Weekend Preview: Williams-Cintron and Margarito’s return
Roberto Garcia (right) will be face to face with a very hungry fighter when he takes on Antonio Margarito on Saturday in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank
YORDANIS DESPAIGNE vs. RICHARD HALL
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / cruiserweights
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
The backdrop: Despaigne, a 2004 Olympian who lost to Andre Dirrell in the Games, defected from Cuba with Guillermo Rigondeaux and Yudel Jhonson last year. The 30-year-old has won each of his five fights against journeyman, one by decision and the last four by KO inside three rounds. Hall (29-7, 27 knockouts) probably is a step up in competition. The tall, Jamaican-born Floridian, a light heavyweight weight contender in the first half of the 2000s, returned from a 27-month hiatus from boxing to stop Jaffa Ballogou in one round in February. Hall is 38.
Also fighting: Seth Mitchell vs. Johnnie White, 10 rounds, heavyweights
Rating the card: C+. We’re curious to see this relatively unknown Cuban. And Hall was a huge puncher. Let’s see how much he has left.
DANNY GARCIA vs. CHRIS FERNANDEZ
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior welterweights
The backdrop: Garcia (16-0, 10 KOs), a talented 22-year-old prospect from Philadelphia, is trying to bounce back from a shaky split-decision victory over capable Ashley Theophane in February. And Fernandez (18-9-1, 11 KOs) probably is the perfect foil. The Salt Lake City fighter has had some success in his region but has struggled outside it. He is 4-6-1 in his last 11 fights.
Also fighting: Karl Dargan vs. Jorge Ruiz, 6 rounds, lightweights; Mike Dargan vs. Jason Montgomery, 4 rounds, junior middleweights
Rating the card: C+. Garcia is an exciting young fighter and it will be interesting to see how he responds after a narrow victory. Plus, Karl Dargan, trained by uncle Naazim Richardson, is a gifted prospect.
PAUL WILLIAMS vs. KERMIT CINTRON
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: Carson, Calif.
The backdrop: Williams (38-1, 27 KOs) remains one of the best fighters pound for pound yet has something to prove in this fight after a narrow victory over Sergio Martinez in Decemeber. Some believe Martinez should’ve been awarded the victory. Williams wants to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao at 147 pounds if either is willing but probably will stay at 154 otherwise. Cintron (32-2-1, 28 KOs) easily outpointed Alfredo Angulo last May to remain relevant in the junior middleweight division and stopped Juliano Ramos in his last fight. He was all but written off after a controversial draw with Martinez early last year.
Also fighting: Martin Honorio vs. Argenis Mendez, 12 rounds, junior lightweights
Rating the card: A-. Williams is a lot of fun to watch because of his punch output and fighting spirit. Cintron also can be an exciting fighter, although he doesn’t seem to have the power at 154 that he had at 147.
ANTONIO MARGARITO vs. ROBERTO GARCIA
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: Aguascalientes, Mexico
Television: Top Rank pay per view
The backdrop: Margarito (37-6, 27 KOs) returns to boxing for the first time since he lost his license in California for using illegal pads in his hand wraps before his fight against Shane Mosley in February of last year. Mosley gave Margarito a brutal beating in the fight, stopping the much-feared three-time titleholder in the ninth round. Margarito has since fired trainer Javier Capetillo, who also was suspended, and hired Robert Garcia (no relation to the opponent). Margarito is extremely eager to fight again and Garcia says he’s remarkably fit. Roberto Garcia (28-2, 21 KOs) was selected as the opponent because he probably can’t beat Margarito but is no pushover. The Mexican-born Texan has good skills and considerable power. He hasn’t lost since 2004.
Also fighting: Jorge Solis vs. Mario Santiago, 12 rounds, junior lightweights; Urbano Antillon vs. Rene Gonzalez, 10 rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: B. Those in the boxing community and the fans can debate whether Margarito deserves to fight so soon after the hand-wrap debacle but most observers will want to see how he looks. The undercard was better before Brandon Rios was cut in sparring and had to pull out of his fight with Urbano Antillon but it’s still solid.
Also: Friday — Billy Lyell faces Martinus Clay in a 10-round middleweight bout in Morgantown, W.Va. on NESportsTV.com; John Murray faces Gary Buckland in a 12-rounder for the vacant European lightweight title in Widnes, England. Saturday – Nobuo Nashiro faces Hugo Cazares for Nashiro’s junior bantamweight title in Tokyo.