By Cliff Rold
Some weeks just kick more ass than others.
This is shaping up to be one of those weeks.
No one can say for sure. Style clashes, accidental head clashes, or just plain old lack of clash can throw water on what looks to be the embryo of a roaring fire.
We hope for the best. We can almost expect it this week. After all, the one thing that is true, no matter how the biggest event of the weekend plays out, is this: the best division in boxing is on display with one of its best potential offerings.
Trying not to get too excited before the opening bell will be hard work.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick B.A.D.: #1 Fernando Montiel vs. #4 Nonito Donaire (Saturday, HBO, 9:45 PM EST/PST)
Donaire (25-1, 17 KO), the former IBF Flyweight titlist, has only had one fight at Bantamweight. That’s why he isn’t rated higher. It does not mean this fight won’t feature the two best combatants at 118 lbs. if not two of the five most talented fighters in the world. After all, aside from each other, would either man be an underdog to anyone in class right now? Heck, would Donaire be an underdog to anyone below 126 lbs. right now? He’ll have his hands full this weekend…or not. If not, if he blows through the WBC/WBO titlist, and former 112 and 115 lb. champ, Montiel (44-2-2, 34 KO), the way he did Wladimir Sidorenko and Vic Darchinyan is his two best wins to date? Do that and Donaire may find himself behind only a certain Filipino Congressman sooner than later. The excitement about this one stems from few thinking a blow out is in the offing. Donaire is younger by a few years but Montiel is more experienced, more proven, and has a punishing equalizer of a left hand. Ask the outstanding Hozumi Hasegawa about that one. However, also recall Montiel is 0-2 in hyped HBO B.A.D. fights, turning in stinker defeats at the hands of the great Mark Johnson and rangy Jhonny Gonzalez. Third time the charm? We all find out this Saturday.
This is what boxing is all about.
Pick Deuce: Fernando Guerrero vs. Derrick Findley (Friday, ESPN2, 9:00 PM EST/6:00 PM PST)
It remains to be seen whether or not the rising Middleweight prospect Guerrero (20-0, 16 KO) becomes a champion but odds are we are going to learn a lot in 2011. We already know he’s built one of the best regional drawing bases of any fighter in the States, bringing loyal hometown fans out in Maryland repeatedly in recent years. If he can energize more of the Mid-Atlantic region, he could become the sort of athletic drawing card the region lacks in this era of the Dead-skins and unmagical Wizards. A guy like Findley (17-4, 11 KO) will hang around long enough to make him look good on that quest. Having interesting Welterweight prospect Shawn Porter (17-0, 13 KO) on the undercard makes this an all round must see show for those looking to the future.
Pick Solo: Mercito Gesta vs. Genaro Trazancos (Friday, Telefutura, 11:30 PM EST/PST)
With pickings slim after the top show and the ESPN2 offering on U.S. TV this week, Fans can still get a look at another potential champ of tomorrow on “Solo Boxeo.” Gesta (20-0-1, 10 KO) has a long way to go before he worries about breathing the air ethnic brothers Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire do but he’s making it fun to watch the journey. Opponent Trazancos (22-13-1, 13 KO) is in for a long (but probably short) night.
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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]