by Cliff Rold
Let’s call it a farewell to arms. When Abner Mares steps up to Jr. Featherweight officially on Saturday, with Anselmo Moreno already saying he’s likely to follow, the best bantamweight run since the early 1980s is likely to come quietly to a close.
And what could be a jaw dropping good run at 122 kicks into high gear.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: Mares & Moreno (Saturday, Showtime, 9 PM EST/PST)
In a better world, we’d be seeing Mares vs. Moreno instead of the two of them sharing a bill, but there’s always room to have something to anticipate. After all, both men may say they want a piece of Nonito Donaire but a there adversarial promotional companies are likely to impede those hopes. For now, Mares (23-0-1, 13 KO) goes for a vacant WBC belt at 122 against former Flyweight titlist and U.S. Olympian Eric Morel (46-2, 23 KO). Morel is years past his prime and was always touch and go as far as excitement. We’ll see if he has any chance here against a ten years younger, and hotter Mares. Mares gave up his belt at Bantamweight to carve a new niche and Morel looks the part of obstacle. Moreno (32-1-1, 11 KO), making what may be his last defense at 118, has the tougher out on paper. David De La Mora (24-1, 17 KO) may not be getting much of a chance but he has at least a little. He showed some quality last year in losing a narrow decision on the road to Koki Kameda and got off the floor to do it. Moreno would overlook De La Mora at his peril.
Pick Deuce: Adonis Stevenson vs. Noe Alcoba (Friday, ESPN2, 11 PM EST/8 PM PST)
Looking for a 2012 Knockout of the Year candidate? YouTube the nuclear ending Stevenson (17-1, 14 KO) produced against Jesus Gonzalez in February. The 168 lb. hopeful is building a following in Montreal and faces another man with some pop in Alcoba (28-1, 20 KO). Alcoba should probably be the favored man, not having lost since a competitive 2007 title shot against Felix Sturm at Middleweight. In converse, Stevenson was stopped in his only defeat just four fights ago. This one could be blazing…or at least bombing between the bells Friday.
Pick Sho: Taylor & Lara (Friday, Showtime, 11 PM EST/PST)
ShoBox is at its best when it gives fans a look at the future of the sport. Friday, it’s a little bit of future, a little bit of past, and not too much of the best of either. The comeback of former Middleweight champion Jermain Taylor continues while Jr. Middleweight Erislandy Lara (15-1-1, 10 KO), finally, returns from kicking the dog stuffing out of Paul Williams last year (and getting screwed with his first defeat for the effort). Lara gets a rescheduled outing with Ronald Hearns (26-2, 20 KO) while Taylor gets undefeated Caleb Truax (18-0-1, 10 KO). This doesn’t look like a show to worry about upsets on.
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]