Pick It: Shakur Stevenson vs. Jeremia Nakathila (Saturday, ESPN, 10:00 PM EST)

For all the talk about a blue chip foursome of Devin Haney, Teofimo Lopez, Ryan Garcia, and Gervonta Davis, there is every reason to think the man who will emerge one day as the best fighter around their weights in their era is fighting Saturday night.

The 23-year old 2016 Olympic silver medalist Stevenson (15-0, 8 KO) is still taking developmental steps (even if winning belts obscures what’s really happening) but he looks the part as a complete fighter. The 31-year old Nakathila (21-1, 17 KO) comes in with ten straight wins by knockout. Can Nakathila present an unexpected threat? Former two-division beltholder Jose Pedraza (28-3, 13 KO) is in action in support against Julian Rodriguez (21-0, 14 KO) in what could be a show stealer. Undercard action starts at 6:25 EST on ESPN+.                 

Additional Shows to Watch For

Friday - Barrera vs. Soto Karass (Fite, 9:00 PM EST)

For those who just can’t get enough of the current fad of sparring sessions featuring the stars of yesterday, Hall of Famer Marco Antonio Barrera will shake it out for $24.99 against one-time action star Jesus Soto Karass. Has it really been 25 years since Barrera burst through to stardom on Boxing After Dark against Kennedy McKinney?

Saturday - Ritson vs. Ponce (DAZN, 2:00 PM EST)

On a fairly light weekend before an overwhelmingly packed Saturday one week from now, there is this piece of action at Jr. welterweight. 27-year old Lewis Ritson (21-1, 12 KO) has officially won four in a row but is lucky not to be entering off a loss. His ‘victory’ over former lightweight titlist Miguel Vazquez was fairly decried as among the worst calls of 2020. Undefeated Jeremias Ponce (27-0, 17 KO) is on the road from Argentina and might want to keep that in mind.  

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