by Cliff Rold
With one more week to go until HBO and Showtime, and Golden Boy and Top Rank, resume their rivalry with head to head broadcasts, boxing fans will look to alternative outlets for their fistic fix.
At least they have something to look for. It’s a dry week, but not a dead one, and that’s enough to keep the world spinning until Abner Mares-Anselmo Moreno.
This weekend, we’ve got redemption, construction, and resumption on tap with two of the three to be found on U.S. TV.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick Redemption: #3 at 16 Lucian Bute vs. #10 at 175 Denis Grachev (Saturday, Wealth TV, 7 PM EST/4 PM PST)
There were those who called for a showdown with Andre Ward and all Lucian Bute (30-1, 24 KO) had to do to raise the volume was defeat Carl Froch. He didn’t. He couldn’t. A lengthy run as IBF titlist at Super Middleweight came to a screeching halt for the talented Romanian in May. A win this weekend, back where he made himself one of the game’s best ticket sellers in Montreal, and Bute has a chance for revenge against Froch. He’s got a proven spoiler waiting for him. Grachev (12-0-1, 8 KO) derailed the rise of Ismayl Sillakh earlier this year. Can he kill the Froch rematch? Can he, essentially, kill the career of Bute?
Pick Construction: Fernando Guerrero vs. J.C. Candelo (Saturday, Fox Deportes, 10:30 PM EST)
Like Bute, the Jr. Middleweight hopeful Guerrero tasted defeat by stoppage not long ago. Unlike Bute, Guerrero has had some rounds since learning to lose courtesy of veteran Grady Brewer in June 2011. Guerrero, never having reached the titled lands, is now what he was before Brewer. He is a work in progress, a hopeful in construction. He’s out together three straight against Willie Standup and now he gets a veteran barely standing in Candelo (32-11-4). It’s a toe dip back to where he was getting and a chance to see if Guerrero has learned some head movement to go with his aggression and offense.
Pick Resumption: Title Action in Germany and Japan
For fans who like their YouTube, two cards of consequence stand out on Saturday. In Germany, the man who should have been WBA Heavyweight titlist earlier this year, Marco Huck (34-2-1, 25 KO) is back in action. He resumes a lengthy run as WBO Cruiserweight titlist against former WBA titlist Firat Arslan (32-5-2, 21 KO). Those surprised to find Arslan still in the title picture can feel free to do so. In Japan, WBC Bantamweight titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka (16-0-2, 11 KO) defends against Tomas Rojas (39-13-1, 26 KO) while lineal World and WBC Flyweight titlist Toshiyuki Igarashi (16-1-1, 10 KO) tries his first defense against Nestor Narvaes (19-0-2, 9 KO). All three might work worth seeking out. Odds are, at least one will.
Back in seven.
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Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]