By Cliff Rold
The world is still on its axis. Mayan apocalypse is not upon us. Juan Manuel Marquez shook up the boxing world.
The rest of the planet remains intact.
Now, one week after what was surely the Fight of the Year and a fight for the ages, boxing gets back to the grind of regularly scheduled events and has some good stuff on tap. On HBO, an undercard showdown holds all the intrigue. On Showtime, some rebuilding begins. Wealth TV gets a shot out for the return of former Light Heavyweight champion Jean Pascal on Friday but can’t quite crack the picks. Why?
Ladies and gentlemen, boxing comes back to network TV.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: Leo Santa Cruz vs. Alberto Guevara (Saturday, CBS, 4:30 PM EST/1:30 PM PST)
Main Events briefly had a show on NBS a few years back focused on prospects but this is the real comeback. This is title fight action in the afternoon on network TV. It’s back baby. To keep it back, it needs eyes. If you watch only one card this weekend, particularly if you have a Nielsen box, this must be it. The most exciting young fighter in the sport might be IBF Bantamweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz and he now has the best platform possible to show it. It’s actually part of the same card as the Showtime show but hours before the main event, making it both a spotlight and a commercial. Santa Cruz (22-0-1, 11 KO) gets an undefeated challenge in Guevara (16-0, 6 KO). Don’t miss it.
Pick Double: Nonito Donaire vs. Jorge Arce (Saturday, HBO, 9:30 PM EST/6:30 PM PST)
Barring a shocker, this main event looks like a pagan sacrifice, the latest round of feeding Jorge Arce (61-6-2, 46 KO) to a better fighter after his usual tour of stiffs and shot guys he wouldn’t have fought in their prime. His upset over Wilfredo Vazquez in May 2011 not withstanding, that pattern has held for years. It makes for good TV most of the time. It should make for nasty TV Saturday against the more talented, and just flat better, Donaire (30-1, 19 KO) who defends the IBF, WBO and lineal World crown at 122 lbs. What this show has to make it a big must-see is a fascinating support bout. WBA 122 lb. titlist Guillermo Rigondeuax (11-0, 8 KO) has arguably the best foe of his career in former WBA titlist Poonsawat Kratindaenggym (48-2, 33 KO). The Thai challenger has the style for force a fight, and to potentially give the Cult of Rigo the moment they’ve been waiting for: a high quality, crowd pleasing win that makes a showdown with Donaire something that more than the cult cares about.
Pick Comeback: Amir Khan vs. Carlos Molina (Saturday, Showtime, 10:30 PM EST/PST)
After two thrilling fights, both losses, in a row, Amir Khan (26-3, 18 KO) is back with someone one would assume can’t stop him. Molina (17-0-1, 7 KO) isn’t a big puncher and Khan needs a win in a big way. Khan is rarely dull and always welcome on screen. Fans on site for the show have a long day to look forward to.
Back in seven.
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Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]