In England, IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook will make his first defense of the belt he won from Shawn Porter last August, when he faces Ionut Dan Ion. Ion lost twice to Selcuk Aydin in 2010 and 2011 and should be relatively easy work for Brook. But the undefeated Brook looks like he could be a major player in the highly competitive welterweight division in the years to come, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts in his first bout as a defending champion.
WBA and WBO flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada will be in action in Yucatan, as he defends his belts against Rommel Asenjo. Estrada has developed into a potential pound-for-pound talent in the past two years. Expect him to handle Asenjo, but he would no doubt love a chance to avenge his loss against three-division champion and undefeated superstar Roman Gonzalez later this year, so a big performance will be important for him this weekend.
Just three weeks after he knocked out the irrelevant Willie Williams, Roy Jones Jr. will return to action against the absurdly obscure Paul Vasquez. Jones hasn’t been an elite fighter in over a decade, since he was knocked out in back-to-back fights against Antonio Tarver in Glen Johnson in 2004. Still, he is a true legend of the sport and even if he’s fighting nobodies, it’s still worth a mention when he steps back into the ring.
The biggest card of the weekend is a double bill taking place in Las Vegas. WBC featherweight champion Jhonny Gonzalez will defend against Gary Russell Jr. Coming off the first loss of his career last year against Vasyl Lomachenko, Russell will look to use his speed and skill to snatch a belt from an aging champion. Gonzalez may have seen better days, but he remains the division’s most dangerous puncher, aside from WBA champion Nicholas Walters.
At light middleweight, undefeated phenom Jermell Charlo will face former once-beaten Vanes Martirosyan. Jermell is the younger of the two celebrated Charlo twins, who many fans and observers view as potential superstars. Martirosyan is a former Olympian with punching power, so this should be a significant step up in competition for Charlo. For Martirosyan, a win will shoot him back to near the top of the 154-pound division.