by Cliff Rold
Pick It: TBRB #6 Oscar Valdez vs. #8 Scott Quigg (Saturday, ESPN, 10:30 PM EST)
Oscar Valdez (23-0, 19 KO) is a fun featherweight to watch but how good is the young WBO titlist? One fight after trading knockdowns with Genesis Servania, we are about to find out more.
Former 122 lb. titlist Scott Quigg (34-1-2, 25 KO) hasn’t lost since a somewhat disappointing unification clash with Carl Frampton. Quigg has been all but forgotten but he can still scrap and will be a serious test for Valdez. By night’s end, this could be one of the best main events Top Rank has produced since starting their latest deal on ESPN.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Friday – Showtime (10 PM EST): #5 Indongo vs. #9 Prograis
Julius Indongo (22-1, 11 KO) makes his first start since losing his half of the unified Jr. welterweight title last year. He will meet a younger man whose talent may be ready to fully bloom. Regis Prograis (20-0, 17 KO) has a chance to win an interim belt and move into the title picture in a thin 140 lb. class. Indongo is fighting to stay relevant. This should be compelling.
Friday – Telemundo (11:35 PM EST): Parra vs. Juarez
A pair of former title challengers come into this Jr. flyweight clash on different streaks. Gilberto Parra (26-3, 21 KO) has won seven in a row since being defeated by Donnie Nietes. Saul Juarez (23-7-1, 12 KO) has lost three in a row beginning with a loss to Wanheng Menayothin.
Saturday – TyC (10 PM EST): Ulrich vs. Basualdo
In a division as hot as cruiserweight, keeping an eye out for new faces is part of the fun. Jose Ulrich (17-0, 6 KO) is only 25 and still a prospect but as he nears 20 wins that could begin to change. Jose Basualdo (10-1-1, 9 KO) has never been stopped and is the bigger puncher on paper. Among the almost heavyweights, a little power goes a long way.
Saturday – Showtime (10:05 PM EST): #1 Garcia vs. #2 Lipinets
Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KO) goes for a title in his fourth weight division and he’s been red hot since returning from a lengthy self-imposed exile. Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KO) is more experienced than his record and trying to hang onto the IBF belt he won his last time to scratch. This could be a Garcia rout or a sleeper gem. It’s hard to say until we see how Lipinets reacts the first time the precise Garcia gets a big shot home.
Saturday – BeIn Espanol (11 PM EST): Navarrete vs. Teran
Emmanuel Navarrete (23-1, 20 KO) isn’t wasting time. After scoring second round knockout in January, and five fights in 2017, he’s back again to tackle Breilor Teran (22-15-1, 15 KO). Don’t be surprised if it’s another early night; Teran has been stopped twice before. Navarrete is currently the number two Jr. featherweight in both the WBA and WBO ratings.
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]