By Cliff Rold
After two strong weeks in the ring, albeit with some head scratching officiating in spots, we get a lull.
A serious lull.
The best Heavyweight in the world defends his crown but it’s in as showcasey a showcase fight as can be. That’s not all bad.
Big knockouts always make for big highlights.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: World Champion Wladimir Klitschko vs. Jean Marc Mormeck (Saturday, Epix, 4:30 PM EST/1:30 PM PST)
Mormeck (36-4, 22 KO) is a former lineal Cruiserweight king and could at times be a beast in that class. His vulnerability was his beard, dented by both O’Neill Bell and David Haye. The latter was in 2007. In the years since, he’s won three times, the last a split decision over the very average Timur Ibragimov. Now he gets Wladimir (56-3, 49 KO). Yeah. This fight looks about as competitive as Larry Holmes-Marvis Frazier. Mormeck is almost forty and not quite six-feet tall. The only upside to this farce is that Klitschko should look like a frightening monster for the first time in a while. This is what happens during periods of dominance sometimes, especially when the smattering of worthy foes is getting split two ways. Wladimir has a right to stay active. Sometimes, given the length of his reign, there’s going to be challengers that aren’t challenges. The resulting knockouts can be worth the price of admission. We’ll see if that’s the case in a few days.
Pick Deuce: Joan Guzman vs. Jesus Pabon (Friday, ESPN2, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
When the top coulda’ beens of this era are discussed some day, and everything gets discussed somewhere on the interweb, Joan Guzman (31-0-1, 18 KO) will come up. He lacked discipline, was short on opportunities, but everone who has seen him at his best knows Guzman could have been something special. He won belts in two weight classes with wins over some solid guys and yet still accomplished so much less than his talent allowed. At 35, he still hasn’t found a man to beat him. Pabon (17-2, 11 KO) isn’t the man for the job. Friday will be a reminder of what might have been.
Pick Solo: Vicente Escobedo vs. Lonnie Smith (Sunday, Telefutura, 12 AM EST/PST)
While he has never quite gotten over the hump, former Olympian Escobedo (24-3, 14 KO) is sort of the anti-Guzman. He’s worked hard to get the most out of less physical talent and been the best he could be. He makes for fun fights win or lose. Late Sunday, long after Mormeck wakes up, Escobedo should give fans another against Smith (14-2-2, 10 KO).
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]