Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson and the Top 10 Can't Miss Fights in June
As everyone waits for the heavyweight megafight in July, June will feature many intriguing matchups with many of the up-and-comers and stars in the welterweight, super-middleweight and light-heavyweight divisions.
The biggest fight of the month will be the semifinal matchup between WBC Super-Middleweight Champion Carl "The Cobra" Froch and Glen Johnson. The winner will face Andre Ward in the finals of the Super Six World Boxing Classic tournament.
Mikkel Kessler and Devon Alexander also return to the ring. Kessler hasn't fought since his win over Froch last April. Alexander received the first loss of his career in January to Timothy Bradley.
Other boxers set to fight include Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Jason Litzau, Tavoris Cloud and Felix Sturm.
No. 10: Jonathan Barros vs. Celestino Caballero, June 18th
WBA World Featherweight Champion Jonathan Victor Barros will be making the second defense of his title against Celestino Caballero on June 18th.
Barros (32-1, 18 KO) only has one loss in his career, which came against Yuriorkis Gamboa last year. Since then, he has gone 4-0 and most recently defeated Miguel Roman in March.
Caballero (34-3, 23 KO) had a tough-luck kind of fight in his last outing versus Jason Litzau. Many ring experts didn't even acknowledge Litzau as being a possible threat, but he overcame the odds and won a hard-fought split decision.
Caballero's loss to Litzau was his first defeat since 2004. He was riding a 15-fight win streak before that and was one of the top bantamweights in the world before moving up to featherweight. He will be fighting Barros at featherweight as well.
No. 9: Mikkel Kessler vs. Mehdi Bouadla, June 4th
From Copenhagen, Denmark, former WBC Super Middleweight Champion and former Super Six competitor Mikkel Kessler gets back into action against Mehdi Bouadla.
The fight will be broadcast on tape delay before the Froch-Johnson bout June 4th on Showtime, and it should be a welcome return for Kessler.
Bouadla (22-3, 10 KO) fights out of France and is on an 11-fight win streak.
Kessler (43-2, 32 KO) will have a big advantage in experience, and this is nothing more than a warm-up bout for future bouts with the top super-middleweights in the division. A possible bout with Lucian Bute could be next for him if he is successful in this fight.
No. 8: Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia vs. Miguel Beltran Jr., June 4th
On the undercard of Sebastian Zbik vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., fans will be treated to a featherweight matchup between one of the best prospects coming up in the sport.
Miguel Angel Garcia (25-0, 21 KO) is undefeated and only 23. Currently ranked 10th in the division by Ring magazine, Garcia got the biggest win of his career when he defeated his previously unbeaten opponent, Matt Remillard, earlier this year on an HBO undercard.
Miguel Beltran Jr. (24-1, 17 KO) hasn't had the same level of experience as Garcia, but he does hold a solid record with only one defeat, which makes him a threat to Garcia.
No. 7: Jason Litzau vs. Adrien Broner, June 18th
"The American Boy" Jason Litzau (28-2, 21 KO) is coming off the biggest win of his career after defeating Celestino Caballero last year. Litzau was a massive underdog and took the fight to Caballero, who had a hard time adjusting to the new weight division.
His opponent, Adrien Broner (20-0, 16 KO), is a confident, young fighter who recently defeated Daniel Ponce de Leon by a controversial unanimous decision on the undercard of Saul Alvarez-Matthew Hatton. His hit-and-run style of fighting is the kind that many fans are against, but Litzau will make him fight.
This is a great fight because both fighters are as confident as they have ever been in their careers. Broner is making his second appearance on HBO, while Litzau is coming off the win over Caballero that definitely gained him a lot of momentum in fans' eyes.
No. 6: Sebastian Zbik vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., June 4th
Someone's "0" has got to go when Sebastian Zbik (30-0, 10 KO) defends his WBC middleweight title against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (42-0-1, 30 KO) on HBO June 4th.
The son of the all-time great Mexican boxer has been the subject of much criticism for most his career, fighting lesser opponents to build up a record of non-contenders and overmatched opponents. His style doesn't mirror the aggressive, relentless attack of his father either, but it has led him to being undefeated over eight years of being a professional.
Zbik is currently ranked sixth in the division by Ring magazine. Like most European boxers, he is an excellent technician inside the ring. His last four bouts all went the 12-round distance.
This will undoubtedly be the biggest fight of Chavez' career, and if he passes this test, he will be looking to move on to bigger and better things in the middleweight division.
