by Cliff Rold
Cinco de Mayweather is coming. Will the sports biggest cash draw be celebrating while he prepares for his ‘County Blues’ on May 6th?
The only question more interesting might be who on Earth thought it was a good idea to counter program Mayweather with fights on ESPN2? And with the mercurial Demetrius Andrade at that? If it interests anyone to see the former Olympian, he’ll be on at 10 PM EST against the woefully overmatched Rudy Cisneros.
For everyone else, these are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #1 Miguel Cotto vs. World Welterweight Champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Saturday, HBO PPV, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
42 have tried only to find defeat along the way as Floyd Mayweather amassed a 42-0 (26) mark as a professional. Jr. Middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KO) looked like a looming threat when Mayweather started a brief retirement in 2008. He is a rival at last in 2012. Has this one marinated too long? The answer will likely end up yes, but it won’t matter. On Saturday, we get two of the biggest stars of their era when both can still go. It’s an event, and boxing needs the nights where it feels important not just to its ardent followers but also to everyone else. The undercard is nothing much (Saul Alvarez-Shane Mosley is ritual sacrifice), but if you’re looking for a potential show stealer, come in early. DeAndre Latimore-Carlos Quintana matches a pair of vulnerable, honest prizefighters still looking for opportunity at Jr. Middleweight. Call some friends. Break out the grill. It’s big fight night come May 5.
Pick Tuesday: #4 Dmitry Pirog vs. Nobuhiro Ishida (Tuesday, Russia, ?)
This is probably a YouTube, post-result special as ESPN3 does not have this on the docket as they have with some past Pirog bouts. It’s too bad as this one is interesting. The WBO Middleweight titlist Pirog (19-0, 15 KO) is rumored to be, finally, headed back to real competition and exposure as early as this summer. Opponent Nobuhiro Ishida (24-7-2, 9 KO) is two months off a rough, rugged loss to Paul Williams. He also brings value as ‘the man who knocked out James Kirkland.” This is about comparison-shopping via headline and not bad matching. If Pirog lays waste to Ishida, a man who has never been stopped, it’s a nice reminder to U.S. fans who haven’t seen much of him that he lurks as one of the biggest threats to Champion Sergio Martinez.
Pick Best Card: #2 Marco Huck vs. #7 Ola Afolabi (Saturday, Germany, ?)
And here is YouTube special #2 for the week. Sure, Fox Deportes has Daniel Ponce De Leon on Friday night, and feel free to tune in, but it would be dishonest to make it a pick over what looks like the best overall card in the world this week. At Cruiserweight, the main event sees the WBO titlist Huck (34-2, 25 KO) try to follow up getting jobbed out of a Heavyweight belt against Alexander Povetkin in February with a rematch against Afolabi (19-2-3, 9 KO). These two had a competitive clash in 2009. On the undercard, Heavyweights Alexander Dimitrenko (32-1, 21 KO) and Kubrat Pulev (15-0, 7 KO) have the sort of fight that moves one of them into the ranks of serious, rather than fringe, contenders among the big men. Super Middleweight titlist Robert Stieglitz is also in action.
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]