Pick It: TBRB #5 Brandon Figueroa vs. #7 Luis Nery (Saturday, Showtime, 10:00 PM EST)

The red hot Jr. featherweight division is center stage for what could be a fantastic scrap. 26-year old Luis Nery (31-0, 24 KO) defends the WBC belt against 24-year old Brandon Figueroa (21-0-1, 16 KO), who holds a WBA sub-title already,  in a fight that should be excellent at even half its potential.

The stakes are high with a unification match looming with WBO titlist Stephen Fulton in the fall. Showtime is investing heavily in the class and it’s not hard to see why. WHile there are valleys, few divisions have seen the volume of actions peaks 122 pounds has in the last forty years. #2 rated former titlist Daniel Roman will also be in action as will rising Jr. lightweight Xavier Martinez. This is a real gem on the Showtime schedule, at least on paper.         

Additional Shows to Watch For

Friday - Hardy vs. Camara (UFC Fight Pass, 10:00 PM EST)   

Lightweight action features the return of a former featherweight titlist off her first defeat. 39-year old Heather Hardy (22-1, 4 KO) lost almost two years ago to the incredible Amanda Serrano, something almost every peer near Serrano’s multiple weights has or likely will do. Hardy is back in a new division against 33-year old Jessica Camara (7-2). Also on the card, Jr. welterweight Tyler Tomlin (10-0, 6 KO) is just 21 years old and might be worth a look. 

Friday/Saturday - Valtierra vs. Lopez (Telemundo, 12:00 AM EST)

Lightweight action presents fans a look at a young prospect from Mexico. 19-year old Denilson Jair Valtierra (14-0, 7 KO) went ten rounds for the first time in his last outing and, given his age, is taking small steps forward. Emanuel Lopez (30-12-1, 14 KO) flirted with contention at Jr. lightweight half a decade ago and should be a good measuring stick for Valtierra here. Lopez is 3-6 in his last nine and has lost his last two starts inside the route. 

Saturday - Buatsi vs. Dos Santos (DAZN, 1:00 PM EST)

Light heavyweights headline this Saturday matinee for fans in the States. 28-year old Joshua Buatsi (13-0, 11 KO) might not qualify as a contender yet but every win is an inch closer. 30-year old Daniel Dos Santos (15-0, 8 KO) is every bit as unbeaten as Buatsi so this could get interesting. It’s the UK versus France, 21st century style.  

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com