This Saturday night, ESPN presents four good fights capped off by the Sergey Kovalev vs. Eleider Alvarez rematch. The card begins at 10:00 p.m. ET this Saturday, February 2 on ESPN, then at midnight switches over to ESPN+ for the Kovalev and Teofimo Lopez fights. We’ll have a separate preview of the main event, but here’s a look at the other quality fights on the card.
Teofimo Lopez (11-0; 9 KO) vs. Diego Magdaleno (31-2; 13 KOs) - Lightweight
Fans who tuned in to the Lomachenko vs. Pedraza fight in December will surely remember Lopez. He performed incredibly on the card, blasting Mason Menard in what I called the KO of the year for 2018. Now he’s back with a quick turnaround. At 21 years old, Lopez may be the most exciting young talent in boxing today, but he’s also got a kind of tough career to manage. You probably don’t want him in there with a championship level fighter just yet (he is after all only a 2 year pro) but you also want to push him. I thought Menard would push him, and I was very wrong. Here, he fights Magdaleno, another accomplished fighter with good experience. Normally I’d say this is a good test - but based on the last time we saw Lopez, it might not be. Magdaleno is at least a southpaw, so that will give Lopez some experience there, but I don’t see that being enough to make this truly competitive. Again, this is on the ESPN+ portion of the show, starting at midnight.
Prediction: Teofimo Lopez, KO, R4
Oscar Valdez (24-0; 19 KO) vs. Carmine Tommasone (19-0; 5 KO)- Featherweight
This one is for the WBO title held by Valdez. Ranked #4 in the stacked Featherweight division, Valdez is a serious talent. He comes in off his career best win, taking a decision over Scott Quigg in March. Why the long layoff? Because Quigg broke Valdez’s jaw halfway through the fight, and Valdez still won. That tells you what you need to know about him. Valdez is working with new trainer Eddy Reynoso here, and says he’s going to show off his boxing skills instead of just go to war, which might mean a more measured and calculated performance. His opponent is an undefeated Italian fighter competing for the first time outside of Italy. Tommasone is a former Olympian, but there’s not much worth seeing on his record. His second to last opponent was 4-25-2, and his most recent was 8-8-1. So there’s that. He’s a sparring partner here, and the only question is if Valdez wants to get some rounds in both to come back from injury and to work on some new techniques for Reynoso. I suspect he does.
Prediction: Oscar Valdez, TKO, R8
Richard Commey (27-2; 24 KO) vs. Isa Chaniev (13-1; 6 KO) - Lightweight
Winner of this fight will claim the vacant IBF title, and the easy money is on Commey. He’s ranked #3 in the division and has showed off some impressive skills in his rise up the ranks. After starting his career in Africa, he made the move to the international scene a few years back, and has done well. What he lacks is a real signature win. His two biggest opportunities to date came against Robert Easter and Denis Shafikov, but he lost both of those by decision (though both were close split decisions). He’s 3-0 since those back to back losses. Chaniev is a Russian fighter making his first trip to the US. He made his own step up in competition in 2016 and has since gone 4-1, though there’s no one even close to Commey’s level on his resume. He’s not expected to win here - we’ll see if that plays out, or if that makes him a dangerous spoiler.
Prediction: Richard Commey, UD
Alvarez vs. Kovalev 2 airs livs on ESPN+ this Saturday. Subscribe here.