by Cliff Rold
Even unification is diluted these days. In the 70s and early 1980s, when there were but two major beltholders (mostly), unification meant resolution. Now, with at least four belts floating around per class, maybe unification resolves the issue of a division’s champion.
One thing unification does signify, resolution or not, is that we are probably seeing two of the very best in the boxing world. It is a quality seal that says, hey, at least you know both guys can do SOMETHING. That is definitely the case this weekend.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #2 Amir Khan vs. #6 Zab Judah (Saturday, HBO, 10 PM EST/7 PM PST)
Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KO) has the WBA belt at Jr. Welterweight. Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KO) has the IBF strap. One of them, sans a draw, leaves with both. No, we won’t know who the real World Champion at 140 lbs. is after Saturday. Timothy Bradley still has to be accounted for. The WBC/WBO beltholder upset some fans when he didn’t make a deal happen to fight Khan in the slot Judah now holds. Fair enough. However, his accomplishments remain and his contract issues are real. He remains the division leader.
The winner of Khan-Judah will be right on his heels. Throw in that this scrap has classic elements like old lion-young lion and a pair of guy with speed, pop, and a penchant for getting hurt, and we’ve got the makings of a war.
Resolving the championship of each other is plenty good enough for one night.
Pick If: #6 Danny Green vs. Antonio Tarver (Wednesday, ?)
Cruiserweight Danny Green (31-3, 27 KO) is on an impressive streak…on paper. When Paul Briggs, Manny Siaca, Roy Jones, and BJ Flores are all on the mantle, and Flores is the best win, one can be certain all is not as it sounds. Flores is a good fighter, an Olympian even. He also had something the others lost long ago: youth. Enter former Light Heavy champ Tarver (28-6, 19 KO). He is another name without youth. Unlike the other old men, he’s still got a little something left. It probably won’t be enough to beat Green, in Australia, but if it pops up on YouTube it will be worth a look one way or another. It’s might not end up as interesting as the ESPN or Telefutura show this week…but with these two vets, it just might.
Pick Espanol: #3 Orlando Salido vs. Kenichi Yamaguchi (Saturday, Fox Deportes, 11 PM EST/PST)
WBO Featherweight titlist Salido (35-11-2, 23 KO) is an unlikely multiple time belt winner. That doesn’t change that he is just that and, coming off an upset of then-undefeated Juan Manuel Lopez, Salido’s first title defense of the WBO plate is worth a look. Yamaguchi (17-1-2, 4 KO) is out of his league, right? Sounds like something said about Salido in the past. We’ll see.
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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@example.com