Michael Rosenthal

Weekend Preview: Acosta-Rios and much more



Rounds / weight class: 8 rounds / junior welterweights

Location: Club Nokia, Los Angeles

Television: Fox Sports Net; RingTV.com (live stream)

altThe backdrop: Vargas (13-0, 7 KOs) is a talented boxer-puncher with an excellent amateur pedigree – he fought on the Mexican national team – and a bright future. The Las Vegan has been trained by Roger Mayweather since he was 8 years old and now works with both Mayweather and Cornelius Boza Edwards. He expects this to be his final eight-round fight and believes he will be ready to face Top 10 fighters within a year. Favela (28-31-7, 18 KOs) was a last-minute choice for Vargas’ opponent after two others dropped out but he’ll come to fight, as he always does. He is one of those tough “opponents” from Mexico who make rising young stars work for victories. He has a very good chin, which should guarantee that Vargas goes at least a few rounds. Bastie Samir’s name should be “Beastie.” This Ghanian is one scary dude, as his record (nine fights, nine knockouts) indicates. Eddie Hunter (4-5-2, 2 KOs) doesn’t figure to last the distance.

Also fighting:  Bastie Samir vs. Eddie Hunter, 6 rounds, middleweights; Jamie Kavanagh vs. Ramon Flores, 6 rounds, lightweight.

Rating the card: B-. Favela’s toughness should allow Vargas to show off his talents for several rounds. And Samir is fun to watch, as is Kavanagh. This is a good little card.


Also Thursday: James Toney faces Damon Reed in a 12-round heavyweight bout in San Bernardino, Calif.




Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / featherweights

Location: Tulsa, Okla.

Television: ESPN2

altThe backdrop: Burgos (25-1, 18 KOs) is getting right back into the ring after losing a unanimous decision to talented 126-pound titleholder Hozumi Hasegawa for the vacant WBC 126-pound title in November in Japan. That was Burgos’ first opportunity to fight for a major title and first test against a truly elite opponent. The Mexican is a good boxer with considerable power. Archuleta (27-7-1, 14 KOs) is a solid opponent who started his career 18-0-1 but faltered when he began to face better opposition; he’s only 9-7 since, losing to the likes of Kevin Kelley, Emanuel Lucero, Rocky Juarez, Johnny Tapia and John Molina. He has been stopped four times. The product of Albuquerque, N.M., is coming off consecutive victories over journeymen.

Also fighting: Maxim Vlasov vs. Isaac Chilemba, 10 rounds, super middleweights

Rating the card: B. Archuleta shouldn’t be a serious threat to Burgos but the 35-year-old veteran knows that a victory over a contender on national television would change the path of career. He’ll be motivated. Vlasov (19-0, 10 KOs) is a legitimate prospect who is worth watching. He is Russian. Chilemba (15-1-1, 8 KOs) is fighting outside his native South Africa for the first time.



Rounds / weight class: 8 rounds / junior welterweights

Location: San Diego

Television: Telefutura

altThe backdrop: Garcia (19-0, 13 KOs) has stopped three opponents since he struggled to beat slick Ashley Theophane almost exactly a year ago. That includes the 22-year-old Philadelphian’s biggest victory yet, a fourth-round knockout of veteran Mike Arnaoutis in October. Garcia, an aggressive boxer-puncher who is always fun to watch, has crept into the sanctioning-body rankings. He’s No. 11 and No. 15 in the WBC and IBF, respectively. Figueroa (7-8-3, 3 KOs) is another “opponent” whose job is to give rising prospects as many quality rounds as possible, which he does fairly well. The Puerto Rican has gone the distance in all but one of his losses.

Also fighting: Marco Antonio Periban vs. Dion Savage, 8 rounds, middleweights

Rating the card: B. Garcia is entertaining and Figueroa is tough, a recipe for an interesting scrap. The Solo Boxeo Tecate co-feature matches two undefeated prospects. Periban (10-0, 7 KOs), is known for his power, and Savage (10-0, 6 KOs), was a solid amateur boxer who is trained by Roger Mayweather.



Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior welterweights

Location: Cocoa, Fla.

Television: Telemundo

altaltThe backdrop: Santos (26-3-1, 22 KOs) is a big puncher from Garland, Texas, who is making a comeback at 30 after a three-year hiatus from the sport. He looked very promising at one point but faltered when he stepped up his opposition. He started his career 23-0, including knockouts in his first 11 fights, but is only 3-3-1 since. That includes a first-round knockout loss to Michael Rosales in October 2007, his most-recent fight. Pabon (16-1, 10 KOs) has been active and successful against decent opponents, going 6-0 since his only loss (to prospect Luis Hernandez in 2007). Pabon stopped former contender Ernesto Zepeda in eight rounds in Zepeda’s most-recent fight.

Rating the card: C+. They say fighters don’t lose their power. It will be interesting to see what Santos has after such a long layoff.




Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / lightweights

Location: Las Vegas

Television: Showtime (part of a doubleheader)

altaltThe backdrop: All the talk seems to be centered on Rios, a hot young fighter, but let’s be clear here: Acosta (28-3-2, 22 KOs) is no joke. The Venezuelan, who holds the WBA 135-pound title, has it all – speed, athleticism, skills and crushing power. To say he is dangerous is an understatement, as Urbano Antillon and Paulus Moses learned in 2009 and last year. Acosta handed Antillon his first loss, a ninth-round knockout, and then took the then-unbeaten Moses’ title by a sixth-round KO in the titleholder’s native Namibia. Rios (26-0-1, 19 KOs) emerged as a star-to-be with his one-sided victory over Anthony Peterson in September, a brutal beat down that forced Peterson to quit in seven rounds by throwing repeated low blows that led to his disqualification. Rios, trained by Robert Garcia in Oxnard, Calif., is known for his unusual strength but also has good boxing skills. He’s surprisingly difficult to hit given his aggressive style. He would remove any doubt about his ability with a victory over someone as tough as Acosta. Marroquin (18-0, 14 KOs), a sharpshooter from Dallas, is one of the most-exciting young fighters on the planet.

Also fighting: Roberto Marroquin vs. Gilberto Sanchez Leon, 8 rounds, featherweights

Rating the card: A-. The main event is a fascinating matchup of two prime fighters knocking on the door of much bigger things. It’s a 50-50 fight that should be very entertaining.



Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / lightweights

Location: Grand Island, Neb.

Television: Showtime (part of doubleheader)

altaltThe backdrop: DeMarco (24-2-1, 18 KOs) bounced back from his brutal ninth-round knockout loss to the late Edwin Valero last February – his only title shot – by stopping capable but shopworn Daniel Attah in two rounds in July. Sanchez (20-3-1, 11 KOs) figures to pose a legitimate challenge to his fellow Mexican. He is coming off an impressive split-decision victory over once-beaten Daniel Estrada to earn a place in this WBC title eliminator. Sanchez is a good boxer with limited power.

Also fighting:Alejandro Berrio vs. Antwun Echols, 6 rounds, crusierweights

Rating the card: C+. The main event is a competitive fight, although DeMarco’s power could be the difference.



Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / bantamweights

Location: Panama City

Television: None in U.S.

altaltThe backdrop: Moreno (30-1-1, 10 KOs) is the forgotten bantamweight, lost among such names as Nonito Donaire, Fernando Montiel and those in Showtime’s bantamweight tournament. Don’t over look the Panamanian, though; he’s extremely good. Moreno, THE RING’s No. 2-rated 118-pounder, can’t punch but his refined boxing skills make him very difficult to beat. He has beaten a string of top-tier opponents and is coming off back-to-back split-decision victories over talented Nehomar Cermeno in South America. Parra (31-2-1, 18 KOs) is a well-tested former flyweight titleholder who remains capable. He returned last year from a year and a half away from boxing to beat journeyman Oscar Chacin and then draw with Jorge Arce in a junior featherweight title eliminator.

Also fighting: Rafael Concepcion vs. Hugo Ruiz, 12 rounds, bantamweights

Rating the card: B+. Moreno, Parra, Concepcion, Ruiz … these are some damn good fighters. Too bad we can’t see this on U.S. TV.


Also Saturday: Gilberto Keb Bass defends his WBC junior flyweight title in Merida, Mexico.

In Atlantic City, N.J., Gabriel Rosado faces Jamaal Davis in a 12-round junior middleweight bout on gofightlive.tv.

In Chihuahua, Mexico,Julio Cesar Miranda defends his WBO flyweight title against Arden Diale.

In Bolton England, Steven Foster Jr. defends his junior lightweight title against Ermanno Fegatelli.

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