Pick It: TBRB #2 Roman Gonzalez vs. #1 (Flyweight) Julio Cesar Martinez (Saturday, DAZN, 8:30 PM EST)
On a limited television weekend in the US, both major main events should deliver. The better of them comes in arguably the best division in boxing for most of the last seven years, Jr. bantamweight.
Second acts matter. 34-year old Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (50-3, 41 KO) was a hall of famer already even in the moments when he was counted out in his rematch loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Since then, an additional title in his fourth weight class and a classic rematch against Juan Francisco Estrada have given Gonzalez an encore.
The encore is threatened this weekend. 27-year old WBC flyweight titlist Julio Cesar Martinez (18-1, 14 KO) moves up a weight class for a chance at one of boxing’s living legends. This fight is the sort of style clash that really can’t miss barring a fluke injury. Buckle up. Gonzalez has more miles behind him then ahead but the smile he’s wearing says he’s not quite at the exit yet. This should be a gem. One of the top featherweights in the world, Mauricio Lara, battles on the undercard.
Additional Show to Watch For
Friday - #2 Ramirez vs. Pedraza (ESPN+, 7:15 PM EST)
29-year old Jose Ramirez (26-1, 17 KO) has been an Olympian and a unified titlist as a professional. Saturday, he’s a guy trying to get back to the heights. Ramirez came off the floor twice to compete hard with Josh Taylor last year but it wasn’t enough to get Ramirez to undisputed at Jr. welterweight.
If Taylor moves to welterweight as he’s said he would, a lot of belts will free up soon. Ramirez can position himself for one of them. He needs to get by a two-division titlist to do it. 32-year old Jose Pedraza (29-3, 14 KO) has been stopped only once by Gervonta Davis and enters riding a three-fight win streak. This could be fierce battle. 21-year old lightweight Gabriel Flores (20-1, 7 KO) is also in action, attempting to rebound from his first defeat as a pro.
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 email@example.com