By Cliff Rold
Not enough boxing on television for your tastes most weeks? Yeah, the weekend coming up won’t fit the description. From Thursday night, with a Fox/Ringtv.com Fight Club show, through Saturday, there will be seven shows available in the U.S. alone.
Off U.S. TV, former three-division titlist Fernando Montiel returns against former Bantamweight title challenger Nehomar Cermeno. It’s an intriguing match. So too is the return of Lightweight titlist Humberto Soto. U.S. fans won’t see that live either.
What remains should make up for it…or at least come at such volume as to keep an eye off the ball.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: Alexander-Matthysse & Cloud-Mack (Saturday, HBO, 9:45 PM EST/PST)
#3 Jr. Welterweight Devon Alexander (21-1, 13 KO) is without a belt and without some of the esteem he’d built before a one-dimensional and all too passionless unification performance versus Timothy Bradley earlier this year. #10 Lucas Matthysse (28-1, 26 KO) brings the sort of pressure, and danger, that can bring out the best in the St. Louis native and begin restoring the momentum he’d gained before Bradley. Good fight or bad, it should follow some serious action in the televised opener. One of the most underused potential action stars in the U.S. market, IBF Light Heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud (22-0, 18 KO) returns with always exciting Yusaf Mack (29-3-2, 17 KO). There is plenty going on at 175 lbs. Cloud has a chance to thrust himself into the mix with a big performance this Saturday.
Pick Epix: #1 Felix Sturm vs. Matthew Macklin (Saturday, EPIX, 5 PM EST/2 PM PST)
With their third foray into boxing, Epix again joins the platforms of TV and the internet to build their base and this time they have the real number one contender to Middleweight king Sergio Martinez. WBA Middleweight titlist Strum (35-2-1, 15 KO) may never pursue the top of the mountain but he should. Macklin (28-2, 19 KO) is a tough cookie and could make the question mute. This could be a quiet dandy and a chance to enjoy what has made Sturm one of the best Middleweights in the world for getting close to a decade. He’s still got the best jab in the division for starters. His speed hasn’t left yet either.
Seriously, Strum is running out of time to make it all matter. If he gets by Macklin, will he care enough to realize it.
Pick Deuce: John Molina vs. Robert Frankel (Friday, ESPN2, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
How many bad shows has ESPN2 had this year? Probably about as many bad fights as the 28-year old Lightweight crowd pleaser Molina (22-1, 18 KO) has been in. Frankel (28-10-1, 5 KO) should be win number 23 this weekend, and Molina will likely make it worth the while of those watching. But Frankel has been stopped only twice and this should go some rounds.
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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]