Sunday, March 26, 2023  |


Weekend Preview: Cubans in action



Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior middleweights
Location: Monroe, La.
Television: ESPN2
The backdrop: Lara (12-0, 7 knockouts) gets into two kinds of fights, one-round blowouts and snooze-fests. If the talented 27-year-old southpaw doesn’t stop Lee (17-6, 11 KOs) in the first round, fans can expect a long night as the former captain of the Cuban amateur squad jabs his way to an uneventful decision. The good news for folks who like quickie KOs is that Lee has been stopped by every unbeaten prospect he’s ever faced.
Also fighting: Yordanis Despaigne vs. Frank Paines, 10 rounds, light heavyweights
Rating the card: B-. If the main event of this Wednesday Night Fights special does end early fans can expect some quality rounds from the co-featured bout between Despaigne (6-0, 4 KOs) and Paines (11-0, 10 KOs). Despaigne is another Cuban amateur star, but the heavy handed 30-year-old boxer has a more come-forward style than many of his countrymen. Paines is a typical Colombian banger (although he was born in France). No frills, just bombs away (as his nickname “Bomb” would suggest). The Colombian hasn’t faced near the level of opposition Despaigne faced in the amateurs or pro ranks, but he’s been training in the L.A. area under the eye of veteran trainer Jesse Reid in recent months and has put in tough sparring rounds with the likes of Alfredo Angulo. Despaigne’s skills should contain Paines but it’s possible that a fun fight could break out.


Rounds / weight class: eight rounds / featherweights
Location: Tucson, Az.
Television: Telefutura
The backdrop: Franco (16-0, 11 KOs), a popular prospect from Riverside, Calif., has an entertaining style that could win over a television audience. The 23-year-old boxer-puncher got in some “growing” rounds against his last two foes — experienced veterans Kermin Guardia and Juan Jose Beltran — and should be able to handle anything Landeros (20-14-1, 9 KOs), a 30-year-old Mexican journeyman, can throw his way.
Also fighting: Mercito Gesta vs. Genaro Trazancos, eight rounds, lightweights
Rating the card: C. There are two decent prospects on this Solo Boxeo card, Franco and Gesta (18-0-1, 8 KOs). However, both appear to be in “showcase” bouts — at least on paper. Landeros is best known for being stopped by a single body shot 28 seconds into his ESPN2-televised fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux in February. Trazancos (22-11-1, 13 KOs), who has lost eight of his last 10 bouts, was stopped in the first round by light-punching junior welterweight Mike Dallas Jr. in his last fight. Gesta, a 22-year-old San Diego-based Filipino southpaw who has been training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, should have little trouble with the 35-year-old Mexican journeyman.


Rounds / weight class: 12 rounds / heavyweights
Location: Newark, N.J.
Television: Integrated Sports Pay Per View
The backdrop: Adamek (41-1, 27 KOs), the former light heavyweight beltholder and cruiserweight champ, embarks on his fourth heavyweight fight in less than a year with a stay-busy bout against 6-foot-7 former title challenger Grant (46-3, 34 KOs).
Also fighting: Joel Julio vs. Jamaal Davis, 10 rounds, junior middleweights
Rating the card: B-. The 38-year-old Grant is not taken seriously by most fans and media despite his size advantages and having won eight bouts since his last loss, a seven-round stoppage to Dominick Guinn in 2003. Those who dismiss Grant’s chances against the naturally smaller man point out that his last significant victory came against Andrew Golota in November of 1999. Yikes. Still, Adamek, a bona fide attraction at the Prudential Center in Newark, has an entertaining style and should make the fight worth watching. In the co-featured bout of the small pay-per-view broadcast, Julio (35-4, 31 KOs) is in a must-win situation. The former welterweight and junior middleweight contender, who suffered an 11-round knockout to Alfredo Angulo in April, is 1-3 in his last four bouts. The 25-year-old veteran needs to look impressive against Davis (12-6, 6 KOs), a durable middleweight journeyman, to avoid taking on official “gate-keeper” status. Talented New York City-based welterweight prospect Sadam Ali is also on the card.

Rounds / weight class: 10 rounds / junior lightweights
Location: Tijuana, Mexico
Television: Fox Sports en Espanol
The backdrop: Hernandez (20-2, 13 KOs) has won three bouts, including late-rounds stoppages of hard-punching prospects Miguel Beltran Jr. (22-0) and Daniel Ruiz (18-2), since dropping a competitive decision to talented Eduardo Escobedo in January. The aggressive 23-year-old Mexican standout will face a similar style in Aguilar (24-9-1, 17 KOs), a 22-year-old brawler from Nicaragua who is always game and has gone competitive rounds with former titleholders Daniel Ponce-DeLeon and Oscar Larios.
Also fighting: Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Jose Angel Beranza, 8 rounds, featherweights
Rating the card: B. Hernandez and Aguilar should make for an entertaining fight. Rigondeaux (5-0, 4 KOs), the ultra-talented two-time Olympic champ, makes his first appearance since his February blowout over Landerous and a well-publicized split with trainer Freddie Roach. The crafty Cuban southpaw’s fight with Beranza (33-18-2, 26 KOs), a very tough 34-year-old journeyman, will be his first with new trainer Ronnie Shields. Beranza, who has only been stopped three times in his career, should give Rigondeaux some rounds. The Mexican vet’s last nine losses have all been distance bouts with top prospects and contenders.

Also in action:

Marco Huck defends a cruiserweight title against Matt Godfrey in a 12-round main event in Erfurt, Germany, on Saturday.