The Weekend TV Cheat Sheet
By Marty Mulcahey, MaxBoxing (July 30, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing  
July is going out with a bang. This weekend’s action is highlighted by a PPV card built specifically to provide highly competitive fights, from the top of the card to the opening feature. Sadly, the promoter/fan relationship has become so jaded that this PPV is actually marketing itself as unique because it has no weak match-ups, with every fight a near 50-50 proposition as to who emerges as the winner. This tells fans that promoters know other PPVs have weak undercards, which are foisted upon paying customers because promoters understand the main event is the only selling point. There are other good cards aside from the PPV (which will be featured in a special Cheat Sheet tomorrow) with ESPN2, FOX Sports Espanol, and Telefutura throwing in shows to round out a busy weekend. Fans, boxing websites, and sanctioning bodies will pay close attention to the results, which are sure to shake up top-ten rankings in more than a few weight classes.

Friday, July 30th
At The Buffalo Run Casino, Miami, OK
(ESPN2) Delvin Rodriguez (25-4-2) vs. Ashley Theophane (26-4-1)
(ESPN2) Don George (20-0-1) vs. Francisco Sierra (21-3)

Francisco Sierra – A young Mexican slugger, 22-years-old, with a slay-or-be-slain attitude. Sierra enters with good natural power, 20 of 21 opponents were stopped and in his last bout, stopped once-formidable (in the late 1990s) WBO titlist Jose Luis Lopez in the sixth round. Is not purely a banger, Sierra traveled the 12-round distance once and went ten rounds with mirror-image countryman Rigoberto Alvarez. Two of his losses were to Alvarez, who just has Sierra’s number. The other was a telling one-round destruction at the fists of Edison Miranda, in which Sierra got caught up in the moment and swung for the fences from the opening bell. Aside from the aforementioned, his opposition has been mediocre with the exception of victories over useful blue-collar guys Henry Porras and Esteban Camou. Has fought as high as 175 pounds but is at his best fighting at super middleweight. This is Sierra’s second fight in America, losing to Miranda on the other occasion. The reason for his setbacks is simple: absolutely no defense. When Sierra attempts to keep his arms up, he spreads them to punch and a lack of head movement makes it as if Sierra was framing his head with his arms to make a better target. 90-percent of the time, his left glove hangs really low, nearly to his knees, and Sierra is too lanky to get his frame into a defensive posture in time to block punches. In footage I saw, he eats straight right hands; at times, Sierra jumps in with punches which leave him unable to react to short punches. At 6’1”, Sierra has size and length but little idea of how to use it and almost skips in with his jab instead of sticking his foot down to gain leverage. Whips punches to the body well, at times, looking like a sidearm pitcher to get his body blows behind the foes elbows. Sierra is not pretty to watch but, when given space, can be dangerous in short spurts.

Donovan George – Doubly good-looking- as in modeling and boxing ability- this Chicago-based prospect has the right package to succeed. A crowd-pleasing banger, George just had a12-fight kayo streak snapped with an exciting eight-round win over former Olympian Osumanu Adama on Showtime. An aggressive offensive force, he won a lot of amateur accolades (three-time Chicago Golden Gloves champ and two-time runner-up in national tourneys), despite taking part in less than 40 amateur bouts. Father was an amateur boxer, so George grew up with a love for the sport. Put on gloves as early as three years old but did not start engaging in competitive amateur bouts until age 16. Turned pro at 19 after failing to qualify for Olympic slot and has not looked back, registering 17 KOs in 20 victories. George’s publicity train is getting a head of steam, throwing out first pitches at Chicago Cubs games (is that really a good omen?) and he has been spotted at Freddie Roach’s gym taking in advice. George says of his style, “I’m a boxer-puncher but I like to get in there; I like to mix it up. Pretty much all action, all the time. I go for the win, of course, but I want the knockout badly and I’ll be willing to do just about whatever it takes to get that knockout.” Only two fights went six rounds or more with every other opponent dispatched before the fifth stanza. Has Banger’s Disease on defense, where a lack of head movement and perceived invulnerability leads to his eating unnecessary punches. Said to be ambidextrous and claims to throw with equal power in both hands. Level of competition has been middling- before his last fight- for a prospect with 21 fights. Midwest journeyman Shay Mobley and erratic Jason Naugler top that list but all were stopped in style. Calls Diego Corrales and Sugar Ray Robinson his boxing inspirations. Straight right hand is finishing blow of choice and kayo ratio of 81% is indicative of his killer instinct. Weight has fluctuated from middleweight to super middle but George would be wise to get down to middleweight if his body can make that without suffering. Was inactive for a year-and-a-half between 2007 and 2009 and I read reports of multiple brushes with the law that surprised me since his father was a policeman. Seems intent to fight at 168 pounds, where there are plenty of fellow young guns to make a reputation against.

