by Cliff Rold
It’s not the main event.
Well, it’s not just the main event.
No, the thing that really stands out is the question of what is below the Jr. Middleweight belt fight between titlist Miguel Cotto and (long) former lineal Welterweight champion Ricardo Mayorga. Anyone willing to plop down approximately $50 for the Cotto-Mayorga show this weekend has to ask themselves if that amount is worth it to see a main event that looks like a gimme’, some Yuri Foreman-Pawel Wolak action, and an admittedly pretty interesting Lightweight belt fight between Miguel Vazquez and Leonardo Zappavigna.
The last of those is the best fight on the show, at least on paper.
So, again, is it worth it?
These are the picks of the week.
Pick Middle: World Champion Sergio Martinez vs. #1 (at 154) Sergiy Dzinziruk (Saturday, HBO, 10:30 PM EST/7:30 PM PST)
If it is worth it, it might be because this one for the real World Middleweight crown gets a little too cerebral for some. Martinez (46-2-2, 25 KO) was pretty much everyone’s Fighter of the Year for 2010. He’s following that campaign, with wins over Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams, to make his second title defense against arguably the best Jr. Middle in the world. Martinez is on one hell of a run to be sure. Dzinziruk (37-0, 23 KO) has no special affects but he’s tall, sturdy, and can jab all night. War may be hard to come by but a challenging fight is likely. It might not be enough for the blood and guts crowd. They get theirs too on HBO with a co-feature that should see leather flying. It’s Ireland versus Scotland as Andy Lee (24-1, 18 KO) squares off with Craig McEwan (19-0, 10 KO). The winner enters the fringes of serious contention at Middleweight. Whether that is Martinez or Dzinziruk, they’ll still have some work to do.
Pick Pay: #2 Miguel Cotto vs. Ricardo Mayorga (Saturday, Showtime PPV, 9:00 PM EST/6:00 PM PST)
Look, if the money ain’t in the coffers, skip it. If it is, why not tune in here? It’s a way to kill 90 minutes until the HBO show starts and one can DVR the rest. After all, when has Cotto (35-2, 28 KO), now a Jr. Middleweight after titles at Jr. Welterweight and Welterweight, been in a bad fight? Sure, he’s supposed to win. But when has Mayorga (29-7-1, 23 KO) gone down without a fight when he’s supposed to lose? He and Felix Trinidad was a scorcher, his loss to Oscar De La Hoya was electric, the win over Fernando Vargas was fun, and he gave Shane Mosley hell before getting capped out. Miguel Cotto has more than earned anyone’s dime. And, hey, Vazquez (27-3, 12 KO) and Zappavigna (25-0, 17 KO) is for a Lightweight belt. Has there been a bad Lightweight title fight in the last year or two?
Pick Burns: #3 Ricky Burns vs. Joseph Laryea (Saturday, Scotland, ?)
Speaking of dudes who just bring it, the WBO 130 lb. titlist Burns (30-2, 7 KO) is all balls in the ring. Laryea (14-4, 11 KO) is probably out of his league, and a head scratcher as a title fight foe, but if this one turns up on YouTube, Burns is always worth a look.
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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]