KENNY GALARZA vs. IRVING GARCIA
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, welterweights
Location: Reno, Nev.
The backdrop: Galarza’s impressive string of knockouts to start his career ended abruptly at 13 when he was thoroughly outboxed by fellow prospect Brad Solomon and lost a onesided decision in June of last year. The former amateur standout from Puerto Rico bounced back by stopping 40-year-old Ilido Julio in three rounds in his most-recent fight., which took place in August. Galarza (14-1, 14 KOs) will have been out of the ring for more than nine months when he fights Friday. Garcia (17-6-3, 8 KOs) was once a contender but now has lost three consecutive fights to good boxers, Luis Carlos Abregu (KO 4), Mike Jones (KO 5) and Antonin Decarie (MD 10). Thus, the Puerto Rican appears to be in decline, although he lost a close decision to Decarie. Corley has lost four in a row and six of seven. Hasn’t anyone told him enough is enough?
Also fighting: Thomas Dulorme vs. DeMarcus Corley, 10 rounds, welterweights
Rating the card: B. Galarza might or might not evolve into an elite fighter. One thing is certain, though: He’s fun to watch. We love a fighter who typically ends fights in an instant.
Prediction: Galarza’s almost certainly will knockout Garcia. The question is when. That said, Garcia might have enough left to make things interesting for a while.
LATEEF KAYODE vs. MATT GODFREY
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, cruiserweights
Location: Santa Ynez, Calif.
The backdrop: Kayode (16-0, 14 KOs) is an impressive physical specimen with good power who is still developing as a boxer less than three years into his professional career. He is trained by Freddie Roach. Nicholas Iannuzzi took Kayode the 10-round distance in the Nigerian’s most-recent fight, only the second fighter to do so. Godfrey (20-2, 10 KOs) should be a significant test for Kayode. The cruiserweight contender from Providence, R.I., doesn’t have the best chin in boxing or much punching power but he has the boxing ability and experience to give his less-polished foe problems. Don’t be shocked if he wins. Godfrey is coming off a fifth-round knockout loss to Marco Huck, the WBO cruiserweight titleholder. He went down three times in that fight. Avalos and Suleymanov is an excellent matchup of bantamweight prospects.
Also fighting: Chris Avalos vs. Khabir Suleymanov, 10 rounds, juniorfeatherweights
Rating the card: B. The main event is a good, competitive matchup between a prospect with considerable upside and a solid pro with the ability to beat him. The sport needs more second-tier fights like this.
Prediction: Tough one. Kayode has passed every test so far. It’s difficult to pick against him. Godfrey probably will outbox him at times but get hurt at some point. And Kayode knows how to finish the job. Kayode by late-rounds knockout.
HOLLY HOLM vs. VICTORIA CISNEROS
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, junior welterweights
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
The backdrop: Holm (29-1-3, 9 KOs) might not be universally well known but she’s huge in her hometown of Albuquerque, the site of most of her fights. The two-time RING Female Fighter of the Year is one of the top female fighters in the world. She is 22-0-1 since her only loss, to Rita Turrisi in 2004. She outpointed Christy Martin and Mia St. John by wide margins in 2005. Belinda Laracuente, Mary Jo Sanders and Jaime Clampitt are among other respected woman fighters Holm has defeated. She appears to be going strong at 29. Cisneros (5-11-2, 1 KO) has lost three consecutive fights. The Albuquerque resident lost a near-shutout decision to Holm in 2009.
Also fighting: Fidel Maldonado Jr. Vs. Eddie Ramirez, 6 rounds, lightweights; Joaquin Zamora vs. Elco Garcia, 8 rounds, middleweights
Rating the card: C+. We like the idea of featuring a women’s bout for a change. Holm has established herself as legend in women’s boxing. She deserves some exposure, even if her opponent doesn’t appear to have a chance.
Prediction: Early KO.
LUIS DEL VALLE vs. DAT NGUYEN
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, featherweights
Location: New York
The backdrop: Del Valle (12-0, 10 KOs) and Nguyen (17-1, 6 KOs) have a lot in common. Del Valle was born and raised in Puerto Rico but moved to New York when he was invited to become a member of the U.S. amateur team, for which he had considerable success. He reportedly was 112-14 as an amateur. Gary Shaw, his promoter, is very optimistic about his future. He turned pro in 2008. Nguyen was born in Viet Nam but, after living in the Philippines as a refugee, moved with his family to the U.S. He also was a successful amateur fighter for his adopted country, having competed in numerous high-level competitions. Nguyen, who turned pro in 2004, lost to inexperienced Gregorio Torres in 2007 and has had some shaky performances since. Thus, his stock has fallen. This fight will give him a chance to make a statement. It also probably is Del Valle’s biggest test.
Also fighting: Jonathon Gonazalez vs. Richard Gutierrez, 8 rounds, junior middleweights
Rating the card: B-. We’ll learn a lot about Del Valle in this fight. Nguyen is the underdog but he’s a live underdog.
Prediction: Del Valle is the hot prospect here. He probably has too much all-around ability for Nguyen, whose only edge is experience. Del Valle by decision.
Also Saturday: Omar Narvaez defends his WBO junior bantamweight title against William Urina in Buenos Aires. In Monterrey, Mexico, Austin Trout defends his WBA “regular” junior middleweight title against David Lopez. And, in Liverpool, England, Paul Edwards defends his British flyweight title against Chris Edwards.