Juan Manuel Marquez faces Timothy Bradley in a highly anticipated pay-per-view matchup on Saturday October 12th. Though the main event is strong, the overall pay-per-view card itself is extremely weak. And for fans plucking over up to $64.95, they certainly deserve more.
The main undercard fight is a bout between Orlando Salido and Orlando Cruz for the vacant WBO Featherweight Championship. As the chief supporting bout to Marquez-Bradley, this bout is quite lacking.
First of all, I am not knocking either Salido or Cruz. They are both solid professional fighters. Salido is a top ten featherweight but is coming off a fight where he lost quite convincingly to Mikey Garcia. Cruz is a decent fighter but probably does not crack the top twenty in the featherweight division. He has two losses in his career by knockout and both were times when he stepped up in competition.
Aside from where they rank, this may be a stylistic nightmare of a fight to watch. Cruz is a light hitting southpaw who will try to outbox Salido from the outside. Salido will press the action but is not known for his quickness in the ring to say the least. In addition, Salido has had issues with quicker boxers in his attempts to cut off the ring. He can probably catch Cruz from time to time but Cruz will certainly not want to exchange. We could see a lot of holding and pot shotting in this fight in addition to very little action.
Vasyl Lomachenko makes his pro debut in another televised fight against Jose Ramirez. Lomachenko is one of the best amateur fighters in the history of the sport. But this is his pro debut. This fight is probably better situated to have landed on a cable broadcast than on a major pay-per-view card.
We simply do not know about Lomachenko as a pro. Ramirez arguably just cracks the top 50 at featherweight. I do want to see Lomachenko fight but there is no reason that this caliber a fight should be part of a major pay-per-view telecast. However, if say he were fighting Orlando Salido in his pro debut then that is something that would be much more viable on a pay-per-view card.
Finally, we have a bout between light heavyweights Sean Monaghan and Anthony Smith. If this were an ESPN Friday Night Fights headline, I’d say at best it’s not too bad. But a fight on a major pay-per-view telecast. This is an absurdity in my opinion.
Monaghan is undefeated but has faced very limited opposition thus far in his career. He is more a brawler and can make for entertaining fights. But is overall boxing skill is still very much in question and it remains to be seen how he performs when he steps up in competition. As of the moment, it really is hard to make an argument that Monaghan is a top 50 fighter in the light heavyweight division.
Monaghan’s opponent is Anthony Smith. Smith suffered a knockout loss to journeyman Kevin Engel last year. It is highly debatable as to whether or not Smith is even a step up in competition at this point for Monaghan. Yet this fight is going to be part of the pay-per-view telecast.
I have knocked this card enough. How could this have been done differently? I do have a couple ideas for some fights from the Top Rank stable that could have made this pay-per-view telecast more worthwhile.
Juan Francisco Estrada is one of the most talented lower division fighters in the sport. And not only that, he makes for very entertaining fights. A rematch with either Roman Gonzalez or Brian Viloria would have been an excellent bout as the chief supporting contest.
Jessie Vargas would have been a fighter who would have been easy to add to this card. Earlier this year, he defeated Wale Omotoso in what was a close competitive fight. It was also a very entertaining bout. A rematch between the two would have made a lot of sense on this card. If the Omotoso fight was not possible, maybe a match for Vargas with either Kendall Holt or Vernon Paris.
Finally, I hinted to it earlier but why not have Salido fight Lomachenko. I am sure too there could have been a way to make this for the WBO Featherweight Championship. Now this would have been an intriguing fight and quite a story if in fact it were for a title belt.
I believe the fans deserve much more for a major pay-per-view undercard than what they are being presented with for this card. In the end, this could certainly cost Top Rank as well if the fans simply do not see enough value in justifying the purchase despite the quality of the main event.