Pick It: World Champion Josh Taylor vs. TBRB #10 Teofimo Lopez (Saturday, ESPN, 10:00 PM EST)

An absent champion coming off a fight he could have lost meets a former champion in search of the fighter he thought he was just three fights ago. It’s the fight of the week and in the ring it might just turn into another gem in an epic 2023. 25-year old former lineal lightweight king Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KO) turned lemonade into lemons after a career making win against Vasyl Lomachenko, losing a year of activity and never quite finding the same form again. At 25, time is on his side to correct course and Lopez is charging at one of the sport's most established champions. That assumes the 32-year old lineal Jr. welterweight king Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KO) is the champion he was before a debatable win over Jack Catterall. Taylor was on one of the best runs of the sport and has a chance to restate his place atop one of boxing’s most interesting divisions.     

Additional Shows to Watch For

Friday - Broner vs. Hutchinson (FITE, 6:50 PM EST)

Still only 33 years old, former four-division titlist Adrien Broner (34-4-1, 24 KO) is making his latest last ditch effort to turn the ship around in this welterweight main event. Now working with legendary promoter Don King, Broner will face 34-year old Bill Hutchinson (20-2-4, 9 KO). It’s Broner’s first fight in over two years. Hutchinson has never been stopped.

Friday - Izmailov vs. Foster (Showtime, 9:00 PM EST)

A solid prospect tripleheader? It must be ShoBox time. Light heavyweights get the main event in this one with a pair of undefeated hopeful’s putting their ‘0’s’ on the line. 33-year old Charles Foster (22-0, 12 KO) has little time to waste in his career to find title contention. 30-year old Ali Izmailov (10-0, 7 KO) won’t be concerned about Foster’s pressing timeline. 

Friday - Walsh vs. Jones (UFC Fight Pass, 10:00 PM EST)

22-year old Irish Jr. middleweight Callum Walsh (6-0, 5 KO) shows real promise and gets a veteran name in this main event. It’s been a long time since 36-year old Carson Jones (43-15-3, 31 KO) gave a scare to future welterweight titlist Kell Brook in their first of two affairs and he’s not the fighter he was then. Still, Jones has a lot of experience and enters on a three-fight win streak.

Saturday - #1 Edwards vs. Campos (DAZN, 2:00 PM EST)

27-year old Sunny Edwards (19-0, 4 KO) wants to show he’s more than just the IBF titlist at flyweight. He wants to prove he’s the best in the world. His name has been linked to unification possibilities against Julio Cesar Martinez and Jesse Rodriguez. Before those can be further explored, Edwards has 26-year old Andres Campos (15-0, 4 KO). Can Campos shake the flyweight division up? 

Saturday - #3 Munguia vs. #7 Derevyanchenko (DAZN, 8:00 PM EST)

Middleweight is in a rut right now. Golovkin appears to be retiring. Jermall Charlo has been out so long he might as well be coming out of retirement when he gets back in the ring. Zhanibek Alimkhanuly is still cutting his teeth as a pro. Could this be a clash to spark some life into things? The violence potential is high when 26-year old former Jr. middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia (41-0, 33 KO) faces former title challenger, 37-year old Sergiy Derevyanchenko (14-4, 10 KO). Derevyanchenko has only lost to some of the best middleweights in the world and given most of them all they could ask for. Munguia has been languishing in lesser competition. If he’s ever going to be the real thing, we start to find out here. 

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