by Cliff Rold
Boxing does ‘a career in the balance’ better than most sports. A fighter once highly regarded can lose regard in a smattering of losses; they find themselves at the brink with one big chance ahead. It’s visceral and human and dramatic and…
…happening off U.S. TV this week. This being the age of the internet, that doesn’t mean it won’t be available, at worst in the world of YouTube. U.S. fans will be held over with a little bit of English, a little bit of Espanol, and, if anyone wants it, HBO’s 24/7 previews for Andre Ward-Chad Dawson start on August 25. That’s not a pick of the week. It’s just out there for the interested.
THESE are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #5 Robert Steiglitz vs. #7 Arthur Abraham (Saturday, Germany, ?)
Arthur Abraham (34-3, 27 KO), for a time, might have been the best Middleweight in the world. He’d have had a very good chance to defeat Kelly Pavlik and proved the better man versus Jermain Taylor in the Super Six Super Middleweight. The problem there was the rest of the tournament. The big punching Armenian couldn’t keep pace. He looked like he had a shot at coming from behind to stop Andre Dirrell but decided to go foul instead. Losses to Carl Froch and Andre Ward sent him back to the German market to rebuild. Now we find out where he really stands at 168. Is he a solid, middle of the division guy or did he grow into the wrong class altogether. Stieglitz (42-2, 23 KO) is a good but nothing-special titlist, stopped twice but riding an eleven-fight win streak. Abraham’s the career on the brink and still carries power the full route better than almost anyone in the game. Expect drama and a solid fight here.
Pick Bantam: Randy Caballero vs. Manuel Roman (Friday, Showtime, 11 PM EST/PST)
With Anselmo Moreno now finally making the expected leap to 122 lbs., Bantamweight is a loan of opportunity. The end of what was a bit of a golden age at 118 now seeks new faces. Leo Santa Cruz is emerging. Can Caballero (15-0, 8 KO) join him? Roman (15-1-3, 6 KO) should at the very least give him rounds as his chances are assessed. Lightweights Michael Perez (16-1-1, 10 KO) and Fidel Maldonado (13-1, 11 KO) fill out the card and should make for a good T.V. fight. ESPN2 is (mostly) done for the year. Fight fans still have ShoBox. That’s a good thing.
Pick Solo: Alan Sanchez vs. Manuel Leyva (Saturday, Telefutura, 11 PM EST/PST)
A week after Prescott-Figueroa, a fight that ended being the sensational a dry month needed, we get a look at the Welterweight division. Welterweight is another division in flux, top heavy and with a supporting class beginning to reload. Neither man on tap this weekend, Sanchez (10-2-1, 4 KO) or Leyva (21-7, 12 KO), is likely to make a big move that direction, but they might make their own good fight. Can one really ask for more than that on the average show?
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]