Every so often a fight card arrives like a small wrapped package that on the surface looks insignificant. But once unraveled you see what the fuss was all about.
Tucson, Arizona is the location where Jesus Soto Karass (pictured on the left) leads a Golden Boy Promotions fight card and will be flanked by a small number of budding stars including its brightest, Ryan “KingRy” Garcia, on Thursday night.
ESPN2 will televise.
Soto Karass (28-12-4) retired more than a year ago, then returned. Despite a draw against Mauricio Herrera this past summer he decided to remain active and faces Juan Carlos Abreu (19-3-1), a heavy hitting boxer from the Dominican Republic.
It’s not for the squeamish.
Every time Soto Karass enters the boxing ring it’s almost a guarantee that faces will be transformed into bruised and bloody masks. It’s nothing new for the welterweight from Los Mochis, Mexico.
The resilient Mexican fighter has been around Southern California probably longer than his days in Mexico. He formerly trained with Antonio Margarito’s crew back in the early 2000s. Those gym wars were blood curdling.
Soto Karass remains one of those old school soldiers the guys from the 50s used to talk about. He could have easily fought during those “I Love Lucy” days as easily as he fought in these “Modern Family” times.
But this is a different era now.
These are the I-Pad days with digitized phones, digitized music and watching television while walking around the street is common now. Ryan Garcia represents this new generation of Millenials with a no-time-to-waste attitude that he carries in the ring like a badge of honor.
Not since…dare I say it…Oscar De La Hoya has someone entered the boxing scene with that rare ability to make the opposition seem irrelevant and unimportant. We’re here to see how Garcia sends this guy to sleep.
Of course even De La Hoya hit a level where the opposition began to stiffen up but that was the Golden Boy. Could it happen again?
Garcia (11-0, 10 KOs) has eliminated opponents with the ease of pushing the delete button on his cell phone. He always tries to gather rounds and gain experience each time he enters the ring but someone just happens to run into his fists.
“I saw an opening,” said Garcia, 19, after one of his recent knockout wins.
He can’t help himself.
On Thursday, the opponent for Garcia will be Cesar Valenzuela (14-5-1), a tall super featherweight who lasted the distance with another Golden Boy prodigy, Carlos Morales, but was not so lucky against Riverside’s Saul Rodriguez in 2013.
Will Valenzuela be the one to finally hear the final bell?
So far Garcia has found more work during sparring than his actual fights. But that’s a good thing. It’s the primary reason he’s leapfrogged the other prospects on the Golden Boy stable in less than a year.
San Diego’s Genaro Gamez (6-0, 4 KOs) enters his first eight round fight and will face Jesus Serrano (17-4-2, 12 KOs) from nearby Nogales, Mexico across the Arizona border. It’s the first true test for Gamez.
Serrano, 25, took down another undefeated fighter earlier this year when he handed Marco Antonio Hernandez his first loss after he had racked up 11 straight wins. This is the moment of truth for Gamez.
San Antonio’s Hector Tanajara (10-0, 4 KOs) meets Oscar Quezada (6-4, 3 KOs) in a six round super featherweight bout. At 20 years old the tall Texan has time to learn more about the pro game. The opposition has stiffened up recently.
Marlen Esparza, 28, has been learning the pro style and slowly it’s beginning to show under trainer Virgil Hunter. At press time the opponent Karla Hernandez was not finalized. But whoever stands in front of the Houston native will be facing a fighter with more pop.
In her last fight Esparza was sitting on her punches more and refrained from the slapping style learned after so many years in the amateurs. Though Aracely Palacios lasted the entire six rounds she was hit with some solid blows.
Zachary Wohlman (10-2-2) meets Moris Rodriguez in the main event on Friday Nov. 3, at the Sportsmans Lodge in Studio City, Calif.
Wohlman, who has been the subject of a documentary on boxing, has been based out of Los Angeles for a number of years now. He faces a rather tough opponent in Rodriguez who lost a majority decision in August and upset undefeated David Lopez last May.
It’s a long fight card with some interesting prospects. The promoters are Bash Promotions and PR Promotions. First bout begins at 7 p.m. For tickets go to www.boxingtixx.com
A very interesting female clash takes place on Thursday Nov. 2, in Rayne, Louisiana. Two former amateur stars meet when Selina Barrios (2-0) of San Antonio, Texas fights Russia’s Zarina Tsoloyeva (0-0) in a six round lightweight contest. Unable to find opponents, they are fighting each other. No time to waste with these two. It should be an exciting six rounds.
On Saturday, Nov. 4, five division female world champion Amanda Serrano (33-1-1, 25 KOs) enters the ring for perhaps the final time when she fights Marilyn Hernandez (26-10, 17 KOs) in an eight round super bantamweight clash at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. No other female in history has accomplished winning five world titles in five divisions. Serrano will be moving into the MMA world after this fight.
Fights on Television
Thursday ESPN2, 8 p.m. Ryan Garcia (11-0) vs. Cesar Valenzuela (14-5-1).
Fri. Telemundo, 11:35 p.m. Sammy Valentin (12-1) vs. Alejandro Barbosa (11-0).
Sat. Showtime, 6 p.m. Deontay Wilder (38-0) vs. Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1).
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.