by Cliff Rold
Boxing fans know they live in a big world. Last week, the center of it was in Las Vegas. This week, the love gets spread around. The best fight of the week, on paper, takes place in the land of William Wallace while vengeance is sought in Poland.
U.S. fans make do with a handful of solid shows while they wait for the next wave of the big stuff. That’s okay. Between the Martinez-Chavez and Alvarez-Lopez shows last weekend, they got their fill.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #4 Ricky Burns vs. #8 Kevin Mitchell (Saturday, Scotland, BoxNation)
A YouTube special, this could also be a special fight. Burns (34-2, 9 KO) attempts his second defense of the WBO Lightweight belt after solid consecutive wins over Michael Katsidis and Paulus Moses. Mitchell (33-1, 24 KO), whose lone loss came by knockout to Katsidis, doesn’t have power to fear here. What he does have to contend with is incredible will, a hostile crowd, and Burns on a 19-fight win streak. This could be a violent affair, and given their regional rivalry (Burns is Scottish, Mitchell British) this could be the start of a series. If Burns wins, wouldn’t it be past time to wonder how he mixes with the likes of Antonio DeMarco, Miguel Vazquez, and Adrien Broner. In terms of bell-to-bell action, this should be the week’s best match.
Pick Justice: #4 Krzysztof Wlodarczyk vs. Francisco Palacios (Saturday, Poland, ?)
Wlodarczyk (46-2-1, 33 KO), the WBC titlist at Cruiserweight, is a tough man to be on his home turf in Poland. Just ask Palacios or Steve Cunningham. They both appeared to beat him only to leave Poland with an “L” on their record. Cunningham set it right the second time. Can Palacios (21-1, 13 KO) do the same? The Puerto Rican is now 35, so he hasn’t gotten any younger. Wlodarczyk reportedly has gotten past some issues of a personal level. This could be an intriguing go in another YouTube special and the second week in a row of strong Cruiserweight action. For all the complaints Heavyweight engenders, Cruiserweight never gets its due. This is your big man class for action.
Pick Friday: ShoBox and NBC Sports
Friday night should be where the fun is for U.S. fans. NBC Sports offers their latest with an emerging action hero in the lead. Jr. Middleweight Gabriel Rosado (2-05. 12 KO) has won six in a row, four inside the route. Charles Whitaker (38-12-2, 23 KO) has been stopped five times. Something’s got to give and one assumes Rosado’s promoters hope it will be Whitaker’s whiskers. On ShoBox, Jr. Featherweight Efrain Esquivias (16-1, 9 KO) tries to rebound from his first loss, a corker against former titlist Rico Ramos, against undefeated Jhonatan Romero (21-0, 12 KO). Expect Romero to bang the boards to prevent that.
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]