A matter of preference
There are competing cards on HBO and ESPN this Saturday night – much to the consternation of Top Rank CEO Bob Arum – but, being the modern age of DVR and TiVo, boxing fans will most likely view both shows, at some point, over the weekend.
The cards – while featuring super featherweights – contrast very much in nature. The “Top Rank Boxing on ESPN” main event, from the Theater at Madison Square Garden, in New York, is a purist’s delight, as it pairs WBO beltholder Vasyl Lomachenko against WBA junior featherweight titlist Guillermo Rigondeaux in a historic battle of two-time Olympic gold medalists. Meanwhile, the HBO tripleheader, from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, features the all-Mexican match-up between Orlando Salido and Miguel “Mickey” Roman.
Naturally, Fernando Beltran, the head of Zanfer Promotions, who has several boxers on this show including “Siri” Salido, prefers the latter (10:20 p.m. ET/PT).
“First of all, this is a fight, not a chess match because you know I respect Lomachenko a lot. But I will never – even if you buy me an air flight, hotel room, per diem – go to see Rigondeaux. I would never go and see him,” said an admittedly biased Beltran, who, in the past, promoted Erik Morales, Jorge Arce and Jose Luis Castillo.
He continued, “Honestly, I feel I am not the only one with that feeling, too, because a lot of people have seen Rigondeaux and his fights are not good to see, that type of boxing – referring only to Rigondeaux. Vasyl Lomachenko is a sensational, entertaining fighter and, of course, I respect Top Rank.”
Yes, it’s a matter of taste. There are fans who will gravitate toward the boxing match at the Garden, while some others will eagerly anticipate the Mexican war. Like Baskin-Robbins, boxing doesn’t just have one flavor from which to choose.
If anything, Salido-Roman figures to be a real fight.
“We still remember (Erik) Morales-(Marco Antonio) Barrera. We still remember Castillo-(Diego)Corrales (I),” said Beltran, who was involved in both rivalries. “These guys are going forward and they are entertaining everyone. They cannot give you a bad fight. That’s why I highly recommend everyone to see Orlando Salido and Miguel Roman.”
“Both guys give very good fights every time they step into the ring, win or lose,” says Beltran. “They are old-school fighters. That is the reason why you should watch this one.”
Also on this card are middleweight hopeful Jaime Munguia and flyweight prospect Joselito Velasquez, Beltran believes his company will be embarking on a very good run.
“We’re coming up on 25 years since Zanfer was born and never in my career have we had so many prospects. We have a lot of prospects with records like 17-0, like (featherweight) Carlos Ornelas; you can see a lot of guys like (welterweight) Carlos Ocampo, Jaime Munguia, (lightweight) Elvis Torres, Joselito Velasquez. A lot, a lot of talent in my company, right now,” said an effusive Beltran.
“And a lot of fighters now becoming a reality like Berchelt, Juan Francisco Estrada – who’s on ‘SuperFly’ – I really believe that these guys are going to be very, very solid in 2018. Of course you have ; you saw the injustice he received in that fight with Andre Dirrell. He will get his rematch – fortunately without the uncle (Leon Lawson). I really believe he’ll become a champion too. That division (super middleweight) is very hot, right now.”
“SuperFly2,” which takes place on February 24, at the Forum, near Los Angeles, will open up ticket sales next week. (From a press release: “Advance tickets for SUPERFLY 2, priced at $250, $150, $100, $60 and $30 will go On-Sale Tuesday, December 12 at 12:00 p.m. PT”)…Seriously, I love the Mandalay Bay, wish every big fight in Las Vegas was here…I can be reached at email@example.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.