The western part of the U.S. showcases Cuban light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera in Southern California and featherweight star Oscar Valdez returning home to Arizona after his eye-opening win last September.
Valdez (17-0, 15 Kos) returns to Tucson where he faces Ernie Sanchez (15-6-1) in the main event on Saturday Dec. 12, at the Tucson Convention Center. UniMas will televise. In Glendale, California, Barrera (16-0, 11 Kos) meets Karo Murat (27-2-1) on the same day. HBO Latino will televise.
In Tucson, boxing fans over there get a chance to see the 2015 model of Valdez who scorched the earth like General Sherman this year. The last victim was Chris Avalos in a firefight pitting two of the harder hitting featherweights at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Before the first punch was fired fans knew the two blasters were not there to win by decision and they were not disappointed. The fight was like a miniature version of Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns. Both Valdez and Avalos erupted in a kill or be killed scenario. Neither was there to merely survive. It’s not their style.
Valdez connected early and kept the artillery coming as Avalos never stopped sending return fire. It was just a matter of Valdez missiles coming quicker. Avalos, if given the opportunity, would have preferred to go out on his shield. But the referee saw that Valdez was fully loaded and Avalos was not 100 percent.
Now Valdez, a former Mexican Olympian, looks to end the year with one last barrage to empty the barrels.
“I am really looking forward to this fight.” stated Valdez who began boxing in Tucson at age eight. “I will have family, friends and people who have supported me since the start of my boxing career. I do feel like I am coming home and want to give them all a great fight.”
Sanchez is a tall featherweight out of the Philippines. He’s fought for several minor titles and has only been stopped once in his career.
The co-main event features welterweight Jose Benavidez versus Sidney Siqueira. Top Rank promotes the fight card.
In the city of Glendale, California, Cuba’s Barrera, 33, returns to the ring after his knockout win over Hakim Zoulikha at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas this past summer. He faces Karo Murat (27-2-1) in an IBF light heavyweight elimination bout televised by HBO Latino.
Barrera, who’s promoted by Main Events, had a coming out party against Zoulikha where he performed to the level of the competition. Before that fight, few were convinced he was ready for the light heavyweight elite. But in that match up he was in total control throughout the fight.
Murat, 32, is a tough Armenian who fights out of Germany whose last loss came at the wizardry of Bernard Hopkins. There’s no shame in losing to Hopkins a future Hall of Fame inductee. Murat’s other loss was to Nathan Cleverly.
It’s an interesting clash with the taller Sullivan facing a European grinder like Murat. Can he repeat his summer performance? They’ll be fighting in Glendale which is home to tens of thousands of Armenians. But will they show up to support Murat?
In a welterweight showdown Mexico’s Pedro “Roca” Campa (18-0, 14 Kos) crosses la frontera for the first time in his career and faces Aaron Herrera (29-3-1, 18 Kos) of Mexico in a fight set for 10 rounds.
Campa hails from Hermosillo, Mexico where baseball is king and a lot of those guys know how to throw baseballs and punches. He’s a hard-nosed puncher who seems to hit harder when hit. It’s always interesting to see Mexican fighters venture to the US for the first time. They always seem to rise to the occasion.
Herrera fights out of the beautiful town of Valladolid in Yucatan, Mexico and was headed to obscurity after losing to Selcuk Aydin by knockout. Then, he suddenly turned things around and since that loss in 2013, he’s been undefeated and fought Jorge Paez Jr. to a technical draw.
It’s a solid fight card and worth watching.