A Zesty Weekend of Boxing in Southern California

TWO NIGHTS OF BOXING IN SoCAL — A powerful boxing event features a pair of prizefighters that have each captured two Fight of the Year awards. Two-a-piece. How rare is that?

WBC super featherweight world titlist Francisco “El Bandido who won in 2015 and 2016 and Takashi Miura who won in 2013 and 2015 are the recipients of the recognition. They fought each other in 2015 and want a rematch.

First, they must perform yet another expectant blood ritual when Vargas (23-0-2, 17 KOs) defends the title against fellow Mexican slugger Miguel Berchelt (30-1, 27 KOs), and Japan’s Miura (30-3-2, 23 KOs) meets Mexico’s Mickey Roman (56-11, 43 KOs ) in the co-main event. Both fights happen at Fantasy Springs Casino on Saturday Jan. 28.

HBO will televise.

We’ll talk more on the rest of the fight card from the desert land of Indio, Calif.

Top Rank

On Friday a heavy Top Rank fight card featuring 10 undefeated prospects takes place at Sportsman’s Lodge in Studio City, California.

Not that undefeated fighters mean a lot when they are young, but when Top Rank invests in a fighter they usually want to see if they can fight. They’re very good at finding out quick.

The main event features Erick De Leon (14-0) a pretty good super featherweight facing Jose Salinas (10-2-1). De Leon is a southpaw from Michigan who was second in line to Saul “Neno” Rodriguez. But when the Riverside knockout artist switched to Mayweather Promotions when his contract expired, De Leon moved up the ranks. He’s not as explosive as Rodriguez but at 24 years old he can still build his craft. Salinas fights out of New Mexico and has solid boxing skills. It’s a good match up.

In the co-main event Arnold Barboza Jr. (14-0), a popular fighter with a ton of fans, tries to match wits with scrappy Johnny Rodriguez of Denver. It should be a very entertaining fight. It also should be an interesting test for Top Rank to see if Barboza is worth continued investment. It’s an important fight for the Southern California welterweight.

Another fighter of interest is Alexander Besputin, a super welterweight from Russia who has five knockouts in five pro fights. He faces big punching Brazilian Gilberto Pereira dos Santos who has lost two consecutive fights. Besputin is managed by Lithuanian-American super manager Egis Klimas who has Sergey Kovalev and Vasyl Lomachenko among others.

It’s an interesting fight card and the Sportsman’s Lodge has proven to be a good spot to watch boxing. For tickets and information call (626) 388-8888.

Fantasy Springs

Aside from the two battles between super featherweight elite warriors, there’s a heavy dose of prospects with extreme talent coming on Saturday in Indio, California. Three of the prospects are trained by ace trainer Joel Diaz in Indio.

One of the talented prospects charging through the ranks is Texas welterweight Vergil Ortiz.

Ortiz (3-0, 3 KOs) hasn’t been tested in a tough fight yet, but the talent is there. He’s a heavy-fisted string bean of a fighter who has all the tools and work ethic to be a world champion. He’s only 18 years old but the Dallas product stands out in the crowd. His trainer Diaz thinks so too.

Other prospects to watch are Luis Coria, another 18 year old out of Moreno Valley and Cesar Diaz, a bantamweight slugger out of Palmdale. All three of these prospects fight out of the Indio boxing club.

Also fighting on the full Golden Boy fight card will be East Coast fighters Tureano Johnson (19-1) fighting Antonio Gutierrez (21-2-1) in a middleweight clash and Sadam Ali (23-1) meeting Jorge Silva (22-12-2) in a welterweight clash.

One more fighter to watch is Lamont Roach, an ultra-skillful lightweight out of D.C.

For more information call (800) 827-2946. Doors open at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.