Pick It: TBRB #3 Ilunga Makabu vs. #4 Thabiso Mchunu (Saturday, Fite TV, 8:00 PM EST)

Fans with an extra $50-ish to burn will find a solid cruiserweight main event on this show. It’s a rematch over six years in the making. In the first fight, the 34-year old Makabu (28-2, 25 KO) rallied from behind for an eleventh round stoppage.

Makabu has won nine in a row since a loss to Tony Bellew and now attempts his second defense against the 33-year old Mchunu (23-5, 13 KO). Makabu getting a crack at Saul Alvarez appears less like a thing for now but Makabu can’t hurt his chances with a win. Mchunu is looking to make it five straight wins and a chance to win a belt.      

Additional Shows to Watch For

Friday - Rodriguez vs. Meneses (Fite TV, 6:00 PM EST)

Dubbed Gran Noche de Boxeo Cubano, the bantamweights take center stage for interested customers. 25-year old two-time world amateur champion and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Joahnys Argilagos (8-0, 4 KO) faces his toughest test as a pro. 31-year old Michell Banquez (19-1, 13 KO) has won five in a row but makes his first start since 2019.   

Friday - Hernandez vs. Rodriguez (Estrella, 10:00 PM EST)

Estrella kicks off for the year with a clash at lightweight. In the main event, Jerson Aguilar Hernández (11-6, 3 KO's) faces Marcos Rodríguez (10-4, 8 KO's). On paper, they aren’t standout records but the series tends to be well matched so it might make for some entertainment.

Saturday - Conceicao vs Martinez (ESPN, 10 PM EST)

33-year old Robson Conceicao (16-1, 8 KO) gave Oscar Valdez all he could ask for in his last bout but it wasn’t enough on the scorecards. It doesn’t get easier in this Jr. lightweight clash. 24-year old Xavier Martinez (17-0, 11 KO) is nearing real contention, just inside the top 15 of the WBC as he heads to scratch here. Undercard action starts on ESPN+ at 5:55 PM EST.

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