PETER MANFREDO JR. VS. DANIEL EDOUARD
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / super middleweights
Location: Key West, Fla.
The backdrop: Manfredo (36-6, 20 KOs) is back in the spotlight for the first time in more than two years. The former “Contender” participant is 3-0 against journeymen since dropping from super middleweight to middleweight, a weight at which he feels he’ll be more competitive against elite opponents. He has won five straight overall since he was stopped in three rounds by Sakio Bika at 168 pounds in November 2008. He hopes a victory will lead to a big-money fight, possibly against the winner of the Feb. 19 Felix Sturm-Ronald Hearns title fight. Manfredo turned 30 in November. Edouard (23-3-2, 14 KOs) is coming off a surprising split-decision loss to journeyman Alfonso Mosquera last July. He had won five in a row before that. The Haitian-born Floridian, rugged but limited, was stopped in three rounds by Jermain Taylor in 2005 in his highest-profile fight. The most-talented fighter on the card is prospect Edwin Rodriguez (17-0, 13 KOs), who faces Aaron Pryor Jr. (15-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-round super middleweight bout. The aggressive Dominican-American has five consecutive knockouts, including a ninth-round KO of James McGirt Jr. on Showtime. Rodriguez was an amateur standout. Pryor, the also-talented son of the Hall of Famer, will be taking part in his first scheduled 10-round bout.
Also fighting: Edwin Rodriguez vs. Aaron Pryor Jr., 10 rounds, super middleweights
Rating the card:B-. This is a good double-header. The main event probably will be entertaining because of Edouard’s aggressive style, although Manfredo probably will outbox his foe. The Rodriguez-Pryor fight is more intriguing because of Rodriguez’s vast potential. And Pryor is no pushover.
ERISLANDY LARA VS. DELRAY RAINES
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: Indio, Calif.
The backdrop: Lara (14-0, 9 KOs) figures to fight for a major title sometime this year. The gifted Cuban defector, a world champion as an amateur, is ranked in the Top 11 by three of the four major sanctioning bodies after only 14 fights. He also has demonstrated considerable power of late, stopping each of his most-recent three opponents in the first round. Raines (18-8-1, 13 KOs) probably will be next. The product of Paris, Ark., has become a stepping stone for rising young prospects. He was stopped by David Lemieux in two rounds in 2009 and Ronald Hearns in one last year. Raines is 5-5-1 in his last 11 fights but has never beaten an elite opponent. Also, Frankie Gomez (7-0, 6 KOs) continues his development against journeyman Hensley Strachan (5-8-1, 1) of the Bahamas. The one-time amateur standout from Los Angeles was impressive in his final fight of 2010, a six-round unanimous decision over solid veteran Ramon Montano. Gomez is a crowd pleaser because of his viciousness and power but also is well schooled.
Also fighting: Frankie Gomez vs. Hensley Strachan, 6 rounds, junior welterweights
Rating the card:B-. Lara had been the least entertaining of the three highest-profile Cuban contenders – with Yuriorkis Gamboa and Guillermo Rigondeaux – but his KO streak has generated some excitement. Raines doesn’t figure to last long. Gomez is very fun to watch.