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Splashy Debut – Las Vegas has long been a haven for great boxing throughout the decades going back to Muhammad Ali fighting at the convention center in the early 1960s.

Sonny Liston called the gambling capital home until his death in 1970.

A number of the best prizefighters in the past 60 years shed blood and sweat in boxing venues such as the Silver Slipper, the Showboat Hotel and Casino, the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, the Hacienda Hotel, the Dunes Hotel, the Riviera Hotel and Casino and others.

Up until the 1990s, if it was a bigger than life fight card, boxing saw Caesars Palace host the mega events at its outdoor arena like Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney, Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler, and Oscar De La Hoya vs. Julio Cesar Chavez in their first encounter on June 1996. Temperatures that day were well above 115 degrees.

Other venues appeared like the Thomas & Mack Center that hosted Evander Holyfield vs. Lennox Lewis, and various new casinos have jumped into the boxing game.

Now we have the T-Mobile Arena.

Will it be the new destination for the mega fights?

A two-day Las Vegas fight card hosted by Golden Boy Promotion opens up the brand new T-Mobile Arena. Thousands are expected to attend the weigh-ins on Friday afternoon. Immediately after, a fight card led by co-main events will be free to the public.

The new arena seats 20,000 in its location between New York, New York and the Mirage Resort and Casino off the Las Vegas Strip.

Here’s what is coming:

Friday fight card

Pablo Cano (29-4-1, 21 KOs) vs. Alan Sanchez (17-3-1, 9 KOs) – Mexico’s Cano is a tough customer with a solid chin. He’s not real nimble so he will be right in front of Sanchez who is much taller and equally as tough. Both like to move forward. It should one brutal affair between these two welterweights.

Petr Petrov (36-4-2, 17 KOs) vs. Marvin Quintero (28-6, 24 KOs) – Petrov has the skills but you can’t count out Quintero. In his last fight in L.A. he surprisingly defeated Jeffrey Fontanez by stoppage. Basically, the Mexican fighter has become a gate keeper. This fight will decide if Russia’s Petrov has the goods to return to the next level. He once fought Marcos Maidana for the super lightweight world title and was stopped in the fourth round. But there’s no shame in losing to Maidana.

Joet Gonzalez (12-0, 6 KOs) vs. Ricardo Proana (11-3, 9 KOs) featherweights – Gonzalez comes from a hard core boxing family. His brother recently made his debut and his sister fought to earn a place on the Olympic team and just barely missed out. He eats, drinks and sleeps boxing. Mexico’s Proana will have his hands full in this six round bout.

Saturday

Let’s go backwards on the Saturday fight card.

Jason Quigley (10-0, 9 KOs) vs. James De La Rosa (23-3, 13 KOs) – Ireland’s Quigley has been stomping out the competition, not just winning. He’s quick, strong, and hits hard. If he can take a punch he will go all the way. De La Rosa has skills. He will make this into a chess match like he did with Alfredo Angulo in his best win. It’s a good middleweight test for Quigley.

Diego De La Hoya (14-0, 8 KOs) vs. Rocco Santomauro (13-0, 1 KO) – It’s speed vs speed with De La Hoya and Santomauro in this super bantamweight clash. Both are undefeated and both can’t afford to lose. Of course, De La Hoya is tabbed for stardom but his timetable depends a lot on this fight.

Patrick Teixeira (26-0, 22 KOs) vs. Curtis Stevens (27-5, 20 KOs) – the Brazilian southpaw had a solid victory over very tough Don Mouton at Belasco Theater in L.A. He’s got a mean streak in him. He doesn’t hit as hard as his record indicates so he will need his skills against Stevens. The former middleweight title contender can hit very hard. Lately, he seems to be adding more elements to his game. This could be his fight to win.

David Lemieux (34-3, 31 KOs) vs. Glen Tapia (23-2, 15 KOs) – Canada’s Lemieux will bring a lot of fans to this fight, a lot of female fans. They seem to like him. He’s clashing with Tapia who really needs a win to stay in contender status. Lemieux did well in defeat against Gennady Golovkin in New York City. He’s strong and not afraid to look for the knockout. Tapia has been training with Freddie Roach and that’s always a good thing. Lemieux has a punch like an ax. Will he chop down Tapia quickly?

Mauricio Herrera (22-5, 7 KOs) vs. Frankie Gomez (20-0, 13 KOs) – Herrera definitely has the edge in experience. He’s fought many of the elite fighters in the super lightweight division and agreed to move up in weight for this fight. Gomez has an abundance of athletic tools and an innate sense of defense. He’s much younger than Herrera and that could be an advantage in the cut department. But you cannot count out Herrera. In many ways this fight reminds me of his clash with Cleotis “Mookie” Pendarvis many years back. That was before he picked up knowledge fighting Ruslan Provodnikov, Mike Alvarado, Danny “Swift” Garcia and Mike Anchondo. Herrera has been here before. This is a big learning experience for Gomez.

 

 

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