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Bits & Pieces: Russell Jr.’s opponent named

Photo by: Naoki Fukuda
Fighters Network

Golden Boy Promotions put on a fight card (in association with Mayweather Promotions) in Las Vegas this weekend, as John Molina stopped Mickey Bey in the final round of their 10-round main event. Mark E. Ortega gathered news and notes during the course of the evening.

Russell Jr.’s opponent named

Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer announced that highly touted featherweight Gary Russell Jr. would return on the Aug. 9 undercard to Deontay Wilder-Sergei Liakhovich. The card takes place at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.

A source close to the situation told that the opponent will be durable and awkward Juan Ruiz of Santa Clarita, Calif.

Ruiz (23-11, 7 KOs) hasn’t won since beating a faded Wayne McCullough five years ago. Over that stretch, he’s been able to go the distance with Victor Terrazas, Vicente Escobedo, Jose Miguel Aguiniga, and Efrain Esquivias.

The “Gary Russell Jr. World Tune-Up Tour” will hopefully come to an end after the fight with Ruiz, as he has stated he’d like to challenge for a world title in his next fight.

Golden Boy working on ‘The One’ fight-week shows

Golden Boy matchmaker Robert Diaz was representing the promotional company in Las Vegas, and told that they are working on putting together shows for Sept. 12th and 13th with both cards likely falling in Las Vegas.

They also are working on a date for Sept. 6, though that date could possibly fall in southern California. They are currently working on the venues and television for those dates, but Diaz seemed very confident that the plan will come to fruition.

Carlos Molina-Mikey Perez a done deal

Matchmaker Diaz also indicated that lightweight prospect Carlos Molina (17-1-1, 7 KOs) will return for the first time since his December loss to Amir Khan against rugged Michael Perez on one of the aforementioned September dates. Which date it will fall on hasn’t been locked up, but both have signed for the fight.

Perez (18-1-2, 10 KOs) last fought in March on the untelevised portion of Bernard Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud. He fought to an exciting and back-and-forth technical draw against Lonnie Smith. Perez had Smith down and nearly out in the second round before Smith came on strong. The fight was stopped due to a bad cut suffered by Perez.

The fight between Molina and Perez is a great crossroads bout between two young prospects, and makes the most sense for a ShoBox main event.

Linares vs. Figueroa a good possibility

I asked Robert Diaz about the possibility of a lightweight matchup between surging young contender Omar Figueroa and the once highly praised Jorge Linares.

Diaz indicated that if Figueroa (21-0-1, 17 KOs) gets past Nihito Arakawa next Saturday on the Andre Berto-Jesus Soto Karass undercard, and Jorge Linares wins his tune-up in Japan, the fight can very easily be made.

Linares indicated he wanted to fight for a title after his next fight, and if Figueroa beats Arakawa, it would be for the interim WBC belt. Diaz also indicated that both camps have professed their interest in the fight.

“It’s hard for me, because I’ve been involved with both fighters almost since the beginning,” said Diaz. “But they both have said they wanted the fight, and stylistically, it is a great one. Omar is the young puncher and Linares the more boxing savvy.”

Golden Boy hasn’t been able to get the most out of Linares (33-3, 21 KOs), because whenever it seems he is ready to breakthrough as a star, he loses. Such was the case when Max Kellerman was referring to Linares as possessing the skills of Sugar Ray Robinson just a few rounds before Antonio DeMarco would stop him in the 11th round in October 2011.

Enticing untelevised main event at Chumash on Aug. 16

Boxing returns to the central valley on Aug. 16, as Gary Shaw Productions will be doing a non-televised show at the Chumash Casino & Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.

The main event is a really good one, as Francisco Santana of nearby Santa Barbara meets Mexico City’s Freddy Hernandez in a 10-round junior middleweight bout. The contract weight is 150 pounds.

Hernandez (30-5, 20 KOs) is coming off three straight losses, most recently in an ESPN2 Friday Night Fights headlining bout against Delvin Rodriguez in May. Hernandez was very much in the fight before a cut stopped it in the eighth round.

This will mark Santana’s fifth straight fight at Chumash, where he is a proven ticket seller. Though he has been in mostly stay-busy fights, Santana (16-3-1, 8 KOs) can be credited with giving unbeaten junior middleweights Jermell Charlo and Julian Williams their two toughest fights of their careers.

Santana against Williams is one of the best non-televised fights I witnessed in 2011. Williams outboxed him the first three rounds before Santana put him on the ropes and outworked him in the clearest cut draw you’ll ever see. All three judges agreed on a 57-57 verdict.

Julaton fights in Mexico on Aug. 17

Rumors have been swirling that top female boxer Ana Julaton will be involved in some capacity on the Sept. 14 Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez card. While Stephen Espinoza failed to comment on that rumor directly when we spoke on Friday, he did guarantee that the network would be involved with women’s boxing in some capacity.

Robert Diaz informed that Julaton (12-3-1, 2 KOs) will fight in Mexico on Aug. 17 against Celina Salazar (4-1-2, KO), with the fight being televised in some fashion.

Perhaps it will serve as a tune-up to something bigger for Julaton, maybe on that September card.

Mark E. Ortega is a contributing writer to RingTV and has been featured in boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly. He is also a member of the Boxing Writers Assoc. of America and can be reached via e-mail and followed on Twitter.