Somewhat lost in the shadow of a packed card run by Golden Boy and Showtime on Saturday night is the third installment of the "NBC Fight Night" series, put together by Main Events, with Russell Peltz, which will run Friday night on NBC's cable sports channel.
If you are letting the card, headlined by a Gabriel Rosado-Sechew Powell bout, fly under your radar because it doesn't feature the names that the Saturday Showtime card does, you may live to regret it. Also, a true fight junkie really has no excuse not to check out the card, since ESPN's Friday Night Fights is off this week.
I got turned on to the headliner Gabriel Rosado back in June 2008, when he got the better of 15-0 James Moore, who was an Irishman looking to get a slice of the John Duddy notoriety pie, at the Aviator in Brooklyn. Instead, Rosado fed him some Philly-spiced pugilism, fighting a smart, aggressive, focused fight enroute to a UD8. Rosado has gone 9-3 since, and while I hear he is the type who some worry could go off the rails outside the ring, because of a tendency to celebrate overly heartily, if he has got his head together to match his skills, a win over Powell, a perennial contender/title-challenger, could net him a title shot against one junior middleweight titlist or another.
Stakes are also high for Powell, who knows full well that at 32, the opportunities will not be forever forthcoming. The Brooklyn boxer took this bout on short notice, and hopes his lefty status will be a helpful curveball against Rosdao, who was training to fight Joel Julio, who pulled himself out because he didn't think he'd be ready to go. Powell didn't have the same concern; he stays in shape in the gym, and was sparring Delvin Rodriguez ahead of Del's Saturday scrap with Austin Trout on the showy Showtime card. "I'm happy to get this opportunity," said Powell to ESPN's Dan Rafael. "My passion to become champion is stronger than ever, and that will show on June 1. Gabriel Rosado and I are both top-10 ranked contenders [in the alphabet organizations]. After this fight, one of us will be moving up the rankings -- and it won't be him." Rosado looked stellar in the Fight Night debut card, against Jesus Soto-Karass, so it will be a tall order for the 26-4 Powell, coming off UD12 losses to K-9 Bundrage and Cory Spinks to get the W in Bethlehem, PA. He needs to show judges that he wants it, bad, and let his hands go even when his instincts tell him not to.
In the other featured tussle, Ronald Cruz (16-0; age 25; born in Puerto Rico, lives in Bethlehem, PA) will come to the Sands the favorite against fellow welter Prenice Brewer (16-1; age 24; from Cleveland). But this is another Peltz pick 'em special; the two have met comparable competition to this point. But I think Cruz' power edge will speak loudest at the end of the night.
The two hour show kicks off on NBC Sports at 9 PM ET. I advise you to set your DVR to run long, in case the scraps go over two hours.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV