LOS ANGELES-As one of the legitimate world champions remaining with the Los Angeles-based boxing promotion company Golden Boy, Randy “El Matador” Caballero got the full red carpet treatment on Thursday afternoon.
Caballero (22-0, 13 Kos) fights Alberto Guevara (19-2, 7 Kos) at the Fantasy Springs Casino on Feb. 27, in defense of his IBF bantamweight world title. The boxer from Coachella was introduced by Oscar De La Hoya to approximately 200 media members at the L.A. headquarters.
“It’s a homecoming. Randy Caballero went all the way to Monte Carlo and brought back the world title to Coachella,” said De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy. “We are thrilled to be coming back to where Randy Caballero grew up.”
Caballero, a Nicaraguan-American, was reared in the boxing gyms of Coachella since he was 10 years old. As an amateur he was considered one of the top bantamweights and an Olympic hopeful. But he chose to enter the professional fight game at 19 years old. He’s now 24.
“Just because I have this belt it doesn’t change me,” said Caballero. “My job is to stay focused 110 percent. And just take care of who they put in front of me.”
Last October he traveled to Monte Carlo to meet Stuart Hall for the vacant world title. It was his second globetrotting event. Earlier he had traveled to Japan to meet Kohei Oba. In both fights he dominated.
“That made me a better fighter. I hardly ever was away from my family,” Caballero recalled. “It was hard knowing that I was walking around in someone else’s hometown. That made me so much better.”
The boxer-puncher used his speed and skillset to befuddle and overrun both opponents. Now he faces Mexico’s Guevara, who challenged Leo Santa Cruz for the WBC bantamweight title back in 2012. He lost that fight and survived all 12 rounds. That’s quite a feat against that world champion.
Guevara, who is managed by boxing great Erik Morales, feels confident he can deliver a performance worthy of a world title effort.
“I’ve come ready and prepared to win. I think it’s my time, I deserve it,” said Guevara, who fell short on two previous title attempts. “I have the attitude and I’m ready to win the title.”
Chinese heavyweight Taishan Dong was also present. He will be making his second appearance at Fantasy Springs Casino. Last November he knocked out Tommy Washington in the first round. The large man who towers near 6’10” dwarfed the other fighters in publicity photographs.
Dong, 26, has never boxed before but had more than 20 fights as a kickboxer. He didn’t see the heavyweight fight between Deontay Wilder and Bermane Stiverne for the WBC title. But he has seen Wladimir Klitschko and is impressed with his boxing skills.
“His defense is very good,” said Dong.
Friday Night Fight card
Middleweight world champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, bantamweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz and all-time great James “Lights Out” Toney are expected to attend the boxing card at the Quiet Cannon in Montebello today at 7:30 p.m., said All Star promoter Ed Holmes. The main event features Muriat Gassiev (19-0, 13 Kos), a Russian cruiserweight trained by Abel Sanchez, who believes he has another Golovkin. For more information call (323) 781-4871.
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