What to Watch: February 15-16

By Caryn A. Tate on February 14, 2019
What to Watch: February 15-16
Miguel Flores was injured three weeks ago and replaced by an always game Rafael Rivera.

Santa Cruz’s volume-punching style is always entertaining, and Rivera has a similar action-oriented form. It should result in a fun fight no matter what…

Join me as I break down which of the week’s televised fights are most interesting and why.

Friday, February 15
6:00pm PT/9:00pm ET - ESPN (Undercards streaming at 3:00pm PT/6:00pm ET on ESPN+)
Rob Brant (24-1, 16 KOs) vs. Khasan Baysangurov (17-0, 7 KOs) - 12 rounds, middleweight; Joshua Greer Jr. (19-1-1, 11 KOs) vs. Giovanni Escaner (19-3, 12 KOs) - 10 rounds, bantamweight; Mikaela Mayer (9-0, 4 KOs) vs. Yareli Larios (13-1-1, 3 KOs) - 8 rounds, super featherweight

7:00pm PT/10:00pm ET - Showtime
Shohjahon Ergashev (15-0, 14 KOs) vs. Mykal Fox (19-0, 5 KOs) - 10 rounds, super lightweight

Saturday, February 16
5:00pm PT/8:00pm ET - FOX
Leo Santa Cruz (35-1-1, 19 KOs) vs. Rafael Rivera (26-2-2, 17 KOs) - 12 rounds, WBA featherweight world title; Omar Figueroa (27-0-1, 19 KOs) vs. John Molina Jr. (30-7, 24 KOs) - 10 rounds, welterweight; Sebastian Fundora (11-0, 7 KOs) vs. Donnie Marshall (10-0, 6 KOs) - 8 rounds, super welterweight; Karlos Balderas (6-0, 5 KOs) vs. Jose Cen Torres (13-10, 1 KO) - 6 rounds, lightweight

Santa Cruz was originally slated to face Miguel Flores, who was injured three weeks ago and replaced by an always game Rivera.

Three-division world champion Santa Cruz is one of those fighters who spoils fans, in a sense. He has faced such tough opposition in recent years that, on the rare occasion he’s not fighting a perceived monster, there are some who criticize him. But since 2014, Santa Cruz has faced the likes of Cristian Mijares, Carl Frampton (twice—and in a row), and Abner Mares (twice).

Rivera, while a late replacement for Flores, always comes to fight and is no stranger to taking bouts on short notice. That speaks to the level of hunger the 24-year-old has, and to top it off, he has skill. A fighter like that, who is accustomed to being the “B side” and taking fights on a few weeks (or less) notice, is highly dangerous, and Rivera’s understanding of that must be part of what gives him confidence.

Santa Cruz’s volume-punching style is always entertaining, and Rivera has a similar action-oriented form. It should result in a fun fight no matter what.

The co-main event, Figueroa vs. Molina, is another bout that almost guarantees action. Both are known for letting their hands go, unafraid to stand in the pocket and brawl. But things could get even more interesting if Molina chooses to box Figueroa, as the former did when he beat former world champion Ruslan Provodnikov in 2016. Figueroa has had issues with boxers in the past, just like Provodnikov, so it could be a smart strategy for Molina to employ. But we’ll see if he does that—it could be that his temperament pulls him back into a firefight, which is right up Figueroa’s alley.

Check out more of Caryn’s work at http://www.CarynATate.com and follow her on Twitter@carynatate

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  1. Balaamsass 07:39am, 02/15/2019

    Not sayin’ that he can’t beat Russell but he sure as fuk needs to fight him!

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