Middleweights Take Center Stage – It’s called “Knockout Night at the D,” a monthly series of boxing shows staged at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, an outdoor pavilion fronting the “D” Casino Hotel in the heart of the downtown tourist district. The May edition, a Roy Jones Jr. (RJJ) boxing promotion airing live on the CBS Sports Network, goes this Saturday, May 21. The main event is a 10-round middleweight contest between Arif Magomedev (17-0, 10 KOs) and Andrew Hernandez, 11-4-1 (3).
Magomedov, a 23-year-old globetrotter, hails from Kizlyar, Russia, fights out of Glendale, California, and is promoted by Main Events, the longstanding promotional firm based in New Jersey.
In his previous fight on national television, Magomedov turned away previously undefeated (19-0) Derrick Webster, winning a lopsided decision on a PBC show in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is currently ranked #2 by the World Boxing Council and #5 by the WBA.
Hernandez fights out of Phoenix. In his best outing, he scored a 10th round TKO over Jeff Page Jr. who was 17-1 going in. As an amateur, Hernandez split two fights with former WBA 154-pound champion Austin Trout.
The chief supporting bout pits Fort Worth’s John Vera (12-0, 8 KOs) against Joey Ruelas (10-1-1, 4 KOs) of Phoenix. A 27-year-old southpaw, Vera is of Puerto Rican and Mexican descent. His style, says his publicist, “combines the technical Puerto Rican movement with the strength and power of the Mexican fighter.”
Ruelas, a 34-year-old father of four, is an interesting story. An outstanding amateur, he advanced to the finals of the 2000 Olympic Trials. Big things were expected of him when he turned pro at age 19, but legal and personal problems interceded and put his career in a deep freeze. He was inactive for 12 years.
Ruelas is familiar with the neighborhood. On June 5, 2001, he appeared on the undercard of the very first boxing show staged outdoors on famous Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas (Frans Botha met David Bostice in the main event). The ring was pitched two blocks from where he will fight on Saturday night.
Saturday’s show marks the national television debut of 17-year-old Devin Haney (5-0, 3 KOs), the youngest licensed boxer in Nevada. Nicknamed “The Dream”, the Las Vegas product is trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr. Haney meets Virginia’s Jairo Vargas Fernandez (4-0) in a 6-round lightweight contest.
The swing TV bout in the event of early knockouts finds Jerren Cochran (11-0-1, 4 KOs) locking horns with Juan Antonio Lopez (10-1, 3 KOs). Cochran hails from the DC area but has fought extensively in Texas. Lopez, from Dallas by way of Mexico, is looking to rebound from his first professional loss. He was on the wrong end of a split decision in a 10-round contest with undefeated Oscar Cantu.
The TV portion of Saturday’s show airs at 8 pm PST/11 pm EST. The night before the event, the arena will house an amateur boxing show. Tickets for this event, priced at $15 general admission or $19 ringside (rows 1 and 2) will entitle the purchaser to a $10 discount on tickets to Saturday’s show. Both the Friday and Saturday events will be streamed live worldwide on FITE, an app that can be downloaded at either the Google Play or i Tunes app store.