Following last weekend’s big fight, much of the boxing public will no doubt be taking a break this weekend. Boxrec has three cards listed in the United States–at a high school gym in Augusta, Georgia, a hotel in L.A. and a convention center in Toledo. Across the globe, there is little in the way of relevant fights.
One exception will be down in Chihuahua, where a pair of undefeated welterweights face off in an IBC eliminator, as Russian Konstantin Ponomarev battles Carlos Ocampo.
At 24, Ponomarev is something of a rarity as a Russian, in that he has no amateur background of significance. I expect to see that become increasingly common with Eastern Europeans his age and younger, though. Like U.S. boxers in recent generations, they will likely realize the overall advantage in getting paid to get punched, as much as possible, as soon as possible.
Ponomarev is now 32-0 with 13 KOs. He is a busy, charismatic fighter. He’s a bit light on punching power, but he is also trained by Abel Sanchez. I could easily imagine Sanchez developing the ability to sit down better on his punches, the same way Freddie Roach appears to have done for Viktor Postol.
Ponomarev was supposed to have faced Errol Spence Jr. in an IBF eliminator about a year ago or so. He pulled out due to injury. I have my doubts about that, since he still managed to make it back to the ring by last November, to face journeyman Silverio Ortiz. But I highly approve of the dodge. Ponomarev ain’t ready for Errol Spence Jr.
Let’s be real, of course–there’s a small handful of fighters on the planet who could honestly say they are prepared to fight Spence. One is named Terence Crawford, one is named Floyd Mayweather and there might be another one named Terence Crawford. End of list, as far as I can see.
Ponomarev is young and good and has plenty of time. Nobody is going to be paying much attention this weekend when he fights Ocampo. Ocampo is 21-0, has never fought outside of Mexico and does not list his birthdate on Boxrec. He is definitely one tough SOB but could very well not be an world-class contender, which Ponomarev has more or less proven himself to be at this point.