MARK MELLIGEN vs. SEBASTIAN LUJAN
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: San Antonio, Texas
The backdrop: Both combatants in this Friday Night Fights main event are capable fighters riding win streaks. Melligen (21-2, 14 knockouts) has won five bouts against solid opposition since dropping a 10-round split decision to Michel Rosales in November of 2009. Lujan (37-5-2, 23 KOs) has won 11 straight — including a fifth-round KO of Walter Matthysse and 10-round decision over former lightweight champ Jose Luis Castillo) since losing a 12-round decision to British 154-pound contender Jamie Moore in April of 2007. Lujan, a 31-year-old two-time title challenger (he lost bids to Antonio Margarito in 2005 and Sergei Dzinziruk in 2006) from Argentina, has the decided edge in experience. Melligen, a 25-year-old L.A.-based Filipino southpaw, is a superior athlete with better technique. Also on the card, Mickey Bey Jr. (16-0-1, 8 KOs), a 28-year-old former amateur standout who was held to a draw by Jose Hernandez in February, tries to jumpstart his stagnating pro career against Alejandro Rodriguez (12-3, 6 KOs), a 23-year-old former Mexican prospect coming off back-to-back bouts to Eloy Perez (UD 10) and John Molina (TKO 3) this year.
Also fighting: Mickey Bey Jr. vs. Alejandro Rodriguez, eight rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: B. The main event has the makings of a decent scrap. Melligen is an aggressive southpaw boxer. Lujan is a rugged pressure fighter.
Prediction: Melligen’s speed and footwork enable him to edge Lujan out via close decision.
FRANKIE GOMEZ vs. KHADAPHI PROCTOR
Rounds / weight class: Eight rounds / junior welterweights
Location: Indio, Calif.
The backdrop: Gomez (9-0, 7 KOs), a former amateur star who was criticized for not being dedicated enough to the sport earlier this year, is expected to show fans and promoter Golden Boy Promotions the results of four months of hard work in the secluded altitude of Big Bear, Calif., with new trainer Abel Sanchez in this Solo Boxeo Tecate main event. The 19-year-old East L.A. native takes on a tough customer in his first scheduled eight-round bout. Proctor (7-5-1), a 26-year-old spoiler from Hesperia, Calif., has won three bouts in a row, including a six-round decision over undefeated (10-0) Stan Martyniouk in his last bout, since dropping three close decisions to prospects. Also on the card, 20-year-old Randy Caballero (11-0, 7 KOs), a local draw from nearby Indio, Calif., attempts to continue his rapid development against 20-year-old Alexis Santiago (8-0-1, 2 KOs), of Phoenix, Ariz., in his sixth bout of 2011.
Also fighting: Randy Caballero vs. Alexis Santiago, eight rounds, junior featherweights
Rating the card: B-. The co-featured bouts should deliver quality fights even though the Gomez and Caballero, the Golden Boy fighters, are heavy favorites. Gomez has heavy hands and an all-action style but Proctor has shown a reliable chin since being knocked out in his third pro bout in 2007. Caballero-Santiago is a rare matchup of young unbeaten prospects.
Prediction: Gomez stops Proctor between the sixth and eighth round of a good fight.
Also Friday: Flyweight champ Pongsaklek Wonjongkam defends his RING and WBC titles against Takuya Kogawa in Songkha, Thailand.
WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO vs. DAVID HAYE
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / heavyweights
Location: Hamburg, Germany
The backdrop: Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs) has won 13 in a row since, including a ninth-round stoppage of unbeaten Ruslan Chagaev for the vacant RING heavyweight title, since suffering a fifth-round stoppage to Lamon Brewster in April of 2004. Chagaev held the WBA title when he faced Klitschko in June of 2009 but his belt wasn’t on the line. Klitschko will get a chance to add that strap to his collection (along with his IBF, WBO and IBO belts) and pick a very annoying thorn out of his side with his anticipated showdown with Haye (25-1, 23 KOs). The mouthy former cruiserweight champ from Britain had insulted Klitschko at every turn even before he stepped up to the heavyweight division. Haye had a fight scheduled with the Ukrainian veteran in June of 2009 but pulled out with a questionable back injury. (Chagaev substituted for Haye, who won the WBA belt by out-pointing Nikolay Valuev in November of that year.) The 30-year-old boxer-puncher, who offended Klitschko by wearing an illustrated T-shirt depicting decapitated bodies of he and his brother Vitali at Haye’s feet to the kick-off press conference for their dashed 2009 fight, continued to goad and harass the 35-year-old champ through 2010. Now Klitschko finally has the opportunity to make Haye back his words in the ring and fight fans, particularly those in Europe, can’t wait to see what happens.
Also fighting: Ola Afolabi vs. Terry Dunstan, 12 rounds, cruiserweights
Rating the card: A. This is the most significant fight that can be made in the stagnant heavyweight division and thanks to Haye’s speed, athleticism and punching power, it just might be an exciting and competitive bout.
Prediction: Klitschko punishes Haye with his jab before ending the fight in chilling fashion by knocking the brash challenger out with a one-two combination.
HERNAN MARQUEZ vs. EDRIN DAPUDONG
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / flyweights
Location: Hermosillo, Mexico
Television: Fox Deportes
The backdrop: Marquez (30-2, 23 KOs) makes the first defense of the WBA flyweight title he won by stopping Luis Concepcion in the 11th round of their fight-of-the-year candidate in April. The entertaining 22-year-old veteran will put his 112-pound belt on the line against Dapudong (22-3, 13 KOs) in his home region of Sonora, Mexico. Dapudong, an unknown but capable 25-year-old fighter from the Philippines, is 12-1 since dropping a close 10-round decision to two-time straw weight titleholder Muhammad Rachman in 2008.
Also fighting: David Sanchez vs. Jonathan Ramos, 10 rounds, junior featherweight
Rating the card: B+. This Top Rank Live! main event is under the radar but it should deliver a lot of action as both fighters are tough and aggressive. Dapudong has never been stopped. Marquez has only been stopped once, an eighth-round TKO to ultra-talented Nonito Donaire in a junior bantamweight bout last July.
Prediction: Marquez wins a hard-fought but unanimous decision.
Also Saturday: Jonathan Barros puts his WBA “regular” featherweight belt on the line against former dual 122-pound beltholder Celestino Caballero in Mendoza, Argentina.
Former junior flyweight beltholder Edgar Sosa takes on Julio Paz in a scheduled 12-round flyweight bout and Giovanni Caro challenges Simpiwe Vetyeka in a scheduled 12-rounds WBC junior featherweight title eliminator in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.