Champions and stars are back this weekend, but fights for Emanuel Navarrete and Mikey Garcia are missing something

Because the boxing world strikes on from Tyson Fury’s unbelievable victory over Deontay Wilder, this weekend affords various stable fights which embody the return of among the sport’s greater names.

Combat night time options the second title protection for WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete. His opponent is Joet Gonzalez (24-1, 14 KOS), who in 2018 took Shakur Stevenson the gap and in 2020 defeated former title contender Miguel Marriaga with a dominant efficiency.

Navarrete (34-1, 29 KOs) gained a junior featherweight world title in opposition to Isaac Dogboe in 2018 and made 5 defenses earlier than shifting as much as the 126-pound division. He gained the then vacant featherweight title in opposition to Ruben Villa a yr in the past, and defended it with a Twelfth-round TKO victory over Christopher Diaz in April.

So, how massive of a problem is Gonzalez to a Navarrete, who hasn’t misplaced a combat in additional than 9 years?

On Saturday, tremendous middleweight prospect Diego Pacheco returns to the ring for his third combat of 2021 to face Lucas de Abreu, an unbeaten orthodox fighter from Brazil. Abreu has 11 KOs in 12 fights, however the focus is on the 20-year-old Pacheco in opposition to this stress fighter.

Additionally on Saturday, former four-division champion Mikey Garcia will combat for the primary time in virtually 18 months, a 10-round welterweight battle in opposition to Sandro Martin.

Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs), has solely fought twice since his March 2019 determination loss to Errol Spence Jr.. He additionally has a choice victory over Jessie Vargas in February 2020. Martin (38-2, 13 KOs), is making his first look in america after preventing most of his profession in his native nation of Spain.

Our panel of Timothy Bradley Jr., Mike Coppinger, Mike Rothstein and Ben Child take a look at these fights and another must-see bouts this weekend.

What’s Emanuel Navarrete’s ceiling as a high fighter?



Emanuel Navarrete reveals off his prowess by pulling down Christopher Diaz a number of occasions en path to his twenty ninth knockout win.

Coppinger: Navarrete is a gifted fighter, a boxer who generates large leverage on his punches with distinctive top for a 126-pounder at 5-foot-7.

The 26-year-old throws photographs from awkward angles and with unhealthy intentions, too. Most of all, maybe, Navarrete unloads with unbelievable quantity even after shifting up from 122 kilos. In his featherweight debut — a title combat — he threw almost 700 punches. His first protection was a profitable one, a knockout of Christopher Diaz. He threw 744 punches in that bout.

He’s additionally nonetheless bettering. There stays some promising challenges for Navarrete at 126 kilos, particularly Gary Russell Jr., however the true checks will come at 130 kilos, and that is the place we determine to search out out simply how good he’s. Even in his third weight class, he’ll nonetheless be one of many greater fighters within the division. How in regards to the winner of subsequent week’s title combat between Jamel Herring and Shakur Stevenson? Or bouts with Miguel Berchelt and Chris Colbert?

Navarrete could also be uncooked, however the mix of quantity punching, awkward angles and measurement has confirmed an excessive amount of thus far.

Is Joet Gonzalez a reliable title challenger for Emanuel Navarrete?

Child: No. The intrigue surrounding Joet Gonzalez since he re-signed with Golden Boy Promotions in 2019 has not produced something substantial. Thus far, Gonzalez’s greatest victory is a knockout win over Manuel Avila in 2019.

However other than that, Gonzalez has but to point out he is worthy of a real title shot. He was simply trounced by Shakur Stevenson in 2019, his lone title combat. Gonzalez additionally has no victories over any of the featherweights presently in ESPN’s High 10 rating regardless of constantly preventing within the division since 2015. It makes little sense for Navarrete, too, since he has few high-profile opponents on his ledger. There are a number of different names who will enhance his profile and recognition round boxing. Maybe Mauricio Lara, who made his title with a giant upset win over Josh Warrington again in February. Each Lara and Navarrete each hail from Mexico.

