by Cliff Rold
For those who missed it, last Friday’s Telemundo Jr. Bantamweight main event was a gem and proof that one never knows where a good fight will break out.
Matching two young tigers of similar skill level is usually a good start.
It is with this in mind that boxing turns to its first really big fight of 2011. Or is it? According to multiple reports, ticket sales are less than overwhelming at the Silverdome. A fight that could easily have done ten thousand-plus in St. Louis or packed a house in a Southern California desert oasis is relying on the people to Detroit to brave the cold for a pair of outstanding fighters not from their neck of the woods.
The gate will be a problem.
The action in the ring, no matter the business of the bout, should not be.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick HBO: #1 Timothy Bradley vs. #2 Devon Alexander (Saturday, HBO, 10:00 PM EST/7:00 PM PST)
The folks predicting this one might not be a good fight because of how the ‘styles’ mesh are a head-scratching lot. Have they watched these two? WBO titlist Bradley (26-0, 11 KO) made a one-sided drubbing of Lamont Peterson wildly watchable. WBC titlist Alexander (21-0, 13 KO), whether stopping the previously rock chinned Juan Urango or just skating by against tough Andriy Kotelnik, has made for some good shows. It might be cerebral but there is nothing to suggest that this match between arguably (more on that briefly) the two best Jr. Welterweights in the world should be boring. They’re both in their physical primes; both still acquiring experience and yet seasoned enough to make this bout stand out. It’s a fight fans fight and will be contested at a high level, at a mutual speed fans are not accustomed to seeing on both sides of the ball often anymore. The only thing stopping this from being a full-fledged ‘new lineal champ’ night, a chance to fill the Manny Pacquiao vacancy at 140, is Amir Khan. Khan has as much claim to the two spot as Alexander and these three men all have to work it out before anyone can be king.
Boxing should relish every second as they do.
Pick Solo: Charles Huerta vs. Raul Hirales (Friday, Telefutura, 11:30 PM EST/PST)
While some fans will, because they are Heavyweights, be intrigued by the latest episode of the “how much will Chris Arreola weigh?” on Friday Night Fights, the recommendation here is for Friday to be focused on this show. It’s a pair of young Featherweights, both real long-term prospects, clashing in what could be a blazing affair. Huerta (16-1, 9 KO) has bounced back with five straight wins after getting clipped early in the summer of 2009. Hirales (11-0, 7 KO) will threaten to test his loss ledger again. Look for the best Solo Boxeo show so far in 2011.
Pick YouTube: Fun Show in South Africa (Saturday, ?)
Maybe it shows up somewhere like YouTube. Maybe not. Hope it does because, if so, it will trump being the number two show to watch from Saturday. The other option is Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Still not interested on this front in that sideshow.
There is much interest in a top ten clashes at Strawweight. #1 Nkosinathi Joyi (21-0, 15 KO) looked fantastic in taking the IBF 105 lb. belt from Raul Garcia last year and makes his first defense against BoxingScene #8 Katsunari Tokuyama (24-4, 10 KO). The former WBC titlist has lost only once since April 2007, that to the excellent Roman Gonzalez. He went the distance there and should be in the hunt all night on the road this weekend. An IBF 130 lb. eliminator between former titlist Cassius Baloyi and Argenis Mendez should make sure fans who buy a ticket in Carnival City get their rand’s worth.
For BoxingScene’s latest full divisional ratings, log on to: http://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=boxing-ratings
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]