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Avila Perspective, Chap. 211: Two Title Fights in Las Vegas on Saturday and More

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 211: Two Title Fights in Las Vegas on Saturday and More

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    By David A. Avila

    Another hard-hitting Kazakh named Zhanibek Alimkhanuly headlines a Top Rank card in Las Vegas this Saturday and faces Great Britain’s Denzel Bentley for the WBO middleweight title.

    The co-main event at the Palms Casino Resort features budding female superstar Seniesa “Super Bad” Estrada defending the WBA minimumweight title against Jazmin Gala Villarino. ESPN+ will show the Top Rank card. Which fight will be more electrifying?

    Alimkhanuly (12-0, 8 KOs) is a 29-year-old southpaw slugger about the same size as fellow Kazakh named “GGG,” or more properly known as Gennady Golovkin who holds the WBA and IBF titles. Should the young Kazakh win, a match against his senior countryman could easily be made.

    "I don't know why nowadays champions don't want to fight with the other champions. I don't think they should be afraid. I am here. I am a champion now,” said Alimkhanuly who was the interim WBO middleweight champion and had the interim tag removed when Demetrius Andrade vacated the title rather than face him. “I am here to fight the champions. Hopefully, Top Rank can organize a fight with another world champion next."

    First, Alimkhanuly must pass through England’s Bentley. You never know what you’re facing when it comes to British fighters. They can be monsters or paper champions.

    Bentley (17-1-1, 14 KOs) is a 27-year-old fighter out of London who has feasted on mostly British and European middleweights. He definitely possesses stopping power but facing Alimkhanuly, who trains in Oxnard, Calif., may be a contest he’s not ready to encounter.

    But boxing is like this. You just never know.

    “This is what every fighter dreams of. It's the opportunity of a lifetime to be here in Vegas and fight for the WBO world championship against the champion himself," said Bentley.

    Also on the card will be Emiliano Vargas, the son of “El Feroz” Fernando Vargas who now makes Las Vegas his home. He was recently signed by Top Rank and makes his debut with the boxing promotion company on this card. It should be a wild opening.

    If Emiliano, a lightweight, fights nearly as good as his father it should be a fight you don’t want to miss. Fernando was a rocket with gloves when he fought. Always willing to fight the best, he had a fan following that few other fighters during his era possessed. It was a rabid fan base.

    Two other top prospects on the card include Fontana’s Ray Muratalla and former US Olympian Carlos Balderas. It’s very conceivable to see the two lightweights face each other possibly next year.

    East European champs

    WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitriy Bivol remained undefeated with a superior performance in defeating Mexico’s Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez by unanimous decision last week in Abu Dhabi. There was no disputing the win. But one thing about Russia’s Bivol is his inability to provide entertaining fights.

    Safety-first styles are OK, if a knockout is attempted when it develops. Bivol just doesn’t provide that kind of prizefight. It’s win the fight and don’t take chances.

    A major reason fighters like Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev became fan favorites is their propensity for knockout wins. They always hunted for the knockout whether the opponent was dangerous or not. And both could box if necessary.

    Bivol has excellent boxing skills but as a prizefighter, he just doesn’t attract the masses. He deserves props for his boxing ability but for entertainment value, not so much.

    IBF Title Fight in England

    Nicaragua’s Felix Alvarado holds the IBF light flyweight title and moves up to challenge IBF flyweight titlist Sunny Edwards on Friday Nov. 11, in Sheffield, England. The fight will be shown on FITE.TV.

    Alvarado (38-2, 33 KOs) has a three-fight knockout streak going but Edwards (18-0, 4 KOs) has never been stopped and is defending the world title for a third time. He’s also the younger fighter at 26. The Nicaraguan is 33 years old.

    Edwards expects the toughest test of his career so far.

    “Alvarado was a world champion at the weight below, he has 33 KOs on his record, and he has boxed at the highest level. He’s a big punching Nicaraguan, who has had more knockouts than I’ve had fights and he is hungry for this,” said Edwards.

    Big Showdown in SoCal

    Super lightweight bombers Regis Prograis and Jose “Chon” Zepeda are mere weeks away from their confrontation on Nov. 26, at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The fight will be shown on FITE.TV pay-per-view at a cost of $39.99. This is the kind of fight made for that venue that has provided some of the most engaging wars of the last 20 years.

    Neither fighter currently holds a world title, but both are deserving and represent two of the toughest in the 140-pound super lightweight division. It’s the reason it’s the main event and headlining a major card.

    No other super lightweight has the athleticism and strength of Prograis (27-1, 23 KOs) who meets sledge-hammer fisted Zepeda (35-2, 27 KOs) in a battle of the best fighters in their talented division without a world title.

    This fight is not for the squeamish.

    Fights to Watch

    Fri. FITE.TV 2:00 p.m. ET (main card) / 5:00 p.m. ET (main event) Felix Alvarado (38-2) vs Sunny Edwards (18-0).

    Sat. ESPN+ 7:15 p.m. ET (main card) / 11:00 p.m. ET (main event) Zhanibek Alimkhanuly (12-0) vs Denzel Bentley (17-1-1); Seniesa Estrada (22-0) vs Jazmin Villarino (6-1-2).

    Sat. DAZN 7:30 p.m. ET (main card) / 11:15 ET (main event) Montana Love (18-0-1) vs Steve Spark (15-2).

    Sun. FITE.TV PPV 1:00 p.m. ET (main card) / 5:15 p.m. ET (main event) Floyd Mayweather vs Deji (exhibition)

    Photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

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