Head Bangers Ball:  Oscar Valdez vs. Chris Avalos; Box Fan Expo

It’s banger versus banger.

Two Southern California mini-destroyers collide when undefeated Oscar Valdez (16-0, 14 KOs) meets knockout artist Chris “The Hitman” Avalos (26-3, 19 KOs) at the Cosmopolitan today in Las Vegas.

The Top Rank fight card will be televised on TruTV.

Valdez, a former Mexican Olympian originally from Nogales, Mexico, trains at the Rock in Carson and has been on a non-stop route toward a world title fight. He’s made his presence known in Southern California gyms as a fighter with the green light always on.

Avalos, 25, fights out of Lancaster, Ca. and seemed to have been shot out of a cannon as he vaulted toward television bouts by his fourth match. Fans like the potency in his fists and the kamikaze tendencies he displays inside the boxing ring. He doesn’t look for decisions.

Both featherweights need to show off their firepower for television. In a day where free television seems to mean boring affairs, this card is meant to show that it doesn’t hold true when matching California featherweights. Throughout the past 50 years featherweights from the golden state frequently engage in momentous firefights. Think Ruben Olivares, Danny “Little Red” Lopez, Bobby Chacon and Salvador Sanchez.

Because they train in the same area, they often see each other in action occasionally in Southern California gyms. These guys do know each other.

Avalos was stopped in his only world title fight this past February by Carl Frampton in Northern Ireland for the IBF super bantamweight belt. He hopes moving up in weight will make a difference.

Valdez, 24, reminds many of a young Julio Cesar Chavez with his Mexican style aggressiveness and above average ring intelligence. In his last fight he was floored for the first time by rugged Ruben Tamayo but rallied to win a unanimous decision by wide scores. Now he’s going toe to toe with another big banger. Can the former Olympian graduate to the next level?

“I’m excited about this fight,” said Valdez, who is managed by Frank Espinoza.

R.I.P. Willie “Indian” Schunke

Riverside’s premier cut man passed away last week; Willie Schunke, 63, who worked the corners for many Southern California prizefighters, such as Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola, Josesito Lopez and Saul “Neno” Rodriguez died last week.

A large crowd attended the memorial services for Schunke, who was a member of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and a former US Marine.

Box Fan Expo

The second annual Box Expo takes place on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

If it’s anything like last year, expect to meet and greet a large number of boxing greats. According to the organizers, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and Tommy Hearns are expected to attend. That quartet alone would be reason enough to attend the affair.

Others expected are Sergio Martinez, Mia St. John, James Toney, Lamon Brewster, Peter Quillin, Wayne McCullough, Roy Jones Jr., Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Fernando Vargas, Terry Norris, Paul Williams, Boom Boom Mancini and many others.

The event begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. Tickets are $35. For more information call (514) 572-7222.