By Cliff Rold
Fox Sports1 got the weekend off to an early start with a look at interesting new Heavyweight Danny Kelly and a mild upset as Tevin Farmer gave Emanuel Gonzalez his first pro loss. Will we get any more surprises this weekend?
Will we get a new Middleweight Champion?
That’s the big question as one of the game’s biggest stars moves up a class to challenge an aging kingpin at 160. Before we get there, US TV has two Friday night cards running head to head. In what order should these activities be viewed?
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: World Champion Sergio Martinez vs. #4 at 154 Miguel Cotto (Saturday, HBO PPV, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
This is the part where he gets paid. Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KO) has had a solid run as Middleweight king but only one major payday so far against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Chavez is a name. Cotto, though smaller, is a proven talent who has shared the stage with many of the best in the world. He’s nowhere near the threat a Gennady Golovkin is at Middleweight, but it pays better and Martinez is 39 so here we are. The big question about this fight is whether Martinez, racked with recent injuries, is slipped to the point where Cotto can beat him. Had this fight been made two years ago, no one would wonder about the outcome. There is some wonder this weekend and it will be up to Martinez to show he is still a reasonable facsimile of his best. If you’re buying this fight, it’s for the main event. The undercard does have a decent match between Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (23-3-1, 19 KO) and Marvin Sonsona (18-1-1, 15 KO) that could turn into a slugfest. Regardless, it’s easily the biggest fight of the week. If Martinez wins, will he face Golovkin? Will Golovkin beat Daniel Geale to force the issue in July? Those are the two big questions looming over this affair.
Pick Sho: Hugo Centeno vs. Gerardo Ibarra (Friday, Showtime, 10 PM EST/PST)
Of the two Friday cards, this looks like the better one on paper. Centeno (20-0, 11 KO), a Jr. Middleweight, is being groomed like a bright prospect but there are question marks. He was getting worked easy by excellent fellow prospect Julian Williams when a cut sent the bout to a “No Contest” with little protest from Centeno two fights ago. Now he gets an Ibarra (14-0, 8 KO) whose ledger is light to date. The support bouts are also worth a look. Welterweight Eddie Gomez (16-0, 10 KO) looks to follow up a fine win over Daquan Arnett against Francisco Santana (19-3-1, 9 KO) while 2012 Olympian Terrell Gausha (9-0, 5 KO) continues his rise at Middleweight against James Winchester (16-9, 6 KO).
Pick Deuce: Yudel Jhonson vs. Norberto Gonzalez (Friday, ESPN2, 10:30 PM EST/7:30 PM PST)
Mike Tyson’s promotional endeavor continues with this Jr. Middleweight main event. Cuba’s Jhonson (15-1, 9 KO) has won three straight since a loss to Willie Nelson. Gonzalez (20-3, 13 KO) is 2-2 in his last four but that includes a split decision loss to the rough Roberto Garcia. Gonzalez has never been stopped. Can he play the spoiler?
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Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com