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Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. headlines HBO Latino show tonight

05
Dec

Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. still believes he can be a world titleholder again. After losses in recent fights, some may find that hard to grasp.

Undaunted, Vazquez marches on.

Vazquez will fight unbeaten Rafael Rivera tonight at the Osceola Heritage Center in Kissimmee, Florida. The 10-round bout will be broadcast live on HBO Latino, beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/ 6:45 p.m. PT.

In his last bout on June 6, Vazquez (24-5-1, 19 knockouts) lost an eight-round unanimous decision to unheralded Fernando Vargas of Mexico. The loss was Vazquez’s fifth in his last nine bouts.



Vazquez, who resides in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, held a world title belt at 122 pounds, but some wonder whether he can recapture that glory. Vazquez has lost to the likes of Jorge ‘Travieso’ Arce, Nonito Donaire, Yasutaka Ishimoto, and Marvin Sonsona.

“I feel explosive and ready,” Vazquez said in a press release. “I have that motivation that keeps me (going). I’ve been working on my speed and movement just like I did when I began my career.”

Vazquez figures to be the favorite on Saturday when he faces Rivera. While he is unbeaten, Rivera will take a major jump in class when he faces Vazquez.

Rivera (20-0-2, 14 KOs) scored an impressive eight-round unanimous decision over Ruben Garcia in his last outing on Oct. 24 in Brooks, Calif. Garcia entered the bout unbeaten.

Prior to the Garcia fight, Rivera had only faced one fighter with a winning record. Most of Rivera’s fights have been in and around his hometown of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.

“.. I will be using my speed and my agility to win,” said Rivera. “I’m going to use all the strategies I’ve been training with for the last two months.”

Opening the HBO Latino telecast will be a 10-round bout between light heavyweights Alexander Brand and Medzhid Bektemirov.

Brand (24-1, 19 KOs) was originally scheduled to fight Andre Ward on the televised undercard of the Miguel Cotto-Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez fight on Nov. 21 in Las Vegas, Nev. The fight was postponed when Ward allegedly suffered a leg injury during training.

In his last bout on Aug. 9, Brand won a one-sided 12 round decision over Bernard Donfack in his hometown of Bogota, Colombia. Brand has won his last seven bouts in a row since losing by split decision over eight rounds to Badou Jack in May of 2012.

Bektemirov (16-0, 12 KOs) is originally from Makhachkala, Russia, but resides in the Houston area, where he has fought most of his bouts as a pro. He has not fought since Apr. 10, when he defeated Michael Gbenga over eight rounds.

The HBO Latino telecast was originally going to broadcast three bouts, but unbeaten welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison is off the card. The 21-year-old Hernandez-Harrison (28-0, 15 KOs), who hails from Washington, D.C., was originally scheduled to fight Steve Claggett. However, Claggett, who resides in Canada, allegedly had visa issues that did not allow him to enter the United States.

Santos Benavidez and Samuel Amoako were brought in by Roc Nation, but HBO did not approve of either fighter as a suitable opponent for Hernandez-Harrison.

 

 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing

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