By Cliff Rold
Pick It: TBRB #1 Srisaket Sor Rungvisai vs. #2 Juan Francisco Estrada (Saturday, HBO, 9:30 PM EST)
An easy choice for pick of the week, this HBO tripleheader (SuperFly 2) is fantastic on paper and should deliver at least one classic before the night is through. No one would be surprised if the main event turns the trick. The near consensus picks for top two in the 115 lb. class after the exit of Naoya Inoue to bantamweight, two-time WBC titlist Sor Rungvisai (44-4-1, 40 KO) defends his title against the former unified flyweight titlist Estrada (36-2, 25 KO). Can Sor Rungvisai match his knockout of Roman Gonzalez last year? Can Estrada beat the conqueror of the last man to beat him?
Anyone who loves boxing should want to answer these questions. An undercard with Donnie Nietes-Juan Carlos Reveco and Carlos Cuadras-McWilliams Arroyo means show up on time.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Thursday – ESPN (11:30 PM EST): #7 Diaz vs. Terrazas
What genius decided putting a rising young Olympic featherweight talent like Diaz (25-0, 13 KO) at 11:30 Eastern on a weeknight was a good idea? Diaz is matched with a faded veteran in Terrazas (38-4-2, 21 KO). This is a real good chance for Diaz to get an eye-catching knockout, something he doesn’t get a lot of. A big chunk of the country will be in bed. Set the DVR if that includes you.
Friday – TyC (9 PM EST): Fernandez vs. Centeno
Jr. lightweight action from Argentina has a regional WBO title on the line. That doesn’t matter in any sort of merit sense but it’s a hint to who might be getting ranked sooner or later. Ezequiel Fernandez (28-1-1, 3 KO) doesn’t break many eggs but he doesn’t lose much either. Raul Centeno (21-4-1, 9 KO) has lost three of his last five after flirting with WBO contention himself.
Friday – Telemundo (11:35 PM EST): Gonzalez vs. Rodriguez
Looking for a super flyweight appetizer before Saturday? Jonathan Gonzalez (19-2-1, 12 KO) has been knocked out in both his losses. Ricardo Rodriguez (16-5-1, 5 KO) has only been stopped once and doesn’t get many guys out of there. This could be ten rounds of action.
Saturday – YouTube/Facebook: #8 Smith vs. Holzken
For the first time, a WBSS semifinal isn’t the best fight of the week on paper. That would have been the case even if Juergen Braehmer hadn’t pulled out this week with the flu. It doesn’t mean it can’t blow past paper expectations. Super middleweight Callum Smith (23-0, 17 KO) is staring at a possible big time, all UK final with George Groves. All he ahs to do is get by late substitute Nieky Holzken (13-0, 10 KO). The Netherlands native finds himself with the chance of a lifetime to upset the apple cart and make himself a star. Late subs can be hard to handicap and Holzken’s level of foe to date is limited. This fight is a real wild card.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]