by Cliff Rold
Pick It: TBRB #4 Masayuki Ito vs. Jamel Herring (Saturday, ESPN, 10 PM EST)
Jr. lightweight has always been a division capable of memorable warfare and class boxing. Right now, it makes room in the title scene for a distance technician like Tevin Famer and a lights out puncher like Gervonta Davis.
In between, we have steady battlers who can do a little bit of everything like Ito (25-1-1, 13 KO) and Miguel Berchelt. Japan’s 28-year old Ito defends the IBF belt this weekend and a possible unification tilt with Berchelt could hang in the balance.
He will attempt his second defense against the 2012 US Olympian and Iraq war veteran Herring (19-2, 10 KO) of Cincinnati, Ohio in what should be a fun style clash. Former two-division titlist Jose Pedraza is also on the card.
This isn’t as busy as last weekend was on the air and stream-waves but there is enough to keep anyone entertained.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Saturday – DAZN (7 PM EST): Haney vs. Moran
20-year old lightweight Devin Haney (21-0, 13 KO) is on track for a title shot and this weekend was supposed to be in chief support to the heavyweight debut of cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk. Plans change and he has the main event to himself. One of the most eye-catching signings by Matchroom in the US so far, Haney will test his talents against 26-year old Antonio Moran (24-3, 17 KO) of Mexico City in the new main event.
Saturday – FS1 (8 PM EST): Trout vs. Gausha
33-year old former Jr. middleweight titlist Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KO) of Las Cruces, New Mexico kept it competitive with Jermell Charlo even as he suffered two knockdowns in a loss last year. To this day, Trout has never lost to anyone who wasn’t near the top of his class. 2012 US Olympian Terrell Gausha (21-1, 10 KO) shares a common foe with Trout in his lone loss to Erislandy Lara. At 31, the Cleveland, Ohio product needs a win bad against Trout to stay viable in a deep and talented weight class. This could be a sleeper for fight of the week.
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 protected]