By Cliff Rold
It’s not often the best fighter in the world, literally, and the best fighter in the world, based on many mythical pound-for-pound considerations, go to scratch on the same day.
Get ready. It’s Cinco De Mayweather weekend with a side of Klitschko in the afternoon.
Boxing has been insanely hot for weeks even as most of the country has waited for Mother Nature to turn the heat back on. Now, we have the first major pay-per-view of the year. If it can deliver even close to what the sport has shown for itself lately, boxing’s renaissance year could hit another level.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: World Welterweight Champion Floyd Mayweather vs. Robert Guerrero (Saturday, Showtime PPV, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
Boxing’s revenue king is back in action and the lineal Welterweight Champion Mayweather (43-0, 26 KO) has an intriguing challenger. Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KO) is a former beltholder at Featherweight and Jr. Lightweight and, with Welterweight wins over Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto, earned the opportunity before him this weekend. Can he cash in? He’s going to try and that should make for a watchable affair. The undercard helps too. Daniel Ponce De Leon-Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz-Alexander Munoz should both be crowd pleasing, if for no other reason than Mares and Santa Cruz are always crowd-pleasing. It’s one of those safe bets for the predictable. There have been fewer major pay shows in recent years. That makes this an easy choice for purchase and an easy nod as the pick of the week.
Pick The King: World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko vs. Francisco Pianeta (Saturday, Epix, 4:30 PM PM EST/1:30 PM PST)
There’s something about this fight. Sure, it might end up another Klitschko mismatch, but maybe not. Pianeta (28-0-1, 15 KO) is a fresh face with size and a southpaw stance. He’s young and has nothing to lose here; he’s playing with house money. Klitschko (59-3, 50 KO) is getting older by the day. 37 might not be as old as it used to be, but it isn’t that young either. If Klitschko is going to lose, it’s likely to be on a night few see coming, a night where maybe his focus isn’t what it is for an opponent he respects. Is this that kind of night?
Probably not. Just in case, this looks like a fight worth a look.
Pick Deuce: Mauricio Herrera vs. Ji-Hoon Kim (Thursday, ESPN2, 10 PM EST/7 PM PST)
Pssst…this might be the best show of the entire week in terms of action. Ji-Hoon Kim (24-8, 18 KO) was great TV at Lightweight and should remain so against the tough, but not concussive, Herrera (18-3, 7 KO) in Jr. Welterweight action. Also on the show, former Lightweight titlist Miguel Acosta (29-6-2, 23 KO) is trying to salvage his career. Losses in three of four fights have him in trouble. Miguel Gonzalez (20-3, 15 KO) has been out of the ring a year and brings fresh legs to try to finish Acosta off.
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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]