Sakio Bika! So angular, so neglected. He’s only making $18,000 for the super middleweight title eliminator he’s in Saturday night, but at least he’ll get a touch of TV exposure to go along with it in the build-up to the big HBO/Golden Boy pay-per-view show. That’s something that’s up this weekend, plus some Friday Night Fights, some Top Rank Live, some GoFightLive, some Solo Boxeo and some stuff that isn’t on the tele in the weekly “what’s up” guide.
* Sakio Bika-Jean Paul Mendy/Frankie Gomez-Ricardo Calzada, Saturday, HBO pay-per-view pre-show, Nevada. This is a good thing that’s happening — some cable and satellite outlets are airing two free fights on the channels where you can purchase the card headlined by the rematch between lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz. The undercard for that bout has some fights worthy of HBO undercards, and Bika-Mendy is worthy of an ESPN2 main event. Bika, I’ve discussed lately, per the first hyperlink above. Mendy has a bit of a mystery career; he fought Anthony Hanshaw to a draw back when that was a respectable result, and easily beat Henry “Sugar Poo” Buchanan before that, but hasn’t fought anyone of note since. Bika shouldn’t have had to be in this fight, as he was in line to fight Jesse Brinkley before Brinkley got out of the eliminator and went straight to strap holder Lucian Bute, and Allan Green got out of a kind of eliminator against Bika for the Super Six tournament. Still, better than not fighting. Gomez is an ultra-explosive junior welterweight prospect taking on the typical kind of opposition you expect for a commodity in only his fifth fight. (Heck, even another fight on this card that isn’t to be aired anywhere is worth noting — heavyweight prospect Seth Mitchell, who gets a lot of attention for his football background and is better than most American hopes, takes a step up in competition against Derek Bryant.)
* Delvin Rodriguez-Ashley Theophane/Donovan George-Francisco Sierra, Friday, ESPN2, Oklahoma. Rodriguez, a welterweight near-titlist many times over, keeps himself in the spotlight against Theophane, who is a tough out. This Friday Night Fights main event could be a decent scrap. George, a super middleweight prospect, was gonna fight Curtis Stevens in what would have been a power-punching extravaganza, and as replacements go, Sierra at least offers some replacement punching power, although Sierra did fall extremely short the last time he fought someone — Edison Miranda — in a power-punching extravaganza.
* Simphiwe Nongqayi-Juan Alberto Rosas/Jorge Arce-Martin Castillo, Saturday, Fox Sports en Espanol, Mexico. Nongqayi impressed with his boxing skill when he took a junior bantamweight belt off of Arce, and Rosas is a puncher who’s gone the distance with some tough dudes, like Fernando Montiel. They nearly fought at the news conference, so this one has some electricity. Arce-Castillo is an overdue bantamweight fight but I bet it’s still a pretty good scrap despite both men being old, because that’s just Arce’s way.
* The Rest. One of the better GoFightLive webcasts of the year is Saturday, with two Philly junior middleweights going at it: Derek Ennis, who’s beaten some respectable journeymen like Eromosele Albert and Gabriel Rosado, who’s beaten Kassim Ouma and Saul Roman (albeit with a crushing KO loss to Alfredo Angulo in the middle of those wins)… Notice how Solo Boxeo is getting downgraded to around this level sometimes? Anyway, nice junior welterweight prospect Danny Garcia headlines Friday against Jorge Romero in what amounts to him inching his way back up in competition after his scare against Theophane… The standout fight of a card in Germany Saturday is Dimitri Sartison vs. Khoren Gevor for a super middleweight title, but it’s a moderately deep card, with middleweight Sebastian Zbik, heavyweight Alexander Dimitrenko and super middleweight Karoly Balzsay in action.