By Cliff Rold
Can presumably ugly still be intriguing?
Have any two fans pick any two names they’d like to see fight each other. It would be hard to find one who would pick this week’s ESPN2 main event. One week after Jesus Soto Karas-Selcuk Aydin, and Lucas Matthysse’s walk-off home run, boxing gets one of its slower weeks.
There are still three shows to check out. Along with ESPN2, there is one on UniMas (which this author hasn’t heard of before and has no clue if it’s available on cable and the other on Fox Deportes, both on Saturday. The most important action of the week will happen off the U.S. dials.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #1 Daniel Geale vs. Anthony Mundine (Wednesday, Australia, ?)
A YouTube special, this is a rematch of a closely contested 2009 battle with the stakes increased. Geale (28-1, 15 KO) will try to defend his only loss and his IBF Middleweight belt as he steps in with a Mundine (44-4, 26 KO) who just snaked by with a split decision last time out. It should be a good show and a good crowd. Will Geale continue a seven-fight win streak that saw him do the unlikely and go into Germany to best Felix Sturm last year in a unification bout? Geale opted to give up the WBA belt he won there but he can’t opt to give up his momentum. At 31, his time to cash in is now. Mundine, at 37, is in last chance mode. He’s won four in a row since being stopped by Garth Wood (later avenged). If he doesn’t make it five, he may be out of time.
Pick More Overseas: #3 Felix Sturm vs. Sam Soliman (Friday, Germany, ?)
Another YouTube special, Sturm (37-3-2, 16 KO) tries to rebound from his first official loss in years with an old warhorse in Soliman (42-11, 17 KO) standing in his path. The prize in an IBF eliminator appears to be Geale, a marketable and (given the entertaining first fight) interesting rematch for Sturm. Note though, for humors sake, that after years as a WBA guy, Sturm is chasing the IBF. It’s no surprise. Now that Gennady Golovkin has that belt fully, the chance of Sturm ever going near the man he appeared to be ducking for so long is unlikely.
Pick Deuce: #5 Carlos Molina vs. Cory Spinks (Friday, ESPN2, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
This doesn’t look like a Fight of the Year candidate. Can it still be surprisingly good? Molina (20-5, 6 KO) has been the victim of some questionable calls over the years. It’s been clear and enough to merit high regard even in losses and draws. He’s easily one of the best Jr. Middleweights in the world. His opponent, for a short time, was the best Welterweight in the world. The former undisputed king at 147 lbs. Spinks (39-7, 11 KO) is clearly on his career down slide with four losses in his last seven, two of them by stoppage. Inactivity hasn’t helped either. Still, given Molina isn’t a noted puncher, could the Spinks Jinx magic get to work one more time? As noted, it might be ugly but it is intriguing.
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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]