Verdict – This will be an exciting fight and most bettors would wager on the under for a rounds proposition. Form is the main reason to pick George with his quicker and shorter punches reaching the target faster than Sierra’s looping shots. George also showed against Adama that he can take a punch and deal with a physically stronger opponent as well. Sierra revealed the opposite in losses. George should be able to get inside with Sierra to wear down the Mexican with body shots and uppercuts. The Chicagoan is simply too strong and composed for Sierra to rattle and I can’t see this fight lasting beyond five rounds. I like George by violent stoppage.

Ashley Theophane – This is “Treasure” Theophane’s third appearance on ESPN2, a Londoner whose rakish personality is perfectly suited for fighting in hostile environments. Has had mixed results in America, defeating DeMarcus Corley by a wide decision but suffering a decision loss to Ali Oubaali, despite knocking his foe down. Two fights ago, on ESPN2, he lost a split decision to hot Golden Boy prospect Danny Garcia that some ringsiders had Theophane winning on affective aggression in a sloppy fight, early on. But Theophane faded late, allowing a younger foe to outwork him in the final rounds. Interviews reveal Theophane as an historical student of the game, walking into a gym at the age of eight to emulate his heroes. Had an average amateur record of 40-10, in the well-organized and competitive English system, where Theophane’s speed and accuracy should have afforded more wins. Is not a big puncher- only seven stoppages in 26 wins- but is cocky and got into a sparring session altercation with Paul Malignaggi at Gleason’s Gym before his American debut. I assume their similarly sized egos could not coexist in that small space. Has been out of the ring for eight months but enters every fight with a ton of confidence and fast feet. Is a counter-puncher at heart who only pushes forward when he senses an advantage. Theophane squares himself to opponents too much, allowing him to fire with either hand or his snappy jab but exposes his whole body as a target in the process. Has a good chin, all three losses are by decision and is at his best when he sets to fire a combination after having backed up to create space. Just went 12 rounds in a competitive fight last month, so Theophane will be in shape for this outing. Despite win over Corley, has not defeated his toughest opponents (sparring with Joan Guzman helps) and, at 29, needs to kick it into high gear if serious about a title shot.

Delvin Rodriguez – As this slugger was coming up on ESPN2 (12 appearances so far), I thought his familiarity with the network lead to an overhyping by the announcers, resulting in a limited brawler making it to a title appearance. I felt vindicated when Rodriguez was upset by Jesse Feliciano. However, Rodriguez then pulled off some good wins and surprised me with a quality win over Shamone Alvarez. Just as I was about to reverse myself and declare Rodriguez a real contender, he went and lost twice in world title challenges to beatable titlists. So I remain confused, given the circumstance of his wins and losses, as to Rodriguez’ true abilities. There can be no doubt that he is a good TV fighter who comes out swinging from the opening bell, looking to end fights at any chance afforded him. Dominican-born but raised in Connecticut, he started boxing at age ten. Won some regional titles but, because of a reliance on power, never advanced far in national tourneys. A physical force, Rodriguez wears on opponents with thudding blows and a lot of pushing and leaning when allowed to get inside. His blows are of the thudding variety but when allowed to get full extension, Rodriguez can end a bout with one shot. Does get caught with punches and has been rocked on multiple occasions, especially when his offense is clicking and he lapses mentally by widening his stance to load up for more power. In two most recent setbacks, it was surprising Rodriguez could not finish Hlatshwayo and Rafal Jackiewicz after hurting them, which is usually a strong suit. Averaged three fights a year since 2006, which coincides with a step up in caliber of opposition. Is not afraid to travel, fighting in South Africa and Poland. Many thought location hurt Rodriguez in his draw to Hlatshwayo and controversial loss to Jackiewicz, where Rodriguez threw many more punches but did not follow a consistent jab with enough combinations. Regardless, win, lose, or draw, Rodriguez delivers on the entertainment front.

