Weekend Preview: Chavez-Duddy takes center stage
Frankie Gomez (left) lands a left to the head of Clavonne Howard in his pro debut on April 3. Gomez's fourth pro bout takes place on Thursday at downtown L.A.'s Club Nokia. Photo / Chris Cozzone-Fightwireimages.com.
FRANKIE GOMEZ vs. GEOFFREY GAYA
Rounds / weight class: Four rounds / junior welterweights
Location: Los Angeles
Television: Fox Sports Net (streamed live on RingTV.com and Ustream.com, 7 p.m. PT/ 10 p.m. ET)
The backdrop: The last time we saw Gomez (3-0, 3 knockouts) the former amateur star KO’d Akeem Akinbode in 46 seconds in his Fight Night Club debut. His opponent for his second FNC appearance, Gaya (5-2, 1 KO), figures to last longer. The crafty Kenyan southpaw has never been stopped.
Also fighting: Jesse Vargas vs. Ernesto Zavala, 6 rounds, junior welterweights
Rating the card: B. This is one of the better Fight Night Club shows of the year. Gaya is coming off an upset victory over a Russian prospect with a 22-2-1 record, so Gomez might have his heavy hands full with the tall, rangy lefty. Vargas (10-0, 5 KOs) is one of the best prospects who has yet to fight on TV. In Zavala (21-4, 9 KOs) the Roger Mayweather-trained Las Vegas native is facing an experienced southpaw who was once a fringe contender. Ireland’s Jamie Cavanaugh (1-0, 1 KO), another 140-pound prospect, opens the broadcast and live internet stream.
PABLO CESAR CANO vs. OSCAR LEON
Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / lightweights
Location: Mexico City
The backdrop: Cano (18-0-1, 15 KOs) is one of Mexico’s brighter prospects. The aggressive 20-year-old lightweight throws quick combinations and has power in both hands. Leon (28-12, 18 KOs), a former two-time featherweight title challenger from Colombia, is the most-experienced foe of Cano’s budding career.
Also fighting: Daniel Hernandez vs. Azael Gonzalez, 10 rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: C+. This all-Mexican card would be pretty good if Leon wasn’t so used up. Cano has won his last two bouts by first-round KO and while Leon figures to last a few rounds. However, the fact the 36-year-old vet has lost eight of his last 10 bouts suggests that he won’t be very competitive. Hernandez (10-0, 6 KOs), a Southern California-based Mexican prospect who is still green, might get a fight from tough young journeyman Gonzalez (8-11, 3 KOs). Light heavyweight prospect Marco Antonio Periban (7-0, 4 Kos) is also on the card.
JULIO CESRA CHAVEZ JR. vs. JOHN DUDDY
Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / middleweights
Location: San Antonio
The backdrop: After 42 pro bouts of Top Rank’s most careful matchmaking, Chavez (41-0-1, 30 KOs) is finally facing an opponent who some boxing writers believe can beat him. Ireland’s Duddy (29-1, 18 KOs) has a tremendous opportunity in front of him. If the modestly talented fringe contender can beat the son of the Mexican legend, he can position himself for a title shot. If Chavez defeats Duddy in impressive fashion, he just might earn a little respect among U.S. fans and media.
Also fighting: Marco Antonio Barrera vs. Adilton De Jesus, 10 rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: B-. Both Chavez and Duddy are coming off dreadfully boring fights (Chavez engaged in a unanimous-decision waltz with Troy Rowland last November; Duddy scraped by Michael Medina with a monotonous split decision in March). Hopefully, the work Chavez put in with new trainer Freddie Roach will enable him to fight at a faster pace than usual and Duddy rises to the occasion. If so, fans might get a good scrap. Barrera (65-7, 43 KOs) should be enjoying his retirement and waiting for his lock hall-of-fame induction, but the 20-year veteran wants to have a few more fights. In De Jesus (26-4, 21 KOs) the Mexican legend is facing a capable fighter with heavy hands. The 31-year-old Brazilian might give this faded version of Barrera a tough fight, although it should be noted that De Jesus has never defeated a top-tier (or even second-tier) fighter. An all-Texas showdown between junior bantamweight fringe contenders Raul Martinez (26-1, 15 KOs) and Gabriel Elizondo (22-3-1, 10 KOs) scheduled for 10 rounds might steal the show.