by Cliff Rold
To pay or not to pay, that is of course the question of the week. There is no question about whether the folks at HBO and Golden Boy have put together a good show.
This week’s biggest fight, a pay-per-view, has four competitive fights on paper for the sum of the show, the main event the latest chance to see an aging but still viable legend do his thing. Or not.
It remains to be seen if the main event turns into something entertaining. Chances are, with four solids, at least one scrap will provide something positive to talk about.
That doesn’t mean a must for the cable bill. After what could fairly argued as price gouging in charging between approximately $60 and $70 dollars for the Floyd Mayweather show in September, the same company is asking fans to pay again. It’s not an easy choice. The holidays are coming and there’s struggle to go around.
This space is reserved for the pure boxing choice. Those who have to wonder about the bills choice may find other fistic fare to their liking.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: World Champion Bernard Hopkins vs. #2 Chad Dawson (Saturday, HBO PPV, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
Does the old man have another one in him? After a draw and win, both exciting, to ultimately capture the Light Heavyweight crown from Jean Pascal, Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KO) steps in with a man he appeared to be avoiding previously. Dawson (30-1, 17 KO), a former holder of various belts at 175 lbs., fell just short of full recognition as Light Heavyweight king when he faced Pascal in 2010. Returning to the ring once since, Dawson easily boxed the ears off former titlist Adrian Diaconu. Now he gets the man he’s wanted for years. Will he regret his wishes? Hopkins may not have been in a hurry to see Dawson but he’s tricky and he doesn’t appear to have the mental lapses Dawson occasionally does. It should be intriguing chess if nothing else. An undercard that comes with three solids (including Jorge Linares-Antonio Demarco at Lightweight) makes the show worthwhile.
Pick 118 (Always): Hugo Ruiz vs. Francisco Arce (Saturday, Fox Deportes, 10 PM EST/PST)
Anyone see these two the first time around? For twelve rounds, they traded trips to the floor, each man down twice. There were fouls drawing point deductions for extra drama and disputed scoring at the finish. It was a scrap with just enough controversy to force them to do it again just months after their May clash. Neither has cracked a serious top ten just yet, but Ruiz (28-1, 25 KO) is closing in and better positioned than a lot of fighters in class. The holder of an interim WBA strap at Bantamweight, he could be line for a crack at regular titlist Koki Kameda if he can again get by Arce (31-7-3, 22 KO). Sure, the WBA is hot garbage for having all these junk belts, but it could pay off for Ruiz (or Arce). If the worst we get is another four knockdown war, so be it. This is a fine compliment to the slate of recent action that keeps Bantamweight arguably boxing’s best current weight division.
Pick YouTube: #6 Celestino Caballero vs. Jonathan Barros (Friday, Argentina, ?)
This is going to end up being a Saturday morning search on YouTube for most. It’s also a lesson for world-class fighters who slough off. Lose to Jason Litzau on HBO, get screwed on the road later. Caballero (34-4, 23 KO), a former unified titlist at 122 lbs., went on the road to face Barros (33-1-1, 18 KO) in July, dropped him twice, and got the shaft on the decision. Now, it’s back to Argentina to see if fresh eyes can give him a fair call. Their first fight was awkward in spots and this probably won’t be the Fight of the Year. Chances that it fuels scoring debates over the weekend could be high, making it worth a look.
For fans looking around the U.S. dial over the weekend, take note: Telefutura and Telemundo both go with shows on Friday night as well.
Back in seven.
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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]