Preview: Martin Murray, Devon Alexander, Chad Dawson, Vasyl Lomachenko

Sports Mole previews some of the biggest fights that are taking place around the world this weekend.

British middleweight Martin Murray will hope to move closer to a second world title opportunity on Saturday evening when he faces Ukrainian Max Bursak in Monte Carlo.

Murray's bout is one of a number of matches around the world involving fighters who are looking to rebuild their careers, with Chad Dawson, Devon Alexander and Robert Guerrero all coming off the back of significant defeats when they step into the ring in California.

Below, Sports Mole assesses each fight and predicts whether each competitor will be able to prevail so that they can start to think of a return to the spotlight later in the year.

1. Martin Murray vs. Max Bursak

After losing in what some described as controversial circumstances to Sergio Martinez in Argentina 14 months ago, Martin Murray was tipped to make a sustained challenge at the top of the 160lbs division as he continued to try to achieve his dream of becoming world champion.

However, visa issues and contractual problems has resulted in months of frustration for the Mancunian, but after switching from Hatton Promotions to Golden Gloves, the 31-year-old has been given a new lease of life during the most important year of his career.

World Boxing Council middleweight challenger Martin Murray of Britain waves before the title bout against defending champion Sergio 'Maravilla' Martinez of Argentina on April 27, 2013© Getty Images

Despite being ranked highly with a number of governing bodies, Murray has fallen off the radar, but after stopping Ishmael Tetteh two months ago, he can move to within a fight of a world title match if he beats Max Bursak.

Bursak is coming off the back of a defeat to Australia's Jarrod Fletcher, but like with the majority of Ukrainian fighters, the 29-year-old is tough, durable and has never been stopped during a 32-fight career.

After just 14 rounds in as many months, Murray might take time to shake off a bit of ring rust, but if he can find his 'A' game on Saturday evening, he should have enough to secure a close points win over his opponent.

2. Chad Dawson vs. George Blades

Chad Dawson has long been considered one of America's classiest boxers, and after beating Bernard Hopkins over 12 rounds in 2012, he looked on course to establish himself as one of his nation's leading fighters over the past five years.

However, successive defeats to Andre Ward, and a crushing stoppage loss to Adonis Stevenson, has resulted in the 31-year-old taking over a year away from the ring to evaluate the direction in which he wishes to continue his career.

Dawson returns on Saturday against George Blades, who has 23 wins from 28 encounters, and the former pound-for-pound top-10 boxer should be able to dispose of his opponent during the opening half of their bout.

3. Devon Alexander vs. Jesus Soto Karass

Devon Alexander was linked with meetings with British duo Kell Brook and Amir Khan throughout 2013 before eventually meeting Shawn Porter in December in a match that he was expected to come through on points.

However, a resounding 12-round victory for Porter sent the fast-handed American back to the drawing board but he has chosen to make his return against Jesus Soto Karass, who has been in the ring with a number of the world's top fighters.

Devon Alexander talks with reporters during a training session in preparation for his upcoming fight against Shawn Porter at Gleason's Gym on December 3, 2013© Getty Images

He also went nine rounds with emerging star Keith Thurman in his last outing, and while Alexander should win, Soto Karass has the potential of taking the two-weight world champion to the limit.

Devon Alexander talks with reporters during a training session in preparation for his upcoming fight against Shawn Porter at Gleason's Gym on December 3, 2013© Getty Images

4. Robert Guerrero vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai

It's been over a year since Robert Guerrero tried and failed to bring an end to the undefeated streak of Floyd Mayweather Jr, but the California resident is finally making his return in front of his home crowd.

Guerrero is another to be linked with Amir Khan, but he has opted to face Japan's Yoshihiro Kamegai who, coincidentally, has failed to win for the only times in his career when competing in California.

Kamegai has a reputation of being a puncher, but on an evening where he knows that he must perform, expect a slick boxing display from Guerrero, who should either win on points or stop his man in the closing stages.

5. Gary Russell Jnr vs. Vasyl Lomachenko

Vasyl Lomachenko is regarded as the greatest amateur boxer of all time, boasting a record of just one defeat in 397 matches, but his professional career has got off to an indifferent start after he was thrown into a world title bout in just his second fight.

The Ukrainian was still expected to come through with the WBO featherweight strap, but after suffering a split-decision loss to Orlando Salido, questions were raised whether the 26-year-old had been fast-tracked too early.

Despite the loss, Lomachenko will face unbeaten American Gary Russell Jnr for the same belt on Saturday, and while all eyes will be on the technically-gifted European, it's unlikely that his promoters would have kept him at the highest level if they weren't expecting a comfortable win against a man who also enjoyed a successful period as an amateur.

Martin Murray
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