By Cliff Rold
Pick It: Egidijus Kavaliauskas vs. Juan Carlos Abreu (Saturday, ESPN, 9:30 PM EST)
The reliable fan base for Jose Ramirez in Fresno, California just learned the meaning of “card subject to change.” Ramirez’s first title defense at 140 lbs. is off with opponent Danny O’Connor in the hospital after perilous efforts to make weight.
Disappointment for some is opportunity for Kavaliauskas (19-0, 16 KO). The Lithuanian welterweight is rated in the top ten by the WBC (#5), WBA (#4), and most importantly for him the WBO (#2). He shares a promoter with WBO titlist Terence Crawford and can make himself a viable television opponent with a big showing against Abreu (21-3-1, 19 KO).
Abreu has won two in a row. Also on the show, a clash of former heavyweight title challengers. TBRB #10 heavyweight Andy Ruiz (30-1, 20 KO) makes his second start of 2018 against veteran Kevin Johnson (32-9-1, 16 KO) after sitting out 2017. Additional undercard fights start on ESPN+ at 6:30 PM EST.
Additional Show to Watch For
Saturday – BeIn Espanol (11 PM EST): TBRB #5 Argumedo vs. Calleros
Former IBF 105 lb. titlist Jose Argumedo (21-4-1, 13 KO) has won once since losing his crown last year in Japan and continues his quest for another title. Argumedo is currently rated in two divisions by the sanctioning bodies, #11 by the IBF at 105 and #12 by the WBO at 108 lbs. He’ll compete here in the higher class against Moises Calleros (28-8-1, 16 KO). Calleros was stopped in his last fight, challenging WBO for the WBO crown at 105. Prior to that, he’d won three straight. This one could be fun.
Saturday – AYM Sports (1:30 AM EST): Prospects for the Sleepless
For those still up into the wee hours with access to the channel, AYM will have some Mexican prospects on display against lesser fare. Of note in action: lightweight Alejandro Zuniga (17-1, 9 KO) has won four in a row since a lone stoppage loss; bantamweight Gerardo Castillo (22-1, 13 KO) has won three straight since a decision defeat; and undefeated Jr. lightweight Luis Ramos (12-0, 11 KO) has a stat line that says he might be worth a look.
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]