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Staff picks: Alex Saucedo vs Sonny Fredrickson

Who wins Tuesday’s Top Rank main event?

Top Rank Boxing on ESPN returns again on Tuesday night at 8 pm ET from Las Vegas, with a junior welterweight main event.

The staffers have taken some shots with their picks recently, as before the Moloney-Baez fight last Thursday, we’d gone a combined 2-14 over the previous four fights we picked, dating back into early March.

But we fight on anyway.

Scott Christ

We’ve had some minor upsets in the Top Rank Summer Series, with Mike Plania beating Joshua Greer Jr and Joshua Franco taking down Andrew Moloney, and I had my suspicions with Greer-Plania and actually made the right call on Moloney-Franco. Tuesday nights have been the upset nights.

Saucedo is the type of fighter who can make himself vulnerable in fights and potentially make them harder for himself than they need to be. The 26-year-old junior welterweight went to war with Leonardo Zappavigna in 2018, and was stopped by Maurice Hooker that same year in a world title shot. Saucedo, at 5’10” with a 72-inch reach, will be giving up some size to Fredrickson, who is a huge junior welter at 6’1” with a 76-inch reach. But Fredrickson has also largely been a club fighter type in his career, and a guy with those dimensions at this weight would have gotten a serious look from a power promoter if the power promoters saw much in him. He had a crack at Shohjahon Ergashev in 2018 and was stopped in three. He’s coming off a decision loss to Samuel Teah, who didn’t get past that ShoBox level.

There is that slight whisper telling me to pick another one, but I’m going with Saucedo, who will make the fight fun to watch and I think pressure Fredrickson out of there in the middle rounds. Saucedo TKO-5

Wil Esco

Alex Saucedo got back into the win column with a knockout over Rod Salka last year, rebounding from his own stoppage loss to Maurice Hooker the year before. But with the Salka fight lasting less than one full round, in some respects Saucedo has been out of meaningful action for almost a year-and-a-half. That could provide some ring rust for Saucedo, but I think he should be okay here against Fredrickson. It’s sort of hard to predict the current form of fighters considering the global lockdown and all, and while I’ll certainly be looking for spots to call for the upset, I’m just not ready to pull the trigger in this instance.

Fredrickson has a slight height and reach advantage but I don’t think he’s all that dynamic a fighter which should allow for Saucedo’s experience against better opposition to carry him through. I’ll take Saucedo to pull it out on the cards. Saucedo UD-10

Patrick L. Stumberg

The only noteworthy footage of Fredrickson I could find was his three-round mauling at the hands of Shohjahon Ergashev, and even if you take the optimistic view and assume he’s improved over the last two years, that fight was not heartening. When you’re a 6’1” orthodox super lightweight and you’re leading with step-in right hooks to the body, you’ve got problems. His complete inability to keep the shorter Ergashev off of him or offer meaningful resistance when Ergashev teed off at close range suggest serious trouble against Saucedo.

The Saucedo that went life-and-death with Lenny Z beats Fredrickson handily, much less the current, ostensibly superior incarnation. He smashes Fredrickson in the pocket before long. Saucedo TKO-3

Lewis Watson

I feel like I have to justify picking favourites at the moment, rather than backing dogs in the funhouse. If things come in threes, then Plania-Franco-Fredrickson could well be the unlikely June trio that backed up their barks with a bite in the Bubble.

Still, I’m gonna bottle it on this one. July looks a little tastier in terms of fun 50/50s (certainly this side of the pond), so I’m expecting some splits down the road.

When Saucedo fights, you watch. The 26-year-old’s firefights with Zappavigna and Mo Hooker in 2018 confirmed his Gatti-esque reputation, but with changes made – most notably, splitting with trainer Abel Sanchez – and improvements sought, maybe a more measured Saucedo will look to out-think Fredrickson rather than outslug him. Increased head movement, keeping a tighter guard and being more elusive in the pocket may lead to a more efficient Saucedo, but predictably a less violent and adrenaline-fueled one.

Fredrickson looks at least a level below Saucedo. He’s fairly easy to hit with a low right guard being exposed comfortably in previous outings and the favourite shouldn’t have trouble in walking him down if the taller underdog attempts to keep the fight at range.

Saucedo has heard the final bell only once since 2016 and should get the stoppage. Saucedo TKO-8

And the staff winner is...

Maurice Hooker v Alex Saucedo Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Alex Saucedo (4-0)!

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