By Cliff Rold
Everything still set to go this weekend?
The wave of cancellations and/or postponements in recent weeks has been a sight to behold. It would be far better to behold the sight of fights. So far, we’re safe for the latest appearance from one of boxing’s rising stars in a week with four televised U.S. shows. Jr. Welterweight Dierry Jean heads up the latest from Wealth TV on Saturday (10 PM EST/7 PM PST) and, while it doesn’t make top picks, it’s there.
If the time allows, watch it too. Heck, watch it all. But watch in the order prescribed.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #1 Adrien Broner vs. #8 Gavin Rees (Saturday, HBO, 10:30 PM EST)
This tilt for the WBC Lightweight belt has received some derision but it’s not a bad match. Broner (25-0, 21 KO) rose officially to Lightweight in his last bout and scorched Antonio DeMarco for the belt. What’s left at Lightweight is, well, not much. The division wasn’t deep before he got there. Broner added to the depth by one and the next two best in class, Miguel Vazquez and Ricky Burns, are opting for each other. That leaves the former Jr. Welterweight titlist Rees standing with as much viability as anyone available. Unbeaten since losing his belt to Andriy Kotelnik in 2008, Rees (37-1-1, 18 KO) is an action first fighter who will do his best. It is highly unlikely to be enough but there’s nothing wrong with facing a solid veteran while waiting for more down the road. Rees has the style to make Broner a thriller on Saturday.
Pick Deuce: Delvin Rodriguez vs. George Tahdooahnippah (Friday, ESPN2, 9 PM PST/6 PM PST)
Rodriguez made his mark on ESPN2 in the BWAA Fight of the Year for 2011 versus Pawel Wolak. Sure, it was a draw, but it was a hell of a fight. He won the rematch but couldn’t capitalize with a title, losing a snoozer to Austin Trout at Jr. Middleweight last summer. Now, Rodriguez returns against an enigma. Tahdooahnippah (31-0-1, 23 KO) has a pretty record but it’s come against a whole lot of ‘whodat.’ At 34, he doesn’t look like a comer but one never knows until the opposition steps up. The YouTube footage is less than promising.
Maybe Broner will do something funny at a presser or weigh-in this week to give this week’s Friday Night Fights some oomph.
Pick Espanol: Roberto Ortiz vs. Fidel Munoz (Saturday, Fox Deportes, 10 PM EST/7 PM PST)
Ortiz (27-0, 22 KO) shows promise at Jr. Welterweight as he makes his progressions towards a potential mandatory shot at Danny Garcia. Already the ‘silver’ champ for the WBC, Ortiz is looking for a spot to break through. Munoz (29-6, 23 KO) will try to leave him broke down.
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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]