The year may be drawing to a close, but there’s still a lot more in store for fight fans, with another busy month unfolding this November. We’ve got a real mixed bag, with several marquee players looking to rebound from hard-fought defeats, amidst solid world title scraps, and a pair of anticipated sequels. As always, you can feast on the entire month’s fixtures in our updated Boxing 2017 Schedule.
Deontay Wilder vs. Bermane Stiverne II (Showtime, Sky Sports Main Event)
November 4, New York, US
Today’s elite Heavyweight scene – if we’re talking about genuine top-tier, world-beater types – is a small pond. WBC champ Deontay Wilder belongs in it, and that’s hard to dispute. But does former titlist Bermane Stiverne, apparently Wilder’s WBC mandatory, still swim in that pond? The answer is of course no. And with good reason.
Stiverne has looked generally good in the past, sure. He’s a physical unit, strong, with knockout power, good fundamentals, and has a mean set of whiskers. But since his conclusive, wide points defeat to Wilder back in 2015, Stiverne has all but dropped off the radar. He was decked by journeyman Derric Rossy en route to a laboured decision later that year, and a two-year hiatus followed.
With Wilder’s original foe Luis Ortiz out of the way after failing a doping test, Stiverne has been kinda gifted another championship crack here. So, for Stiverne it’s basically now or never to make a big statement. Especially at 38. We’ll soon see what Stiverne has left in the tank.
Wilder vs. Stiverne: Notable Undercard
- Eric Molina vs. Dominic Breazeale | Heavyweight
- Shawn Porter vs. Adrian Granados | Welterweight
- Sergey Lipinets vs. Akihiro Kondo | vacant IBF Junior Welterweight Championship
- Amanda Serrano vs. Marilyn Hernandez | Junior Lightweight
Daniel Jacobs vs. Luis Arias (HBO, Sky Sports Main Event)
November 11, Uniondale, New York
We know just about all there is about Daniel Jacobs. He’s tough, talented, and sits very convincingly at No.3 in Boxing Base’s Middleweight Top 10. Jacobs’ most notable performance was in fact a loss to Gennady Golovkin in March, in a fight Jacobs came awfully close to winning. He fell just short, but became Golovkin’s second toughest challenger to date that night, only behind Canelo Alvarez.
As for Luis Arias, I don’t know a great deal about the guy, other than that he’s a decent looking 160-pound prospect yet to experience defeat in the pro ranks. He’s untested against serious resistance, but he did look good dropping and stopping Arif Magomedov in June, which is a notable enough scalp to suggest Arias has the right tools to maybe go places.
Of course, Arias will be in uncharted waters against Jacobs, who, despite having been snubbed by a horde of detractors for many years, is the real deal at Middleweight. He’s vastly experienced, with deft boxing smarts and top end power. Naturally, the script says Arias comes as a tune-up here after Jacob’s hard night at the office with Golovkin. We’ll soon see if that’s the case.
Jacobs vs. Arias: Notable Undercard
- Jarrell Miller vs. Mariusz Wach | Heavyweight
Liam Smith vs. Liam Williams II (Boxnation)
November 11, Manchester, England
A solid Junior Middleweight rematch, with Liam Smith facing Liam Williams following an April meeting which was unfortunately marred by accidental head clashes, ultimately leading to Williams’ corning pulling their man. Until the inconclusive ending, that was a compelling scrap, with the unsung Williams truly rising to the occasion and making headliner Smith very uncomfortable.
For Smith, the rematch isn’t a last-chance-saloon type of affair by any means, but his reputation on the world scene could be at stake if he were to fall short. Prior to meeting Williams, Smith captured the vacant WBO title against John Thompson in 2015, going on to make defences against Jimmy Kelly and Predrag Radosevic, before being knocked out by Canelo Alvarez last September.
Really, Smith’s ability at world level has been questionable for some time, and he needs to look good against Williams to keep his critics at bay and big fights possible. Given Smith became the WBO’s interim champ by beating Williams last time around, a victory here could lead to the winner of Miguel Cotto vs Sadam Ali, which sees the fully fledged WBO belt on the line in December.
