By Cliff Rold
This is, for all intents and purposes, the fistic version of the calm before the storm. Everyone who loves boxing has been waiting for the fall to kick into gear. This weekend, it is a prologue of sorts, a couple decent shows and the last moments of build coming into place before “The One” takes the stage.
The best fight of the week happens overseas while the biggest, literally, puts a pair of flawed but fun American heavyweights at ring center. It all flows into early next week when two ingénues of the lower weight classes get it going again.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #2 Ricky Burns vs. #7 Raymundo Beltran (Saturday, Wealth, 3 PM EST/12 PM PST)
This top ten Lightweight clash looks like a potential source of bloody drama. Burns (36-2, 11 KO) attempts his fourth defense of the WBO belt after coming from behind to force Jose Gonzalez to quit last out. Beltran (28-6, 17 KO) has won three straight, earning his shot primarily at the start of that run with an upset of Hank Lundy. This one could go rounds and the viewing options are two. Those who have Wealth TV are set. Those who do not can order the channel’s online stream, one of the better streams any of the networks have for fights these days. Either way, this is a hell of a matinee.
Pick Heavy: Chris Arreola vs. Seth Mitchell (Saturday, Showtime, 10:30 PM EST/PST)
Heavyweights don’t have to be ‘good.’ It’s often been that way. Heavyweights are there to throw bombs and lay bodies out, regardless of level. Skill is important, but from the fan perspective it has always been the (more) imminent promise of a knockout that appeals. This one screams knockout. Arreola (35-3, 30 KO) has his flaws but he can crack and takes it better than the man across the ring in Mitchell (26-1-1, 19 KO). Can Mitchell evolve his game enough to avoid the shot and land one of his own? The undercard intrigues as well with probably Hall of Famer Rafael Marquez (41-8, 37 KO) trying to extend his shelf life against Efrain Esquivias (16-2, 9 KO). Should we root for Marquez in the off chance he could get a late life showdown with Jhonny Gonzalez, a fight that still sounds fun?
Pick YouTube: Daiki Kameda vs. Rodrigo Guerrero (Tuesday, Japan, ?)
This fight card will be going on in the wee hours here in the US and be a YouTube find at some point in the week. Kameda (28-3, 18 KO) is looking to complete a family hat trick against Rodrigo Guerrero (19-4-1, 12 KO). Win and he’s the IBF 115 lb. titlist, a second title for him in a second weight division. He also joins brothers Koki and Tomoki, both beltholders at 118, as simultaneous titlists. Daiki was once best known for a dreadfully foul loss to Daisuke Naito that got him a hefty suspension. This is a chance to leave a more positive mark.
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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]