by Cliff Rold
And so the dust settles.
After an incredible hot streak, capped by a major pay-per-view event that ended to mixed reviews, boxing takes a breath. Not too big a breath of course; anyone who saw the doubleheader of Japan this week featuring Strawweight titlist Ryo Miyazaki and Jr. Flyweight champ Kazuto Ioka knows the action is still coming.
In terms of US television, there is action still coming. Maybe it will be as memorable as some of the best of the last couple months. Even if it is not…
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #4 Vic Darchinyan vs. Javier Gallo (Saturday, Unimas, 12 AM EST/11 PM PST)
Anytime Darchinyan is heading to the ring, it’s worth a look. He’s been delivering thrills for a decade and last time out was no different. Coming off consecutive losses, Darchinyan (38-5-1, 27 KO) saved his career last year with a decision over undefeated Luis Orlando Del Valle. Now, he marks time, we presume, with the chance for another perhaps final title shot at 118 or 122 lbs. waiting later in the year. Javier Gallo (18-6-1, 10 KO) isn’t expected to be a big test, but 37-year olds can often find tests when they aren’t looking for them. Or, in Darchinyan’s case, score the sort of massive knockout he hasn’t had since Tomas Rojas in 2009. Darchinyan doesn’t have a lot of time left for highlight reel knockouts. Just in case there is one, the future Hall of Famer (and he should be) is the pick of the week.
Pick Sho: Dierry Jean vs. Cleotis Pendarvis (Saturday, Showtime, 11 PM PM EST/PST)
This could, on paper, be the most competitive fight of the week. The winner could be in line for a crack at IBF 140 lb. titlist Lamont Peterson. Jean (24-0, 16 KO) has the better record but Pendarvis (17-3-2, 6 KO) is live in this one. He’s won six in a row and will likely never have a better shot that this. Lightweights Lonnie Smith (14-4-3, 10 KO) and Cornelius Lock (20-6-1, 13 KO) will provide support and is the sort of solid, two guys needing a paycheck, action boxing can never get enough of. Sometimes it’s enough to just have two pros in the ring. Smith-Lock could be that sort of fight.
Pick Deuce: Vernon Paris vs. Manuel Perez (Friday, ESPN2, 10 PM EST/7 PM PST)
Paris (27-1, 16 KO) is trying to make it two straight at Welterweight since a knockout loss to Zab Judah last year. Manuel Perez (19-8-1, 4 KO) may prove a willing foe in that regard. After Judah’s valiant effort against Garcia, it begins to look like more of what one might call a ‘good’ loss, the sort of defeat a fighter can learn and grow from. The education continues on Friday Night Fights, with lots of Mayweather chatter to go with it.
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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]