HBO presents "Action Heroes" Saturday, April 9th, which will feature former WBC bantamweight and featherweight champion Erik Morales. He will be taking on Marcos Maidana, a fighter that gave Amir Khan a run for his money in one of 2010's best fights.
The co-main event is one of the most intriguing fights of the year and will feature lightweight contenders Robert Guerrero and Michael Katsidis. The 12-round bout will be for the interim WBA world lightweight title and interim WBO lightweight title.
Main Event (12-rounds, light-welterweight): Marcos Maidana (29-2, 27 KO) vs. Erik Morales (51-6, 35 KO)
Co-Main Event (12-rounds, lightweight): Robert Guerrero (28-1, 18 KO) vs. Michael Katsidis (27-3, 22 KO)
Undercard bout (8-rounds, light-middleweight): James Kirkland (27-0, 24 KO) vs. Nobuhiro Ishida (22-6-2, 7 KO)
Undercard bout (10-rounds, welterweight): Paulie Malignaggi (28-4, 6 KO) vs. Jose Miguel Cotto (32-2-1, 24 KO)
Undercard bout (10-rounds, light-welterweight): Danny Garcia (20-0, 14 KO) vs. Nate Campbell (33-7-1, 25 KO)
Danny Garcia is one of the best up-and-comers in the welterweight division. The 23-year-old from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will take on tough veteran and former WBO and IBF lightweight champion Nate Campbell.
Campbell went 0-2 in 2010 while Garcia five victories in the year including four knockouts. Garcia knocked out notable boxers Mike Arnaoutis and Jorge Romero.
Garcia is the comfortable favorite in this fight with a record to back it up. Campbell is on his way out and Garcia is on his way up; this fight should be further proof of that, although Campbell upset the undefeated Juan Diaz in 2008 and has the style that can create problems for fighters who haven't faced the upper levels of the sport.
Unfortunately, Campbell isn't at that spot anymore, and Garcia should be able take a comfortable decision victory.
Pick: Danny Garcia by unanimous decision.
Paulie Malignaggi recently moved up to the welterweight division of 147 pounds after losing to Amir Khan in May. He defeated Michael Lozada and earned a rarely seen TKO in December. It was the first stoppage win of the Brooklyn-born fighter's career since 2003.
Jose Miguel Cotto, the brother of previous Malignaggi opponent Miguel Cotto, has only lost to Saul Alvarez in 2010 and Juan Diaz in 2006.
This should be a fairly close fight throughout. Cotto is tough enough to make it the distance and Malignaggi's light punches shouldn't be enough to stop the Puerto-Rican boxer from doing some damage inside.
It's always fun watching Malignaggi fight, and this one will probably be better than expected.
Pick: Paulie Malignaggi by unanimous decision.
James Kirkland (27-0, 24 KO) recently returned to the ring early in March after a two-year absence from the sport, which he spent fighting court battles and serving a prison sentence for a firearm charge. He was released in September 2010 after serving half of a 24-month sentence.
After defeating his second opponent Jhon Berrio last month, Kirkland quickly scheduled his next bout for the undercard of the "Action Heroes" PPV. His opponent is Japanese-born fighter Nobuhiro Ishida (22-6, 7 KO). Ishida had an extensive amateur career of 101 victories with 15 losses. He has never been knocked out, even with six professional defeats.
Ishida is more than capable of making it the eight-round distance, but Kirkland is a different kind of fighter that he has yet to face. It will be interesting to see if Kirkland can put him away.
Pick: James Kirkland by unanimous decision or late TKO.
Perhaps this is the best style clash of the month will come when Robert Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 KO) and action-fighter Michael Katsidis (27-3, 22 KO) meet this Saturday. The interim WBO lightweight title and interim WBA world-lightweight title will both be on the line.
The winner of this bout will take one big step in earning a lightweight title shot versus the top fighters in the division including Juan Manuel Marquez and Humberto Soto. Katsidis lost to Marquez in a "Fight of the Year" candidate by ninth-round technical knockout. That followed a third-round TKO versus previously unbeaten fighter Kevin Mitchell in May
Guerrero hasn't been defeated since his only career loss in 2005. He went 3-0 in 2010 including and impressive victory over Vicente Escobedo in November. His other wins came over Nate Campbell and Roberto Arrieta.
This is a very tough fight to call, and part of me wants to call it a draw because the style matchup is one that makes it very hard to predict. It could go either way.
Pick: Robert Guerrero by split decision.
The main event of the first major PPV of the month between Marcos Maidana (29-2, 27 KO) and Erik Morales (51-6, 35 KO) will be an intriguing affair between two of the toughest fighters in boxing. The 12-round bout will be for the interim WBA world light-welterweight title.
Morales went 3-0 in 2010 after returning from a mini-retirement which started in 2007 after suffering his fourth consecutive loss to David Diaz. Morales is best known for his two trilogies versus all-time greats Manny Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera. He is also the last person to defeat the pound-for-pound king.
Maidana is ranked third in the division by Ring Magazine, and had a late "Fight of the Year" candidate versus Amir Khan in December. After being knocked down in the first round, Maidana returned to almost stop Khan in the last quarter of the fight. He lost a close unanimous decision that warranted a rematch.
Although not as intriguing as the co-main event, this fight should be fun for however long it lasts.
Pick: Marcos Maidana by TKO in the last half of the fight.