Last weekend’s heavy slate of boxing on HBO and Showtime turned out to be far less about Nonito Donaire’s future than that of Gilroy welterweight Robert Guerrero, and Showtime’s main event this weekend, Adrien Broner vs. Marcos Maidana, also might have an impact on The Ghost.
The hope for Donaire last weekend was that Guillermo Rigondeaux, the masterful counter-puncher who upset Donaire last April in a junior-featherweight bout, would fight in a more fan-friendly manner on HBO against former bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko. But Rigondeaux-Agbeko was even less fan-friendly as Agbeko was afraid to engage after the second round and Rigondeaux, while throwing twice as many punches as he usually does, landed only 17 percent (about 150 of 900) because he was seldom got close enough to Agbeko to actually hit him. That’s no way to persuade HBO to show us a Rigondeaux-Donaire rematch and, frankly, has to reduce any “hit-but-don’t-get-hit-back” proponent’s opinion of Rigondeaux.
Meanwhile, Showtime had the bout of the evening. Although Paulie Malignaggi’s decision victory over Zab Judah got top billing (and was the only fight deemed newsworthy by many newspapers), the best bout was unbeaten challenger Shawn Porter’s convincing victory over Devon Alexander to take the IBF welterweight title and thus remove one of Guerrero’s best potential opponents from desirability. Alexander’s only previous loss was to Timothy Bradley in 2010.
Guerrero, who has been inactive since his May loss to Floyd Mayweather, could have been fighting this coming weekend against up-and-comer Keith Thurman, who instead had to settle for Jesus Soto-Karass, on the undercard of the Adrien Broner-Marcos Maidana headliner on Showtime.
Guerrero has beaten enough has-beens like Judah and isn’t interested in gambling away his stature against anyone much less prominent than Broner. That’s why he didn’t want to fight Thurman Although Porter, who was every bit as quick as Alexander and much stronger, would be a good opponent for Guerrero asthetically, as would Thurman, Porter (whose physique and style bear strong resemblance to unbeaten San Francisco junior welterweight Karim Mayfield) is a couple of victories from being worthy of Guerrero from a box-office standpoint.
Another Saturday victor on Showtime was super-welterweight Erislandy Lara, who boxed rings around former champion Austin Trout but also appeared to be a bit too big, quick and clever to be easy pickings for Guerrero, not to mention Lara’s hopeless lack of sufficient box-office pull.
Broner is one of the two or three most physically talented fighters in the sport, but he seems to lack depth as a person and he’s too short to be a superlative welterweight, as Malignaggi proved by nearly knocking him off a few months ago. Satisfying though it would be to see Broner taking a 10-count, let’s hope Maidana doesn’t land a lucky punch and instead saves the honors for Guerrero.