Pick It: TBRB #1 David Benavidez vs. #2 Caleb Plant (Saturday, Showtime PPV, 8:00 PM EST)

TBRB, Ring, ESPN…they all agree. There is an undisputed super middleweight champion Saul Alvarez. His top two contenders are 26-year old David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KO) and 30-year old Caleb Plant (22-1, 13 KO). Boxing rarely sees the sport line up so logically.

That Benavidez and Plant, both of them former beltholders, seem to hold genuine animus only makes the fight more interesting. This is boxing as the ideal, the thing the purists always say they want. The next best guys fighting to stake their claim for a shot at the very best in their class. Plant is trying to get a second bite at the apple. Benavidez is looking to make himself unavoidable. The undercard should be fun with the return of Chris Colbert and welterweight Cody Crowley in action but this one is about a main event worth getting excited for.      

Additional Shows to Watch For

Friday - Zucco vs. Brown (ESPN+, 3:00 PM EST)

More super middleweight action will stream from Milan as the weekend kicks off. 27-year old Ivan Zucco (16-0, 14 KO) hasn’t had to worry about the cards often. 28-year old Germaine Brown (12-1, 3 KO) enters off his first loss but he’s never been stopped.

Saturday - #2 Ramirez vs. Commey (ESPN, 10:00 PM EST)

Fans who don’t want to splurge on pay-per-view have a decent Jr. welterweight main event on ESPN. 30-year old Jose Ramirez (27-1, 17 KO) comes back to his home base of Fresno. The former unified titlist could have been challenging WBC titlist Regis Prograis pretty easily. Instead, he’s facing 36-year old former lightweight titlist Richard Commey (30-4-1, 27 KO) in a fight where Commey may be fighting for his career. Commey is 1-2-1 in his last five and needs something big here to avoid an at-best stepping stone move down the ranks. The best fight on the card will likely be a strawweight unification between Seneisa Estrada-Tina Rupprecht. Estrada-Rupprecht makes this a must-see card.

Saturday - #6 Zepeda vs. Goyat (DAZN, 7:00 PM EST)

33-year old Jr. welterweight Jose Zepeda (35-3, 27 KO) has been one of the best “never a bride” contenders in recent years. Zepeda has never gotten all the way to a title belt and fell short in an  excellent scrap with Regis Prograis last year. It was his first real stoppage loss (the other came in a title shot versus Terry Flanagan at lightweight that ended on an injury). Zepeda carries on with an eye on one more chance, facing 31-year old Neeraj Goyat (17-3-2, 7 KO) in his comeback scrap.

Saturday - Valle vs. Basulto (BLK Prime, 7:00 PM EST)

While Estrada and Rupprecht lock horns on ESPN, the other two titles at 105 pounds will be defended here. 30-year old Yokasta Valle (27-2, 9 KO) had an excellent 2022, unifying titles at strawweight and then winning two titles at Jr flyweight. She vacated in the higher class and will defend against 25-year old Jessica Basulto (11-0, 3 KO). Valle’s last loss was to Rupprecht in 2018 and one can hope the stars align for the winner here versus the Estrada-Rupprecht victor.  

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