by Cliff Rold
Pick It: TBRB #2 George Groves vs. #3 Chris Eubank Jr. (WBSS YouTube & Facebook, Saturday)
Once again, the best fight of the week isn’t going to be on US TV. This hotly anticipated UK super middleweight showdown doesn’t carry the unification pedigree of the cruiserweight semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series. It’s got plenty otherwise going for it.
Groves (27-3, 20 KO) won the WBA belt in his fourth try at a title and looks to prolong his reign into the WBSS final. Eubank (26-1, 20 KO) held an interim belt at middleweight and aims for his first full title in the division where his father made a case that has him on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. Groves is more experienced. Eubank is rapidly improving. This isn’t a fight to miss.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Friday – ESPN (9 PM EST): #5 Beltran vs. Moses
There was a time when Paulus Moses (40-3, 25 KO) was a serious top ten lightweight. That was not in this decade. The 38-year old is unbeaten in six fights since a loss in 2015 and that was enough to merit a top two rating from the WBO. He’ll fight Beltran (34-7-1, 21 KO), a fighter most see as a top ten lightweight in this decade, for their vacant belt. It’s hard to tell how good this one might be.
Friday – TyC (9 PM EST): Ramirez vs. Bulacio
A pair of young welterweights are in the main event slot this week. Diego Ramirez (13-0, 3 KO) hasn’t lost since a split decision in his third fight. Martin Bulacio (7-1, 5 KO) hasn’t lost since a decision in his pro debut. Will one of them be a name you wished you’d heard sooner someday?
Saturday – Fox (8 PM EST): Alexander vs. Ortiz
A pair of former major titlists are throwing down without much room for error and none for defeat. Devon Alexander (27-4, 14 KO) is looking to make it two straight after a two-year layoff. Victor Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KO) is looking not just to win but avoid being stopped for the fifth time in eight fights. Caleb Plant-Rogelio Medina on the televised undercard might steal the show.
Saturday – Showtime (10 PM EST): #5 Garcia vs. Rios
Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KO) ran out of luck with the judges. After some controversial escapes, Garcia lost officially for the first time to Keith Thurman in one of the most watched non-pay per view fights in the US this decade. Now, after yet another long layoff, he’s back for what looks like a rehab assignment. Brandon Rios (34-3-1, 25 KO) has nothing to lose here and might turn that on its ear. Does Rios have enough left to make Garcia work? If not, the undercard super middleweight rematch between David Benavidez and Ronald Gavril is worth watching if its half as good as their first fight.
Saturday – TyC (10:15 PM EST): Dionicius vs. Nuki
Action in the women’s super flyweight division takes center stage in Argentina. Undefeated Debora Dionicius (26-0, 6 KO) has been the IBF champ since 2012 with ten title defenses. Nuki (9-2, 6 KO) comes down the scale after falling short of a challenge for the WBC bantamweight title in her last outing. Can Nuki end the reign?
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]