by Cliff Rold
It seems so long ago.
Just one short week past, the television landscape was almost bare. If one likes their fight coverage in English, it was. That changes big time for this swing. With two cards on Friday (ESPN2 10 PM EST/7 PM PST; Showtime 10 PM EST/PST), and an early Saturday card featuring 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist James DeGale on Wealth TV (5 PM EST/2 PM PST), there will be plenty before we even get to the good stuff.
And there should be some very good stuff.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #5 Josesito Lopez vs. Marcos Maidana (Saturday, Showtime, 10 PM EST/7 PM PST)
This is the sort of night DVR is made for. Fans on the East Coast have to choose. Fans on the West Coast, if they can avoid spoilers, can watch this one before switching to HBO. If one must choose, this is the winner-winner-chicken dinner card of the night. Lopez (30-5, 18 KO) got a payday reward for his upset over Victor Ortiz last fall, taking a shelling from Canelo Alvarez. Now he gets a fight he has a chance to win. Maidana (33-3, 30 KO) is a joy to watch but the miles are piling up. He picked up his share last year in a loss to Devon Alexander and warrior win over Jesus Soto Karass. Is he already an old 29? Lopez isn’t a big puncher per se, but he’ll be there fighting all night to find out. This could be hellish, in a good way. The co-feature looks like it has a solid favorite in Jr. Middleweight Erislandy Lara (17-1-2, 11 KO) but is anyone really ready to count out big punching Alfredo Angulo (22-2, 18 KO). We know who should win, but Angulo is the sort of hard man who can turn should on its ear. Note the start times as Showtime will air live on both coasts, a new trend at the network.
Pick the Comeback: World Champion Chad Dawson vs. #10 at 168 Adonis Stevenson (Saturday, HBO, 10 PM EST/PST)
In Montreal, the local favorite will be the big punching Stevenson (20-1, 17 KO). Unable to get a crack at a Super Middleweight belt, he has received the chance to take on the lineal World Champion at 175 lbs. Dawson (31-2, 17 KO), off a one-sided stoppage loss to Andre Ward in a failed challenge for the 168 lb. crown, has to make his own title mean something again. Stevenson is crude but seven straight knockout wins have some wind in his sails. Dawson has been vulnerable over the years. Could an upset be brewing? In support, mercurial Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0, 16 KO) faces Darley Perez (28-0, 19 KO) for an interim WBA Lightweight belt. Gamboa hasn’t fought above 130 lbs. since 2007. Perez, despite a glossy record, has never seen anyone as talented as Gamboa. This could be a sleeper for fight of the week.
Pick Little: #3 Juan Carlos Sanchez vs. Roberto Sosa (Saturday, UniMas, 11 PM EST)
And what quality week doesn’t include some fireworks at the bottom of the scale? Sanchez (15-1-1, 8 KO) has bounced back from an early career knockout loss to win eight straight, his last three in title affairs, defeating Rodrigo Guerrero for the IBF Jr. Bantamweight belt and successfully defending against former titlists Juan Alberto Rosas and Rodel Mayol. Prior to winning his title, he won an eight round decision in 2011 over the same Juan Francisco Estrada who gave Roman Gonzalez hell last year and upset Brian Viloria for a pair of Flyweight belts earlier this year. Now, Sanchez has Sosa (24-0, 14 KO). This should be a hell of a nightcap and yet one more reason to make sure the DVR is working as this will surely overlap with the HBO card.
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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]