Verdict – This could be a tougher fight for Rodriguez than most expect, given his propensity to ignore defense against boxers he feels do not have the strength to hurt him. Actually, losing the opening two rounds and eating some big shots will wake Rodriguez up and lead him to a decision victory by sweeping the final three rounds on the basis of his strength and size advantage. I should note that these two know each other as well, having sparred against each in the last two years. Theophane is quicker than Rodriguez and better with his feet, as well, but has the same tendency as Rodriguez to get caught up in exchanges when boxing would be the wiser option. If a knockdown is scored, it will be for Rodriguez- a naturally bigger man- who gets better as the rounds wear on and opponents are slowed by debilitating shots taking effect. The late rounds are key, where Rodriguez is better and Theophane showed stress in his loss to Garcia a couple months ago. Rodriguez takes those rounds and a close decision.

At the Moon Palace Resort, Cancun, Mexico
(Telefutura) Danny Garcia (17-0) vs. Jorge Romero (17-2)
(Telefutura) Marco Periban (8-0) vs. Franco Sanchez (12-6-2)

Franco Sanchez – With a nickname like "El Mortero," I would expect Sanchez to have more than five stoppages in 20 fights. Maybe Sanchez kills with kindness? 30-year-old Argentine turned pro almost seven years ago and distinguished himself in two good performances against one-time prospect Julio Dominguez. That was parlayed into a bout with hard-punching former WBA light heavyweight champion Hugo Garay, who promptly knocked Sanchez down in the first round but was disqualified for hitting him after the bell ending the second round tolled. Sanchez is a burly guy with broad chest but has short arms and a telling lack of balance on the attack. When pressed, will really open his stance to cock his arms and release a punch and is so crude that his awkwardness makes him effective in spots. His hooks either loop or are thrown straight from his shoulders, decreasing their velocity and when trying to avoid a punch, Sanchez often just bends at the waist and keeps his head down instead of moving. On defense, should be given credit for at least trying to move his upper body but it is more like a swaying action because he does not do it fast enough or dip low enough. Though Sanchez has been stopped, it takes more than one punch discourage Sanchez. The movement of Sanchez is so unorthodox that it is hard to hit him cleanly because he does not move as expected. Currently riding a four-fight winning streak, the best of which was a KO win over slippery Martin Bruer and brings some confidence to the dance. Recently took a break, not fighting at all in 2008 before returning with four bouts in 2009 and once already this year. Could be in better physical shape and fought at as high as 191 pounds last year. This will be Sanchez’s first fight outside his native Argentina and it might discourage him from ever leaving his home again.

Marco Periban – A refined boxer with good power, he is one of the few bright spots for Mexican boxing above 160 pounds. Periban has been on the radar since the amateurs, fighting on the Mexican national team defeating Cuban Emilio Correa and medaling in the Central American Games. In matches against American boxers, scored a dominant win over current prospect Shawn Porter and also knocked down Daniel Jacobs before losing a controversial decision in San Diego. As a pro, some eyebrows were raised when Periban was dropped by unheralded Salomon Rodriguez, rallying to barely edge out a split decision win. Those with more positive thoughts saw that Periban overcame the knockdown and did not panic, fighting his way back on the scorecards with accurate right hands. In his last fight, scored a solid victory over quality trial horse Jason Naugler, one of two stoppages of the proven survivor. At 6′ 2½″, has good size but his body lacks definition and it does not look like Periban is a physically strong boxer who can hang on the inside with some of the more established young names like Fernando Guerrero or Edwin Rodriguez. The level of opposition since November of last year- three opponents- has been both good and educational in their positives and flaws. Periban has one hybrid punch, a good half hook/uppercut, which he likes to throw at mid-range and especially up the middle, snapping heads back. Like most Mexicans has an affinity for body work, delivering every punch with good balance and form. Even when there is no opening, Periban will throw something, just to keep the range and maintain contact with his pressurized foe. His punches are snappy, which have caused cuts on several of his opponents. On defense, keeps a high guard and always has one glove to his chin, depending on what hand is being thrown. Turned pro at 162 pounds but, at age 25, it is too bad Periban could not cut some weight and try to establish himself at middleweight where there looks to be more title opportunities. A blue-chip prospect with a good work ethic, he will remind many of a Hispanic Kelly Pavlik.

