Boxing TV Schedule: Week of February 11-17

By Caryn A. Tate on February 14, 2018
Boxing TV Schedule: Week of February 11-17
Because Danny Garcia and Brandon Rios like to bang, it should be a bout the fans enjoy.

Saturday night on Showtime Championship Boxing, Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) faces Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs) in what should be a fun fight…

Friday, February 16
9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT - ESPN
Ray Beltran vs. Paulus Moses; Egidijus Kavaliauskas vs. David Avanesyan

Top Rank boxing on ESPN continues this Friday. Kavaliauskas is undefeated (18-0, 15 KOs) and will be facing former WBA welterweight world title holder Avanesyan (23-2-1, 11 KOs) for the NABF welterweight title. Avanesyan has only lost twice, both by decision: first to Andrey Klimov in what was likely a “too much too soon” scenario—it was Ava’s second professional fight, and Klimov was 3-0 going in. In February 2017 Ava lost the world title to top shelf Lamont Peterson. Kavaliauskas has not fought great opposition, but his last bout was in the fall of 2017 and he has stayed active.

Headlining is Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KOs) versus Moses (40-3, 25 KOs) in a 12-round contest for the vacant WBO lightweight world title. Beltran is a more skilled fighter than he gets credit for, having gone the distance and had rounds of competitiveness against top pound-for-pound fighter Terence Crawford in 2014. His clock is ticking: he’s 36 years old and, as Top Rank reminds us, is also fighting for his right to stay in America and gain citizenship. Moses, a Namibia native, has fought outside his home country several times during his career, and most of them were wins. This will be his first time competing in the U.S. His one loss when fighting away from home was against Ricky Burns in the U.K. in 2012, and that was by decision.

Saturday, February 17
ITV PPV (UK) / WBSS Facebook page/YouTube (US) - 5:00pm ET/2:00pm PT
George Groves vs. Chris Eubank Jr.; Tommy Langford vs. Jack Arnfield

Middleweights Langford (19-1, 6 KOs) and Arnfield (25-2, 6 KOs) will meet for Langford’s British middleweight title. Langford’s sole loss was versus Avtandil Khurtsidze in April 2017, and the British fighter has only competed once since then. Arnfield has faced a couple of fairly well known British competitors like Nick Blackwell and Brian Rose.

In the first of the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight semifinals, Groves (27-3, 20 KOs) defends his WBA world title against Eubank (26-1, 20 KOs) in Manchester. It’s a huge domestic attraction, and Eubank also holds the minor IBO super middleweight title—though of course the real prize they’re fighting for (aside from progressing in the tournament) is Groves’ world championship. Both boxers have shown weaknesses in the past, but they’ve both also improved quite a bit recently. Eubank has evolved into a beautiful boxer, but his lone loss to Billy Joe Saunders in 2014 causes one to wonder how he’ll fare against top-level opposition again. Groves has fought the better opposition in his career, and though he lost twice to Carl Froch, he has overall faced the tougher competition. Groves seems to have endured more wear and tear than the fresher Eubank, though, and that could also play into the match-up.

8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT - FOX
Victor Oritz vs. Devon Alexander; Caleb Plant vs. Rogelio Medina; Karlos Balderas vs. Jorge Rojas

Kicking off the broadcast is impressive 2016 U.S. Olympian Balderas (3-0, 3 KOs) facing Rojas (4-2-1, 4 KOs). While Rojas has two losses, it should also be called out that he has a 100% knockout rate—the same as Balderas. Clearly Karlos’ team isn’t matching him too soft, and the American should be commended for being willing to face tough opposition so early in his career. Regarding his Olympic run, it’s sometimes only noted that Balderas didn’t medal. Karlos faced a top-level Cuban amateur, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Lazaro Alvarez, in the quarter finals at the 2016 Olympics. While he lost, he was in the fight, which was impressive considering the opponent. Keep an eye out for Balderas—I think he’ll be making waves in the sport before long.

In the co-main event, Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) is meeting Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in an IBF super middleweight world title eliminator. Plant is an excellent boxer, and he’s stepping up in opposition to face Medina, who is not only a very experienced pro but has put in tough performances against top fighters like James DeGale. Plant, with his impressive footwork and boxing ability, should be able to keep the contest a boxing match from the outside and prevent Medina from working his way in and making it a rougher fight. But Medina has the experience to make it interesting.

In the main event, former world champions Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) and Alexander (24-4, 14 KOs) will face each other. Ortiz has only fought intermittently over the past few years, splitting his time between his sport and acting; Alexander just returned in November after his two-year layoff to overcome an addiction to painkillers. It’s a term bandied about too often in a weak marketing attempt, but because of the layoffs and the struggles outside the ring, this could honestly be a crossroads fight for these two boxers.

10:00pm ET/7:00pm PT - Showtime
Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios; David Benavidez vs. Ronald Gavril II; Yordenis Ugas vs. Ray Robinson

Ugas (20-3, 9 KOs) vs. Robinson (24-2, 12 KOs) may prove to be one of the best fights of the night. Both men are promising boxers—Robinson’s only losses were against the excellent Shawn Porter and promising Brad Solomon (and both happened eight and nine years ago, respectively). Ugas, now training with top coach Ismael Salas, has improved by leaps and bounds under Salas’ guidance, and has been looking like a force to be reckoned with at welterweight.

Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs) and Gavril (18-2, 14 KOs) fought last September for the vacant WBC super middleweight world title. Benavidez won a split decision in a very good contest. As with most rematches, it’ll be interesting to see which of these fighters learned the most from their first bout and who made the necessary adjustments.

In the main event, Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) faces Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs) in what should be a fun fight. Garcia last fought almost a year ago versus Keith Thurman. Despite Garcia’s claims and an atrocious scorecard by judge Kevin Morgan, Thurman clearly outboxed Danny. Like Lamont Peterson did in 2015, Thurman showed us what Garcia’s biggest weakness is in the ring: good footwork. Rios was stopped by Timothy Bradley in 2015, briefly retired, and returned in June last year to stop Aaron Herrera in 7. Rios is not big on footwork and is not a boxer, but has a ton of heart and always comes to fight. Because he and Garcia both like to bang, it should be a bout the fans enjoy, but with Garcia’s good counter punching ability, it will likely go his way.

Follow Caryn A. Tate on Twitter@carynatate

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