by Cliff Rold
For hardcore boxing fans, this is the weekend that has been circled on the calendar. With high quality fights all over the world over the course of two days, it just doesn’t get much better than this in the ring.
Boxing fans don’t ask for much. Give them proven world-class fighters, pit them against each other in fights with hard to predict outcomes, and match the styles in a way that is pleasing. Voila.
Even with the loss of what was supposed to be a September 6th clash between World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko and top contender Kubrat Pulev, the weekend is still loaded enough to declare:
This is the best boxing weekend scheduled so far in 2014.
And Showtime has a show too.
These are the picks of the week (in chronological order because, really, who would want to miss any of these).
Pick It: World Champion Akira Yaegashi vs. #8 Roman Gonzalez (Friday, Japan, ?)
It doesn’t appear this one will make any US air and that’s a damn shame. On paper, this might be the best of the slate. YouTube will have plenty of scavengers seeking this one out when it’s over no matter the outcome. Yaegashi (20-3, 10 KO) has defended his WBC and lineal Flyweight crowns three times and looked better with the extra pounds than he did making a warrior reputation at 105. He hasn’t faced anyone like Gonzalez (39-0, 33 KO) in his reign. Gonzalez has battered the competition at 105 and 108 and 112 has been more of the same with five knockouts in a row. Among them was a walkthrough of now unified 105 lb. titlist Francisco Rodriguez. What he’s missing so far at Flyweight is marquee competition. He’s got it here. There is a feeling among some that Gonzalez may be on the level of the very best of the sport in any weight class. The speed and legs of Yaegashi may give some clues to how true that is. Both have been in Fight of the Year type classics. Is there any reason to think this won’t be a hellacious scrap for as long as it lasts?
Pick Rematch: #2 Carl Frampton vs. #3 Kiko Martinez (Saturday, AWE, 3:30 PM EST/12:30 PM PST)
Since they first squared off last year, Frampton (18-0, 13 KO) and Martinez (31-4, 23 KO) have done nothing but win. Martinez’s wins have been better, three in a row over current or former titlists that see him enter this rematch the reigning IBF titlist at 122 lbs. Frampton has the most relevant win, a one-punch stoppage of Martinez in their first encounter. Don’t assume that means he does it again. Martinez was in the fight last time and he’ll have new confidence and a vengeance incentive. Frampton has the home turf in Northern Ireland. This is a sequel that could surpass the original. Readers should check their cable as additional systems now offer AWE as part of the basic package than has been the case in the past.
Pick More Fly: #1 Juan Francisco Estrada vs. #5 Giovanni Segura (Saturday, BeIn Espanol, 11 PM EST)
Any boxing fan who doesn’t have BeIn Espanol needs to call and bitch to their cable provider. They are missing what arguably has been the most consistent provider of championship level action fights in 2014. Already they’ve had Donnie Niete-Moises Fuentes II at 108 and the Fight of the Year (so far) in Francisco Rodriguez-Katsunari Takayama. Now, here comes a fight that might be as good or better than anything on the network yet. Both men have won three straight since their last loss. Estrada lost a classic to Gonzalez. Segura dropped a barnburner to Edgar Sosa. Both of these Mexican warriors are looking to keep their streak alive. Estrada (26-2, 19 KO) defends the WBA and WBO belts. Segura (32-3-1, 28 KO) looks to add a unified Flyweight honor to his former place as unified and linear Jr. Flyweight king. Just sit back and watch the leather launch.
And Showtime: Tripleheader (Saturday, Showtime, 9:25 PM EST)
Okay, so this isn’t entirely chronological. If you like star gazing over great fights, this card will be more interesting than the others on the weekend. These matches, on paper, are simply inferior to the rest of the weekend. That doesn’t make them bad. It’s not Danny Garcia-Rod Salka. Adrien Broner (28-1, 22 KO) might have some issues with Emanuel Taylor (18-2, 12 KO). Taylor is a capable boxer. Lucas Matthysse (35-3, 33 KO) is fighting a relative unknown in Roberto Ortiz (31-0-1, 24 KO) who can punch. After the Molina war, don’t assume this is a walkover. The third fight of the night looks like one but there are no guarantees there either. Andre Berto (28-3, 22 KO) might be shot and Steve Upsher Chambers (24-3-1, 6 KO) gave some good rounds to Luis Collazo. Who knows? Stranger things have happened. ShoExtreme will have additional undercard fights at 7 PM EST.
Stranger things have happened than the Showtime show ending up to be memorable as well. There is a reason the phrase ‘on paper’ is good to use. Nothing is guaranteed. Perhaps the other fights on the weekend disappoint. Perhaps Showtime shocks. It’s enough to have this much boxing to look forward to.
On paper, it doesn’t get much better than this.
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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