by Cliff Rold
And just like that…
…BIG time boxing is back. After a slow month that had a fine finish last weekend, we have the resumption of prospect tournament play, a hot crowd in Scotland, and two intriguing bouts on HBO.
And that’s just the start of a spring lineup that now has a lineup card for both Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. The polar vortex is petering out.
The boxing vortex is about to get underway.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #4 Ricky Burns vs. #8 Terrence Crawford (Saturday, AWE, 2 PM EST/11 AM PST)
The network formerly known as “Wealth” has a wealth of action on tap Saturday with an afternoon battle between young talents with something to prove. The WBO Lightweight titlist Burns (36-2-1, 11 KO) lost his last bout with Raymundo Beltran everywhere but on the cards where he escaped with a draw. Crawford (22-0, 16 KO) will have to keep that in mind as he attempts to ascend and begin meeting some of the high hopes for him in class. We know Crawford can box. We know he can bang a little. Can he handle a truly hostile crowd on the road? This is going to be electric stuff and if Crawford is a gamer, the title is there to be won. This should be dramatic from opening bell until the judge’s scores are read.
Pick WCB: Chavez vs. Vera II & Salido vs. Lomachenko (Saturday, HBO, 9:45 PM EST/PST)
Resolution and arrival…those are the questions lingering over this HBO outing. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (47-1-1, 32 KO) deserved to lose his September clash with Brian Vera (23-7, 14 KO). Instead, he got a unanimous decision with two particularly absurd scores. They’re doing it again. Will the scion of a legend get his butt in shape this time? If so, can Vera handle the size a second time? The more interesting fight may be between the two-time World and Olympic Gold Medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (1-0, 1 KO) and one of the best of the sport’s grizzled veterans, WBO Featherweight titlist Orlando Salido (40-12-2, 28 KO). There can be dispute about whether this is really Lomachenko’s second pro fight (look it up). There can be done that even if he’s had a half dozen or so, Salido is a bold move on paper.
Pick Friday: Boxcino and ShoBox
Boxcino’s Lightweight Quarterfinals did not disappoint. Can the Middleweights keep pace? Last week, we saw two undefeated fighters take their first loss and break the likely hoped for final based on the early brackets. This week, three unblemished records are there at the start. Will any 0’s go? ESPN2 (9 PM EST/PST) will have the answers. On ShoBox (9:30 PM EST/PST), we get some of the “Money Team” with J’Leon Love (16-0, 9 KO) in the main against Vladine Biosse (15-2-2, 7 KO). Love looked like he’d made a move towards contention with a 2013 win over Gabriel Rosado but the win was wiped out when he tested positive for a diuretic. He continues to rebuild on Friday night.
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, 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]