Navarrete is an thrilling fighter that must be matched in opposition to more durable opposition. At 26 and as a present champion, he is previous the purpose in his profession the place he must be taking up the likes of Joet Gonzalez.

​​What do you might want to see from unbeaten Diego Pacheco to anoint him a challenger at 168 kilos?

Bradley: He is nonetheless younger at 20 years previous and also you need not transfer him shortly. I can see his expertise. He has what I name a very powerful punch in boxing: the jab. He has a very good jab and if he continues to make use of it, alongside along with his attain to arrange his offense, he’ll beat loads of guys. He must maintain engaged on his jab, get extra selection, throw it to the pinnacle and to the physique, simply give it completely different seems to be and alter the place he throws it from.

His rhythm is excellent — he flows, he is clean — however he wants to change his rhythm, throw completely different combos. He has an attractive uppercut, a proper uppercut he throws on the within. He must get extra energy. As a result of he is 20 years previous and even at 6-foot-4, he hasn’t reached his high energy but.

I actually wish to see how he offers when he fights somebody artful on the within. I want to see him management the middle of the ring in opposition to Lucas de Abreu, and I wish to see his physique work. But when he controls the ring and works the physique, throws his proper hand to the liver, simply utilizing a unique manner of touchdown to the physique — if he can work out how you can land extra physique punches and put that in his arsenal — that can undoubtedly step up his recreation. Generally he throws that proper hand from too shut, but when he throws it from a distance, from the skin, it’s going to have extra impact and he will not be there for the counter.

For this combat in opposition to a puncher like de Abreu, I wish to see him use his protection, take his time, do not make any errors and hit the physique and take some steam from the opponent’s punches.

What’s Mikey Garcia actually doing? Why is he preventing Sandor Martinez?

Rothstein: Truthfully, I am undecided. Garcia hasn’t fought since a unanimous determination win over Jessie Vargas final February and now he is preventing an opponent in Sandor Martin who has a formidable report (38-2, 13 KOs) however whose competitors has been lower than stellar. Possibly that is type of a warmup combat for him since he is had such a protracted layoff? That is one of many few causes this is able to make sense.

Once you take a look at his opponents in his final 5 fights, courting again to 2017, it is a moderately gifted listing — Adrien Broner, Sergey Lipinets, Robert Easter Jr., Errol Spence Jr. and Vargas. He misplaced simply a kind of fights (Spence), however all got here by determination. If Garcia is treating this as a tune-up to then turn into extra energetic, it is smart as a combat.

In any other case, it seems like virtually a no-win scenario for Garcia. Win and also you’re fully anticipated to; lose and there is a lot to surprise about. Martin, in the meantime, might acquire a large enhance to his profession. Odd combat.

Ought to Mairis Briedis observe Usyk’s path and transfer as much as heavyweight?

Coppinger: Unquestionably that is the plan for Brieidis, who mentioned months in the past on social media that he would transfer as much as heavyweight quickly. As a substitute, on this combat, he’ll keep busy in opposition to a no-hope opponent, Artur Mann. In actuality, it would not matter whom he faces at cruiserweight; there aren’t any compelling matchups.

As a cruiserweight champion — and somebody who gave Usyk by far the hardest problem of his profession — Briedis would instantly be put in as a participant at heavyweight.

He is had a number of fights within the limitless weight class, most notably a brutal fifth-round KO of Manuel Charr in 2015. For that combat, he weighed slightly below 214 kilos. At 6-foot-1, he can be vastly undersized for the division.

However in a majority-decision loss to Usyk in 2018, Briedis proved he may need the talents to beat shortcomings in different areas. There’s nothing left to perform at cruiserweight. If nothing else, it is time for the 36-year-old to earn some heavyweight purses. | Champions and stars are again this weekend, however fights for Emanuel Navarrete and Mikey Garcia are lacking one thing


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