by Cliff Rold
After a look at two significant, middle of the top ten type battles at Middleweight and Heavyweight, fans this week willing to look for it get a rare treat.
105 lbs. hasn’t been much for unification matches in its relatively short history. The sport gets its only such affair since the heyday of Ricardo Lopez on Wednesday. By Saturday, all attention will turn to the Welterweight division as a potentially big fight hangs in the balance.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick YouTube: #2 Kazuto Ioka vs. #4 Akira Yaegashi (Wednesday, Japan, ?)
Most interested American fans will be asleep when this one goes down and will have to hope it appears on YouTube sometime in the day. If and when it does, it should be a treat. WBC 105 lb. champ Kazuto Ioka (9-0, 6 KO) is short on pro experience but long on bloodlines. His uncle, Hiroki, was a two-division titlist and the only man to defeat the great Myung Woo-Yuh. Yaegashi (15-2, 8 KO), the WBA titlist, is coming off a win in what was the best action fight of 2011. His epic stoppage of Pornsawan Porpramook was the best thing to hit YouTube boxing wise since Somsak Sithchatchawal-Mahyar Monshipour in 2006. The storylines are good but the fight may be better. Ioka has serious pop for a little man and Yaegashi has serious speed and a volume attack. There is no better match in boxing this week, at least on paper. Let’s hope they paint above expectations on canvas at mid-week.
Pick Show: #2 Victor Ortiz vs. Josesito Lopez (Saturday, Showtime, 9 PM EST/PST)
The former Welterweight beltholder Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KO) is locked in for Saul Alvarez at Jr. Middleweight in September and fans are salivating. All he has to do now is win. Lopez (29-4, 17 KO) is coming off a close loss to Jessie Vargas and has never been stopped. He’s the sort of gritty, tough warrior who could catch Ortiz off guard if the bigger star is looking forward or still boiling about his twice-aborted rematch with Andre Berto. This is as good a ‘stay busy’ fight as boxing can offer.
Pick Deuce: Mike Dallas Jr. vs. Javier Castro (Saturday, ESPN2, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
Fans of Teddy Atlas rants will want to tune in here. With this being the first Friday Night Fights since Pacquiao-Bradley, and with the bonus of an egregious 119-109 score in Adamek-Chambers last week, expect Atlas to be in rare form. One could make a drinking game off the phrase ‘national commission.’ Oh, and Dallas (18-2-1, 7 KO) versus Castro (27-4, 22 KO) might be worth a look too. Dallas is trying to make it two straight wins after two straight losses (one of them by stop to Josesito Lopez). Castro enters with three straight knockout wins after losing a pair of decisions. Any bets on whether Castro can make it four straight?
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]