by Cliff Rold
Pick It: TBRB #3 Terence Crawford vs. Jose Benavidez (Saturday, ESPN, 10:30 PM EST)
One of a handful of fighters seriously in the debate about the best overall fighter in the world continues his journey in a third weight class.
The 31-year old former lightweight and Jr. welterweight champion, Crawford (33-0, 24 KO) makes his first defense of the WBO welterweight belt against a Benavidez (27-0, 18 KO) who briefly held an interim belt at 140 lbs. and still has a lot to prove.
The serious step up to the world-class level he made ended in a debatable decision win over Mauricio Herrera and that was all the way back in 2014. Only 26, Benavidez has been brought along methodically. This is a make or break moment. Undercard bouts begin at 7 PM EST on ESPN+.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Friday – Estrella (10 PM EST): Kerobyan vs. Mendivil
20-year old Jr. welterweight hopeful Ferdinand Kerobyan (10-0, 5 KO) continues his early career. He should have a chance to impress. Opponent Rolando Mendivil (10-5, 3 KO) doesn’t crack much and has already been stopped three times.
Saturday – DAZN (1 PM EST): #3 Tete vs. Aloyan
The start time isn’t currently listed on the app but scheduled for this weekend is the second quarterfinal in the bantamweight WBSS and the first at cruiserweight. In the former, 30-year old WBO titlist Zolani Tete (27-3, 21 KO) defends against Mikhail Aloyan (4-0). The records look like a mismatch but the 30-year old Aloyan could be a dark horse. He is a 2011 World Amateur champion, 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist, and 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist. The bigger men feature a clash between Andrew Tabiti (16-0, 13 KO) and Ruslan Fayfer (23-0, 16 KO).
Saturday – DAZN (2 PM EST): Ritson vs. Patera
For fans of domestic UK action, or those who want to check in later on DAZN’s On Demand features, 25-year old lightweight hopeful Lewis Ritson (17-0, 11 KO) continues his move towards world contention. He will face 25-year old Francesco Patera (19-3, 7 KO) in the main event of a full card from Newcastle.
Saturday – FaceBook Watch (9 PM EST): #10 Acosta vs. Rodriguez
28-year old WBO Jr. flyweight titlist Angelo Acosta (18-1, 18 KO) has lost only to Japan’s Kosei Tanaka and makes his second defense here. 23-year old challenger Abraham Rodriguez (23-1, 11 KO) was stopped two fights ago and Acosta, so far, only wins by knockout.
Saturday – TyC (10:30 PM EST): Bopp vs. Robles
Women’s WBA light flyweight titlist Yessica Bopp (34-1, 15 KO) of Argentina has won ten in a row since a decision loss to Jessica Chavez in 2013. Challenger Sandra Robles (21-2, 10 KO) has won ten in a row to earn this opportunity. Someone is going to fall short of eleven.
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]