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Avila Perspective, Chap. 216: Dueling U.S. Fight Cards Ornament the Holiday Season

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 216: Dueling U.S. Fight Cards Ornament the Holiday Season

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    By David A. Avila

    Two of the bigger boxing promotion companies bang it out on the same day with rival fight cards. One of them is extremely long.

    It brings back memories of Don King’s 15-hour-long boxing cards at the beginning of the millennium.

    Not quite as extensive, but impressive, will be TGB presenting possibly 17 bouts with lightweight contenders Michel Rivera (pictured on the left) and Frank Martin (insert) headlining on Saturday Dec. 17, at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, Nevada. Showtime will televise.

    Across the state line in the East Los Angeles area, Golden Boy Promotions features an array of its top prospects including primo Diego De La Hoya mixing it up as a featherweight against Jose Santos Gonzalez at Commerce Casino on Saturday Dec. 17. DAZN will stream the card.

    It always happens just before the holidays. Need to honor those contracts.

    Commerce, Ca.

    Let’s start with De La Hoya.

    Oscar De La Hoya’s cousin Diego has fought once in three years and that was this past July when he knocked out Enrique Bernache in the fourth round of a featherweight clash at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.

    Facing De La Hoya (23-1, 11 KOs) will be Guadalajara’s Santos Gonzalez (23-10-1, 13 KOs) who has not won a fight in five years but faced top competition. He’s been stopped only once and that was in England six years ago.

    Making weight has been a slight problem for De La Hoya and despite those fast hands he’s not very tall. He also doesn’t have the power of his promoter cousin, especially that potent left hook. But he does have quickness and skill. Can it be enough for him to move on?

    Joining him in the prize ring as the main event is Mexico’s Raul Curiel (11-0, 9 KOs) defending a regional welterweight title against Brad Solomon (29-5, 9 KOs) in a 10-round bout.

    Curiel may be one of the least imposing looking fighters today. Nothing about him strikes fear in opponents but he remains undefeated. Among those he vanquished are Kendo Castaneda and Ferdinand Kerobyan. He’s finished six consecutive opponents via knockout. But he’s not really a knockout artist.

    Facing Curiel will be Solomon, a savvy boxer who has faced a real killer in Vergil Ortiz Jr. and two strong prospects in Alexis Rocha and Blair Cobbs. Though he was unsuccessful in any of those mentioned bouts, he does have skill and durability.

    Two other prized prospects performing are super lightweight Jousce Gonzalez in a very stiff test against Ivan Cano Garcia and super middleweight Aaron Silva who meets Alan Campa. Both are eight round bouts.

    Also, on the same card will be former female pound-for-pound queen Cecilia Braekhus returning to the prize ring for the first time in a super welterweight match against Argentina’s Marisa Portillo.

    Norway’s Braekhus has been inactive since March 2021. She has long been one of the most athletic performers in boxing and at 41 years old it will be interesting to discover how much remains of the talent that dominated the welterweight division for so many years.

    Now she’s a super welterweight.

    Las Vegas

    Headlining the TGB Promotions card will be Dominican Republic’s Michel Rivera (24-0, 14 KOs) the Muhammad Ali-wanna-be with talent still being unraveled. He meets Frank Martin (16-0, 12 KOs) in a battle between undefeated lightweights. Showtime will televise.

    Las Vegas is the perfect location for this scheduled 17-bout fight card.

    Rivera, 24, has been gaining fans and interest with his similar looks and attire to the great heavyweight Ali. He even sports the 1960 version of the hair cut “the Greatest” sported during his early heavyweight championship days.

    But can Rivera fight?

    Martin, 27, a southpaw from Indianapolis, is willing to risk an undefeated record to find out. He’s confident that working with Team Errol Spence Jr. gives him an advantage.

    “Rivera is a good, balanced fighter. He can punch, he can counter-punch, and he’s got some finesse to him,” said Martin. “He’s got a game plan and so do we. We’re going to be ready to adjust. No matter what he comes with, we’re going to have something for him. We’ve got all the answers.”

    Rivera expects a great fight.

    “I know that with a win on Saturday, I’m going to have the really big fights all set for me,” said the always smiling Rivera. ““Everyone knows me. I’m different. I’m the guy. I will win this fight. We’re going to talk in the ring.”

    Fights to Watch

    Sat. DAZN 6 p.m. Raul Curiel (11-0) vs Brad Solomon (29-5).

    Sat. Showtime 7 p.m. Michel Rivera (24-0) vs Frank Martin (16-0).

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