SUNSET IN THE DESERT — In boxing, as in art, love, or other sweet sciences, sometimes the fine line between glory and Tyson’s Bolivia is just one dynamic stroke or meltdown away.

By the days of summertime blue, many fine fistic situations will have been sorted out under gold and glitz. A pleasantly emerging pattern of strong matches in recent years continues into spring.

Some best-laid plans will be in bountiful fruition, others just a magnificent memory in cyberspace. Either way, the wheel of Fate will still roll on, roll on and the cosmic sports book will continue to cash in the manna on both mangy underdogs and the chosen, favorite few.

Get yer picks here, folks.

Rafael Marquez pounds Israel Vasquez. If Jhonny Gonzales was able to drop Vazquez twice, Marquez should be able to put him away.

Marco Antonio Barrera takes split decision over Juan Manuel Marquez. Our coin flip says a hard-pressed Barrera figures out a way to win.

Winky Wright ages Bernard Hopkins. Bernard spoke so much about the retirement promise to his mother that he should have backed it up. Unless he needs the money, Hopkins should have made like Marvin Hagler, Michael Spinks, and too few others, while the getting out was good. That’s easy to say, sitting on your ass.

Jose Luis Castillo TKO 11 Ricky Hatton. Hatton may be just as tough as Castillo, but he’s not as refined a fighter. Inside uppercuts will make the difference.

Oscar de la Hoya squeaks out majority nod over Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Probably a sentimental pick. Truly great Mayweather may not have shown his best yet, but his questionable hands cancel out that equation. De la Hoya’s losses to Hopkins and Mosley, and wins over Vargas, Castillejo, and Sturm may count for more than it appeared.

If the heavyweight title is unified within two years, our hope goes for Samuel Peter, who’s done the most to back up a pledge to fight the best available fighters. Too bad that can translate out to who gets screwed the most.

As long as Desert Diamond Casino and Norm Fraunheim’s boxing columns are around, the Arizona scene will stay vibrant. Fraunheim‘s regular reporting and weekly editorial newsletter are mainstays of The Arizona Republic sports section. The Diamond has presented consistently excellent cards for most of the millennium.

Demographics are changing for the sport, at least in the US, and that will continue. But a big fight is still huge on the entertainment and finance meter.

Boxing has proven to be one of the most popular art forms in the history of the planet. The end is not so near.

All good things, like an unstoppable left hook, must come to an end.

A website with the artistic vision and integrity of The Sweet Science is rare, and beautiful, indeed.

Keep throwing.