BoxingScene.com's Television Picks of The Week
by Cliff Rold
Bring on the punchers.
An unexpected Fight of the Year contender left the fight world buzzing last week. For those who missed it, HBO is running Timothy Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov on its various platforms repeatedly. This week, fans are inundated with cards that scream early exit. A war breaking out in one would be no shock. Four televised cards in the U.S. will feature big bangers, topped off by a title rematch in Germany.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #4 Arthur Abraham vs. #6 Robert Stieglitz (Saturday, EPIX, 4 PM EST/1 PM PST)
Epix has become a reliable source for top action from Europe. It doesn’t get it all, but it gets more of it than any network in a while. This is no exception, a rematch of a surprisingly solid 168 lb. title showdown last year. Abraham (36-3, 28 KO) saved his career with a win over Stieglitz (43-3, 24 KO) for the WBO belt at Super Middleweight. It was a close one last August and, with Mikkel Kessler and Carl Froch doing their rematch, Abraham’s best money option was here. Abraham has won four in a row since a rough trio of losses in the “Super Six” tournament. Can Stieglitz send him back a step and force a rubber match? Also intriguing on this show is the latest from heavyweight Robert Helenius (18-0, 11 KO). He looked like as strong a comer in recent memory for a moment, and then a bad decision over Derek Chisora was followed by an injury layoff. Helenius looked miserable in a return win late last year. Can he get back on track with shopworn veteran Michael Sprott (37-19, 17 KO)?
Pick Friday: Wealth and ESPN2
Adonis Stevenson and Don George are head to head again, sort of. Last October, it was in the ring, Stevenson scoring a stoppage in the final round. Whether they clash again all depends on show overlap. As it stands, it may be that viewers can marathon the whole thing. Stevenson (19-1, 16 KO) is up first (7 PM EST/4 PM PST on Wealth TV). He has a chance to reverse his lone career loss, by knockout, to veteran Darnell Boone (19-20-3, 8 KO) while waiting for a mandatory title shot. George (24-3-1, 21 KO) goes to scratch in what might be a better fight (10 PM EST/7 PM PST) on ESPN2 against David Lopez (41-13, 23 KO). Neither main event looks like it goes the route.
Pick Solo: Jonathan Gonzalez vs. Joseph Rios (Saturday, UniMas, 11 PM EST/PST)
Finally, there is a puncher on the rise. Gonzalez (11-0, 10 KO) is a serious comer at Flyweight, his team confident enough to match him with veteran Omar Salado last out even if a rabbit punch sent the bout to a No Contest. Rios (13-7-2, 4 KO) is more moderate fare, but well within where he should be on the learning curve.
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Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]