by Cliff Rold
Boxing has a new Jr. featherweight titlist and, for the most part, a week off for the trouble. Lucky for fans, ESPN2 has a potentially fun main event on tap and a good show on Classic.
And, for fight fans with the means for a ticket in Springfield, Missouri, a reason to head to the fights.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: Ruslan Provodnikov vs. David Torres (Friday, ESPN2, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
Win or lose, the Russian Jr. Welterweight headliner on Friday Night Fights is easily among the most watch fighters in the game right now. Provodnikov (20-1, 13 KO) brings it every time. He brought it in his first loss last January against Mauricio Herrera. He brought it in handing Ivan Popoca his first loss three months later. This time out, he’s matched with a David Torres (21-2-2, 13 KO) who has gone 1-2-2 in his last five outings. Both the losses came within the distance. He needs a win. Provodnikov is a hellish, pressuring test in trying to get it. Paired with all-action Lightweight Ji-Hoon Kim (22-7, 18 KO) against Ghana’s Yakubu Amidu (20-2-1, 18 KO), this is red meat for diehards, a couple of off-Broadway throw downs for pride and a check. That’s good T.V.
Pick Live: Cory Spinks vs. Sechew Powell (Saturday, No T.V.)
Fight fans starving for action on Saturday will find it in Missouri at the Shrine Mosque in Springfield. Cruiserweight B.J. Flores faces Hugo Pineda in the headliner but it’s the undercard attraction that appeals here. Spinks (38-6, 11 KO) is the former Welterweight Champion and Jr. Middleweight titlist still hanging on at 33. He’s won once since a startling knockout loss to Cornelius Bundrage and can take a step towards a rematch in this IBF eliminator. He’s matched with a Powell (26-3, 15 KO) whose career hangs by a similar thread after losing to Bundrage in K9’s only title defense to date. Tickets range from $20-119 dollars. The 4,000 seat arena isn’t likely to have a bad seat and live fights are always a good buy. Head out and support the sport the right way Saturday night if in the area.
Pick Classic: David Tua On the Way Up (Wednesday, ESPN Classic, 7 PM EST)
Unabashedly, this scribe always liked watching David Tua. He is probably, since the Heavyweight crown splits went epidemic in 1978, the best fighter not to win even a belt. Surprisingly, he only got one shot his whole career. Compare that with the ample opportunities of both the men Classic will show him in action with Wednesday. In one of the great highlights of the last twenty years, his 1996 clash with future WBA titlist John Ruiz will be on display. It’s followed by his 1998 first clash with future World Champion Hasim Rahman. The ending left room for debate and feel free to reignite that debate in the comments section. Before he ate himself up into the 240’s for Lennox Lewis, he was a lean, mean puncher in the 220s. This was then. It was fun stuff to watch.
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]