Pick It: TBRB #2 Miguel Berchelt vs. Oscar Valdez (Saturday, ESPN, 10 PM EST)
What might have been a Fight of the Year contender in 2020 remains one on paper in early 2021. COVID delayed what, on paper, looks like a can’t miss all-Mexican swapping of leather. 29-year old WBC super featherweight titlist Miguel Berchelt (37-1, 33 KO) attempts his seventh defense of the belt he won from Francisco Vargas in 2017.
30-year old 2012 Olympian and 2009 World amateur bronze medalist Oscar Valdez (28-0, 22 KO) makes his third start at Jr. lightweight. He held the WBO featherweight strap from 2016-19 and made six defenses but his struggles with Scott Quigg, Genesis Servania and Adam Lopez have left question marks. Valdez has been all guts but does he have the gear he needs to slow down a Berchelt who hasn’t lost since a stunning first round stoppage in 2014? Finding out won’t be boring.
Undercard action kicks off at 6:30 PM EST on ESPN+ before moving to the main network.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Friday - McComb vs. Gwynne (ESPN+, 2 PM EST)
UK lightweight action headlines this afternoon kick-off to the weekend. The 28-year old McComb (11-0, 5 KO) would surely love to be the next big star from Northern Ireland on the heels of Carl Frampton. Long for the division, McComb will pit his range against 30-year old Welshamn Gavin Gwynne (12-2, 2 K). Gwynne enters off his lone stoppage loss and given the power he’s displayed, the expected outcome here is easy to figure.
Saturday - Avanesyan vs. Kelly (DAZN, 2 PM EST)
32-year old welterweight David Avanesyan (26-3-1, 14 KO) is probably best remembered stateside for a win and loss versus Shane Mosley and Lamont Peterson respectively. On Saturday in the UK, will he be an obstacle or building block for a promising prospect. 26-year old Josh Kelly (10-0-1, 6 KO) represented his country at the 2016 Games but hit come turbulence in a 2019 draw against veteran Ray Robinson. Welterweight is ever a minefield and Avanesyan is good enough to test Kelly this weekend.
Saturday - Broner vs. Santiago (Showtime, 9 PM EST)
31-year old former four-division titlist Adrien Broner (33-4-1, 24 KO) is back from a two-year hiatus for action at Jr. welt...er, make that just regular old welterweight this weekend. Let’s hope it’s not Jr. middleweight by the time the scales come out Friday. 31-year old Jovanie Santiago (14-0-1, 10 KO) has fought at welterweight before and has a career making opportunity on his hands. Don’t be surprised if this ends up a fun affair. It could be a fun card period with Robert Easter-Ryan Martin in Jr. welterweight action and former heavyweight title challengers Otto Wallin and Dominic Breazeale also set to square off. Combined with ESPN, there is something for everyone Saturday night.
Sunday - Brewart vs. Weston (ThompsonBoxing.com, 6:30 PM EST)
The weekend isn’t done after the dueling Saturday action. Fans can finish their fistic viewing with a clash of undefeated Jr. middleweight prospects in this main event. 22-year old Richard Brewart Jr. (8-0, 4 KO) squares off with 28-year old Nathan Weston (6-0-2, 3 KO). Weston just eked into a pair of draws and will want to avoid the tie for the third time.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org