by Cliff Rold
Pick It: TBRB #2 Carl Frampton vs. Luke Jackson (Saturday, YouTube, 3:30 PM EST)
Showtime International comes through again with a solid card headlined by an interesting clash at featherweight. Carl Frampton (25-1, 14 KO) has the interim WBO belt but what’s really at stake is position in a stacked division.
Luke Jackson (16-0, 7 KO) is making a huge step up in competition but, at 33, has every incentive to let it all hang out. The fight that may steal the show on the undercard will pit three-time Irish Olympian, twice a bronze medalist, Paddy Barnes (5-0, 1 KO) against newly minted WBC flyweight titlist Cristofer Rosales (27-3, 18 KO). Tyson Fury, who maintains his claim to the lineal heavyweight crown, will continue shaking off the rust against veteran Francisco Pianeta. That’s not a bad Saturday afternoon.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Thursday – ESPN+ (6:45 AM EST): #3 Iwasa vs. Doheny
The IBF 122 lb. scrap will be on the line before many US fans are out of bed. For those who are awake, defending titlist Ryosuke Iwasa (25-2, 16 KO) will face Australia’s heavy-handed TJ Doheny (19-0, 14 KO). Iwasa has won six in a row since a stoppage loss to Lee Haskins in 2015. Doheny has won seven of his last eight inside the distance.
Friday – TyC (9 PM EST): Ruiz vs. Pichardo
24-year old Jr. featherweight Diego Ruiz (18-2, 10 KO) has won seven in a row and looks to make it eight. Opponent Diego Pichardo (18-16-1, 3 KO) is the sort of guy fighters extend winning streaks against, having lost four straight before a win in June.
Friday – ESPN2 (11 PM EST): Cancio vs. Zenunaj
Late night action Friday will feature Jr. lightweight action. Andrew Cancio (18-4-2, 14 KO) was off for all of 2017 after a stoppage loss to Joseph Diaz and makes his second start of the year. He’ll square off with Dardan Zenunaj (14-4, 11 KO) who is coming off a technical decision loss in his last start.
Saturday – CBS Sports (9 PM EST): Nicholson vs. Rodrigues
Super middleweight action at the fringes of the class could provide some fireworks. Demond Nicholson (18-3-1, 17 KO) fell short in a step up against Jesse Hart last out but carries some pop. He’s been stopped in two of three losses. Isaac Rodrigues (25-2, 20 KO) has won eight straight, seven by stoppage, after suffering consecutive stoppage defeats in 2010-11.
Saturday – ESPN (10 PM EST): Jennings vs. Dimitrenko
Veteran heavyweights battle to stay relevant here. Bryant Jennings (23-2, 13 KO) has only lost to the top of the class, falling short in a title shot against then-king Wladimir Klitschko and then suffering a stoppage at the hands of Luis Ortiz. Alexander Dimitrenko (41-3, 26 KO) has lost worse against his better foes but sticks around and has a chance to extend his hopes here.
Saturday – TyC (11 PM EST): Coceres vs. Zarate
Argentine middleweight Marcelo Coceres (23-0-1, 13 KO) isn’t a contender yet but with a regional WBO belt on the line here, he might be headed that direction. Opponent Cristian Zarate (9-1, 2 KO) has won seven straight since an early stumble.
Saturday – BeIn Espanol (11 PM EST): Ortiz vs. Leon
Women get center stage on this card. WBA 105 lb. titlist Anabel Ortiz (27-3, 4 KO) has won seventeen straight since 2012 and attempts her 10thtitle defense here. Yenifer Leon (9-0, 6 KO) could provide one of her tougher defenses to date.
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]