by Cliff Rold
The post-Super Six world is now in full swing. Last weekend, we saw the lingering issue of what might have been with Mikkel Kessler coming off the floor in the first and lighting up Allan Green in round four.
This week, we get the first truly great post-tournament match at 168 lbs.: Lucian Bute-Carl Froch. With negotiations ongoing to make a possible two-division title bout between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson, and Tavoris Cloud-Jean Pascal coming this summer at Light Heavyweight, it’s a good time to be a fan of the Super Middleweight/Light heavyweight span.
Bute-Froch isn’t the only action on tap this week. Friday night, one of the better TV fighters around also goes to scratch.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #1 Lucian Bute vs. #3 Carl Froch (Saturday, Epix & EpixHD.com, 6 PM EST/3 PM PST)
While Andre Ward may have Dawson coming in September, he could have done a lot more than sit on the shelf for nine months. Many fans would have liked to see him face the IBF titlist Bute (30-0, 24 KO). When it didn’t happen, Bute took the next toughest assignment he could make and he’s going on the road to do it. Fans will be rewarded with what is likely to be a better scrap than Ward-Bute would be. Froch (28-2, 20 KO) has home field and should have the admiration of anyone who loves a real fighter. The streak of tough fights moves to eight straight for the Sherriff of Nottingham and no one has a better run of consecutive foes. Dating to his fight with Jean Pascal, through the Super Six, and now on to Bute, Froch has done everything that could be asked of him in defining his career. He lost to Mikkel Kessler close, and Ward decisively, and could have taken a softer foe as reward for a rugged run. Instead, he takes a dangerous boxer-puncher who has yet to taste defeat. The opening bell is too far away.
Pick Deuce: Ji-Hoon Kim vs. Alisher Rahimov (Friday, ESPN2, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
This Lightweight scrap is going to be fun no matter how long it lasts. How do we know? Because when Kim (23-7, 18 KO) is fighting, it’s almost always fun. He gets hit, throws back, and never leaves a viewer feeling they wasted their time. The downside for him this week is he may be in a bit too tough to win. While already 34, Rahimov (23-0, 12 KO) has serious chops. A 2000 Uzbeki Olympian, Rahimov must win to make something of his pro career before time runs out. Leather will fly.
Pick Azteca (if it’s on): Jesus Soto Karass vs. Said El Harrak (Saturday, Azteca America, 10 PM EST)
Despite not having won a fight since 2009, Welterweight Soto Karass (24-7-3, 16 KO) is another fighter who falls well into the dependable action category with Kim. Coming back from a fifth-round stoppage loss to Gabriel Rosado, he’s got a winnable affair in front of him with El Harrak (10-1-1, 5 KO). Being who he is, Soto Karass might make the winning look harder than it needs to but fun to watch until the final bell sounds.
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]