by Cliff Rold
With Golden Boy’s Thursday Heavyweight showcase already in the books, US fans get three televised shows this weekend with an eye towards a big, big week ahead.
Bradley-Pacquiao II is almost here.
It’s not quite here yet.
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #5 Steve Cunningham vs. Amir Mansour (Friday, NBC Sports, 10 PM EST/7 PM PST)
The Heavyweight spotlight lingers into Friday with an intriguing clash. Cunningham (26-6, 12 KO) was one of the most accomplished Cruiserweights in the division’s history. So far, Heavyweight has been tough. He’s had impressive outings with Tomasz Adamek and Tyson Fury but lost both, the former by controversial decision. Mansour (20-0, 15 KO) is 41 already but has some chops and might be able to make a dash of noise before time runs out. The loser goes home here. Middleweight Curtis Stevens is also in action on a show that keeps the motor running nicely.
Pick Fly: #5 Giovani Segura vs. Felipe Salguero (Saturday, UniMas, 11 PM EST/PST)
Segura (31-3-1, 27 KO) has long been one of the world’s most exciting fighters. The former lineal champion at 108 had a Flyweight resurgence in 2013, rebounding from a 2011 knockout loss to Brian Viloria with a heated loss to Edgar Sosa and knockouts of Tyson Marquez and an undefeated Jonathan Gonzalez. Here, it’s about staying the course as he looks for a mandatory crack at unified titlist Juan Francisco Estrada. Alejandro Perez just had to stay the course a week ago. It didn’t work out. Can Salguero (19-5-1, 14 KO) make Segura take his eye off the ball? It doesn’t seem likely but Segura has never been hard to miss. The problem is usually what he’s throwing back. Either way, if he isn’t entertaining it’s a strange night indeed.
Pick Late: Joebert Alvarez vs. Julian Rivera (Friday, Telemundo, 11:35 PM EST/PST)
And it’s more Flyweight action. Alvarez (13-0-1, 6 KO) is the latest hopeful out of the Philippines and will test himself against journeyman Rivera (13-8-1, 2 KO). It doesn’t look like anything special on paper but, hey, Flyweights move hands and if one is home late on a Friday it beats a talk show.
Unless it’s a good episode of Real Time.
Pick YouTube: #3 Carl Frampton vs. Hugo Cazares (Friday, Northern Ireland, ?)
As a bonus, a YouTube lookup for Saturday. Frampton (17-0, 12 KO) is a thriller closing in on a title shot at 122. Cazares (40-7-2, 27 KO) is the former lineal king at 108 and a titlist at 115 lbs. He enters this scrap having won five in a row but hasn’t been faced with a serious Jr. Featherweight like this yet. Frampton should be favored here but Cazares makes fun fights. This might be a sleeper.
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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]