Sugar Ray Fight Card, Monster Inoue and Santa Cruz in L.A.

A beach sunset serves as the backdrop for a fight card filled with several prospects on the Golden Boy Promotions stable on Wednesday.

It’s the Ninth Annual B. Riley FBR, Inc. Show to benefit the Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation and takes place at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif. It’s a charity benefit to fund research to combat diabetes.

Sports and entertainment celebrities expected to attend the show are Cedric the Entertainer, Laila Ali, Curtis Conway, Cindy Crawford, Magic Johnson, Arsenio Hall and many others. It will be hosted by actor comedian Bill Bellamy.

Through its nine-year run many young prizefighters have participated in the past and moved forward to successful careers.

The main event features Jousce Gonzalez (7-0, 7 KOs) a hard-hitting super featherweight from Glendora, Calif. who has never allowed an opponent to hear the final bell. He’s a tall lanky fellow with shocking power.

Facing Gonzalez will be veteran Juan Sandoval, a Mexican fighter now living in San Bernardino, who makes a habit of fighting young upstarts and derailing them. It’s a decent test for the knockout artist Gonzalez.

In the semi-main event will be Ireland’s power-hitter Aaron McKenna (pictured with Oscar De La Hoya). Golden Boy’s youngest prospect, McKenna, 18, is a tall welterweight from the village of Smithborough in County Monaghan. As an amateur he showed an attack dog mentality and as a pro he’s added the amateur pedigree and mixed it with smaller gloves to become an even more devastating puncher.

Two other fights are planned for the affair that begins at 6:30 p.m. None of the fights will be televised, but with permission we may show it on Facebook. Details to come later.


Japan’s Naoya “Monster” Inoue attempts to jack his way into the bantamweight division against skyscraper Jamie McDonnell who towers over him like an angry crane.

It’s going to be a very interesting clash of styles.

McDonnell (29-2-1, 13 KOs) holds the WBA bantamweight world title and has not lost in 10 years. His most notable wins and probably most significant were his two battles with another Japanese banger, Tomoki “Koki” Kameda, in 2015. He gave Kameda the only two losses of his career.

Inoue (15-0, 13 KOs) is not just another banger. He has speed plus and is about as aggressive as they come. In his lone appearance in the U.S. he stood out in a fight card featuring many of the best super flyweights. Now he’s in the heavier bantamweights but his talent should allow him to adjust to the height and reach of the Englishman.

ESPN+ will televise the world title clash at 4 a.m. Pacific Time, 7 a.m. Eastern Time. It will be well worth watching.

Santa Cruz Media Day

WBA featherweight world titlist Leo Santa Cruz greeted the media today in downtown Los Angeles to talk about his pending rematch with Abner Mares on June 9, at the Staples Center.

“He says he’s going to box me more this time, but it’s easier to say that than do it,” said Santa Cruz, 29. “When you get in the ring and hear the fans, they make you want to brawl. Once you hear the crowd you want to entertain them. You love to hear the people scream.”

Both Santa Cruz and Mares are multiple world champions and are very knowledgeable about pleasing the fans.

I remember watching Santa Cruz fighting on fight cards at Morongo Casino, Alameda Swap meet, Commerce Casino and Pala Casino when major promoters were not interested in the lanky fighter. It’s been an incredible journey.

“I’m still as motivated as ever. I have the same hunger as if this fight was for my first title. I never underestimate anyone and always give it my all in the gym. It’s no different heading into this one,” said Santa Cruz.

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