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Who wins Rigondeaux-Casimero, Ortiz-Kavaliauskas, and Franco-Moloney 3?

We’ve got three noteworthy main events on Saturday night.

We’re back! We haven’t had any staff picks since July 17, what with only a handful of pro cards, nothing big based in the U.S., and the biggest fight we had to cover otherwise being, I guess, Galahad-Dickens 2. All those Olympics! I’ve already forgotten half the names.

Anyway, we’ve got three main events to pick for a busy Saturday night, and we’re going to lump them all together this time.

Joshua Franco vs Andrew Moloney 3

Joshua Franco v Andrew Moloney - Press Conference Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Scott Christ (42-13-3)

Before their first fight, I picked the mild Joshua Franco upset and got that one right. Before the rematch, I picked Moloney and it looked early as though I might have gotten that one right, he’d adjusted for Franco and was doing some very good work.

For this one, I think the smart money is on Moloney. He was the favorite the first time for a reason, and he was doing well in that rematch. But what of Franco? It wasn’t some all-time shocker that first time around; that wasn’t Joshua-Ruiz or Lewis-Rahman or something, it was a decent but not stunning upset. Franco’s a good fighter himself, about on par with Moloney, and now he could be the one to make the right adjustments and get out with another close win on the cards. And that’s what I’m picking. Robert Garcia should have Franco ready to put the pressure on again and try to force Moloney — who may be fighting a little emotionally — to make mistakes and exchange more than he should. It’s about a 50/50 sort of fight, or as close as we really get in boxing. Franco SD-12

How to Watch Franco vs Moloney 3

Date: Saturday, August 14 | Start Time: 10:00 pm ET (Main Card) / 5:55 pm ET (Prelims)
Location: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Tulsa, OK
Streaming: ESPN+ | TV: ESPN (Main Card Only)
Online Coverage:

Wil Esco (46-9-3)

I don’t want to say Andrew Moloney overlooked Joshua Franco when they first met over a year ago, but it’s clear that it turned out to be a much tougher fight than he expected. But to Moloney’s credit he actually learned quite a bit from that fight and made great adjustments in their rematch, handling Franco pretty easily until that controversial call cost him a chance at redemption. He’ll get another shot here though, and I think Moloney is once again going to lean on his length and boxing ability to dice up Franco, knowing it won’t be to his benefit to get into the exchanges that gave him problems the first time around. Better late than never, I suppose, and I think Moloney gets an official win over Franco here. Moloney TKO-8

Patrick L. Stumberg (45-10-3)

Before their first fight, I incorrectly predicted that Moloney’s stiff jab and tight combination punching would carry him to a wide victory. After watching Franco break him down, I expected him to do the same in the sequel, as he appeared to have Moloney’s number. Now, I’m completing the cycle by going right back to Moloney.

My thesis for that second prediction was that the Aussie had executed as best he could in the first fight, but the rematch proved me wrong. While there’s only so much you can glean from two rounds of action, he was absolutely dominating Franco in every area; he’d clearly made the necessary adjustments to bring his technical superiority to bear. He should do more of the same here, staying mobile and lancing Franco with clean jabs all night. Much as I’m obligated to back my hometown boy, I think Moloney’s figured him out. Moloney regains his bogus title with a dominant 12-round decision. Moloney UD-12

And the staff winner is...

Terence Crawford v Kell Brook Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Andrew Moloney (2-1)!

Vergil Ortiz Jr vs Egidijus Kavaliauskas

Golden Boy Promotions/Kevin Estrada

Scott Christ (42-13-3)

I’ve got juuuust a little twinge of upset fever on this one, but as much as I do like Kavaliauskas and think he’s a good, solid test for where Ortiz is in his career, I just really think Vergil Ortiz Jr is the real deal. He could lose this, bounce back, and still be the real deal, mind you, because boxing doesn’t actually work like the yokels in Instagram comments think, where the world has two good boxers at a time and everyone else is an “Uber driver” or “bum,” but I don’t think he trips up here.

Kavaliauskas is the right opponent, though. He’s got enough power that he’s at the very least a different test than Maurice Hooker was, and he’s also not coming off of a rough loss two years ago in a different weight class. (I know Hooker fought between Ramirez and Ortiz, but it was a one-round get-well fight.) He’s also a solid technician and Ortiz probably won’t just run him over. But I do think Vergil gets to him and breaks him down eventually; Ortiz has never been past round seven, and I say that ends here, but he keeps the stoppage streak going. Ortiz TKO-9

How to Watch Ortiz vs Kavaliauskas

Date: Saturday, August 14 | Start Time: 8:00 pm ET
Location: The Ford Center at The Star - Frisco, TX
Streaming: DAZN
Online Coverage:

Wil Esco (46-9-3)

