by Cliff Rold
So, for readers who saw it last week, this scribe now knows that UniMas is Telefutura is UniMas. Learn something new etc.
UniMas has action again this weekend, as does ESPN2 and, for fans abroad, one of the better up and coming Jr. Featherweights goes to scratch for the first time since a September knockout of a former world titlist.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #6 Carl Frampton vs. Kiko Martinez (Saturday, Northern Ireland, ?)
The YouTube special for the week appears also to be the best fight of the week on paper. Is it a slow week? Indeed. This could still be scrappy. History tells us a high quality battler from Northern Ireland can be a special thing. Barry McGuigan once became a unifying figure. Frampton (15-0, 10 KO) may not capture the same cultural zeitgeist, but he can fight and he’ll bring some awesome crowds. As he closes on a title shot at 122 lbs., and attempts to follow up his stoppage of former titlist Steve Molitor, he finds Martinez (27-3, 19 KO) in his path. The Spaniard has won seven in a row since back-to-back decision losses to Taklani Ndlovu and Rendall Munroe. He’s never been stopped. This should be a good gauge of where Frampton is and how much farther he has to go.
Pick Deuce: Kevin Bizier vs. Nate Campbell (Friday, ESPN2, 9 PM PST/6 PM PST)
It’s not fun to be the old guy with a name in boxing. As long as someone the crowds recognize is open to taking shots, someone will pay and punch them. The former unified Lightweight titlist Campbell (36-9-1, 26 KO) enters with losses in four of his last six, aged 40 years. That doesn’t mean he can’t win. There is a reason fighters like Bizier (19-0, 13 KO) are matched with Campbell’s. Facing former champs with lessons to teach and less chance of winning is part of the ritual of fighter development. If Bizier can’t get by Campbell, he might not be getting anywhere anytime soon. The latest Canadian being groomed to headline the Bell Centre in Montreal has a chance to move forward Friday. Fans have a chance to see if they want to follow that progression.
Pick Espanol: Javier Gallo vs. Enrique Bernache (Saturday/Sunday, UniMas, 12 AM EST/11 PM PST)
In a week of slim pickings, there is this bantamweight clash. Sometimes, off-Broadway battling makes for good theatre. Gallo (18-6-1, 10 KO) and Bernache (20-4, 11 KO) have both been stopped. Both have lost recently (Gallo is three of four, Bernache in two). That means they have nothing to lose and are fighting for food on the table. There are worse ways to spend a Saturday night.
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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]