By Cliff Rold
With ESPN2 dark until the winter, and ShoBox not going with as many dates this fall, Saturday night is almost entirely the market for weekend boxing right now. Last week, fans got a Fight of the Year contender in Giovani Segura-Tyson Marquez and two solid scraps on HBO.
This week could be as intriguing, if without a clear “whoa” fight like the Flyweights delivered.
It’s making for some solid Saturdays. Three shows will go live this week, testing DVRs and attention spans with two shows standing out as quality outings ahead.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: HBO Triple Play (Saturday, HBO, 9:30 PM EST/PST)
Two title fights and a rematch between former champions marks a solid outing for HBO this week. The main event may be the least intriguing of the matches. Former Featherweight titlist Mikey Garcia (32-0, 27 KO) looks like a prohibitive favorite over WBO 130 lb. titlist Rocky Martinez (27-1-2, 16 KO) but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun. Martinez never makes a dull night. The highest profile fight comes in a rematch of a memorable 2007 Flyweight clash that sent two careers higher in the long run. Nonito Donaire (31-2, 20 KO) beat Vic Darchinyan (39-5-1, 28 KO) and went on to a solid reign and titles at 118 and 122 (lineal). Darchinyan rebounded from Donaire to unify the title at 115 lbs. before some wins and losses that kept him at the heart of a superlative run at 118. Now, above 122, they meet again. With a loss Darchinyan may have few tomorrows. Donaire might have more, but his stock takes a hit. This is a fascinating fight even with Donaire as a strong favorite. Finally, there is a clash of former Olympians with question marks on both sides. Vanes Martirosyan (33-0-1, 21 KO) has waited years for a title shot at 154 lbs. Will Demetrius Andrade (19-0, 13 KO) make his wait worthless?
It’s a fine card.
Cry for Argentina: Budler-Verchelli/Oosthuizen-Maderna (Saturday, TyC, (9:30 PM EST)
For those with the appropriate cable package, the action on Argentine television is well worth the look. #4 Hekkie Budler (23-1, 6 KO) is trying to follow up on a career best win at 105 lbs. against former titlist Nkosinathi Joyi against a Verchelli (11-1, 6 KO) who hasn’t faced the same level of foe. In the main event, #10 Super Middleweight Thomas Oosthuizen (21-0-2, 13 KO) tries to bounce back from an iffy outing in a draw with Brandon Gonzalez. Opponent Ezequiel Maderna (20-1, 13 KO) has lost only to contender Edwin Rodriguez. Both favorites look strong here but that doesn’t mean they’ll have it easy.
Pick Olympic Evolution: Jose Ramirez vs. Erick Perez (Saturday, UniMas, 12 AM EST/11 PM PST)
While he made an early exit from the 2012 Games, he was clearly one of the blue chippers of the team. Ramirez (6-0, 4 KO) is building his early bona fides near Welterweight and may be a champion of the future. That’s bad news for Perez (4-4-1, 2 KO) but good news for fans that want to get on the bandwagon early.
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Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]