by Cliff Rold
It came and went.
No matter the anticipation, it is the way of most fights. Only a rare few live on longer in the memory of the fans, exist as adjectives for the future. Timothy Bradley-Devon Alexander won’t be one of them. The Jr. Welterweight unification occasionally sizzled but never delivered the steak.
The sport moves on.
So do its viewers.
There is nothing on the calendar this week as appetizing, pre-fight, as what last Saturday promised. Boxing fans for the most part will have to make due, this week and next, with solid pairings in contender level contests.
There are worse ways to kill time until Fernando Montiel-Nonito Donaire.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick Deuce: Sergio Mora vs. Brian Vera (Friday, ESPN2, 9:00 PM EST/6:00 PM PST)
It’s hard to get excited about watching former Jr. Middleweight titlist and Contender Season One winner Sergio Mora (22-1-2, 6 KO) fi…box. Sorry. There is just no calling what Mora usually does fighting. There are exceptions. He got it one pretty good with Peter Manfredo in the first Contender final. Mora hustled big time to defeat the late Vernon Forrest in 2008 in their first of two fights. It’s worth noting though that he took a year off between 2006 and 2007 and no one missed him. He was absent for all of 2009 and no one missed him then either. Coming off a dreary showing with Shane Mosley last year, Mora being in a good fight may be hard for some to fathom.
Not so fast.
Vera (17-5, 11 KO), a Contender Season Three contestant, is a limited but gritty guy who is there to be hit and hangs around. He’s just the sort that can tempt Mora into the trenches, especially with the odor of the Mosley fight still lingering. Vera has lost four of his last five but he’s been in with tough talent and scored a memorable upset of then-undefeated Andy Lee in 2008. ESPN2 has delivered more often than not going back to the start of 2010 and this bout could be sneak up on viewers as a good little action clash.
Pick Sho: Luis Franco vs. Leonilo Miranda (Friday, Showtime, 11:00 PM EST/PST)
ShoBox returns for 2011 with a match that, on paper, looks extremely dangerous. Featherweight Franco (8-0, 5 KO) versus the veteran Miranda (32-2, 30 KO) sounds crazy until one realizes Franco is Cuban and that means a lot (LOT) of amateur background. Miranda can crack a little and will be a solid test for a young talent on the rise. That’s what ShoBox is all about and one of the things that makes it one of the best boxing shows around. Look for Cruiserweight Lateef Kayode (15-0, 14 KO) and Lightweight Archie Ray Marquez (11-0, 8 KO) to fill out a night focused on super prospects.
Pick YouTube: #2 Nobuo Nashiro vs. #8 Tomas Rojas (Saturday, Japan, ?)
This is the hope-it-gets-on-YouTube special for the week and, based on stakes and ratings, the most significant action of the week. Action is a key word. Nashiro (14-2-1, 9 KO) to win his third alphabet title in less than twenty fights and, whether winning or losing, he remains one of Japan’s most watchable fighters. His two WBA title tilts at Jr. Bantamweight (115 lbs.) with Hugo Cazares, a draw and loss respectively, were both Fight of the Year contenders. Rojas (34-12-1, 23 KO) has a WBC belt after a career spent often as second best to some of the sports premier little men. Traveling to Japan on Saturday, he probably finished second again. He’ll bust his butt to do otherwise and that will make for a good show.
If we’re lucky, it will also make for the beginning of Cazares-Nashiro III.
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Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]