By Cliff Rold
Is there a big event going on in boxing this week?
It’s here. The most anticipated date on the boxing calendar this year arrives and fever pitch is setting in. Two phenomenal fights lead the way on a single card…and it’s not the only quality action of the week.
Boxing is at its best when it has a “Superfight” on tap and a degree of history doesn’t hurt either.
Both are at hand in Las Vegas.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #1 Saul Alvarez vs. #2 Floyd Mayweather (Saturday, Showtime PPV, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
Two undefeated fighters will do battle for riches, honor, and the right to be called a pretty clear claimant as the real Jr. Middleweight kingpin. That’s where the history kicks in. Win and Floyd Mayweather (44-0, 26 KO) will join Manny Pacquiao as the only men to win lineal crowns in four weight divisions. Floyd’s prior titles came at 130, 135, and twice at 147 (ongoing). Saul Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KO) will have something to say on it and, if he can deny history to Mayweather, emerges as the next real superstar in the sport. Is this the beginning of the Canelo Cunningham era? And then of course there is the undercard. Fighting for the vacant lineal Jr. Welterweight crown, #1 Lucas Matthysse (34-2, 32 KO) will attempt to make his coronation complete against the excellent #2 Danny Garcia (26-0, 16 KO) in a fight that is the main event any other night of the year. Also on the show, for a Jr. Middleweight belt, #6 Carlos Molina (21-5-2, 6 KO) and #7 Ishe Smith (25-5, 11 KO) are set for an intriguing technical clash. Smith is in defense and can hope to maintain a career resurgence.
It’s the card of the year…on paper. We’ll see what delivers in the ring.
Pick Double: Ioka and Miyazaki Defend (Wednesday, Japan, ?)
The overseas action is solid this week as well. The first of two YouTube specials for the week features powerful young talents in the two lightest divisions in boxing. Prodigious #5 Kazuto Ioka (12-0, 8 KO) defends a 108 lb. belt against former Strawweight titlist Kwanthai Sithmorseng (43-1-1, 22 KO). At 105, quick fisted #2 Ryo Miyazaki (19-0-3, 11 KO) attempts the second defense of his belt against #10 Jesus Silvestre (27-3, 20 KO). Both fights are worthy finds at mid-week.
Pick The Other Deuce: Shawn Porter vs. Julio Diaz II (Thursday, Fox Sports 2, 10 PM EST/PST)
A draw when last we saw these two share a ring at Welterweight, the veteran former Lightweight titlist Diaz (40-8-1, 29 KO) is trying to extend his shelf life. Porter (21-0-1, 14 KO) is trying to get to contention. Expect a ton of ads for the pay-per-view all around.
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]