Cuesta behind the head in April 2022 and then lost a unanimous decision to Magomed Kurbanov that July. Teixeira has won three straight since.

The 154-pound division is in flux. Jermell Charlo, once the undisputed champ, no longer has his sanctioning body belts but is still the de facto king. Tim Tszyu lost his title to Sebastian Fundora. Tszyu’s anticipated fight with Vergil Ortiz, originally set for this August, has been postponed. Fundora is expected to face Errol Spence this October. Terence Crawford is set to challenge titleholder Israil Madrimov in August. Serhii Bohachuk has earned a title shot. And several others wait in the wings.

Even if Zayas defeats Teixeira, he likely will still be years away from facing any of the above. But with renewed interest in the junior middleweight division, it’s good for us to see who else could be joining the fray in the future.

The undercard includes a good test for featherweight prospect Bruce Carrington, 11-0 (7 KOs), against Enrique Vivas, 23-3 (12 KOs), whose losses have all come against decent opposition.

More Fights to Watch

Wednesday, June 5: Vladimir Hernandez vs. Guido Schramm (ProBoxTV.com, 8 p.m. Eastern Time)

(Note: BoxingScene.com is owned by ProBox.) 

Hernandez is a late replacement opponent, stepping in for former welterweight contender Radzhab Butaev.

Hernandez, 35, was born in Durango, Mexico, and now lives in Stockton, California. Don’t be fooled by his record of 14-6 (6 KOs). While Hernandez has lost to a number of notable names, he’s also surprised a handful of them, too.

Among Hernandez’s defeats: a TKO6 against a debuting Israil Madrimov in 2018; a decision loss to Souleymane Cissokho in 2019; a TKO6 at the hands of Jesus Ramos in 2022; and a decision loss to Troy Isley in Hernandez’s last appearance in November.

But between those? Hernandez outpointed Alfredo Angulo via unanimous decision in 2020 and did the same to Julian Williams via split decision in 2021. And he handed Lorenzo Simpson his first loss, via majority decision last August.

Schramm is a 28-year-old originally from the Buenos Aires area who now lives in Los Angeles. He’s coming off a majority decision loss to Johan Gonzalez last November that dropped his record to 16-2-2 (9 KOs).

Thursday, June 6: Patrice Volny vs. Steven Butler (ESPN+, 7 p.m. Eastern Time)

This showdown of Montreal middleweights will of course headline at the Montreal Casino.

Volny, 34, has won two straight since suffering his lone loss, scoring a TKO3 over Abraham Juarez Ramirez and a KO10 of DeAndre Ware. That brought Volny to 18-1 (12 KOs). Even that lone loss deserves an asterisk. It came against Esquiva Falcao in 2021. Their fight ended in a split technical decision after Falcao suffered a bad cut from a clash of heads. Volny was performing well enough to be ahead on one scorecard, and the two judges who had Falcao ahead still had the action close.

Butler, 28, has also put together a pair of victories since his previous defeat. He was taken out in two rounds by middleweight titleholder Zhanibek Alimkhanuly in May 2023. Butler rebounded with a ninth-round stoppage of Ivan Alvarez last November and then blew through Steve Rolls in just 65 seconds this past March. Butler is now 34-4-1 (28 KOs).

The undercard includes a number of prospects, the most prominent being unbeaten super middleweight Osleys Iglesias, 10-0 (9 KOs), who scored his own first-round win over Marcelo Coceres on the undercard of Butler-Rolls. This time, Iglesias steps in with Evgeny Shvedenko, 16-1-1 (7 KOs). Shevdenko lost to another prospect, William Scull, by unanimous decision in 2022 and fought to a draw in his last outing, against unbeaten Pavel Silyagin in September.

Friday, June 7: Broner vs. Cobbs (TrillerTV.com, 8 p.m. Eastern Time)

There is no world title on the line. Broner hasn’t won a significant fight in a long, long time. Cobbs lost the last time he tried to step up. And yet this fight feels like a car crash on the side of the road where you can’t help but crane your neck and stare. 

In essence, this is a loser-leaves-town match.

Broner is somehow just 34 years old, an age that for other boxers would be considered the tail end of their prime years. Alas, the Cincinnati fighter’s best days were long, long ago. He is a former four-division titleholder who initially showed talent and promise, but whose accomplishments afterward were accompanied by asterisks. He is a fighter who often got in his own way, derailed by bad habits and personal struggles.

Broner won a world title at 130 in 2011 and then came in massively overweight in his second defense in 2012. He impressively dominated Antonio DeMarco for a world title at 135 in late 2012 and soon moved up to 147 for one of the ugliest pre-fight builds ever alongside Paulie Malignaggi. Broner took a split decision over Malignaggi for a world title in 2013, though that performance and this opponent didn’t establish Broner as one of the best welterweights.

Broner’s next fight confirmed that he wasn’t.

