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Avila Perspective, Chap. 137: Battle Between Two Cities - L.A. and Las Vegas

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 137: Battle Between Two Cities - L.A. and Las Vegas

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    By David A. Avila

    Competing fight cards battle with a certain future Hall of Fame fighter Nonito Donaire leading a Los Angeles show while a Las Vegas card features a potential great Devin Haney facing a true test.

    Haney (25-0, 15 KOs) defends a version of the WBC lightweight title against former multi-division champion Jorge Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The other card pits Donaire (40-6, 26 KOs) against WBC bantamweight titlist Nordine Oubaali (17-0, 12 KOs) at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Ca.

    Both take place on Saturday, May 29, and feature young guns versus experienced and super-skilled veterans.

    Let’s break down Haney and Linares first which will be streamed on DAZN.

    Raised in Las Vegas, the young 22-year-old Haney was fast-tracked to this point beginning with 10 fights in Tijuana, Mexico. They weren’t all of the set-up variety and he managed to escape unscathed.

    “You never knew what to expect,” said Haney of those 10 skirmishes in Tijuana.

    As a touted amateur Haney fought many top amateurs including several like Ryan Garcia that are heralded fighters today.

    As a pro Haney exhibits a silky-smooth style and tremendous footwork. But he doesn’t rely on agility as many other top amateurs do when they become professionals. The fighter known as “the Dream” possesses expert timing and looks for openings. In truth, he fights like a veteran prizefighter.

    “Like Jorge (Linares) said, this is a whole new level but I’m ready for it. It’ll be a very dominant performance,” said Haney during the press conference in Las Vegas. “I think the world will be surprised at what kind of performance it is. I think even Jorge will be surprised at what type of fighter I am.”

    Venezuela’s Linares has had a tremendous career that no spans 18 years. In the past he’s had more trouble against awkward fighters like Antonio DeMarco and Juan Carlos Salgado. Against technically proficient opposition such as Luke Campbell or Mercito Gesta he’s been able to bedazzle with his counters and footwork.

    When Linares faced Vasyl Lomachenko he was able to floor the fighter known as “Hi-Tech.” But then was stopped with a body shot.

    Will Haney be able to utilize that information on Saturday?

    This is a big moment for both Haney and Linares. Whoever wins puts himself smack in the middle of the now-flourishing lightweight division that features undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez, super featherweight titlist Gervonta “Tank” Davis, and fan magnet Ryan Garcia. Millions of dollars are in play.

    “I respect Haney’s comments, thinking about after this fight, talking about (Teofimo) Lopez and everyone in the lightweight division,” said Linares about the winner facing all of the marquee talent in their weight division. “Me too, I’m thinking about being a champion again and then fighting with the best in the division. There’s a lot of good opponents and champions, I need to be ready for that again.”

    Bantamweight world title in Carson

    Once upon a time Nonito Donaire was considered one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world.

    Many had the Filipino Flash as number one after he knocked out Jorge Arce and Fernando Montiel in 2012. When Cuba’s Guillermo Rigondeaux defeated him by decision some lost faith in his abilities. So, he then knocked out the feared Vic Darchinyan.

    You can never count out Donaire who is now a 20-year veteran.

    WBC bantamweight titlist Oubaali of France needs a win over Donaire to prove deserving of a match with Japan’s mighty Naoya Inoue the IBF and WBA bantamweight titlist. He’s also considered by many one of the top five prizefighters pound for pound at any weight.

    The last time Donaire fought was a unification bout against Inoue. It was voted Fight of the Year in 2019. It opened the eyes for many who deemed Donaire over-the-hill but he was ever-so-close to victory over the Japanese warrior. It also taught him a valuable lesson.

    “One thing I’ve learned was the killer instinct wasn’t there. When I hurt him I kind of held back,” said Donaire about allowing Inoue to survive. “I worked on that by going hard. When I’m motivated, I can be very dangerous.”

    Oubaali realizes this is a pivotal moment.

    “If I’m victorious, why not have my next fight be for the unification? I want to make history every time and this is my motivation,” said Oubaali. “I’m here because I love boxing and I want to face the best boxers every time. I’m facing Nonito Donaire and that’s great for my career. I just like to fight and this is my life.”

    Fights to Watch

    Fri. 11:59 p.m. Estrella TV Carlos Canizales (22-0-1) vs Esteban Bermudez (13-3-2).

    Sat. DAZN 5 p.m. Devin Haney (25-0) vs Jorge Linares (47-5); Chantelle Cameron (13-0) vs Melissa Hernandez (23-7-3).

    Sat. Showtime 7 p.m. Nordine Oubaali (17-0) vs Nonito Donaire (40-6).

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel