FRANKIE GOMEZ vs. JASON DAVIS
Rounds / weight class: Six rounds / welterweights
Location: Los Angeles
Television: Fox Sports Net (streamed live on RingTV.com and Ustream.com, 8 p.m. PT/ 11 p.m. ET)
The backdrop: Gomez, who turned pro with much fanfare last April, racked up seven victories during a successful 2010. However his first fight of 2011, a six-round decision over Jose Lugo in January, drew criticism from those who covered the bout. Gomez (8-0, 6 knockouts) looked paunchy and disinterested while out-pointing the young journeyman. So some changes were made. Gomez took on veteran trainer Abel Sanchez, who brought the 19-year-old prospect up to his training compound in Big Bear, Calif. Fans will see if training with Sanchez and a high-altitude camp improves Gomez’s form when he fights Davis (11-8-1, 3 KOs), a 29-year-old journeyman from Washington, on Thursday night. The Fight Night Club undercard features Ramon Valadez (7-1, 4 KOs), an improving local fighter who’s in a competitive match with Rafael Lora (11-4, 5 KOs); plus hard-punching lightweight prospect Fidel Maldonado Jr. (9-0, 8 KOs) and Venezuelan amateur standout Alfonso Blanco (4-0, 2 KOs) in separate bouts.
Also fighting: Ramon Valadez vs. Rafael Lora, six rounds, junior lightweights; Fidel Maldonado Jr. vs. Jorge Cordero, lightweight, four rounds
Rating the card: B-. Gomez might go rounds with Davis, but the hunch is that the former amateur star will outclass his tough-but-ordinary opponent. Valadez isn’t the most naturally gifted young fighter but the 20-year-old Angeleno always makes for good fights. Maldonado and Blanco are worth watching but they aren’t in very tough.
Prediction: Davis has experience against more seasoned fighters than Gomez, including former lightweight champ Joel Casamayor, who he lasted the eight-round distance with last November, but the younger prospect's speed and power should overwhelm the 29-year-old journeyman sometime between the third and sixth rounds.
JESSE BRINKLEY vs. PETER QUILLIN
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / super middleweights
Location: Reno, Nev.
The backdrop: Brinkley (35-6, 22 KOs) is coming off a ninth-round KO loss to Lucian Bute in a failed bid for the talented Canadian’s IBF super middleweight title last October, but that doesn’t mean the 34-year-old veteran isn’t a threat to Quillin (23-0, 17 KOs). The 27-year-old prospect looked sharp stopping journeyman Dennis Sharpe in four rounds in his last bout in February, but he’s never faced an experienced opponent with as much left in the tank as Brinkley likely has. Prior to his loss to Bute, the northern Nevada attraction had won nine consecutive bouts, including dominant victories over young standouts Dallas Vargas, Otis Griffin, Joey Gilbert, Mike Paschall and Curtis Stevens. This fight is a real test for Quillin and should make for a good Solo Boxeo main event. On the undercard, the quick hands and aggressive style of Las Vegas prospect Lonnie Smith (12-2-2, 9 KOs) should mesh well with the tough-guy attitude of Oxnard, Calif., standout David Rodela (15-3-3, 6 KOs).
Also fighting: Lonnie Smith vs. David Rodela, six rounds, junior lightweights
Rating the card: B+. This a good Solo Boxeo card. The co-featured bouts are competitive crossroads fights that feature style clashes that should produce a nice mix of boxing and action.
Prediction: Quillin is an athletic physical specimen who will put his exceptional speed and power to good use in the early rounds by keeping Brinkley at the end of hard, crisp one-two combinations. However, the savvy veteran will counter-punch well in the middle rounds and score with his overhand right whenever he’s able to back Quillin against the ropes. The two will go tit for tat in the late rounds when Brinkley tries to take advantage of the tiring prospect, but Quillin will hold his form and finish strong to win a hard-earned decision.
CARLOS MOLINA vs. ALLEN CONYERS
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: Las Vegas
The backdrop: Both Molina (17-4, 5 KOs) and Conyers (12-4, 9 KOs) are coming off impressive performances against undefeated prospects. Conyers, a hard-punching 35-year-old Bronx native, dropped James de la Rosa (20-0) three times en route to a 10-round decision victory over the talented young Texan on the Tim Bradley-Devon Alexander undercard in January. Molina, a crafty 27-year-old boxer from Chicago, gave former Cuban amateur star Erislandy Lara (15-0) all he could handle during a 10-round draw last month that most observers thought he should have won. The two spoilers should combine to make for an entertaining Friday Night Fights main event. On the undercard, 20-year-old lightweight prospect Hylon Williams Jr. (13-0, 3 KOs), a Juan Diaz clone from Houston, will pit his frenetic boxing style against Marcos Herrera (6-4-1, 2 KOs), a tough 23-year-old from Colorado, in what should be a good fight.
Also fighting: Hylon Williams vs. Marcos Herrera, eight rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: B. This is a solid Friday Night Fights broadcast. There aren’t any “stars” or heavily hyped prospects in the co-featured bouts but both fights should be competitive and entertaining.
Prediction: With the help of his solid whiskers and underrated skill, Molina will use his superior technique and reflexes to outbox the offense-minded Conyers to a brisk 10-round decision.
JOSE NIEVES vs. CUAUHTEMOC VARGAS
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / junior featherweights
Location: Kissimmee, Fla.
The backdrop: Nieves (17-2-3, 8 KOs) has not fought since suffering a fourth-round KO to hard-punching bantamweight prospect Chris Avalos last January. The 29-year-old southpaw from Puerto Rico hopes to get back in the win column against Vargas (15-4-1, 10 KOs), a tough-but-inactive 26 year old from Mexico. Vargas has lost four of his last five bouts, which stretches back to 2005. He was soundly out pointed over eight rounds by 122-pound prospect Rico Ramos in his most recent bout last July. On the undercard, undefeated Colombian lightweight standout Darley Perez (19-0, 15 KOs) takes on Puerto Rico’s former lightweight contender Jose Reyes (23-9, 8 KOs) in the first test of his career.
Also fighting: Darley Perez vs. Jose Reyes, eight rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: C+. Nieves won’t have much trouble with Vargas but Perez-Reyes could be a good fight.
Prediction: Nieves outboxes Vargas to an uneventful 12-round decision.
RAUL GARCIA vs. ROMMEL ASENJO
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / strawweights
Location: Mexico City
Television: Fox Deportes
The backdrop: Garcia (29-1-1, 17 KOs), a sharp-boxing former 105-pound titleholder from Mexico, will attempt to win a second major strawweight title against Asenjo (20-2, 16 KOs), a talented-but-untested young puncher from the Philippines. On the undercard, Garcia’s younger brother Ramon Garcia (15-2-1, 8 KOs) will attempt to win a major 108-pound title against Colombia’s Jesus Geles (12-1-1, 5 KOs) in a rematch of a closely contested 12 rounder that Geles won by split decision in February.
Also fighting: Jesus Geles vs. Ramon Garcia, rematch, 12 rounds, junior flyweights
Rating the card: B. The Garcia brothers are worth watching and both are in against game and talented opponents.
Prediction: Garcia-Asenjo should be a fun battle of southpaws. However, Garcia, THE RING’s No. 4-rated strawweight, is more mature, experienced and skilled than the young stalking slugger. Asenjo’s power and fearlessness makes him a threat but the 29-year-old Mexican should outclass and wear down the 21-year-old Filipino to a late-rounds stoppage.
Also fighting on Saturday:
THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior flyweight Gilberto Keb Baas defends his WBC 108-pound belt against Adrian Hernandez (in a rematch of a fight that Hernandez won by fourth-round KO) in Texcoc, Mexico. The fight will be televised on Televisa (in Mexico) and on AT&T U-verse TV, U-verse Online at www.att.net/boxeo and U-verse LIVE TV mobile application (in the U.S.) U-verse broadcasts will air live at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT.
Junior flyweight beltholder Luis Lazarte attempts to defend his IBF title against former titleholder Ulises Solis in Buenos Aires. The fight is a rematch of the controversial majority draw the two RING-rated veterans fought to last December.