For the combat sports fan, this weekend is a ridiculously busy one. You've got the UFC, Bellator, and Glory all putting on events, plus 3 separate televised boxing events all on Saturday. Here, for you pugilist fans out there, is a look at the weekend in boxing with the marquee fights taking place on HBO and Showtime.
HBO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: CRAWFORD vs. LUNDY
Saturday, Feb. 27, 10:00 p.m. ET
Fight Card: Terence Crawford vs. Hank Lundy, Felix Verdejo vs. William Silva
HBO's big contribution to the weekend is the latest from rising pound for pound great Terence Crawford. Crawford had a real breakout year in 2014, with many naming him Fighter of the Year that year, and his terrific clash with Yuriorkis Gamboa getting a lot of Fight of the Year talk. Now at 27-0, Crawford has become both a world class talent (Ring Magazine has him at #6 on the Pound for Pound list) and a true star in his hometown of Omaha. For this fight, he ventures out of Omaha to face the 26-2-1 Hank Lundy at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Lundy is a 10 year veteran with some big ups and downs in his career. He won his last fight, but that was against a 23-21-1 fighter, and Lundy lost his 2 prior fights. He's a veteran and something of a name, but he's not a challenge to Crawford.
Opening the broadcast is the 22 year old Felix Verdejo. The 19-0 Puerto Rican fighter is a much talked about talent who is being positioned as a major player in boxing - he just has not quite gotten there yet. He takes on William Silva, who is also undefeated at 23-0, but has not faced tough competition, and should be an exciting, but beatable opponent for Verdejo here.
SHOWTIME BOXING: FRAMPTON vs. QUIGG
Saturday, Feb. 27, 5:30 p.m. ET
Fight Card: Carl Frampton vs. Scott Quigg
Of everything taking place Saturday, this is the most competitive, closest fight to watch. Here you have the consensus #2 and #3 fighters at 122 pounds (behind only Guillermo Rigondeaux) in a true pick 'em fight. Frampton is 21-0, Quigg 31-0-2, and each man carries in a notable Super Bantamweight title. Both are exciting fighters, and both are popular fighters, and with this fight taking place in Manchester Arena in England, you can expect a true big fight atmosphere here. It's hard to envision this being a boring fight - don't miss out on it just because it's on at an earlier start time.
SHOWTIME BOXING: SANTA CRUZ vs. MARTINEZ
Saturday, Feb. 27, 10:00 p.m. ET
Fight Card: Leo Santa Cruz vs. Kiko Martinez, Julio Ceja vs. Hugo Ruiz, Gerald Washington vs. Oscar Rivas
Showtime's primetime feature Saturday night puts the spotlight on Featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz. With his 31-0-1 record, Santa Cruz has been hailed as one of the best fighters in the game today by some. By others, he's been loudly criticized for his failure to fight true top level talent. He quieted many of those voices last August with his hard fought decision win over the excellent Abner Mares. Here he again takes on a decent opponent in the 35-6 Kiko Martinez. Santa Cruz has a very high volume style of fighting, with a great ability to just outwork his opponents to the point that they can not keep up. Martinez is definitely a talented fighter who should have enough ring savvy to make Santa Cruz work for it, but it's also been a few fights since Martinez was able to defeat a true top talent. This might not be quite as competitive as some want from Santa Cruz, but it's a good fight, and with him in there, it should be fun.
Also on the card, Ceja vs. Ruiz is a rematch from August. Ceja won the first fight via KO. These two compete at 122 pounds, and the winner is likely on the fringes of the top 10. Washington vs. Rivas is a Heavyweight clash between two undefeated fighters. Could be fun, or could be ugly.
Join us all weekend for boxing coverage here at Bloody Elbow.