Smith vs. Williams II: Notable Undercard
- Paul Hyland Jr vs. Stephen Ormond | Lightweight
- Tommy Coyle vs. Tyrone McKenna | Junior Welterweight
- James Tennyson vs. Darren Traynor | Junior Lightweight
Carl Frampton vs. Horacio Garcia (Boxnation)
November 18, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Carl Frampton will be looking to end the year with a bang against Horacio Garcia following a bumpy 2017, which started with a clear decision loss to Leo Santa Cruz. Frampton then parted ways with career-long promoter Cyclone Promotions, likely due to a mid-year fight failing to find a network, and ultimately being scrapped altogether. Frampton has now joined the Frank Warren stable, also replacing trainer Shane McGuigan with Jamie Moore.
As for Horacio Garcia, I don’t know a great deal about the guy – but that’s the beauty of BoxRec. In a nutshell, Garcia looks tough, has never been knocked out, and has heavy enough hands to suggest he’s no walkover. However, he went 29-0 before his slate started getting patchy from 2015 onwards after meeting superior opposition. Garcia is now 4-3-1 in his last eight, including a wide decision loss to Hozumi Hasegawa and a shutout to touted prospect Joseph Diaz.
So, with Garcia’s ceiling fairly low in a deep Featherweight division, it seems unlikely that we’ll be witnessing an upset against Frampton, who, quite frankly, has beaten guys a lot better than Garcia. Furthermore, Frampton has home advantage in Belfast, Northern Ireland. However, with nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain, the 27-year-old Garcia might just decide to go for broke and shock the socks off everyone. Just imagine that.
Frampton vs. Garcia: Notable Undercard
- Jerwin Ancajas vs. Jamie Conlan | IBF Junior Bantamweight Championship
- Zolani Tete vs. Siboniso Gonya | WBO Bantamweight Championship
Sergey Kovalev vs. Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (HBO)
November 25, New York, US
Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, a gnarly, fan-pleasing slugger, wouldn’t usually be considered an obstacle for Sergey Kovalev, but a lot has changed within the past year. Mostly for former WBA, WBO, IBF champ Kovalev, who has suffered back-to-back defeats against Andre Ward, first by razor-thin decision in late 2016, before an 8th round knockout in June.
Now, there’s a good argument that both of those losses were controversial, certainly the first encounter, which many scribes had Kovalev leading. In the rematch, Kovalev was stopped following a borderline body shot that is still disputed by some to this day. The major talking point right now, however, is how big Kovalev’s ambitions in boxing really are going forward.
It’s been rumoured that Kovalev undertrained both times for Ward, and there’s no denying that Kovalev was gassing out badly in their rematch, was suffering considerably from Ward’s body attack, and ate a knee-buckling right hand prior to the stoppage. Personally, I think Kovalev had simply had enough, and wanted out of that fight. Something the referee clearly saw that night.
Overall, Kovalev vs Shabranskyy looks like an exciting scrap of heavy hitters, with a good chance of fireworks and drama. With the vacant WBO title on the line, Shabranskyy has all the more reason to deliver, especially if Kovalev hasn’t quite recovered mentally. On the flip side, Kovalev, still a marketable force, has every reason to put on a show and bury the recent past.
Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy: Notable Undercard
- Sullivan Barrera vs. Felix Valera | Light Heavyweight
- Jason Sosa vs. Robinson Castellanos | Junior Lightweight
Boxing in November: Best of the Rest
Dmitry Bivol vs. Trent Broadhurst (HBO, Sky Sports Main Event)
November 4, Monte Carlo, Monaco; Light Heavyweight
- Jamie McDonnell vs. Liborio Solis II | WBA Bantamweight Championship
- Scott Quigg vs. Oleg Yefimovich | Featherweight
- Agit Kabayel vs. Dereck Chisora | European Heavyweight Championship
Jose Ramirez vs. Mike Reed (ESPN / Deportes, Boxnation)
November 11, Fresno, California; Junior Welterweight
- Artur Berterbiev vs. Enrico Koelling | vacant IBF Light Heavyweight Championship
Anthony Dirrell vs. Denis Douglin (PBC on FS1 / Fox Deportes)
November 17, Flint, Michigan; Super Middleweight
Devon Alexander vs. Walter Castillo (PBC on FS1 / Deportes)
November 21, St. Petersburg, Florida; Welterweight
Wanheng Manayothin vs. Tatsuya Fukuhara (TBA TV)
November 24, Thailand; WBC Strawweight Championship
So there you have it, readers. What’s your take on the November Top 5 matchups? Are there any game-changing upsets lurking? Does Stiverne have a shot in hell against Wilder? And will Sergey Kovalev deal with Shabranskyy, along with his demons, to become a two-time champion? Spill those opinions.