Pick It: TBRB #1 Naoya Inoue vs. #2 Marlon Tapales (Tuesday, ESPN+, 3:00 AM EST)   

On December 13, 2022, 30-year old Naoya Inoue (25-0, 22 KO) became the first undisputed bantamweight champion in more than fifty years. The junior featherweight division might have briefly been a thing in the 1920s, but its real incarnation starts in 1976. There has never been an undisputed champion. A roster of championship greats that includes Wilfredo Gomez, Jeff Fenech Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, and Manny Pacquiao and yet no one has ever assembled all the major belts. It didn’t happen when there were two, three, or four. Inoue has a chance to make that history but 31-year old Marlon Tapales (37-3, 19 KO) stands in the way.

Tapales enters off the best win of his career, a rousing upset earlier this year of Murodjon Akhmadaliev. Inoue has won titles in four weight classes. Tapales has won them in two, including a brief title stint at bantamweight. Inoue is heavily favored to win but Tapales is tough, has quick hands, and fighters expected to lose often fight like they have nothing to lose along the way. Can Inoue add to what is becoming a historically great career in what could soon be a decade of dominance?     

Pick It Too: #3 Anthony Joshua vs. Otto Wallin (Saturday, DAZN/ESPN+/PPV, 11:00 AM EST)

For a reasonable price of $39.99, fans can pick between ESPN+, DAZN, and cable pay-per-view to watch this all day card. There isn’t really a single, standout main event. The main event is the event itself and what it could be building too. 34-year old Anthony Joshua (26-3, 23 KO) faces 33-year old Otto Wallin (26-1, 14 KO) to lead the bill with a Joshua-Deontay Wilder showdown on the line. Wilder will face Joseph Parker to hold up his end with an undercard featuring a who’s who of heavyweights with Filip Hrgovic, Daniel Dubois, and Frank Sanchez in action (not against each other). Lineal cruiserweight king Jai Opetaia and WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol are also defending their crowns. It’s a lot for one day, and it should have some fun along the way. 

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at roldboxing@hotmail.com