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The Avila Perspective, Chapter 28: Haney, Uzcategui, Plant and Broner

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  • The Avila Perspective, Chapter 28: Haney, Uzcategui, Plant and Broner

    By David A. Avila​

    ​​​​​​​Prizefighters, lace up those withered gloves tight.

    In 2019 prizefighting will experience one of the most contentious and competitive years in the history of the sport. This is no exaggeration.

    Boxing will hit full force and it will be streamed and televised more than ever before as Premier Boxing Champions, Top Rank, Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy Promotions among others will be providing fight cards almost every single week. Many of the cards will be battling each other for the fans interest.

    This year is a sort of test for boxing as these various competing cards and media outlets will be scrambling for fans. The results will either be an increase in watching prizefighting or a glut that results in overkill.


    First up at bat will be young gun Devin Haney defending the NABF lightweight title against Xolisani Ndongeni in a battle between the undefeated on Friday Jan. 11, in Shreveport, La. Showtime will televise.

    Haney (20-0, 13 KOs) still makes mistakes but has so much natural athleticism that despite mistakes he can dominate. He’s coached by Floyd Mayweather Sr. The Las Vegas-based fighter will be facing South Africa’s Ndongeni who has only fought once outside of Africa.

    Ndongeni (25-0, 13KOs) is now managed and trained by Luis Tapia out of Las Vegas. The South African fighter is largely a question mark but did fight in Ontario, Calif. back in 2016 when he defeated Juan Garcia Mendez by unanimous decision. But fighting Haney presents an entirely different scenario.

    It’s a very interesting matchup.

    On the same televised fight card Northern California’s Ruben Villa gets a shot when he faces undefeated Ruben Cervera in a featherweight semi-main event.

    Villa, 21, is originally from Salinas, Calif. but trains in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. with Danny Zamora and Max Garcia. The southpaw is taking the same road that other Thompson Boxing Promotion fighters did on their way to the top.

    Once a Thompson fighter reaches a certain point they’re not pampered. Instead a fighter like Villa receives a nationally or internationally televised fight and the opportunity to prove they belong.

    Two years ago WBA super bantamweight titlist Danny Roman took the same route and stamped his claim on stone that he was worthy. He followed the same path as others like Tim Bradley, Mauricio Herrera and Josesito Lopez among many others.

    Showtime will televise Villa and Cervera’s fight too.

    Fox Sports 1

    Los Angeles provides the backdrop for a super middleweight world title fight as IBF titlist Jose Uzcategui defends against undefeated Caleb Plant at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday Jan. 13. Fox Sports 1 will televise the TGB fight card.

    It’s a slick move showcasing boxing on Sundays.

    Plant (17-0, 11 KOs) epitomizes slickness and has that shoulder roll counter-punching style that seems to be a staple of Las Vegas boxing nowadays. But Plant is not a Las Vegas native, he’s originally from Ashland City, Tennessee, a small town near Nashville. This will be his first time facing an A-level fighter.

    Uzcategui (28-2, 23 KOs) holds the IBF title that he took by stopping Andre Dirrell not once, but twice. The first Dirrell fight on May 2017 saw Uzategui knock out the Michigan counter-puncher, but it was later ruled the blow came after the bell had rung. It was an erroneous call by the Maryland officiating group and resulted in Dirrell’s corner attacking Uzcategui. They fought again in March 2018 and again Uzcategui stopped Dirrell in the eighth round.

    Venezuela’s Uzcategui now lives and trains in Tijuana, Mexico and has proven he knows how to beat the shoulder roll. But that was against a southpaw. With Plant he faces an orthodox fighter who uses the shoulder roll style. It could make a distinct difference.


    In a couple of weeks Adrien “The Problem” Broner fights legendary Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao in a welterweight battle on Jan. 19, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Recently in a Showtime exclusive, Broner talked about a pivotal moment in his life many years ago.

    As a teen Broner was jailed and thought carefully about his future while incarcerated. It’s something that all should think about when facing your future eye to eye.

    “What the (expletive) am I gonna do if I get out,” Broner recalled the introspective moment. “I’m going to sell drugs? Nah, I’ll be back in here. I was like, I’m gonna box. I made up my mind that day that if God let me out of here, I’m gonna box.”

    Once out of jail Broner knew exactly what to do next.

    “And then a week later I got out and I ran to the gym. And now I’m here fighting Pacquiao. I never thought in a million years I’d be here.”

    It’s a familiar theme to those of us who faced similar circumstances and could see a bleak future.

    I’ve been there and I’m sure many of you out there have been there too.

    The hardest part is staying away. You can’t keep the same acquaintances; it just doesn’t work. A clean break is the only way and then you have to find new friends and comrades that are moving in the same direction and on the same road.

    Broner found the right road.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Put these articles together for a book. I'll write the Intro. lol