SAN DIEGO, June 21, 2014 – It’s not Madison Square Garden or the MGM Grand Arena. But for some reason, the modest, outdoor boxing venue at the StubHub Center in Carson, California has gained a reputation for hosting some of the most exciting, fan friendly fights of the past few years.
In October 2012, Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado went toe to toe for seven crushing rounds in the Fight of the Year, with Rios winning via TKO. Six months later in March 2013, Timothy Bradley Jr. and Ruslan Provodnikov put on a show worthy of Roman gladiators that turned out to be the unanimous choice for the 2013 Fight of the Year.
Will one of Saturday’s fights make StubHub the host for a three straight Fight of the Year? There is something about this venue that seems to make unexpected magic in the ring.
Robert Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 KOs) would welcome a little StubHub magic. He returns 13 months after a disappointing loss to Floyd Mayweather to fight Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-1-1, 21 KOs) of Japan in a welterweight contest. It’s Kamegai’s fourth fight outside his native country.
Guerrero said he welcomed the time off after a busy year ending with the Mayweather fight to rejuvenate himself and rebuild his skills, although he admitted to a concern about ring rust. The layoff was caused in large part due to a promotional contract dispute. Guerrero signed with influential adviser Al Haymon and his relationship with Golden Boy Promotions seems to be smoothed over.
Guerrero, 31, needs a sharp performance to return to boxing’s top ranks. Kamegai lost his last fight against Johan Perez at the StubHub Center, his first loss. Kamegui needs the victory just as much as Guerrero. His knockout percentage is impressive, but unless the ring rust is especially heavy, Kamegui won’t find it easy to dispatch Guerrero early. Guerrero has indicated in interview he wouldn’t mind a brawl, and the StubHub Center is the perfect spot for a brawl to happen.
On the televised undercard, impressive 2008 Olympian Gary Russell Jr. (24-0, 14 KOs), takes on another former Olympian, two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (1-1, 1 KO) from Ukraine for a vacant featherweight world title in the co-feature.
Lomachenko’s record isn’t a typo. The 26-year-old has a lengthy amateur record, and made an impressive debut with a fourth round knockout of Jose Ramirez of Mexico. He had more trouble in his second bout against veteran Orlando Salido, losing a 12 round split decision. We will learn quickly whether Lomachenko is ready for prime time against Russell Junior, who is only now facing serious competition. Expect a demonstration of impressive hand speed by both these competitors.
The opening televised bout matches former two-division champion Devon Alexander (25-2, 14 KOs), 27, of St. Louis against the always dangerous Jesus Soto Karass (28-9-3, 18 KOs), 31, of Mexico..
Guerrero vs. Kamegai, Russell vs. Lomachenko and Alexander vs. Soto Karass airs from the Stubhub Center in Carson, California on Showtime Championship Boxing on Saturday, June 21, at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) and will be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP).
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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