Michael Rosenthal

Weekend Preview: Darchinyan vs. Perez at center stage

FRIDAY

BREIDIS PRESCOTT vs. BAYAN JARGAL

Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, junior welterweights

Location: Uncasville, Conn.

Television: ESPN2

The backdrop: The conqueror of Amir Khan is back on the right track, winning two straight after losing back-to-back fights in 2009 that sullied his credibility as a legitimate contender. His recent victims – Jason Davis (TKO 3) and Harrison Cuello (UD 10) – are nothing special but it was a step in the right direction. Jargal (15-1-3, 10 KOs) is a capable fighter with a solid amateur background but is 0-1-1 in his last two fights, including a split-decision loss to Steve Chambers in his last outing. Prescott (23-2, 19 KOs) should beat the Mongolian-born resident of Virginia, although he probably will have to work to score a knockout. The Colombian needs a spectacular knockout on national television Friday to build some excitement and then step up his opposition. Otherwise he could end up becoming little more than a footnote in boxing history.

Also fighting: Demetrius Andrade vs. Omar Bell, 8 rounds, junior middleweights; Joe Hanks vs. Terrell Nelson, 6 rounds, heavyweights

Rating the card: C+. Prescott is here only because of the knockout of Khan. And the matchup isn’t particularly interesting. Demetrius Andrade is unbeaten as a pro after representing the U.S. in the 2008 Olympics.

Prediction: Prescott by knockout in the late rounds.

 

SATURDAY

VIC DARCHINYAN vs. YONNHY PEREZ

Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds, bantamweights

Location: Los Angeles

Television: Showtime

The backdrop: This fight became the main event on what was supposed to be bantamweight tournament doubleheader when injured Joseph Agbeko pulled out of his fight with Abner Mares. Darchinyan-Perez is a nice consolation prize. Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs) remains one of the more-compelling little fighters despite recent setbacks. He is out to prove that he can be an elite bantamweight even though he has lost his two biggest fights at the weight, against Agbeko in 2009 and Mares in his last fight. The two-division titleholder is 35, though. Is it too late for him? Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs) also is trying to bounce back from setbacks, a draw with Mares and a loss in a rematch with Agbeko. Perez had never lost before that. He admitted to depression immediately afterward but moved his training camp from Southern California to Colombia to be near his family and he seems to have a renewed spirit. Perez is an aggressive fighter who throws a lot of punches and Darchinyan says he will stand a fight, meaning we could have a war. The fighters also have extra motivation: If Agbeko doesn’t recover soon, the winner could end up facing Mares in another big bantamweight fight.

Also fighting: DaVarryl Williamson vs. Michael Marrone, 10 rounds, heavyweights

Rating the card: B. The new main event features two offense-minded veterans with a lot to lose. Should be fun.

Prediction: This is essentially a 50-50 fight that could come down to Perez’s edge in natural size and his youth. Perez by unanimous decicsion.

 

ROBERT MARROQUIN vs. FRANCISCO LEAL

Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, featherweights

Location: Thackerville, Okla.

Television: Fox Deportes / Fox Sports Net

The backdrop: Morroquin (19-0, 14 KOs) is one of the most-exciting young prospects in the world. The Dallas product has everything – speed, power, skills, fire, you name it – except experience.  He is coming off the best learning experience of his career, a unanimous-decision victory over veteran Gilberto Leon in which he had to work hard. Leal (14-5-3, 9 KOs) probably is a step down in opposition. The Mexican somehow got a shot at Celestino Caballero’s junior featherweight titles in 2009 even though he was 3-3-2 in his previous eight bouts. The result: an eighth-round knockout loss. He then drew with Miguel Piedras in his most-recent bout, in 2010. Leal probably won’t roll over but Morroquin shouldn’t have any problems with him.

Also fighting: Casey Ramos vs. Willie Villaneuva, 8 rounds, junior lightweights; Tommy Zbikowski vs. Blake Warner, 4 rounds, cruiserweights

Rating the card: C+. If you haven’t seen Morroquin fight, take advantage of the opportunity. He’s a joy to watch. And when he wins a major title, you’ll want to say, “I remember when he was still coming up.”

Prediction: Morroquin by middle-rounds knockout.

 

Also Saturday: Omar Sheika faces Garret Wilson in a 12-round cruiserweight fight in Atlantic City, N.J., on gtf.tv.

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