Pick It: TBRB #3 Emanuel Navarrete vs. #10 Joet Gonzalez (Friday, ESPN+, 8:30 PM EST)

Winning major belts in boxing isn’t supposed to be easier, even if with all the belts around it feels easier than ever. 28-year old Joet Gonzalez (24-1, 14 KO) can speak to how tough it can be already, getting his first crack at a featherweight belt against talented Olympic silver medalist Shakur Stevenson in 2019 and coming up well short.

That was an attempt against a slick boxer. Friday Gonzalez gets his second chance against a physical force. WBO featherweight titlist Emanuel Navarrete (34-1, 29 KO) is a skilled pressure boxer with heavy hands who gets better as the rounds go by. This clash of top ten featherweights could steal the weekend and provide some genuine thrills throughout.


Additional Show to Watch For

Friday - Dominguez vs. Rubio (UFC Fight Pass, 10:00 PM EST)

A promising welterweight prospect gets his turn in the main event. 30-year old Santiago Dominguez (24-0, 18 KO) is coming off his first ten-round win and slipped by with a narrow split decision. 26-year old Jesus Rubio (13-4-1, 7 KO) enters off a loss and has been stopped twice. 

Friday/Saturday - Vega vs. Torres (Telemundo, 12:00 AM EST)

Jr. flyweight action tops the bill here. 21-year old Axel Vega (14-4-1, 8 KO) enters off a knockout loss to Jr. flyweight titlist Hiroto Kyoguchi. This could be a tricky landing against 40-year old Armando Torres (26-19, 19 KO). Torres lost six in a row before a five-fight winning streak that included a first round stoppage of former titlist Ganigan Lopez. Torres was stopped in his last outing but can he prevent another losing streak?

Saturday - Garcia vs. Martin (DAZN, 7:30 PM EST)  

33-year old former four-division titlist Mikey Garcia (40-1, 30 KO) makes his first start since a knockout of Jessie Vargas in February 2020. Still competing at welterweight, Garcia hasn’t looked his best at the weight so far but it will be up to his opponent to make a play of it. 28-year old Sandor Martin (38-2, 13 KO) has never been stopped and enters on a nine-fight win streak. The real gem on this card may come in support with 24-year old WBO 108 lb. titlist Elwin Soto (19-1, 13 KO) set to defend against 30-year old Jonathan Gonzalez (24-3-1, 14 KO). Gonzalez has won two in a row since a loss to Japan’s Kosei Tanaka. 

Saturday - Cuellar vs. Fuentes (ESPN+, 8:00 PM EST)

Jr. bantamweight has been a stellar source for world class boxing in recent years and 19-year old David Cuellar (19-0, 12 KO) might be in position for the inevitable reload. Cuellar gets the ritual look at a faded ex-titlist in 36-year old Moises Fuentes (25-6-1, 14 KO). Fuentes once held a belt at 105 lbs. And was in some memorable battles but Fuentes has lost four of his last five, three by stoppage. This is Fuentes’ first fight since a 2018 knockout loss to Roman Gonzalez.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com