By Cliff Rold
Isn’t anyone sick of seeing Mexico versus Puerto Rico yet? Haven’t we seen enough Salvador Sanchez-Wilfredo Gomez’s?
That’s an easy one.
This weekend we get a rematch of one of the bigger upsets, and most exciting fights, of 2011. Can the younger man, groomed to be a star, get back on track after a stoppage last year to the gritty veteran?
As long as he’s trying, does it really matter if one is a fan?
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #3 Orlando Salido vs. #4 Juan Manuel Lopez (Saturday, Showtime, 10 PM EST/PST)
When Lopez (31-1, 28 KO) dropped in the fifth round against Salido (37-11-2, 25 KO) last April, the fight already felt over. Lopez had danced on the head of a pin before, badly hurt against Rafael Marquez and Rogers Mtagwa. It can only happen so many times before defeat comes calling. That it came on his feet in round eight left some wondering if the hook fell too soon. On Saturday, attempting to reclaim the WBO belt at Featherweight, we’ll see if Lopez can prove the though true. We’ll also see if he’s learned to duck. We’ll also get to see if, maybe, Salido has already peaked, already seen his finest hour come and go. In his last outing, Salido was down and hurt bad twice against Filipino Weng Haya. He survived, but Lopez brings even more ferocious power, a home island crowd, and a thirst for vengeance. This is everything a good rematch should be about. An undercard featuring Mikey Garcia versus Bernabe Concepcion gives us a chance for a two thrillers in one night.
Pick YouTube: #6 Ricky Burns vs. #9 Paulus Moses (Saturday, Scotland, ?)
Burns (33-2, 9 KO) might only be defending an interim WBO Lightweight belt this weekend, but both men are likely to fight like champions. Formerly jeweled by the WBA, Moses (28-1, 19 KO) has lost only to the tough Miguel Acosta. The Namibian is used to fighting on the road, though Burns’s raucous Glasgow faithful could be surprising. Moses is older by five years but has a bit more pop. Burns is all warrior. This could be the weekend’s show stealer and will be worth a YouTube search by Sunday.
Pick Classic: More ‘Fresh’ Oldies but Goodies
Fans with a taste for the best of the 80s and 90s know sometimes ESPN Classic can get repetitive. Lately, that’s been less the case with the vault opening to some old school goodies not seen often over the years. For instance, the second Welterweight title fight between Marlon Starling and Mark Breland has been a regular part of the rotation. The first, featuring what was then a massive upset, has not been. It is this week. So too are both of Evander Holyfield’s battles with Alex Stewart. The rematch was okay. The first fight was an epic Holyfield classic. For those who have never seen it, this week can correct that. Check local listings.
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]