Vergil Ortiz is clearly one of boxing’s brightest young stars in the welterweight division and appears to be ready for a significant test. Respectfully, I’m just not certain Egidijus Kavaliauskas is going to be that test. The problem for Kavaliauskas is that he’s not athletic enough to outhustle Ortiz and he’s not powerful enough to outslug him. Kavaliauskas will have to box a smart fight but I just don’t think he’ll be able to keep it up long enough to make it through, as I fully expect Ortiz to walk his way into punching range and start landing thudding shots. Kavaliauskas took some punishment against Terence Crawford, and I expect him to take some more here until the younger man breaks him down to force a stoppage. Ortiz TKO-7

Patrick L. Stumberg (45-10-3)

At the risk of sounding like Mauro Ranallo, I feel like Kavaliauskas can be too “Machine” and not enough “Mean” sometimes. He struggled to get anything going against Mikael Zewski in the early rounds before seemingly flipping a switch and putting the pressure on the Quebecois for the finish. He simply can’t afford to do that here; though still a bit overly linear and prone to shelling up in the face of return fire, Ortiz is just too devastating an offensive force for Kavaliauskas to play a passive game. Kavaliauskas’ only chance lies in keeping Ortiz on the back foot and building on some of the success Maurice Hooker enjoyed, and while his blend of power and precision make him theoretically capable of keeping Ortiz uncomfortable, it’s hard to trust him to do so.

None of this is to say that Kavaliauskas won’t give Ortiz one of the stiffest tests of his career; he’s an extremely capable welterweight with heavier hands than Ortiz has ever faced and the skills to use them. Between his inconsistency and Ortiz’s unreasonable stopping power, though, I favor the young gun to keep his streak alive with a mid-round stoppage. Ortiz TKO-7

And the staff winner is...

Vergil Ortiz Jr v Antonio Orozco Photo By Tom Hogan/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Vergil Ortiz Jr (3-0)!

Guillermo Rigondeaux vs John Riel Casimero

Guillermo Rigondeaux v John Riel Casimero - Press Conference Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Scott Christ (42-13-3)

Casimero’s going to bring the fire, and it’s going to be his downfall. He will have good moments, and I honestly think this is going to be a good fight to watch — I know, it has Rigondeaux, but Casimero is a goofy level of aggressive and I don’t think he’s the type who’s going to get spooked by the laser left of the Cuban and avoid engaging after round three. Frankly, I think Nonito Donaire was a much better matchup stylistically — and certainly bigger for his career — for Casimero, and that their side really kinda screwed the pooch losing that fight with their bullshit. Maybe I’ll be wrong, Rigondeaux is 40 years old and even great technicians meet their end eventually if they hang around long enough, but I’m taking the old man, and I think he’s going to get a stoppage when Casimero, trailing, runs into something. Rigondeaux TKO-10

How to Watch Rigondeaux vs Casimero

Date: Saturday, August 14 | Start Time: 10:00 pm ET
Location: Dignity Health Sports Park - Carson, CA
Streaming: Showtime | TV: Showtime
Online Coverage:

Wil Esco (46-9-3)

I won’t pretend like I still don’t slightly begrudge Rigondeaux for that debacle against Lomachenko, but I’m not so scorned that I won’t acknowledge the man as being an all-time great technician. It’s precisely that technical acumen which has allowed Rigondeaux to sustain his professional career at age 40. Yes, Rigondeaux is old for a fighter, but he doesn’t have a ton of wear and tear thanks to his methodically deliberate style that can be as equally effective as it can be hard to watch. Casimero will come to bring the action though and it’s because he won’t be gun shy that I think he’ll present Rigo with the requisite opportunities to look flashy with sharp counters. I’m going to take Rigondeaux to take the fight on points. Rigodeaux-Donaire 2, anyone? Rigondeaux UD-12

Patrick L. Stumberg (45-10-3)

As a longtime Rigolucionary, I’d love nothing more than to see “El Chacal” starch Casimero and force Bob Arum to try and market him again for a potential undisputed clash with Naoya Inoue sometime next year. Honestly, I don’t think it’s beyond him; he’s not what he used to be, but he’s still absurdly slick at times and that left hand’s still a guided missile with a brick taped to the end. His better moments against Liborio Solis were enough to give me legitimate hope.

But Casimero’s younger than Solis, hits a hell of a lot harder, and proved his willingness to bull his way through a sharper technician’s return fire in his three-round destruction of Zolani Tete. I’m not convinced Rigondeaux can sap his will to press the action and I’m not convinced his 40-year-old legs can keep him out of the firing line. I expect Rigondeaux to hit the deck at least once, and while he’s far easier to hurt than to actually finish, Casimero figures to be the busier man by a solid margin. “Quadro Alas” sets the tone with an early knockdown and forces Rigondeaux to either retreat into his shell or go out on his shield in a doomed slugfest. Casimero UD-12

And the staff winner is...

Gary Russell Jr v Tugstsogt Nyambayar Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Guillermo Rigondeaux (2-1)!

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