by Cliff Rold
Pick It: TBRB #3 Deontay Wilder vs. Dominic Breazeale (Saturday, Showtime, 9 PM EST)
On paper it’s not the best show in a loaded week but there is no denying what 33-year old WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KO) brings to the table. Every professional foe has eventually been dropped or stopped.
At heavyweight, it’s hard to ask for much more. This weekend, with some tacky sales rhetoric, we have a clash of former US Olympians. The 33-year old Breazeale (20-1, 18 KO) can make pretty good scraps and has only lost to Anthony Joshua. Heavyweight might be a frustrating mess outside the ring right now but big men with a grudge is still too enticing to ignore.
Pick It Too: The WBSS Semi-Finals (Saturday, DAZN, 2 PM EST)
If we’re talking the boxing purist point of view, this is easily the pick of the week. It’s a fantastic double header with critical fights in two loaded weight classes. At bantamweight, 26-year old Naoya Inoue (17-0, 15 KO) of Japan challenges 26-year old IBF titlist Emmanuel Rodriguez (19-0, 12 KO) of Puerto Rico for the title and a place in the final against Donaire. At Jr. welterweight, 26-year old IBF champ Ivan Baranchyk (19-0, 12 KO) tackles the challenge of 28-year old Josh Taylor (14-0, 12 KO). The winner moves on to face Regis Prograis in the tournament final. This should be excellent stuff.
Additional Shows to Watch For
Friday – ESPN+ (3 PM EST): #5 Burnett vs. Gomera
Northern Ireland’s 26-year old Ryan Burnett (19-1, 9 KO) started the year the WBA champ and a favorite in the World Boxing Super Series at bantamweight. A back injury defeated before we found out if Nonito Donaire could straight up and the once unified titlist begins to regroup the same weekend the tournament semi’s wrap up. Burnett will face 26-year old Filipino Jelbirt Gomera (14-5, 7 KO).
Friday – UFC Fight Pass (8:30 PM EST): Williams vs. Edwards
Jr. welterweights takes center stage in the main event. 21-year old Mykquan Williams (14-0, 7 KO) of Hartford, Connecticut tries to keep his flawless mark in what looks like a step up in competition on paper. Paterson, New Jersey’s 28-year old Rickey Edwards (12-2, 3 KO) will try to send Williams away disappointed.
Saturday – DAZN (4 AM EST): Jaro vs. Por Chokchai
The new wave of streaming content is making for some odd availability. 37-year old former lineal flyweight king Sonny Boy Jaro (45-14-5, 32 KO) of the Philippines has won two straight and eleven of his last twelve. Thailand’s 27-year old Nawaphon Por Chokchai (44-1-1, 34 KO) was stopped in three rounds of his lone title shot but carries on. Will this be good? Maybe. But if you subscribe to DAZN, it will be on and that is fun enough.
Saturday – ESPN+ (2:30 PM EST): #3 Saunders vs. Isufi
TBRB still rates former titlist Billy Joe Saunders (27-0, 13 KO) at middleweight but that should end this weekend. The 29-year old UK product is competing at super middleweight now and looking to add a title in a second weight class. He faces 29-year old Serbian Shefat Isufi (27-3-2, 20 KO) for the vacant WBO belt.
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]