Photos: Lina Baker, Instagram @seeyouringside
Starting a conversation about parting ways with sixty or seventy dollars for a boxing pay per view event can cause bedlam and mayhem in circles of sweet science fandom. This Saturday the spectacle that has become known only by “Canelo” takes center stage with eager dance partner Amir Khan. A fight worthy of a “Pay-Per View” show in itself but, it’s the undercard of a big fight that can produce the future stars of tomorrow.
It wasn’t long ago that Miguel Cotto and Canelo met in a very much awaited showdown in November. The fight was good (not epic), it put a stamp on Canelo as the new superstar of the sport but it was the undercard that stole the show and produced a new name for the sport. Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura battled back and forth, trading knockdowns in what would become the universally recognized fight of the year.
Capitalizing on a star performance during a high profile event can catapult a career and the supporting cast of Canelo vs. Khan fully understand what an impressive showing means for them. “The Mexican fans love to see good fights, I give my heart in the ring. Canelo Khan is going to be a good show and people are going to remember why they made me the co- main event.” Said David Lemieux 34-3 (31KO’s) as he faces Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia 23-2 (15KO’s) in the co-main event.
“A lot of people are expecting me to lose, as a matter of fact nobody expects me to win but I know what I’m capable of and I feel stronger now that I’m not killing myself to cut down to 154 and I’m going to surprise everybody but myself.” Tapia told me during an interview at City of Angels Boxing Gym last week.
Along with veterans Lemieux and Tapia, the future of the sport looks to make a name for itself against aging veterans. East Los Angeles’s Frankie Gomez 20-0 (13KO’s) and Patrick Texeira 26-0 (22KO’s) of Brazil, face the stiffest tests of their careers. These aren’t merely step up fights, they are make or break as promoter Golden Boy didn’t put them in easy and matched them in very lose-able fights against former champion Mauricio Herrera 22-5(7KO’s) whom has a cult like following for his everyman personality and highly disputed losses to Danny Garcia and Jose Benavidez that have spawned social media pages dedicated to insulting the two, and Curtis Stevens 27-5 (20KO’s).
“I’ve faced six undefeated fighters and gave everyone a tough fight or their first loss, or was robbed. You can call me the dream killer after this, bring me your prospects. I’ll beat em for you.” Said a feisty Herrera at today’s press conference at the MGM. Gomez, the highly touted prospect whom has yet to live up to the large sum of money Golden Boy gave him after signing him following his 2009 US National Title when he beat Jose Benavidez, followed by a silver medal in the World Amateur Championship.
Last year Gomez had issues with commitment to the sport and showed up a massive 6.5 pounds overweight in what would have been his first big step up in competition and payday against durable and equally crafty veteran Humberto Soto on the Canelo vs. Kirkland undercard. Golden Boy has since kept Gomez busy with regular fights against lesser competition to keep Gomez in the gym, and he has looked fitter during each outing. Now it’s time to fish or cut bait on the young Gomez “All of those problems are over, I’m focused and have been training with the same sparring partners as Manny Pacquiao so I’m ready.”
Opening the PPV broadcast is Brazlian Patrick Teixeira 26-0 (22KO’s) as he faces durable and tough perennial contender Curtis Stevens.
Teixeira has yet to face a stiff test in the U.S. and Stevens has been in with elite level competition in the ring for years. Stevens, most famous for a devastating knockout loss to middle weight monster Gennady Golovkin made a change to his training camp and enlisted the help of Sergey Kovalev trainer John David Jackson to prepare him for the tall Brazilian. “Why this guy is the favorite, I don’t know. Curtis has power, he can box, he has the experience” said Jackson during today’s press conference.
Out of the boxing ring since a 2014 loss to Hassan N’dam, Stevens made an appearance in a draw against Gabriel Rosado in the circular pit of the BKB and has stayed in the gym. “You have to stay active. So I’ve been in the gym all the time. I’ve been running. I’ve been sparring. I was with Canelo not too long ago getting ready for Cotto so I was down there with him for two months and I’ve been sparring regularly since then.” Said Stevens.
Texeira, who speaks Portuguese said “I clearly understand that it’s going to be a difficult fight, so I’m going to put all my resources together. I’m going to use the ring. I’m going to box. I’m going to throw hard punches and do whatever it takes to win this fight.”