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Centeno Faces Williams


There is another fight card taking place besides “The One” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this week. Tonight, a nationally televised card on Fox Sports 2 (10 p.m., ET/7 p.m., PT) features a bout between undefeated junior middleweights Hugo Centeno Jr. and Julian Williams in a match-up that will show just who will advance to the next level in this sport.
Centeno admits this is a bit of a litmus test.
“It’s a big step up. [Williams] brings to the table 13-0, seven knockouts, one draw, he’s a tough fighter,” he said on Tuesday afternoon. “He likes to come forward but we have a good game plan that we’ve established and I’m ready to rock.”

When asked to give a scouting report on Williams, Centeno said, “He’s a tough fighter; he comes strong. Every now and then, he’ll like to box, do a little shoulder roll and counter with his right hand. That’s probably his best little trick he has up his sleeve, to do that Mayweather shoulder roll with his left arm and come over with the overhand right. But he’s very flat-footed, very stand-up. He’s there to fight.”
Centeno-Williams should be an interesting battle that could turn out to be a very good bout. It’s rare in this day and age to see two young, undefeated prospects get matched together. Eric Gomez, matchmaker for Golden Boy Promotions, states, “I wish we could make these kind of fights all the time but it’s not easy to make these fights. There’s too many heads involved.”
The “heads” Gomez refers to frequently mistake keeping a soft undefeated record alive, often laden with hand-picked foes who provide very little opposition with actual development for the undefeated fighter. More than ever, there seems to be an over-emphasis on the “0.”
“Yeah, there is all the time,” said Gomez, chuckling. “A lot of people try to defend that. A lot of managers think that it’s going to get you to where Floyd’s at. Floyd’s the biggest name in boxing, the number one fighter pound-for-pound and he’s got a ‘0’ - but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter in boxing. I mean, you can have a loss; you can still bounce back. You can still have big fights and we’ve been able to prove that with a couple fighters.”
The thought process in making this fight was fairly simple.
“It was two prospects, great fight, both guys have pretty much fought at the same level and it’s something we had discussed many times before,” explained Gomez. “I think what happened was they’ve seen each other fight. Julian Williams has been on a few of our undercards and Centeno has been on a few of our cards. So they’ve seen each other fight and stuff; so it pretty much made itself. They’ve both come up to us and said, ‘Hey, we wouldn’t mind fighting that guy,’ and it just came together.”
Like many other young boxers at this stage of development, the 22-year-old Centeno has probably gotten better work in the gym as a sparring partner than in his actual fights. “I’ve gotten a chance to work with a lot of great fighters and I feel I’ve learned a lot from them, such as ‘Canelo’ [Saul Alvarez], Peter Quillin, Paulie Malignaggi, Alfredo Angulo - all big names. I’ve gotten a chance to learn little things from them,” said Centeno, who stops by the Wild Card Boxing Club on a regular basis to spar.
The lanky native of Oxnard is ready for a long night’s work.
“I honestly think [Williams] is a strong fighter; he looks physically ready. I saw him today at the press conference. I honestly think it’s going to go the distance. We’re both strong, hungry fighters and we’re there to leave it all in the ring but I honestly don’t think he has the power to knock me out,” Centeno stated.
“And I feel I do possess the power to knock him out but I feel the style he brings to the table, it’s going to be a tough task.”
Also on this broadcast is a rematch between Shawn Porter and Julio Diaz, who fought to a disputed draw last December at the L.A. Sports Arena.
Gomez told Maxboxing, “It was a natural because the first one was a good fight. Not too many people saw it. It was a very good fight; it was a close fight. It could’ve gone either way and it was a good fight.”
Both boxers needed little prodding to make the return bout.
“I think for Shawn Porter, if he wants to move on to bigger and better things, greater things like title fights and all that, he’s gotta get through this fight. He’s gotta win convincingly, so that’s the motivation for him to want to do the rematch.”
As for Diaz, Gomez stated, “Obviously, he thought he got robbed.”
Rounding out this telecast, a tripleheader, is a super middleweight contest between Jose Periban and Badou Jack...It looks like the November 9th HBO telecast, which has Mikey Garcia-Rocky Martinez, Nonito Donaire-Vic Darchinyan II and Vanes Martirosyan-Demetrius Andrade, will take place in Corpus Christi, Texas at the American Bank Center...Here’s my latest on where Shane Mosley gives his scouting report on Alvarez-Mayweather: did USC have a “players-only” meeting or not?...Von Miller seems to be in a lot stuff recently; doesn’t he?...So SEC football players were getting extra benefits? No! You don’t say!...I can be reached at and I tweet at We also have a Facebook fan page at, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.

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