No. 5: Felix Sturm vs. Matthew Macklin, June 25th
One of the boxers from this June 25th bout will be hoping for a future showdown with pound-for-pound WBC Middleweight Champion Sergio Martinez.
WBA Middleweight Champion Felix Sturm (35-2, 15 KO) will be taking on Matthew Macklin (28-2, 19 KO) in Cologne, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, his home country, on June 25th.
This is a important fight for a division that is filled with opponents that want a crack at Martinez. Sturm is currently ranked first in the division by Ring magazine, while Macklin is ranked fifth. Sturm has been in the top 10 for over seven years.
Both fighters' last defeats came in 2006, but they have proven themselves in high-profile bouts that deserve more attention than they probably get.
The fight will be broadcast on Epix and EpixHD.com.
No. 4: Tavoris Cloud vs. Yusaf Mack, June 25th
Light-heavyweight contenders Tavoris Cloud (22-0, 18 KO) and Yusaf Mack (29-3, 17 KO) will be aiming for a possible shot at Jean Pascal when they fight on the undercard of Devon Alexander vs. Lucas Matthysse on June 25th.
Behind Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson and Pascal, there is Cloud, and he is one of the top light-heavyweights who hasn't gotten his shot against one of the other three best in the division. He is currently ranked second in the division by Ring magazine.
Mack has had a lot of experience fighting against very good opposition. Opponents like Glen Johnson, Librado Andrade, Daniel Judah and Chris Henry all made up part of his 11-year career. Cloud also has his share of experience with wins over Glen Johnson, Clinton Woods, Fulgencio Zuniga and Julio Cesar Gonzalez.
This is the perfect opportunity for Cloud to call out one of the top light-heavyweights, and he will probably do it if he gets past Mack.
No. 3: Saul "Canelo" Alvarez vs. Ryan Rhodes, June 18th
Fast-rising superstar and current WBC light-middleweight title holder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (36-0, 26 KO) hopes to take his star status to the next level when he takes on Ryan Rhodes (45-4, 32 KO) in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico on June 18th.
The HBO-featured bout will be the toughest test yet for the 20-year-old from Mexico, and while Rhodes is ranked fourth in the division by Ring magazine, he doesn't have the kind of momentum and ever-increasing fanbase carrying his career that Alvarez does.
Alvarez went 5-0 in 2010, which made him a possible fighter of the year candidate. He followed up on it with a win in March over Matthew Hatton to win the vacant WBC title. He defeated Hatton by a clear unanimous decision over 12 rounds.
Rhodes hasn't fought yet this year, but he did fight twice in 2010, winning both his fights by TKO. He turned professional in 1995, five years after Alvarez was born.
No. 2: Devon Alexander vs. Lucas Matthysse, June 25th
Devon Alexander (21-1, 13 KO) will be trying to rebound from his first professional defeat when he fights Lucas Matthysse (28-1, 26 KO) on June 25th.
The HBO main event will take place in Saint Charles, Missouri.
Matthysse has a 86 percent knockout ratio, and the only loss of his career was a disputed split decision to Zab Judah last year. He followed up on that performance with an eighth-round knockout of DeMarcus Corley in January.
Alexander was last seen losing a technical decision to Timothy Bradley in January. The super-fight was a super-dud, as Alexander didn't show any intentions of taking charge of the bout. He didn't fight in the same style that fans saw when he defeated Juan Urango and Andriy Kotelnik in 2010.
This fight should be very exciting, as Alexander is coming off a loss and has nothing to worry about in terms of retaining a perfect record. Matthysse's power also presents problems that should be answered by Alexander, who is more determined than ever to make a statement.
No. 1: Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson, June 4th
The last semifinal matchup of the Super Six World Boxing Classic may be the best fight of the entire tournament. It could also be a possible fight of the year candidate.
Current WBC Super Middleweight Champion Carl "The Cobra" Froch (27-1, 20 KO) takes on "Road Warrior" Glen Johnson (51-14-2, 35 KO) for a shot at WBA Champion Andre Ward, who is coming off a win over Arthur Abraham.
Froch was last seen defeating Abraham as well, and he did so in dominant fashion, winning all 12 rounds on two of the three judges' scorecards. His other victory in the tournament was against Andre Dirrell.
Johnson recently defeated Allan Green, knocking him out in the eighth round of their tournament bout. Johnson was a late replacement for Kessler.
The 42-year-old from Jamaica could give his best performance to date, and that will make for a great fight, win or lose. Both are determined to leave their mark, and it's by putting on exciting performances each time they enter the ring.