Verdict – This is a classic brawler vs. boxer match and you have to favor Periban on style points alone. The former amateur star will work his one-twos early and then open up the other tools he has over Sanchez. Too fast, too compact, too powerful, and too mobile for his lumbering opponent. It will take some softening up but Periban gets a stoppage before the fifth round.

Jorge Romero – The 20-year-old Mexican has a good record but of 17 wins, only three have come against fighters with winning records. Like other Mexican boxers, turned pro early at age 16, keeping a good pace of fights averaging five ring appearances a year. Reportedly had his jaw broken nine months ago in a loss to Jesus Gurrola. Has since registered a win but that injury could be a concern that rests in the back of Romero’s head. There is not much to Romero as far as left or right angles go; he lines up opponents and comes down the middle behind a lot of punches. Is a volume guy, throwing punches with limited effect because of a lack of balance advancing, often pushing punches instead of stepping into them. Some recent YouTube footage shows Romero feinting in spots to try and create openings, so he could be more than an unteachable one-trick pony. Keeps his hands high and has better reflexes on defense than for getting his punches on target to take advantage of quick openings. Often steps back to avoid a jab from an opponent, expecting him to rush in again, but does not place a jab of his own in the opening he just created with movement. Has gone the ten-round distance once, losing a split decision to a then 16-17-6 Cristian Favela. However, Favela is better than his record indicates and Romero obviously improved because of the loss and scored six straight stoppages. This will be Romero’s first fight outside of his hometown of Culiacan, hometown of legend Julio Cesar Chavez, and the only discernable edge he has over Garcia is that he retains a home country advantage. Has not defeated or even faced a boxer worthy of high praise, so it will be interesting to see how Romero does when matched with a speed guy like Garcia.

Danny Garcia – The first trip outside America for Garcia as a pro. The Philadelphian is registering fights in quick succession recently, becoming the American Erislandy Lara by happily accepting any fights that are televised. Had a tough ten-round fight against Ashley Theophane on ESPN2 five months ago, remaining composed to rally in the late rounds to secure a split decision victory. One of Golden Boy Promotions’ few East Coast signings, Garcia has been making steady progress, fighting all over America and now Mexico. Returned to Philadelphia to score an impressive kayo against Mexican banger Enrique Colin on a Bernard Hopkins undercard and has a knack of delivering his best work when TV’s spotlight shines on him. Garcia’s boxing skills were instilled at the amateur level, a 107-13 record, winning a National Golden Gloves title and topping out as an Olympic alternate. Growing up in the tough Philly gym system will serve him as well, if not better, in the pros as did his time with the national amateur team. Garcia has really quick hands and his feet keep him in continual contact with the target. I would not qualify Garcia as a strong puncher but his punches land with sudden authority and make a solid popping sound. Needs to work on keeping the hands up but not at the expense of his aggressiveness. Displays good head movement and reflexes but, because he is usually moving forward, has not been tested a lot defensively. Upped his level of competition in 2009 and this year, seemingly focusing more and getting better performances out of himself. The win over Theophane was difficult but showed Garcia’s resilience and mental strength to believe in his game plan. A deep welterweight division should delay any kind of title push back for Garcia to early 2012 but watching him get to that point should be exciting. Still, the 22-year-old is more mature and calm in the ring than most boxers at this stage of their careers.

Verdict - Romero will not be intimidated by Garcia’s power but the American’s speed and movement will put Romero into a shell that Garcia picks apart from a distance. I have seen little footage of Romero backing up, so I doubt Romero has the abilities to deal with Garcia on his back foot. Romero lacks the speed of foot or hand and will resort to a one-punch-at-a-time approach that Garcia has shown himself adept at avoiding and countering. Garcia should look great stopping Romero because of a speed advantage but will have to work for it and not get that final result until the sixth to eighth stanzas.

