by Cliff Rold
So, is there anyway we don’t get a hat trick?
Two Saturdays in a row, boxing fans have been treated to scorchers. If the heat goes up another degree or 100, no one will be surprised. If not for a classic between modern greats in December, Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado I likely tops most lists as the 2012 Fight of the Year.
Welcome to 2013 and a second chance at the honor.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #5 Brandon Rios vs. #8 Mike Alvarado (Saturday, HBO, 10:15 PM EST/PST)
This Boxing After Dark rematch is what the show has always been about at its best. There are no titles on the line but the chance for them, for more, hangs over two tough hombres. Rios (31-0-1, 23 KO), if he can consistently stay focused, has the combination of style, personality, and power to be something special. So far, he’s shown glimpses but questions remain about his maturity. Those questions are unlikely to be raised this weekend because he knows what is across the ring from him. Alvarado (33-1, 23 KO) met him at mid-ring and made war last year. He’s going to do it again. It doesn’t get much better than this. It doesn’t have to.
Pick Wealth: #9 Issac Chilemba vs. #10 Tony Bellew (Saturday, Wealth, 5 PM EST/2 PM PST)
One never knows if a Wealth TV card will go two or four hours, but they always give a solid go. This main event is a nice topper to however many fights are shown. Bellew (19-1, 12 KO) and Chilemba (20-1-1, 9 KO) are both serious Light Heavyweight comers. The winner inches closer, with a WBC sub-strap on the line, to a crack at WBC and lineal World Champion Chad Dawson. Even better, their styles should mesh for a real fight. Neither man has ever been stopped and neither is typically a single punch finisher so this should go rounds as well. Combined with HBO’s night entry, and some Sweet Sixteen action, there’s really no reason to leave home this Saturday.
Fans are also reminded, if interested, Middleweight contender Gennady Golovkin has a stay busy night on an independent pay-per-view Saturday afternoon at 3PM EST as well.
Pick Deuce: Brian Vera vs. Donatas Bondorovas (Saturday, ESPN2, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
Riding a three-fight win streak with consecutive wins over former 154 lb. titlists Sergio Mora and Sergiy Dzinziruk, Brian Vera (22-6, 13 KO) might just sneak up on some sort of title shot at Middleweight one day soon. He’s got T.V. chops and enough vulnerability to be worth it for a beltholder. He just can’t lose. Can Bondorovas (17-3-1, 6 KO) kill his momentum? Probably not. It might be a good fight though. Vera gets in them pretty often.
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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]