by Cliff Rold
Pick It: TBRB #1 Anthony Joshua vs. #3 Joseph Parker (Saturday, Showtime, 5 PM EST)
There has never been a heavyweight to unify four major sanctioning body titles. After this weekend, one big step in that direction should be made.
The WBA/IBF/IBO titlist Joshua (20-0, 20 KO) is already the most consistent ticket seller in the sport and he’s really just getting started. Is he the next dynasty at the top of the scale or do we look back one day and see one of the best promoted flashes in the pan ever?
There might be an in-between for that but that’s not as interesting. Parker (24-0, 18 KO) defends his WBO belt and searches for a radical turnaround in a career that, even with a belt, has seemed stalled in the ring. The crowd and the stakes make this an easy pick.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Friday – TyC (9 PM EST): Cusolito vs. Berrio
Luis Cusolito (26-2, 20 KO) has won five in a row since a final round stoppage loss to Moises Flores in 2015. Argel Berrio (15-3, 9 KO) was stopped twice in 2016 before picking up a victory in his lone 2017 outing. This Jr. featherweight clash doesn’t appear to have much impact on the ratings but Cusolito has been rated by the sanctioning bodies before and if he keeps winning he might be again.
Saturday – ESPN2 (11 PM EST): DeLuca vs. Agaton
Jr. middleweight Mark DeLuca (20-0, 12 KO) is building a fan base in the US northeast and gets in some hometown action this weekend. He’ll be looking for his first stoppage in more than a year against a Ramses Agaton (20-7-3) who has been halted in two of his last five starts. The crowd could make this an entertaining nightcap for the weekend. DeLuca is already creeping up the ratings at 154 lbs., currently 13th for the WBA.
Saturday – TyC (11 PM EST): Saldivia vs. Polanco
Additional Jr. middleweight action in Argentina focuses on a fighter trying to scrap himself away from just being an opponent. Hector Saldivia (46-5, 35 KO) has lost two of his last three and been stopped quickly by the likes of Kell Brook and Michael Soro. He’s been rated and had chances and it appears to be rebuilding time in pursuit of one more shot. Henrri Polanco (12-3-1, 5 KO) has been stopped by a lot less than Saldivia has and smacks of a rehab assignment.
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]