by Cliff Rold
This is a development week.
We’re developing towards the fall fistic season everyone is looking forward to.
Up and coming talents are developing towards the dream of being in the main event of a night like Mayweather-Alvarez or Klitschko-Povetkin.
US TV provides three solid scraps this week on three different networks. Get the DVRs ready for Friday.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: Deontay Wilder vs. Sergiy Liakhovich (Friday, Showtime, 10 PM EST/PM PST)
Wilder has an Olympic Bronze Medal. He has 28 KOs in 28 fights. The skepticism remains. He might be the next great American hope. He might have the punch resistance of Michael Grant when he gets a real test. Some early wobbles leave the question up in the air. This weekend, he gets faded former titlist Liakhovich (25-5, 16 KO). Liakhovich has fought only five times since losing a WBO belt to Shannon Briggs in 2006. He’s lost three of them, the last two by knockout. Despite those flaws, he is clearly the biggest test to date of Wilder and the beginning of finding out if we are watching a contender or pretender. Given his size, speed, and punching power, the development of Wilder is an easy pick for this week.
Pick Deuce: Rustam Nugaev vs. Jose Hernandez (Friday, ESPN2, 10 PM EST/7 PM PST)
East Coast viewers will want to fire up the DVR as this is probably going to be the more action packed of Friday’s main events. Nugaev (24-6-1, 14 KO) has won three in a row and makes for a fun TV fighter in the Lightweight division. A match some evening with Ji-Hoon Kim would be an excellent TV scrap. Just throwing that out there. For now, it’s he and a Hernandez (14-6-1, 6 KO) coming off an upset knockout of previously undefeated Tony Luis. This is a fight about fighting, and sometimes that’s good enough.
Pick Uni: Gamalier Rodriguez vs. Jorge Pazos (Saturday, Unimas, 12 AM EST/11 PM PST)
This Featherweight contest may or may not give us a contender but, like Friday’s show on Deuce, it’s a fight for fighting’s sake. And for a paycheck, of course. Rodriguez (21-2-3, 15 KO) has won 13 in a row with plenty of stoppages along the way. Pazos (14-5-1, 8 KO) should add to those numbers.
Pick YouTube: Moreno, Yaegashi and Yamanaka
Three of the world’s finest will be in title action overseas through the weekend and into early next week for those who look forward to post-fight YouTube searches. They couldn’t be more contrasting in style. WBA Bantamweight titlist Anselmo Moreno (33-2-1, 12 KO) makes his first start since a valiant losing effort at 122 lbs. against Abner Mares last year, defending Saturday against William Urina (24-2, 20 KO) in his native Panama. On Monday in Japan, the lineal Flyweight king, and one of boxing’s most exciting, Akira Yaegashi (17-3, 9 KO) makes his first defense against Oscar Blanquet (32-5-1, 23 KO). On the same card, WBC Bantamweight titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka (18-0-1, 13 KO) defends against Jose Nieves (22-2-3, 11 KO). Both men deserve a bigger stage. For now, they are worth every hardcore YouTube hit.
For BoxingScene’s latest full divisional ratings, log on to: https://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=boxing-ratings
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]