By Cliff Rold
Ji-Hoon Kim may never win a Lightweight belt. The same may be true for Ruslan Provodnikov at Jr. Welterweight. After last Friday, it was nice to say “who cares?” When those two are on the bill, it’s almost always fireworks.
That’s good T.V.
We’ll see if anything on tap in this busier week provides similar action. The chances for knockouts are certainly available in both of HBO’s offerings. The Cruiserweight clash in Germany is also likely to end early.
Yeah, this should be good T.V. too.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: Chavez Jr. vs. Rubio & Donaire vs. Vazquez Jr. (Saturday, HBO, 10 PM EST/7 PM PST)
Could good T.V. mean a long week for progeny? At Middleweight, a lot of people seem to be leaning towards #8 Marco Antonio Rubio (53-5-1, 46 KO) getting the better of #9 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (44-0-1, 31 KO). If the veteran pulls it off, he’ll win the WBC honors at 160 and cap a long career, adding an undefeated scalp for the second year in a row on the heels of a 2011 stoppage of David Lemieux. He’ll give up a couple inches of height and, given the weight Chavez puts on after weigh-ins, potentially a couple weight classes in the ring. It’s an interesting match. The same cannot be said of co-feature. Leading Bantamweight Nonito Donaire (27-1, 18 KO) exits one of the game’s best classes for one it’s least right now. He’s got a former titlist on tap in #10 Vazquez (21-1-1, 18 KO) for a vacant belt at 122 lbs. Donaire should win it going away. Vazquez is a decent young fighter, but he lost to Jorge Arce last year. What really good fighter has done that in recent memory? Donaire is on another level and everything at 122 is a waste of his time until the other name on his bill is Toshiaki Nishioka (and maybe Guillermo Rigondeuax down the road). That said, the ending should be conclusive.
Pick BoxNation #1 Yoan Pablo Hernandez vs. #2 Steve Cunningham (Saturday, Germany)
This might be stuck in the You Tube loop on Sunday morning. Let’s hope it gets a clear ending this time. The cut ending of the first bout was spurious and it looked like Hernandez (25-1, 13 KO) could have gone on. It also looked liked he was fading. Can Cunningham (24-3, 12 KO) protect his shaky chin and press the action sooner this time? If he can, he wins his third IBF title at 200 lbs. and recognition in come quarters as the firm champion in class. Marco Huck, whose only loss came to Cunningham years ago, might have something to say about that if he falls short in a Heavyweight challenge of paper titlist Alexander Povetkin.
Pick Deuce: Edison Miranda vs. Issac Chilemba (Friday, ESPN2, 10 PM EST/7 PM PST)
Finally, for fans of potential carnage, here is another knockout ending waiting for a winner. Miranda (35-6, 30 KO) was best at Middleweight and has seen better days. Chilemba (18-1, 9 KO) is 24 and looking to get to better days at Light Heavyweight. Miranda is a good chin test. It should be fun while it lasts.
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]