by Cliff Rold
It’s hard not to be excited when one of the real action stars hits the mountaintop. While not having seen the fight yet, reading the result of Monday’s lineal Flyweight title bout was worth a smile. Akira Yaegashi finished yet another week of satisfying action, one that also saw unified Flyweight titlist drop a nod to Juan Estrada in an excellent clash.
Is this the week where the action finally wanes just a bit? There are those who think the biggest fight of the week won’t be as exciting as what we’ve gown accustomed to over the last month. Given the quality of the fighters, and the stakes, a pleasant surprise would be no real surprise at all.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: World Champion Nonito Donaire vs. #2 Guillermo Rigondeaux (Saturday, HBO, 11 PM EST/8 PM PST)
The Cult of Rigo gets their moment. When he turned pro after one of the great amateur runs of all time, the idea that Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KO) could be a champion within ten fights wasn’t far fetched. That he would take that title, a WBA belt at 122 lbs., into a unification clash with the lineal and WBO champion Donaire (31-1, 20 KO) in only his twelfth start…well, that’s not far fetched either. As the seconds tick and the boxing world gets closer to the fight, the number of people picking the Cuban to upset the Donaire apple cart is growing. Will it happen? Will it be a good fight whether it does or not? Sure, there are folks picking the upset. There are also those worried about a repeat of the Donaire-Omar Narvaez fight, a night where neither man ever really took a lead. Ultimately, whether they scorch or simmer, with Abner Mares off to Featherweight these are undoubtedly the two best at Jr. Featherweight. By Sunday, we’ll know which is the very best.
Pick The Return: Juan Diaz vs. Pipino Cuevas Jr. (Sunday, Fox Deportes, 6 PM EST)
While his peak didn’t last long, Juan Diaz (35-4, 17 KO) managed to win three belts at Lightweight before Nate Campbell, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Paulie Malignaggi appeared to end his career well shy of 30. It was always wondered if he’d be back. Now, he is. He’ll start with a baby step against the namesake of a Welterweight champion who fell pretty far from the fistic family tree. Diaz was always a classy credit to the sport. We’ll see if he can still be world class in the ring as this story develops. Note that, while the fight is Saturday, Fox Deportes listings indicate the show will air Sunday.
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Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]