There's not a lot going on as far as mixed martial arts tonight, but the day is loaded with boxing action. Today sees the son of a legend look to continue building his career, talented heavyweights fighting in a quietly rebuilding division, another interesting British boxing card and one MMA card that, while solid, won't be available to the audience that wants to watch it.
Let's take a look at the schedule:
Boxing: Scott Quigg vs. Rendall Munroe - 4 p.m. ET Sky Sports (UK)
It's unlikely that any of you are going to go out of your way to track down a stream of this fight if you live outside of the UK, but it's a very good scrap on paper. Munroe was a long time force on the British scene and Quigg has become the new UK super bantamweight stud.
Munroe has had to ease up on his fight schedule a bit, switching from 3-4 fights a year to 2 last year) to keep from burning his body out too soon while Quigg is just now hitting his stride as a top level guy.
For Quigg it's a chance to prove his quality as he takes on a guy who has fought as a world title challenger (losing a wide decision to Toshiaki Nishioka in 2010). While Quigg's chin has been a bit questionable, Munroe isn't a big power guy so Quigg retains his status as a reasonably comfortable favorite in what should be a competitive fight.
Boxing: Tomasz Adamek vs Eddie Chambers - 9 p.m. ET NBC Sports
Adamek has a big polish following, he's also a hell of an exciting guy to watch sometimes. His move up to heavyweight has been successful if a little rocky. He was trounced by Vitali Klitschko, but there's not a ton of shame in that really. In March, Adamek put on a very exciting fight with Nagy Aguilera in a fight that reminded what an exciting guy to watch he can be and what a flawed heavyweight he is.
There are too many times where Adamek has to "war it out" against guys of even middle of the road heavyweight credentials and that showed against Aguilera even though he won the fight convincingly. But that need to battle his ass off to get wins makes him exciting which, combined with his sizable following, makes him the perfect guy to spotlight on these NBC Sports shows.
Eddie Chambers is a really good boxer and similar in physique to Adamek. He has only lost to top guys Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin. He's capable of giving anyone but the Klitschkos a good run when he's on his game, and represents a very stiff test for Adamek.
This is the kind of fight (if made with enough regularity) that can help breathe some life back into heavyweight boxing. It's two quality fighters, one with a big fanbase, matched up at an appropriate time with a set of styles that should compliment each other and is easy to view for audiences.
On the other televised bout of the card, one of the two best American heavyweight prospects, Bryant Jennings, looks to remain undefeated against Steve Collins. Jennings and Seth Mitchell are the future of American heavyweights.
With bouts like Adamek vs. Chambers, Jennings and Mitchell on the way up, guys like Tyson Fury starting to make a name for themselves on the international scene, the Klitschkos winding down their careers and some attraction fights like Haye vs. Chisora, the division is actually looking like it has a pulse again.
Boxing: Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Andy Lee - 10 p.m. ET HBO
Don't be fooled by the start time, this is not likely to be happening at the same time as the NBC Sports show. There is a replay of Pacquiao vs. Bradley on before Chavez takes on Lee.
Chavez is, of course, mostly famous because of his father's name. And he certainly has not proven to be a good enough fighter in his career to headline HBO World Championship Boxing cards otherwise, despite a pretty looking 45-0-1 record. He built that record up on the backs of a lot of club fighters before finally starting to see him step up in competition, a step-up which has brought with it some true challenges.
Controversy has also followed Chavez throughout his career, as he has already failed a drug test, then Texas "forgot" to administer a test after his last fight. We saw a new kind of controversy yesterday as Andy Lee's camp asked that the gloves be weighed for both fighters, making sure they were 10 ounces "in the interest of fairness." They weighed their gloves, then asked the Texas commission inspector to check Chavez's only to be told "I'm the boss here, I say whether or not we inspect the gloves and we're not going to" and then being told the same by Freddie Roach (Chavez's trainer). It was an odd request by Lee's camp but an even more odd response by Texas and Chavez's camp. Look, I seriously doubt that there is anything up with the gloves, I'm not suggesting that. This is mind games all around, but it's certainly weird.
JCC Jr. has proven to be an exciting fighter, being a guy who will go to the well to gut out tough fights made all the more tough because he's not really a top-tier fighter. He can punch a little bit and he doesn't have much quit in him and that is taking him a lot way. Scott Christ summed it up well in his preview at Bad Left Hook:
Chavez still is not a special fighter, and never is going to be. It's just not in him to be a great fighter, a true top-tier guy. He's not talented enough. He's not good enough. But he doesn't just make up for that with ratings numbers, he makes up for it with the fact that his fights are entertaining to watch. You're not going to tune in and see some pat-a-cake slapfest with Chavez. You'll see a kid, no matter the shape he's in, a big, strong middleweight, fighting hard on the inside, giving a tough, gritty effort.
And the ratings have been great for Chavez. He has done over 1.6 million viewers on HBO for his last three fights. There is no way around that being damn good in this era for a subscription cable network.
This is a legitimate fight for both guys with Lee being a capable, exciting middleweight who, like Chavez, is not very likely to be a legitimate top fighter. But he can scrap and gives it a hell of a go.
It's going to be a good watch, certainly worth the time to tune in and it's going to do good numbers on HBO.
If anything, it's pretty hilarious that the weekend after a fight that had everyone decrying boxing as "dead" there will be a show that likely gets near two million viewers to tune in, far more than have tuned in to see any recent UFC effort on a more accessible channel like FX.
MMA: ShoFIGHT - The Fight Network (Canada)
ShoFIGHT proves that mid-tier promotions haven't learned the value of providing options for viewers to watch their show live. I work on this site for a living and I see how many people tune in for streams of regional type cards with interesting fights and recognizable fighters.
A welterweight title fight between Karo Parisyan and John Gunderson, a middleweight title fight between undefeated Strikeforce fighter Derek Brunson and former Ultimate Fighter winner Kendall Grove and a fight between Lyle Beerbohm and Marcus Aurelio represent the top three fights on the card and they're all very solid. Guys like Drew Fickett, Roli Delgado, Charles Bennett and others line the card.
I'd have gladly paid $10 to watch it live, but no luck there. If you're in Canada, you can watch the show live on The Fight Network. I'd tell you what time, but I don't see it on any press materials they've sent out and I'm not really up for looking around for it.
There will be an option for a delayed PPV at some point, but I'm not paying for a sporting event I know the results to.