Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson: Undercard Packed with High Hopes

By Eric Raskin

Veterans looking to show they still belong. Young fighters out to demonstrate they can be great. Contenders hoping to soon become champions. On the three-fight televised undercard of the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson light heavyweight championship bout at Staples Center in Los Angeles on October 15, everybody has something to prove.

Jorge Linares (31-1, 20 KOs) vs. Antonio DeMarco (25-2-1, 18 KOs), 12 Rounds, Lightweights

Linares was thought to have pound-for-pound potential until a shocking first-round knockout at the hands of unknown Juan Carlos Salgado derailed him in 2009. Four straight wins since have the boxing community again talking about the 26-year-old Venezuelan’s P-4-P potential, and in DeMarco, he faces the youngest, strongest test of his comeback so far.

A gutsy 25-year-old southpaw, DeMarco is also trying to shake off a loss, though his was not an upset. It was the undefeated power puncher Edwin Valero who handed him a defeat three fights ago (in the late Valero’s final fight). There’s no shame in losing that way. But the Linares fight represents DeMarco’s second, and perhaps final, chance to prove he can get the job done at the elite level.

Linares has the edge here in terms of skill, so DeMarco’s job is to apply pressure, find his opponent’s questionable chin, and do his best to prevent skill from being the deciding factor.

Danny Garcia (21-0, 14 KOs) vs. Kendall Holt (27-4, 15 KOs), 12 Rounds, Junior Welterweights

This is your classic crossroads fight, an unbeaten but relatively untested prospect against a veteran ex-titleholder fighting to remain in the picture. And it’s as even a matchup as you’ll find. On top of that, Garcia is promising a brawl.

“He’s supposed to be one of the hardest punchers. I think I’m one of the hardest punchers,” the 23-year-old Philly fighter said. “So it’s going to be an all-out fight.”

The 30-year-old Holt is fresh off a contender for Knockout of the Year in which he iced Julio Diaz in the third round with a spectacular body-head double left hook combo. Holt has also been on the receiving end of a stoppage in three of his four defeats, which means there’s a high likelihood this one ends with someone on the canvas. The question is who that someone will be.

Paulie Malignaggi (29-4, 6 KOs) vs. Orlando Lora (28-1-1, 19 KOs), 10 Rounds, Welterweights

Photo Credit: Will HartIt seems like Malignaggi has been around forever, but he’s still only 30 years old and looking to make one more push in a new division with a new promoter. One look at “The Magic Man’s” record tells you how he fights: With six knockouts among 29 victories, he’s all about speed and slickness (plus the ability to take a hard punch, even if he can’t deliver one).

Mexico’s Lora is the question mark. He’s never faced anyone with Malignaggi’s pedigree. The limited amount of film on Lora reveals that he’s a solid, steady boxer with a consistent jab—but if Malignaggi is still Malignaggi, then solid, steady, and consistent don’t figure to be enough.