Here we are again. Another four years and another world cup, the most popular sporting event in the world. It might not be in the United States but around the rest of the globe nothing captures the world sport fan’s imagination like the World Cup. Boxing is still chugging along with programming on all its major networks but now it has compete for the eyes of sports fan. Maybe not so much in the United States since the World Cup produces a blip on the radar although it will still get more coverage during ESPN’s Sportscenter than boxing ever does.
While the month-long soccer tournament takes place in different cities in Brazil, boxing will be seen but how much of it will be seen is still up in the air. This Saturday night from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, we have the offering from the Home Box Office, or HBO, when light welterweight WBO champion Ruslan Provodnikov settles, after proposed fights with Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao fell by the wayside, against the undefeated Chris Algieri. In the semi-main event, newly crowned WBO light middleweight champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade defends against unknown Brian Rose from England in a scheduled twelve rounder.
Not exactly big competition for the action happening south of the equator.
In our neighbor to the south, the much more soccer crazed Mexico; they too are offering a fight card this Saturday night featuring popular former champions Hernan “Tyson” Marquez and Jorge “Travieso” Arce in separate bouts.
The programming goes across the street the following weekend with Showtime offering the return of the “Ghost” Robert Guerrero as he makes his first foray back in a professional boxing ring when he faces Japanese Yoshihiro Kamegai. A strong undercard with the controversial WBO featherweight tilt between undefeated Gary Russell Jr and Vasyl Lomachenko will also be featured. Rounding out the card will be Devon Alexander versus the always tough Jesus Soto-Karass.
On the last Saturday of the month and while the World Cup is in full force with its first day of the final sixteen in full swing, HBO will have a fight card from the farthest place from the World Cup on earth, maybe not miles-wise but as far as what the sports fans of Omaha, Nebraska, are concerned. Local favorite Terence Crawford will defend his lightweight title sanctioned by the WBO against the sporadic Yuriorkis Gamboa. In the semi-main event, Matt Korobov will go against Jose Uzcategui in a ten round middleweight bout.
Quite possibly the boldest decision of them all is by Golden Boy Promotions who on July 12th, the Saturday of the World Cup final, presents the second PPV bout by their star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez when he faces Erislandy Lara in a non-title twelve rounder. Golden Boy perhaps is banking on the fact that Mexico, where Alvarez and his large fan base are from, will not be as interested in the final since Mexico will be long gone from the tournament. Mexico has never gotten close to the final game.
The might be overlooking the fact that besides Mexico not being in the final, Mexican fans will probably still be glued to their TV sets to see who ultimately gets crowned the best soccer nation for at least the next four years.
Heaven forbid Mexico does the unthinkable and gets in the final or third place match. Nobody will remember who is the red-headed Mexican with the boxing gloves for at least that weekend.