He was humbled by Marcos Maidana at the tail end of 2013. Broner promptly returned to junior welterweight, notching three wins and landing a fight with Shawn Porter at a catch-weight in 2015. Broner underperformed, not throwing enough over the course of the 12-round fight. He dropped Porter in the 12th, but it was nowhere near enough to overcome his deficit on the scorecards. Porter won, and Broner returned to 140.

That’s where Broner won a vacant belt, stopping Khabib Allakhverdiev in October 2015. Broner dropped the title on the scales six months later, slightly overweight for his first defense against Ashley Theophane. Broner stopped Theophane, then didn’t fight again for another 10 months, returning in February 2017 with a split decision over Adrian Granados.

Broner wouldn’t win again for another four years.

He lost to Mikey Garcia. He fought to a draw with Jessie Vargas. He lost to Manny Pacquiao. He spent two years on the sideline between 2019 and 2021, partially because of the pandemic, but also because Broner just wasn’t the attraction he once had been. Broner outpointed Jovanie Santiago and then was gone for another 27 months. He signed with Don King, never a good sign for a fighter, and defeated Bill Hutchinson in June 2023. That was his last performance, bringing him to 35-4-1 (24 KOs).

Cobbs is 34 years old as well and hasn’t had anywhere near the career that Broner has. Born in Philadelphia and fighting now out of Las Vegas, Cobbs grabbed attention with his media-friendly personality, including a rhyming nickname of “Blair The Flair” and a habit of “woo-ing” like his namesake, pro wrestling legend Ric Flair.

In the ring? That’s where Cobbs had to back things up. He stopped Brad Solomon in June 2021 and then faced off with Alexis Rocha in March 2022. A win over Rocha would’ve propelled Cobbs forward into being a contender in the welterweight division. Instead, Rocha stopped Cobbs in the ninth round. Cobbs had one more appearance with Golden Boy Promotions, outpointing Maurice Hooker in August 2022 to move to 16-1-1 (10 KOs). He hasn’t fought since. 

Cobbs signed with King this past March. Immediately everyone wondered whether Broner vs. Cobbs would be coming. And now here it is.

A win for Broner keeps him around in the sport a little longer, perhaps as a B-side to another notable name. The same could be said for Cobbs if he beats Broner. While the win itself might not mean much given Broner’s track record over these past several years, a loss would be monumentally more damaging.

The undercard includes a heavyweight fight between Michael Hunter, 22-1-2 (16 KOs), and Cassius Chaney, 23-1 (16 KOs). Hunter’s only loss came against Oleksandr Usyk at cruiserweight in 2017, and his draws came at heavyweight against Alexander Povetkin in 2019 and Jerry Forrest in 2021. Chaney’s lone defeat was a split decision loss to George Arias in 2021.

Friday, June 7: Oscar Collazo vs. Gerardo Zapata (DAZN, prelims begin at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time, main broadcast begins at 8 p.m.)

Collazo will be making the third defense of his WBO strawweight world title against Zapata, who will be moving down in weight for the opportunity.

This show is timed — and located — to coincide with the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s annual induction weekend in Canastota, New York. Collazo vs. Zapata will headline at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in nearby Verona.

Collazo is a 27-year-old from New Jersey who now lives in Puerto Rico. He won the WBO belt about a year ago, when he stopped Melvin Jerusalem after seven rounds. Since then he’s picked up two more early nights against Garen Diagan and Reyneris Gutierrez to move to 9-0 (7 KOs).

Zapata is a 29-year-old originally from Managua, Nicaragua, and fighting these days out of Miami. In recent years he’s been in the 108-pound division. Zapata is coming off a loss at the end of 2022 in which he was disqualified after clubbing Rene Santiago behind the head midway through the second round. The fight was initially (and properly) ruled a “no contest” before being changed to a DQ. Last August, Zapata and Azael Villar fought to a 10-round draw. Zapata is now 14-1-1 (5 KOs).

Friday, June 7: Callum Walsh vs. Carlos Ortiz Cervantes (UFC Fight Pass, 9 p.m. Eastern Time)

Walsh, an unbeaten junior middleweight prospect trained by Freddie Roach, continues to stay busy. His last fight was just about three months ago, a ninth-round TKO of Dauren Yeleussinov. That brought the 23-year-old from Cork, Ireland, to 10-0 (8 KOs). Walsh is promoted by Tom Loeffler, who worked with Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko as well as Gennadiy Golovkin. He’s backed by Dana White, the president and CEO of the UFC.

His next opponent is Ortiz Cervantes, a 39-year-old from Torreon, Mexico. Ortiz Cervantes lost four straight from 2018 into 2019. Two of those losses came against recognizable names: welterweights Alexis Rocha and Blair Cobbs. Don’t be fooled by that. His two otherlosses give a better perspective of what level he’s on: a sixth-round TKO at the hands of 10-10-2 Josue Castaneda Perez and a split decision defeat to 3-9 Jorge Canales Pulido. Since then, Ortiz Cervantes has won three in a row to move to 14-5 (14 KOs).

Follow David Greisman on Twitter @FightingWords2. His book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” is available on Amazon.