Showtime Fights Are Definitely Best Of Weekend

01.12.04 - By Umar ben-Ivan Lee: HBO may write the biggest checks in boxing, but they will be putting on the third best boxing show this weekend. The best event this weekend by far will be the Showtime show Saturday night which will feature Ring Magazine Lightweight Champion Jose Luis Castillo against Cuban southpaw Joel Cassamayor, Jeff Lacy against the Arab slugger Omar Sheika and heavyweight prospect Samuel Peter against Jeremy Williams.

The second best boxing event will occur when featherweight contender Rocky Juarez faces Guty Espades and heavyweight contender Dominick Guinn faces Serguei Lyakhovich Friday night in Atlantic City, NJ. Next comes Jermain Taylor fighting his first top-twenty true middleweight, after several televised fights, against perennial big-fight loser William Joppy Saturday night in Taylorís hometown of Little Rock. The only exciting thing to see on that show will be the HBO rebroadcast of Barrera-Morales III, which will be a real treat for those who havenít seen it.

The most entertaining bout of the night should be Castillo-Cassamayor. Will the Mexican brawler be able to impose his will on the crafty Cassamayor who has been getting hit a lot as of late? Or will Cassamayor, who in my estimation has never been beaten, be able to box his way to victory and land big-lefts as he did against Corrales? Showtime will have one of its best main events ever in a fight I am picking Cassamayor to win.

The lightweight division has replaced the junior-welterweight division in terms of the number of exciting possibilities it offers. The winner of Castillo-Cassamayor will be in a position to fight Diego Corrales to see who will reign atop of the division. The lightweights also feature WBA champ Juan Diaz, who is always exciting to watch, IBF champ Julio Diaz, Acelino
Freitas, Juan Lazcano and now possibly Erik Morales. These fighters have shown that they are willing to fight one another, which distinguishes them from other divisions.

For all of the talent that exists at the Junior-Welterweight division; you have a severely protected Arturo Gatti, an figher who will not sign a contract to fight a meaningful fight in Floyd Mayweather, an English fighter whose promoter fears putting him in against a top-fifteen fighter in Ricky Hatton, a fighter who doesnít understand his market-value in Vivian Harris but may be the best of them all, a choker in Sharmba Mitchell, and a guy who fights less than Ron Artest in Kostya Tszyu. All this talent together and fights cannot be made. This leaves the young generation in that division; the undefeated David Diaz, Paulie Malignaggi, "Mighty" Mike Arnaoutis, and others in a situation where they are playing a waiting game that seems to never end.

Moving to the Super-Middleweight division I cannot figure out why Jeff Lacy is fighting Omar Sheika and Scott Pemberton is still waiting on a big TV fight after beating Sheika twice. Donít get me wrong, Iíve got nothing but love for my Muslim brother Omar, but I also know that Pemberton at this point is the more deserving fighter and unless Sheika finds some defense and resists the urge to slug it out with Lacy this could be a short night.

Samuel Peter may be the best young heavyweight out there today and I am afraid for Jeremy Williams that he will be having a ďNigerian NightmareĒ every night for the next several weeks as he thinks about the beating that Peter will give him. Williams got this fight by beating Attila Levin, a guy who seemed like he wasnít in the mood to fight and daydreamed most of
the night against Williams, and off of that performance Williams has had a boost in confidence, which will end on Saturday night.

This will be the weekend in which Dominick Guinn will show the world if he can change his passive style in order to compete at the highest level of the division. If Guinn can make the necessary adjustment he may be a serious threat to challenge for a world title in 2005.

Rocky Juarez will do another Ricky Hatton imitation and he will beat up on a shot-fighter while biding his time for all of the talent to leave the featherweight division so he can pick-up a cheap belt. Thank God, the incompetent referee who delivered the Zahir Raheem fight to Juarez will not be in New Jersey.

I will take a pass on the Otis Griffin match on Fox Sports Net Friday night. I am optimistic about their renewed commitment to boxing, but Ill wait until they show a real fight like Vasilly Jirov against Michael Moorer before I tune in.

Umar ben-Ivan Lee may be contacted at

Article posted on 01.12.2004

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