VICENTE ESCOBEDO vs. ROCKY JUAREZ
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, junior lightweights
Location: Indio, Calif.
The backdrop: The 29-year-old Escobedo (23-3, 14 KOs) is attempting to win his second straight fight since losing a unanimous decision to Robert Guerrero in November of last year. A former Olympian, Escobedo successfully rebounded by dominating Walter Estrada in March, dropping his rival in the seventh round. Prior to that, Escobedo overcame a split-decision loss to Michael Katsidis in September of 2009 by scoring a third-round knockout of Carlos Urias in March of last year. For the 31-year-old Juarez (28-8-1, 20 KOs), however, rebounding has been much, much more difficult. Also a former Olympian, Juarez is 0-4-1 with four straight losses in his past five fights. The Houston resident has lost eight times as a professional and battled once to a draw — all over the course of 12 rounds against elite fighters, with six of the losses being opposite world champions in title fights. Juarez’s initial loss was a failed bid to win the WBC’s interim featherweight title against Humberto Soto in August of 2005. Then there were Juarez’s consecutive setbacks to then-WBC super featherweight beltholder Marco Antonio Barrera in May, and, September of 2006. Juarez unsuccessfully challenged then-WBC junior lightweight titlist Juan Manuel Marquez in November of 2007. Juarez battled to a disputed draw against Indonesia’s WBA featherweight beltholder Chris John in February of 2009, and then lost a rematch in September of the same year. There was also the seven-round, technical decision loss to Jason Litzau, and then a 10-round decision setback against ex-titleholder Jogre Linares, in April and July of last year, respectively, before losing over 12 rounds to Alexandro Sanabria in Feburary.
Also fighting: Raymundo Chacon vs. David Reyes, four rounds, bantamweights; Adam Carrera vs. Adolfo Landeros, six rounds, junior lightweights; Kenny Williams vs. Ronald Rodriguez, four rounds, junior welterweights; Guadalupe Salcedo vs. Luis Cervantes, four rounds, junior lightweights.
Rating the card: B+. Escobedo against Juarez is an intriguing match up, with Juarez being a slow starter, and Escobedo a steady performer.
Prediction: Escobedo by narrow decision.
Marcos Maidana defends against Petr Petrov in a 12 rounder for Maidana’s WBA “regular” junior welterweight title in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
JORGE ARCE vs. SIMPHIWE NONGQAYI
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds, junior featherweights
Location: Mexicali Baja, California, Mexico
Television: FOX Deportes
The backdrop: Arce (57-6-2, 44 KOs) is 5-0-1 with four knockouts since last suffering defeat. In addition, the 32-year-old is coming off a most triumphant upset, having scored a 12th-round knockout that dethroned WBO beltholder Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (20-1-1, 17 KOs), ending the 27-year-old’s run of six straight stoppages. The problem could be that the last man to beat Arce will be staring at him from across the ring on Saturday night. That would be Nongqayi (16-1-1, 6 KOs), who dethroned Arce as IBF junior bantamweight beltholder by unanimous decision when last they met in September of 2009. But while Arce has thrived since losing, Nongqayi has struggled. Arce has proven that he is better suited for the higher weight, his durability being displayed opposite the younger Vazquez. Nongqayi, meanwhile, is coming off of a draw and a sixth-round knockout loss in April and July, respectively — the latter against Juan Alberto Rosas.
Rating the fight: B+. Arce is itching for revenge, and Nongqayi, to right himself after two winless performances. The action should be good considering the high stakes, particularly for Arce, who could be in line for a match opposite rising two-belt bantamtweight titleholder Nonito Donaire if he wins.
Prediction: Arce gets revenge with a late-round KO.
Adrian Hernandez defends against Gideon Buthelezi in a 12 rounder for Hernandez’s WBC junior flyweight title in Mexico City.
Alexander Dimitrenko defends against Michael Sprott in a 12 rounder for Dimitrenko’s European heavyweight title in Hamburg, Germany.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com