By Cliff Rold
Just like that, it’s a whole new season of boxing. That’s because, in boxing, the season never really ends. The passage of time isn’t marked by spring training or the World Series. Boxing goes from 1 to 365, the year-end awards go out, rinse, repeat.
For the first week of season 2012, fan pickings are sparse but there are two televised shows and that’s enough to get things started
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: Dyah Davis vs. Alfonso Lopez (Friday, ESPN2, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
Nothing says New Year like the return of Friday Night Fights. After a memorable 2011 that saw multiple undefeated fighters become defeated, and a Fight of the Year contender staged in Pawel Wolak-Delvin Rodriguez I, one wonders if the “Deuce” can deliver another similarly entertaining array of bouts. The first main event of the year features the son of 1976 Olympic Gold Medalist Howard Davis. Dyah Davis (20-2, 9 KO) has started to show improvement and there will be a better idea of how close he can get to being a contender this week. Lopez (22-1, 17 KO) can bang a little and went the distance with former Middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik two fights ago. This has the look of a fight where defense might be hard to maintain. Sounds like a fine start.
Pick Sho: Luis Ramos vs. Reymundo Beltran (Friday, Showtime, 11 PM EST/PST)
The 23-year old Southern California Jr. Welterweight, Ramos (20-0, 9 KO), has shown promise and been built to the verge of contention. Beltran (25-5, 17 KO) is a solid obstacle on the way to bigger and better. Beltran gave a solid go last year against burgeoning Lightweight contender Sharif Bogere and carries enough sock in his mitts to make it interesting. The co-feature pairs undefeated Lightweights. Michael Perez (15-0-1, 9 KO) and Omar Figueroa (13-0, 10 KO) are 21 and 22 respectively. That sort of youth, and the desire to keep an “0” has produced its share of high-octane action. We’ll see if it’s the case on the first 2012 edition of ShoBox.
It’s the 2012 kickoff. It’s not the best of boxing, but as noted, it’s a start. Oh, and for those who love a good classic…
Pick Classic: Ray Leonard vs. Tommy Hearns I (Tuesday, ESPN Classic, 8 PM EST/5 PM PST)
This is the rarely replayed version with Howard Cosell on the mic. The 1981 Ring Magazine Fight of the Year. Sugar Ray versus the Motor City Cobra for the undisputed Welterweight Championship of the World. If anyone reading hasn’t seen it, this is the chance. It really doesn’t require much hyperbole. It’s only one of the greatest fights of all time. Given how seldom it hits air, watch it.
Back in seven.
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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]