by Cliff Rold
Everyone enjoying all that great football action?
One would hope so, because there isn’t a heck of a lot of boxing on the tube for the time being. Last week, we had a major title change on a foul. This week, we have two time passing shows as January 18th grows closer.
On that date, we get the long awaited Jean Pascal-Lucian Bute clash. On January 25th, HBO and Showtime go head to head with a pair of quality shows. It’s not the best of times, but better times are coming as the 2014 season of Boxing gets into gear. Until then…
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: Juan Antonio Rodriguez vs. Yenifel Vicente (Friday, ESPN2, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
This week’s Jr. Lightweight main event might not feature a pair of future champions but it does give us two guys on winning streaks hoping for a shot. Rodriguez (25-4, 23 KO) has scored four knockouts in a row since a decision defeat to former Featherweight titlist Billy Dib. Vicente (25-1-2, 17 KO) has won two straight by stoppage since a points loss to Chris Avalos. Also on the show, the continuing comeback story of 1996 US Olympian Zahir Raheem (34-3, 21 KO) unfolds. Inactive from 2010-2012, Raheem scored three knockouts in 2013 and, at age 37, hopes to make himself a story in the year ahead. He has Bayan Jargal (17-4-3, 11 KO).
Pick Uni: Antonio DeMarco vs. Jesus Gurrola (Saturday, Unimas, 11 PM EST/PST)
In 2011, it all turned around for DeMarco (29-3-1, 22 KO). Coming from behind to stop Jorge Linares in a fantastic brawl, he put the ghost of a loss to Edwin Valero behind him at last. Two title defenses followed and, in a shallow period for the Lightweight class, he looked like the top performer around. Then Adrien Broner arrived from 130 lbs. and DeMarco was sent violently back to the pack. That was the end of 2012. In 2013, DeMarco fought once with a win in August and continues his resumption this weekend. Opponent Gurrola (20-5-3, 9 KO) looks like a chance to continue his confidence rehab but DeMarco can make good scraps so even staying busy can be fun.
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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]