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Showdown Saturday in Southern Cal – De La Hoya, Rios and More

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  • Showdown Saturday in Southern Cal – De La Hoya, Rios and More

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    By David A. Avila

    WEST LOS ANGELES-Ronny Rios loves the word underdog.

    On Saturday, the super bantamweight from Santa Ana, Calif. gets to physically express how much he loves fighting as an underdog when he faces the extremely fast Diego De La Hoya at the Dignity Health Sport Center in Carson.

    “If I get past Diego on Saturday I want to fight 20 more times as the underdog,” said Rios while at the Westside Boxing Club in West L.A. “I love being the underdog. There’s no pressure.

    Rios (30-3, 14 KOs) and De La Hoya (21-0, 10 KOs), who both are grassroots products of the Golden Boy Promotions boxing machine, will clash in a 12-round eye opening NABF title fight. DAZN will stream the fight card.

    Mexicali’s De La Hoya (pictured in the burgundy shirt) is the cousin of the boss Oscar De La Hoya. He also admits intense pressure and scrutiny being related to the former six-division world champion from East L.A. Right from the start of his professional career there was pressure.

    “My most difficult fight was in my first fight (that took place) in Las Vegas, said Diego De La Hoya, 24.

    All eyes were riveted on Oscar's young cousin when he made his pro debut in Las Vegas against a Puerto Rican boxer, Luis Cosme, nearly six years ago. That night he showed a sold out crowd his electrifying talent and won by knockout in the third round. It paved the way to a fast start.

    Rios, 29, is a technically advanced fighter who had a strong amateur career and has fought under the Golden Boy banner for a number of years. Despite his technical prowess he says he’s learned more by sparring and fighting top quality fighters.

    “Working with world champions and contenders teaches you a lot both mentally and physically,” said Rios. “Guys like Mikey Garcia and other champions make you learn and adapt. You can’t just go in there and throw punches.”

    Both De La Hoya and Rios admit eyeing each other’s development over the years. One of them actively sought a match with the other.

    “I’ve always wanted to fight Diego (De La Hoya), said Rios. “There’s no pressure on me and he’s got a lot of pressure now. I have nothing to lose. I love it.”

    When asked what he sees in Rios and how to beat the Santa Ana prizefighter, De La Hoya took his time before answering.

    “You need to use intelligence,” answered De La Hoya.

    It’s De La Hoya’s speed and intelligence versus the well-greased fighting machine Rios.

    Other Gems

    Two Golden Boy Promotions featherweights meet as Southern California’s Joet Gonzalez (22-0) faces Northern California’s Manuel “Tino” Avila (23-1-1) in a 10-round match at Dignity Health Sports Center on Saturday.

    Once again the Los Angeles-based promotion company pits two of its homegrown talent against each other. Both have watched each other over the years and are very familiar with the other’s strengths and weaknesses going back to their amateur days.

    Gonzalez has a mean streak and has steadily gained momentum with back-to-back knockout wins over veteran fighters. Avila fought to a draw in his last ring appearance but has wins over Rene Alvarado and Erik Ruiz. It’s a pick’em fight.

    Bantamweights and featherweights used to be a stronghold of the Los Angeles area landscape starting back to the 1890s. Champions such as Solly Smith, Henry Armstrong, Richie Lemos, Chalky Wright, Manuel Ortiz, Bobby Chacon, Danny “Lil Red” Lopez, Alberto Davila, and Richie Sandoval were all products of the old Olympic Auditorium war machine.

    Today we have Leo Santa Cruz, Oscar Valdez, Jojo Diaz and Danny Roman.

    The now departed Don Chargin was a matchmaker for the Olympic Auditorium fights and made many of those epic battles of the past. The former matchmaker for Aileen Eaton would have loved this boxing card.

    World Title

    World champion Rey Vargas (33-0, 22 KOs) defends the WBC super bantamweight title against Japan’s Tomoki Kameda (36-2, 20 KOs) in the 12-round main event at Dignity Health Sports Center.

    Kameda, 27, though born and raised in Japan, trains and lives in Mexico. He speaks fluent Spanish and is also familiar with Vargas going back to their amateur days. Both are tall super bantamweights.

    “I’m very happy and proud to have so many Mexican fans and Japanese fans here,” said Kameda.

    Vargas, 28, will be making his fifth defense of the WBC world title since winning it in February 2017.

    Other Bouts

    Alexis Rocha (13-0, 8 KOs) the younger brother of Rios, meets New York City’s Berlin Abreu (14-2, 11 KOs) in a middleweight contest.

    Ruslan Madiyev (12-1, 5 KOs) who trains in Big Bear will face Ricky Sismundo (35-13-3, 17 KOs) in an eight round super lightweight bout.

    First bout starts at 4 p.m.

    Photo credit: Al Applerose

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel