By Cliff Rold
This week, boxing returns to Macau with a show that looks...
…we’ll get to that.
We’re closing in on a return to big time action and this is the last weekend of what has been a rough February for boxing fans. It’s a decent close and all things considered, this weekend could be quite a bit of fun.
But where will the fun reside?
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: “Boxcino” Lightweights (Friday, ESPN2, 9 PM EST/6 PM PST)
While the quality of the competitors may vary, tournaments always have their allure. They also have their downside. Will the competitors stay healthy all the way through? Let’s face it: these things rarely come off as they are supposed to. Only three of the Super Six made it through their draws. Michael Spinks bolted from the 80s Heavyweight tournament, drawing the real finale out into another year and a 91-second memory. This one has a better chance than most. With a structure of six-round quarterfinals, eight-round semi’s, and a ten-round final, we might just get a serious contender. A full preview of this week’s action ran Thursday but keep these two fighters in mind: Fedor Papazov (14-0, 9 KO) and Samuel Kotey Neequaye (21-0, 15 KO). They are the lone unbeatens in the field and are bracketed in such a way as to make them a desirable finale.
Pick Sho: Hank Lundy vs. Angelo Santana (Friday, Showtime, 10:45 PM EST/PST)
Jr. Welterweight is a deep field and Lundy (23-3-1, 11 KO) has his work cut out to rise in the field. He aided his cause last time out with a decisive decision over Ajose Olusegun, halting a two-fight losing streak and making himself relevant again. Santana (14-1, 11 KO) enters off a stoppage loss and should keep Lundy in the winner’s circle, but that is sort of the fun of Lundy. He makes pretty good scraps and he can be vulnerable when he shouldn’t be. It makes his fights easy viewing.
Pick Macau: Miguel Vazquez vs. Denis Shafikov (Saturday, HBO2, 5 PM EST/PST)
Okay, so this is an odd card. It has the latest from Flyweight Zou Shiming that was fine last year when it meant excellent fights featuring Flyweight Juan Francisco Estrada on the card. Here, it’s Shiming with this main that might be good…and might not. Vazquez (33-3, 13 KO) is the IBF titlist at 135 lbs. and the entertainment value of his fights is variable at best. His challenger is the key. Shafikov (33-0-1, 18 KO) looks like a comer at Lightweight. Can he emerge as a new force? Could Vazquez make him look bad, win or lose? It’s hard to know but, on paper, it’s the best match of the week in terms of quality fighters. That doesn’t always mean a good fight.
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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]