DIEGO MAGDALENO vs. ALEJANDRO PEREZ
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior lightweights
Location: Las Vegas
The backdrop: The main event of this anniversary episode of ShoBox: The New Generation is indicative of the mission statement of the 10-year-old boxing series, which is dedicated to showcasing the sport’s talented up-and-comers by testing them against quality opposition. Magdaleno (19-0, 7 KOs) is a 24-year-old prospect who appears to be the total package. The charismatic Las Vegas native is a technically sound southpaw with skill, guts and an entertaining style that attracts fans in his hometown. The only thing Magdaleno lacks is punching power, and it looks like he’s improving in that department, having stopped his last four opponents. However, Magdaleno should have his hands full with Perez (15-2-1, 10 KOs), a former junior featherweight prospect from Salinas, Calif., who is coming off a chilling one-punch first-round KO of Antonio Escalante in March. Perez, a regular at the Wild Card Boxing Club, knows how to fight, and the 25-year-old boxer-puncher seems stronger than ever at 130 pounds. His last loss was an eight-round decision to Rico Ramos in an entertaining fight that was televised — where else? — on ShoBox in November 2009. Ramos, by the way, became the 43rd ShoBox alum to win a major title when he knocked out Akifumi Shimoda to annex the Japanese veteran’s WBA 122-pound belt on Saturday. On the undercard, Casey Ramos (13-0, 4 KOs), a 21-year-old junior lightweight from Austin, Texas, takes on dangerous late-sub Georgi Kevlishvili (12-2, 3 KOs), a 30-year-old Philadelphia-based Russian who gave undefeated featherweight prospect Ronny Rios hell in a close eight-round decision loss in May.
Also fighting: Casey Ramos vs. Georgi Kevlishvili, eight rounds, junior lightweights
Rating the card: B+. Both televised bouts feature talented prospects against tough, live opponents in what will likely be two entertaining fights. This is what ShoBox is all about.
Prediction: Magdaleno wins a competitive unanimous decision.
PAWEL WOLAK vs. DELVIN RODRIGUEZ
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: New York
The backdrop: This Friday Night Fights main event is a classic crossroads match. Wolak (29-1, 19 KOs), a rugged pressure fighter aptly nicknamed “Raging Bull,” is on the rise, having won eight in a row against mostly capable opposition. The 29-year-old New Jersey-based Pole is coming off an impressive sixth-round stoppage of former WBA 154-pound beltholder Yuri Foreman on the Miguel Cotto-Ricardo Mayorga undercard in March. Rodriguez (25-5-2, 15 KOs), a tall and rangy boxer who was once a world-rated welterweight, is on the downslide having gone 2-3-1 in his last six bouts. The 31-year-old Connecticut-based Dominican is coming off a 10-round majority-decision loss to Ashley Theophane last July. Wolak, the naturally bigger and seemingly fresher fighter, is the favorite in this fascinating matchup, but it should be noted that all three of Rodriguez’s losses have been close and/or controversial decisions to quality veterans. On the undercard, 22-year-old welterweight prospect Raymond Serrano (15-0, 8 KOs) of Philadelphia looks to extend his unbeaten streak to 16-0 against Puerto Rico’s Daniel Sostre (11-3-1, 4 KOs), who is unbeaten in his last 10 bouts.
Also fighting: Raymond Serrano vs. Daniel Sostre, 10 rounds, welterweights
Rating the card: B+. Wolak, THE RING’s No. 8-rated junior middleweight, is an all-action fighter who will probably be extended by Rodriguez in a competitive fight.
Prediction: Wolak by late stoppage.
JAYSON VELEZ vs. CARLOS VALCARCEL
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior featherweights
Location: Cataño, Puerto Rico
The backdrop: Velez (15-0, 12 KOs), a popular 23-year-old prospect from Caguas, Puerto Rico, takes on the most skilled and experienced opponent of his four-year career in Valcarcel (12-2-4, 5 KOs), a Puerto Rican Olympian now based in Miami. The 29-year-old boxer has won three bouts since suffering a sixth-round body-shot KO to bantamweight contender Eric Morel in 2008.
Also fighting: Eddie Gomez vs. Jonuel Tapia, 6 rounds, junior middleweights
Rating the card: B-. Velez is in tough. If he can decisively beat Varcarcel, he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Prediction: Velez by close decision.
JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ vs. LIKAR RAMOS
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior welterweights
Location: Cancun, Mexico
The backdrop: This live stream from Cancun (courtesy of the good folks at Top Rank) is merely a tune-up bout for Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs) before the future hall of famer’s big-money third showdown with arch-rival Manny Pacquiao in November. Ramos (24-3, 18 KOs) is a 25-year-old Colombian southpaw who has won three bouts since suffering a seventh-round KO to Jorge Solis last February. On the undercard, Roman Gonzalez (28-0, 23 KOs), THE RING’s No. 7-rated junior flyweight defends his WBA belt against skilled-but-fading former title challenger Omar Salado (22-3-2, 13 KOs). Former two-division champ Rafael Marquez (39-6, 35 KOs) looks to rebound from his eighth-round stoppage to Juan Manuel Lopez last November against Mexico City journeyman Eduardo Beceril (12-7-2, 4 KOs).
Also fighting: Roman Gonzalez vs. Omar Salado, 12 rounds, junior flyweights; Rafael Marquez vs. Eduardo Beceril, 10 rounds, featherweights
Rating the card: B+. The Marquez brothers and Gonzalez aren’t in with killers, but they aren’t fighting bums, either. (Well, maybe "Rafa" is.) This is a decent show considering that it’s headlined by an arguably all-time great fighter and also features his hall-of-fame-bound younger brother as well as one of the most talented lighter-weight fighters in the sport.
Prediction: Marquez scores a mid-to-late-round stoppage in a good fight.
Also Saturday: Ricky Burns defends his WBO junior lightweight title against Nicky Cook in Liverpool, England. John Murray, THE RING’s No. 4-rated lightweight, takes on once-beaten veteran Kevin Mitchell, in a scheduled 12-rounder in the co-featured bout; Julio Cesar Miranda defends his WBO flyweight title against former two-time 108-pound beltholder Brian Viloria in Honolulu; and Marco Huck defends his WBO cruiserweight title against Hugo Hernan Garay in Munich, Germany.