By Cliff Rold
It’s the calm before the…
…sorry. Can’t go there. Storm just doesn’t cut it when describing the fight on May 7. Maybe, and a soft maybe at that, Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley turns into a memorable classic. Chances are, it’s a one sided affair that lives down to the expectations of fight fans who know more names than just “Manny.”
So it’s the calm before the event and there be fights on the horizon between. They’re light on the scale. They could be big on action, which is good enough from this corner.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick Fly: #4 Raul Garcia vs. Rommel Asenjo (Saturday, Fox Deportes, 10:00 PM EST/PST)
For fans of little men, this could be a real gem. The 105 lb. Garcia (29-1, 17 KO) has bounced back strong from losing an IBF belt last year, snaring an interim WBO belt and preparing to defend the full honors this weekend against Asenjo (20-2, 16 KO). It’s one of the sports great tragedies that Strawweight is so anonymous right now because it’s got a nice cast of characters and, if anyone gave a damn, could make some outstanding unification fights. The division hasn’t seen anything like that since Ricardo Lopez moved up over a decade ago. No one should hold their breath. Also on the card, for the WBO belt at 108 lbs., Jesus Geles (12-1-1, 5 KO) defends in his second straight, after a debatable split decision last time out, against Ramon Hirales (15-2-1, 8 KO). En Espanol, that’s a hell of a way to spend a Saturday night. As a bonus, if not a part of the Fox telecast, keep an eye out for another excellent 108 lb. match Saturday as unlikely WBC titlist Gilberto Keb Baas (35-20-4, 22 KO) goes for a second defense against Adrian Hernandez (20-1-1, 12 KO). Keb Baas winning here might be as shocking as being a champ at all. The first defense was on the WBC website and the second will be too. Check WBCboxing.tv for details.
Pick Solo: Peter Quillin vs. Jesses Brinkley (Friday, Telemundo, 11:30 PM EST/PST)
Kid Chocolate, a standard of excellence in nom de guerre. It might not have the resonance or legacy of ”Sugar” but the great Featherweight and Jr. Lightweight was sweet enough on his own. Quillin (23-0, 17 KO) has a long way to go to live up the label and he’s probably more Ray Seales than Ray Leonard in his effort. That doesn’t mean Seales, a one time Olympian, wasn’t for real as a pro. We’re still finding out if Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin is for real and a win over recent title challenger Jesse Brinkley (35-6, 22 KO) is a must. Given how loaded the Super Middleweights are right now, cracking the top would be no small feat. Quillin could make it by the end of 2011 with the right moves. A third straight win by stop would help come Friday.
Pick Deuce on Tres: Allen Conyers vs. Carlos Molina (Friday, ESPN3.com, 8 PM EST/5 PM PST)
Let’s add one more net fix to the schedule. With the NFL draft and NBA playoffs eating up TV time on the worldwide leader, ESPN3 will be the home of Friday Night fights this week rather than ESPN2. Fight fans can rejoice boxing it is not yet relegated to the “Ocho,” though, hey, Gary Cole calling a fight would be two thumbs up all day. Jr. Middleweights Conyers (12-4, 9 KO) and Molina (17-4-2, 5 KO) are in the sort of main event that screams ‘not on prime time TV’ but this is the same Molina who held super touted Erislandy Lara to a draw just last month, the same Molina who has not lost in ten starts dating to 2007. This is worth a look.
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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]