There has been plenty of hand-wringing around the boxing community concerning the lackluster slate of fights that has been served up so far in 2010.
It’s hard to say it hasn’t been justified, because it’s been a fairly sour year for the sweet science.
Despite that, it’s starting to look like all fight fans had to do was be patient. The year isn’t quite over yet, and November is shaping up to have fights worth watching on every weekend.
The November boxing schedule got another big boost yesterday, when it was officially announced that the much rumored rematch between Sergio Martinez and Paul Williams will take place on Nov. 20 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
That’s the same place the two fighters put on a thrilling display last year, helping put Martinez on the map even though he lost the decision.
The current middleweight champ has a lot more American fans now, and Williams’ punch output means he’s rarely in a boring fight.
It’s always dangerous to assume that an exciting first bout will guarantee an equally compelling follow-up (see Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz II), but Martinez-Williams II is as close as it gets to money in the bank.
Of course that’s just one fight, but the other three weekends in November aren’t looking too shabby, either. Though not all of these bouts are 100 percent finalized, here’s what else we should be watching in two months:
Nov. 6: Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Rafael Marquez (Showtime)
Pushed back once due to injury, this much-anticipated clash looks like it’s all set for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Lopez is undoubtedly one of the sport’s most exciting fighters, often walking on the razor’s edge between triumph and disaster.
He’s already knocked out two opponents in 2010, but he’ll be facing a much bigger challenge in Marquez, an experienced champion who proved his skill, power and heart in his epic series with Israel Vazquez.
On the same night, Zab Judah will try to keep his revival going by taking on Lucas Matthysse on HBO.
But the real intrigue for hardcore fans will come with the scheduled return of James Kirkland, a devastating knockout artist whose career has been on hold for more than a year due to legal troubles.
Nov. 13: Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito (HBO PPV)
It’s not the fight most Pacquiao fans wanted to see him make, but he’s popular enough that people will still tune in.
Add in the controversy surrounding Margarito and a larger-than-life venue in Cowboys Stadium and all the ingredients are there for something memorable.
Pacquiao’s PPV undercards are often a waste of time, but this one might be a little better.
Cuban defector Guillermo Rigondeaux should get pushed a bit more by Ricardo Cordoba, and former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik will try his hand at 168 pounds against Daniel Edouard.
Nov. 27: Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Michael Katsidis (HBO)
While Marquez keeps stumping for a third shot at Pacquiao, he’ll have to be careful not to look past Katsidis.
The Aussie has come up short against elite competition in the past, but he’s got the power to be plenty dangerous and a style that usually leads to sustained action.
The co-feature should also be worth watching, as mini-Williams clone Celestino Caballero does battle with Jason Litzau, a fighter who’s been on both ends of some decent KOs in the past.
Looks like a pretty tasty lineup to this writer. November can’t get here soon enough.