IBF World Title Fight Airs Friday – Cuban defector Rances Barthelemy (24-0, 13 KOs) defends his IBF World lightweight title against Mickey Bey (21-1-1, 10 KOs) on Friday, June 3, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Barthelemy vs. Bey is the headline attraction of a 10-fight card with four of the bouts airing on Spike TV under the Premier Boxing Champions banner.
A champion in two weight classes, Barthelemy — one of three fighting brothers — is risking his title against the man that previously held his belt. Bey had the belt stripped from him for inactivity, partly the result of a hand injury and partly the result of a suspension related to a failed drug test.
Both fighters reside in Las Vegas. Barthelemy trains at the Salas Boxing Academy under the tutelage of Israel Salas, formerly the lead trainer of the Cuban National Team. Mickey Bey, originally from Cleveland, is trained by Floyd Mayweather Sr. Bey and Mayweather have been together since the very onset of Bey’s professional career.
Standing 5’11”, Barthelemy is two inches taller than Bey and will have a four-inch advantage in reach. The Cuban is a 3-to-1 favorite in man-to-man betting. However, on paper Bey will certainly make things interesting. In his lone defeat, he was comfortably ahead on the scorecards vs. John Molina, needing only to survive the final minute of their 10-round bout, when he got careless and walked into a huge left hook. He will insist to his dying day that the referee erred by stopping the fight too soon.
The chief undercard fight is a 10-round bantamweight contest between Puerto Rico’s Emmanuel Rodriguez (14-0, 10 KOs) and Mexico’s Alberto Guevara (24-2, 9 KOs). Rodriguez has a strong amateur background and has won five straight inside the distance, but he may find the Mexican a tough nut to crack. Guevara’s only losses came in world title fights vs. Leo Santa Cruz (UD 12) and Shinsuke Yamanaka (KO by 9). Yamanaka, who was fighting on his home turf in Tokyo, is rated the top bantamweight in the world by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
In other TV bouts, Caleb Plant opposes Columbia’s Carlos Galvan in a 10-round middleweight contest and Gervonta “Tank” Davis meets Mario Macias Rorozco in an 8-round lightweight contest.
Caleb Plant (12-0, 9 KOs) hails from Ashland City, Tennessee, a town of about 4,500. In his most recent outing, he scored a 6th round TKO over Spain’s Adasat Rodriguez on a PBC show at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Galvan (12-4-1, 11 KOs) was on the wrong side of split decisions vs. undefeated opponents in his two previous U.S. appearances.
Gervonta Davis (15-0, 14 KOs), a protégé of Floyd Mayweather Jr., is a 21-year-old southpaw from Baltimore. A rising star in the lightweight division, he figures to have little trouble dismissing Mexico City’s Rorozco (28-18) who has been stopped 11 times. The TV portion of the show begins at 9 PM ET/PT.