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The Avila Perspective, Chap. 29: Uzcategui-Plant, Pacquiao-Broner and More

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  • The Avila Perspective, Chap. 29: Uzcategui-Plant, Pacquiao-Broner and More

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    By David A. Avila

    The boxing schedule is so full it’s overlapping and promoters are battling for space. Suddenly Sundays have become an open day for pugilists and will become a regular date for prizefighting.

    First up is the showdown between IBF super middleweight titlist Jose Uzcategui (28-2, 23 KOs) and Caleb Plant (17-0, 10 KOs) at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday Jan. 13. Fox Sports 1 will televise.

    Uzcategui had to battle both Andre Dirrell and the Maryland officials in their first fight which ended in an erroneous disqualification loss though he knocked out the Michigan southpaw in the eighth round. Immediately after the fight Dirrell’s corner attacked him for merely doing his job in the ring. Then the Maryland officials decide he should be disqualified for hitting after the bell. No person in the world could have stopped the punch that came as the bell rang. But the state of Maryland in all of its subpar wisdom disqualified poor Uzcategui. No matter, they fought again, this time in Brooklyn and with the same result: Uzcategui knocked out Dirrell in the eighth round.

    “It should be a great fight with Plant, I will take the fight to him and I hope that he will be willing to engage and give the fans a spectacular fight,” said Uzcategui who trains in Mexico.

    Plant is the next challenge and he’s been around the fight game for a bit. He’s originally from Tennessee but has been a regular on the Las Vegas fight scene since signing with Mayweather Promotions. He’s a slick customer with a hard edge to him and has been itching to get a shot like this.

    “I think about this moment literally all day every day,” said Plant, 26, to the Nashville Post newspaper.

    It’s yet another match up of Uzcategui’s Mexican style fighting versus the shoulder roll defense that Plant uses in his prize fights.

    The fight card features 10 bouts including undefeated Brandon Figueroa (17-0) against Mexico’s Moises Flores (25-1) in a featherweight showdown. It also showcases the return of Cuban great Guillermo Rigondeaux who has not fought since facing Vasyl Lomachenko in December 2017.

    Rigondeaux (17-1) will be in a warm up fight against Giovanni Delgado (16-8) set for eight rounds.

    The doors open at 2 p.m. PT

    Media Day at the Wild Card Gym

    A couple of hundred reporters gathered at the Wild Card Boxing gym to wait for Manny Pacquiao and Adrien Broner to show on Wednesday.

    Pacquiao showed and Broner changed plans.

    Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) and Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs) are set to meet on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Showtime pay-per-view will televise the WBA welterweight title showdown.

    The last time we saw Pacman in action was when he blitzed Lucas Matthysse to rip the WBA title away from the Argentine strongman. It was barely a contest as the speedy Filipino star shredded him into retirement.

    In that fight Pacquiao entered the boxing ring minus his long-time trainer and confidante Freddie Roach. People seemed more concerned with that than the actual fight.

    Roach didn’t know what to tell friends, fans and reporters. He was basically kept out of the loop with nary a phone call. But they’re together again.

    “Manny wants Buboy to become more known as a trainer,” said Roach about why Buboy was in Pacquiao’s corner during the fight with Matthysse last July in Kuala Lumpur.

    Roach let it be known there is no animosity whatsoever between him and Pacquiao and the past is the past.

    Speaking of the past, while at a Filipino Day at an LA Clippers basketball game on Tuesday night, Pacquiao ran into Floyd Mayweather who regularly attends NBA games for the Clippers and Lakers. Both shook hands, smiled but it led to a firestorm of questions on whether they will meet again for a rematch.

    For both Roach and Pacquiao that’s a moot point.

    “First we have Broner,” said Pacquiao.

    Broner is the first target.

    The four division world champion Broner changed his media day to another location 20 miles away in Van Nuys at a later time. But he’s ready to face an icon as he said in his own words.

    “His last fight he did stop Matthysse, so I’m pretty sure he still has power. But I’m going to be ready, I’m going to be ready for whatever he brings to the table. We’re in shape to get it done, I can tell you that,” said Broner. “This win makes me an icon. It makes me what I always wanted to be, and what everybody always thought I would be. A win here and I’m a legend overnight.”

    Devin Haney on Showtime

    Las Vegas lightweight Devin Haney (20-0, 13 KOs) defends the IBF North American title against Xolisani Ndongeni (25-0, 13 KOs) on Friday Jan. 11, at Shreveport, Louisiana. Showtime will televise.

    Haney just turned 20 and in his last bout handily defeated Mexican veteran Juan Carlos Burgos by unanimous decision. It wasn’t even close.

    With speed to spare and sound boxing technique Haney looks like the real deal. Though he rarely took a punch, the only thing we don’t know is if Haney can take a blow from a solid puncher.

    South Africa’s Ndongeni has fought once in the US and has a lot of speed too. It’s a good matchup for both fighters. If Haney can pass the South African then he might be ready for better foes like maybe an Anthony Crolla or Robert Easter Jr.

    “After this fight I want the whole world to know I’m no longer a prospect. I’m a contender,” said Haney.


    On the same Showtime card on Friday, California’s Ruben Villa (14-0, 5 KOs) has his first dangerous challenge in facing undefeated Ruben Cervera (10-0, 9 KOs) of Colombia in an eight round featherweight clash.

    Villa trains in Southern California with Danny Zamora and is co-promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions and Banner Promotions.

    “Being able to fight on TV is going to finally put me on the map,” said Villa, a 21-year old southpaw. “After Friday night, people are going to be talking about me. They are going to see what I’m made of.”

    New Las Vegas Card Added

    Layla McCarter, the pride of Las Vegas and considered the best female fighter pound for pound, returns on Thursday, Jan. 17, at the MGM Grand against former super lightweight world title challenger Yamila Reynoso.

    McCarter (42-13-5, 11 KOs) has not lost a fight in more than 11 years and has become the most feared and avoided fighter in the world. Reynoso (11-5-3, 8 KOs) is a big hitting former champion from Argentina who recently went the distance with power punching Amanda Serrano for 10 rounds. She has never been stopped.

    Several other Las Vegas fighters are included on the boxing card including Cameron Krael.

    Complimentary tickets are available for fans.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel