By Cliff Rold
It’s finally here.
The week everyone who really loves boxing has been waiting for is here. A superlative match at 122 lbs. is supported by what most think, and certainly hope, will be one of the more savage encounters of the year.
It will surprise some to learn it’s not the only action on the slate. Boxing shows up on three networks this week, twice on one that most people don’t have.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: Nishioka-Donaire & Alvarado-Rios (Saturday, HBO, 10 PM EST/PST)
How this show didn’t get a 24/7 treatment is head scratching. It’s a fan maker card of the highest order. The two best fighters at 122 lbs., #1 Toshiaki Nishioka (39-4-3, 24 KO) and #2 Nonito Donaire (29-1, 18 KO), battle for Donaire’s WBO and IBF belts along with the vacant lineal crown in the class. Nishioka is unbeaten since ending his epic four-fight rivalry (two losses and two draws) with the excellent Veraphol Sahaprom at Bantamweight. He should be the WBC titlist at 122 lbs. still. Donaire has defeated current/former/future world champions in seven consecutive fights over three weight classes. This is as good as it gets. And then it might get better in term of action. Nishioka-Donaire might find an exhausted crowd if the Jr. Welterweight televised opener meets the hype. #7 Mike Alvarado (32-0, 23 KO) faces former WBA Lightweight titlist Brandon Rios (30-0-1, 22 KO) in a sure head-first war. In some sense, Rios’s immediate career is on the line. His record doesn’t say it, but he enters off a loss to Richard Abril and two fights in a row where he blew weight. Will moving to 140 cure that ill? Rios is one of the most talented fighters in the world under 30 and in his best shape this could be special. Is it Saturday yet?
Pick Sho: Eyes on Middleweight (Friday, Showtime, 11 PM EST/PST)
This ShoBox broadcast has two looks at the future and a peek at the past. Former Middleweight champion Jermain Taylor is on the show, but reportedly only for highlights. Taylor looks like a disaster waiting to happen. Hopeful eyes focus on the young Dominican Middleweight Jose Pedraza (10-0, 6 KO) as he takes another baby step forward against Tevin Farmer (7-3-1, 1 KO). Another Dominican Middleweight hopeful, Jonathan Cepeda (12-0, 11 KO) appears matched a little tougher with Lamar Russ (10-0, 6 KO).
Pick Wealth: Friday and Saturday Shows on WealthTV
Who doesn’t like Wealth? That’s hard to answer considering most people don’t have WealthTV. Those who do get two shows this week. On Friday, it’s Super Middleweight action, emphasis on the word action. Punchers Adonis Stevenson (18-1, 15 KO) and Don George (23-2-1, 20 KO) will be bombs away and looking to send someone to the showers early. At Heavyweight on Saturday, one of the division’s more promising new lights, David Price (13-0, 11 KO), gets disappointing former Olympic Gold Medalist Audley Harrison (28-5, 20 KO). It ain’t much but it’s good enough to kill time on Saturday until the fireworks start.
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]