The American’s don’t have the best of the heavyweight division at the moment, with Shannon Briggs the last native to [briefly] hold a portion of the crown 8 years ago before current WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder came along and picked up the green belt in January.
With Beijing 2008 bronze medalist Wilder suffering widespread criticism for his upcoming fight against Johann Duhaupas on Saturday, two of the country’s next best divisional stars make an outing on the undercard in front of a network [terrestrial] audience, although as with the headliner, both are going in against relatively underwhelming opposition.
Unbeaten California based contender Charles Martin (21-0-1, 19ko) boxes Italian club fighter Vicente Sandez (15-4, 10ko) over 10 rounds, his first fight since his outing on the Wladimir Klitschko/Bryant Jennings undercard in which he blitzed Britain’s Tom Dallas inside a round.
“I am excited that PBC is putting the spotlight back on the heavyweights and giving us a much wider opportunity to showcase ourselves to a much wider audience and fan base,” Martin said. “You have the three best American heavyweights in boxing all boxing on the same card,” he added.
While that last part is debatable, the 29 year old Martin is ranked IBF #4 and WBO #2 and it’s unclear what he will learn from a fight of this nature, as a step up in class is clearly needed to determine what his level will ultimately be, although one suspects from his performances thus far, it falls a good way short of the top tier.
His best win remains a 3rd round stoppage of experienced yet extremely limited journeyman Kertson Manswell, (24-12, 18ko) 13 months ago. The Trinidadian has previously been used as an opponent for the likes of Deontay Wilder, Ruslan Chagaev, Mike Perez and Vyacheslav Glazkov, so the result is no shocker.
It’s also worth noting that he boxed unheralded Brazilian Raphael Zumbano Love in February, taking 10 rounds to score a knockout and looking extremely crude and wide open in the process. For comparative purposes to another fighter of power, Britain’s Anthony Joshua fought Love three months later and brutally knocked him out in 2 rounds.
Such was the underwhelming nature of the PBC on NBC card initially, that it was announced that popular former Olympian Dominic Breazeale (15-0, 14ko) will also box on the bill against 36 year old Fred Kassi, (18-3-1, 10ko) – last seen holding Chris Arreola to a controversial draw after a spirited effort in July.
Breazeale, part of the US Olympic squad who all failed to medal at London 2012, is one of the other young heavyweights, along with the likes of the aforementioned Joshua, who is aiming for the top of the division once Wladimir Klitschko’s grip at the top is either wrested away or he retires.
He is coming off a 3rd round stoppage in June of fellow undefeated prospect Yasmany Consuegra.
“This is a huge opportunity for me to show I am one of the best in the entire heavyweight division,” Brezeale said. “Deontay has brought real life and interest back to the division here in the US. We are here to show the world that we are the best that the heavyweight division has to offer and that we are here to stay.”