Weekend Predictions: Oritz-Maidana, Abraham-Oral, Lopez-Lontchi

The Franchise says...

Whether your preferred boxing viewing is on HBO, Showtime or pay-per-view, you've got something to watch on Saturday. What was originally scheduled to be a tremendous night of boxing that included a much anticipated Chris John-Rocky Juarez rematch and middleweight champ Kelly Pavlik is now just pretty good, but those are the breaks.

On the bright side, two of the brightest young stars in the game are still in action. With John-Juarez II off, Victor Ortiz gets the spotlight all to himself on HBO as he takes on Marcos Maidana.

Ortiz has been running through his competition, reeling off eight straight knockouts against guys who weren't all stiffs. The same could be said of Maidana, who is ranked inside The Ring's top 10 at 140 pounds and has 24 KOs in his 25 career wins.

Despite his youth, Oritz seemingly has it all: talent, savvy and charisma. He's worthy of the push he's got behind him, but as we saw recently with Alfredo Angulo, creating stars can sometimes be a tricky business.

We'll see if Maidana can pull off the Kermit Cintron spoiler role here. I'm not feeling it, so I like Ortiz to earn a mid-round KO.

A little further down the path to stardom is the man in action in Atlantic City, Juan Manuel Lopez. Already a titleholder, JuanMa possesses a scintillating blend of power and work rate and even has some defensive wherewithal to boot.

Gerry Penalosa used some well-timed counters and a ridiculous chin to hang with Lopez for a while in April, but he eventually got bludgeoned into submission. Olivier Lontchi can reportedly box a little bit, but does he have the power to keep JuanMa honest?

It's also worth keeping in mind that this wasn't supposed to be the PPV main event (that would have been Pavlik's fight) and the opponent was chosen with that in mind. I think it's back to a short night of work, with Lopez knocking out Lontchi early.

Finally, Showtime squeezed in an extra night of boxing to feature the man everyone wants to see in a showdown with Pavlik, Arthur Abraham. I don't know much about his challenger, fellow countryman Mahir Oral, but a glance at his record suggests King Arthur is a big step up in competition.

There's always a chance of a letdown, of course, but Abraham should be plenty motivated to look good on American TV and hopefully set up that future date with The Ghost. No upsets this weekend, as I like Abraham to retain his IBF title by mid-round KO.

Posted by The Franchise

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