By Graham Houston
Showtime winds up an excellent year of fights on Friday with a three-fight card on ShoBox, headed by unbeaten middleweight Fernando Guerrero in a 10-rounder against an old amateur rival from Maryland, Jessie Nicklow. It seems they met five times in the amateurs, with Nicklow winning twice. Guerrero is one of those fun-to-watch fighters. A southpaw with an aggressive style, he has been meeting a tougher calibre of opposition in the past year, getting off the floor to beat Gabriel Rosado and, in his last fight, scraping through on a majority decision against the durable Ossie Duran (one round on one card from being a draw).
The setting of Hinckley, MN, is a neutral site for what should be a crowd-pleasing battle although I would imagine that the atmosphere would have been boisterous had the fight taken place in the Baltimore area, with supporters of both men able to be in attendance.
Nicklow has a good record (one loss in 22 bouts) but he is winless in his last two appearances, losing on points to George Rivera (whom he had previously beaten) and then boxing a draw with the 35-year-old southpaw John Mackey in his last fight. He hasn’t been too active, either: on Friday he will be having only his second bout in 13 months.
I haven’t had the chance to see Nicklow, but as he fought almost even-steven with Guerrero in the amateurs he should be able to put up a competitive fight. Their pro records indicate that the gulf in class has widened between the two boxers, though, and Guerrero should win, probably by decision.
SHAWN PORTER vs JAMAR PATTERSON
Graham’s odds: Porter -400; Patterson +250
Over 7.5 -150; under 7.5 +135
Two unbeaten welterweights meet in an eight-rounder but Porter has the look of a fighter going places. I have heard good things about him from people whose opinions I value, and I expect him to win in good style on Friday.
LANARD LANE vs SAID EL HARRACK
Graham’s Odds: Lane +115, El Harrack -135
Over 7.5 -160; under 7.5 +140
I haven’t delved too deeply into this one. Again, we have two undefeated welters meeting in an eight-round bout. Philadelphian Lane has been a 147-pounder his whole career, the Moroccan El Harrack started off as a junior welter and his weight was listed as 157 pounds for his last fight. I haven’t seen either fighter but my suspicion is that El Harrack might be the one with the greater upside.