Top Rank boxing card tomorrow night
By Bill Tibbs
Top Rank Boxing, like all sports organizations, was shelved due to the covid epidemic that hit a couple of months back. As the world slowly starts to get itself back to some level of normalcy, the sports worlds is starting to gear up. Boxing has a lot of good fights set to go but travel restrictions and health concerns will allow some fighters get back in the ring, but it will be under a much different format than they, and fans, are used to.
However, fighters want to get in the ring, promotional firms want to get back to selling their boxers and fans want to see some live fights. The run of classic fights and endless trips down memory lane via the plethora of re-runs being shown of classic events, on a variety of networks, is fine and dandy but people are anxious to see some of the present-day fighters get back at it in live action.
Word broke recently that Top Rank had reached a deal with the commission in Nevada and under some new, strict guidelines, will be able to start having live boxing events. There are some stringent new rules around covid testing, strict regulations as to where the fighters can go in the host hotel and to train, tight guidelines as to whom is even allowed into the fights and numerous tests that will be repeated throughout the week before the fighters step into the ring.
So, the room may look different, there won’t be a lot of people there and it will be a different atmosphere to say the least. However, at the end of the day, there are good fighters getting into the ring to kick off the boxing season under, for now anyway, what is the new normal. Top Rank will be running bi-weekly shows throughout much of the summer as they are setting up shop in the MGM Grand Hotel. Naturally, one can expect that most of the fighters will be United States-based until the airlines are up and running to bring international fighters in. Let’s take a look at couple of Top Rank’s stars who are bringing boxing back.
June 9 Shakur Stevenson (13-0, 7 KO’s) June 9 - MGM Grand - Las Vegas. He’s only 3 years into his pro run but his stats tell the story so far – undefeated and looking very good every time out. He beat Joet Gonzalez last October to capture the WBO featherweight title and looked great it. Fantastic wheels, very strong ring sense and an incredible use of distance allows him to leave most contests untouched after handing out the punishment and receiving little in return. He might stick around featherweight if he can secure a date with England’s Josh Warrington but otherwise look for a move to 130 before long. One of boxing’s most talented young fighters. This guy is going to be fun to follow. It’s going to take a very aggressive and smart fighter to beat him and it won’t be Felix Caraballo (13-1, 9 KO’s) who is a solid guy with a little bit of pop, but he hasn’t faced the likes of Stevenson and will come up a distant second on the scorecards in this one if he isn’t stopped.
-Undefeated female star and title shot-ready Mikaela Mayer was set to go in the chief support but a positive covid test has her quarantined; look for her on an upcoming show. Heavyweight newbie Guido Vianello and Cuban prospect Robelsy Ramirez who is looking to move to 3-1 and put his debut loss in the (distant) rear-view mirror.
June 11 Jesse Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KO’s) June 11 - MGM Grand - Las Vegas. Former super bantamweight champion who beat then champ Nonito Donaire to win the WBO strap in 2016. He made one defence before losing to then-hot Isaac Dogboe in 2018. Since that time he has moved to a better weight and is now campaigning at 126. He put 2 wins under his belt in 2019 and is looking at a title shot as soon as he can secure one. He has been hard at work training with coach Jorge Capetillo in Las Vegas. In his first fight of this year he’ll meet Dominican veteran Yenifel Vincente. He is 36-4-2 with 28 KO’s so he does has some power. However, I think the level of competition will be the difference and I like Magdaleno by points or a later stoppage.
The support bouts, among others, features the “Glendale Gatti” Adam Lopez who is looking to build off his last fight, a great showing in a gutsy stoppage loss to champion Oscar Valdez after stepping in on short notice. Lopez is all-action.