Saturday, July 31st
At El Palenque de la Feria, Nayarit, Mexico
(FOX Sports) Simphiwe Nongqayi (16-0-1) vs. Juan Rosas (31-5)
(The Ring magazine #3 junior bantamweight vs. unranked)
(IBF junior bantamweight belt)
(FOX Sports) Jorge Arce (54-6-1) vs. Martin Castillo (35-3)

Juan Rosas – At 25, Rosas is a young veteran, having fought the likes of P4P candidate Fernando Montiel, veteran Puerto Rican titlist Jose Lopez, and Filipino young gun AJ Banal. Though he lost to all, he did win rounds against them and never capitulated to his fate on the scorecards. In fact, showed too much tempestuousness, with his constant aggression and combativeness resulting in point deductions by frustrated referees enforcing the rules. Because of Rosas’ relentless work rate, he can be viewed as a dirty fighter, smothering foes and allowing no space after breaks, often punching as the referee moves in or out to separate the boxers. Delivered an obviously intentional headbutt to Fernando Montiel when he could not reach him with his fists as well. This whirlwind has been ten and 12 rounds on multiple occasions and has not been stopped in five setbacks. Never stops punching and does a lot of bouncing and moving, almost running in place when not tracking down opponents. Seemingly has endless reserves of stamina and uses his stout body like a drill to bore into opponents up the middle. There is not a lot of variety to Rosas’ punches but they are always coming at opponents. Most impressive win was a ninth-round knockout of current WBC junior flyweight champion Omar Nino and, outside of a loss to Sergio Espinoza, never fell short against someone less skilled than himself. Has a stiff punch, 69% kayo ratio, and sets up victories with a lot of body work and overall volume. I cannot reiterate enough that Rosas is a pressure guy who prefers to work on the inside and once he gets his head in your chest, will stay close with his feet and sound lateral movement. Picture a stronger version of Rogers Mtagwa. Is hittable on defense but because of forward momentum, only experienced or talented foes will connect with more than a two-punch combination before backing up to reset. It’s impossible to take a round off against Rosas and if a champion or contender enters at less than 100%, Rosas’ aggression will force them to capitulate.

Simphiwe Nongqayi - It is a mistake to judge Nongqayi by his record alone. Yes, he is undefeated and only fought a total of 17 pro bouts but he had a splendid amateur apprenticeship. Has already proven he can win in Mexico with victories over both Arce brothers. A three-time national amateur champion in his native South Africa, Nongqayi won a silver in the highly-prized and competitive Commonwealth games. Is just a tough S.O.B. in the ring, unaffected by his surrounding, brushing off any temporary success his opponent might have before finding a counterstrategy to regain the upper hand. Does so not only with punches, he can frustrate opponents with his clinching, movement, or quick grab-and-release moves. Is a physically strong champion who uses quick punches at close range since he cannot be classified as stunningly fast or the type to dominate from range. Is a superb boxer/mover, luring opponents into accepting an opening before quickly beating them to the point, rattling off a combination and exiting with a quick pivot or dip to the side. Wants to counterpunch or lead opponents into open space where his compact blows and ability to select the right punch are exercised. One thing Nongqayi lacks is a big punch, six stoppages in 17 bouts, it has been three years since his last stoppage victory. Was dropped in a fight with Julio David Roque Ler but got up from that hard knockdown to sweep the final seven rounds. Has an excellent trainer in Nick Durant to guide him. There are curious gaps of inactivity I have not found explanations for, turning pro in 2002 but not fighting in 2003 and only had one each bout in 2006 and 2009. When Nongqayi has fought, it was against solid opposition and, as stated before, he has no fear of traveling (winning a title in Mexico and defending it in France) for an extra couple bucks. That shows a superior mindset and confidence, which is a sign of ring maturity. That goes to my next question: How old is Nongqayi? He was winning national and international medals in 1998, so I would assume he is past his 33rd birthday. Just by the looks of him (his yellow-dyed hair does not help), I would put Nongqayi in his late 30s and perhaps even 40? Nongqayi has angered Rosas with boasts in press. "I will give Rosas a boxing lesson before his own people. I will show you how boxing should be done. Then give a rematch at ‘Travieso’ Arce to shut his mouth once again like I did to him in the past and did to his brother." Yep, one tough S.O.B.

Verdict – Nongqayi is trickily effective, finding ways to keep his opponent close even if it means eating a couple shots to find his timing. Unfortunately for Rosas, Nongqayi has the quality Rosas needs him to lack: patience. Rosas wants opponents to feel the pressure and slip mentally as much as physically. Nongqayi is quicker than Rosas and will win exchanges because Rosas has a slight hesitation to his offense when confronted with a mover who gives angles. Rosas has no problem dealing with a puncher and will punch with opponents but when forced to adjust his feet before a punch, will lunge instead of reposition. This takes a clear hold after the first four rounds with Nongqayi finding his accuracy and distance to win a decision or cut and bruise Rosas to the point of a referee-induced stoppage. Everything seems suited for a Nongqayi win but I hesitate to choose him positively because of his age and Rosas’ pressuring tactics that can wear on older opponents. Still, Nongqayi’s body looks strong enough to endure and win a decision.

Martin Castillo – Back in 2006, I thought Castillo was one good win away from P4P status but then, he was ruined by a cut-induced loss to Nobuo Nashiro in Japan. The man who dominated champions Eric Morel, Alexander Munoz, and Francisco Tejedor was suddenly lacking something. Because Castillo still had a good name, he was given another title shot against Fernando Montiel but was humiliated by a brutal fourth-round kayo that had Castillo announcing his retirement shortly thereafter. I went back in my files and read what I wrote on Castillo back in 2006 and what a fight with Montiel should have looked like. "A fight with countryman Fernando Montiel would be the ’B’-league equivalent of Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Wilfred Benitez with Castillo playing the ‘Sugar’ role." I was obviously wrong on that but it was a different Castillo who faced Montiel. A shot Castillo, and I do not think that has changed, given his absence from the game since that loss. Castillo has had two fights since then- both in 2009- after a year-long layoff against weak opposition and, even then, Castillo had to come off the canvas to win one fight. In his prime, Castillo was an educated stalker who could hurt opponents with either hand; his accuracy and timing were surgical in their delivery. Anyone who saw Castillo decay Alexander Munoz on Telefutura and his subsequent domination of Eric Morel on the undercard of the first Erik Morales vs. Manny Pacquiao fight knows what I mean. By way of comparison, think Jorge Linares now or a Juan Manuel Lopez with less menace but equal movement and patience. Is one of the few Mexican world champions with an extensive and sterling amateur pedigree, representing Mexico in the Olympics and finishing with a 160-20 (90 KOs) record. As a pro, posted similar numbers, showing the ability to win coming forward or counterpunching because of his fluid combination punching style. Castillo’s mastery of space and wherewithal to change tactics to suit the situation made him unique. All that is in the not-so-distant past now and after the loss to Nashiro, Castillo became hesitant and, as Freddie Roach famously said of Oscar De La Hoya, "Can’t pull the trigger anymore." At 33, Castillo might still have it physically but the psychology it takes to punch with an opponent instead of waiting for an opening or leading with a punch is what sets champions apart from their contemporaries. Castillo has probably lost that and is facing a fighter in Arce whose entire being is predicated on punching with an opponent.

Jorge Arce – One of my favorite fighters of the past decade, Arce brings an enthusiasm and joy to the game that cannot be faked. Remains one of the few boxers I first witnessed in a loss, via kayo to Michael Carbajal back in 1999, whom I was so impressed and attracted to that I made a note to myself not to miss his next fight. As tough and gritty a fighter as you want to witness; his passionate offensive style has made Arce a fan favorite on both sides of the border. As he has aged, the little Mexican is becoming more reliant on one punch; since Arce realizes his speed and work rate are declining, he uses guile to pick spots in rounds to impress the judges. Arce received a lot of punishment in bouts against Darchinyan and Simphiwe Nongqayi but seemingly found new life stopping tough Angky Angkota early this year. Not sure if setbacks to Vic Darchinyan and Cristian Mijares were a case of losing to great fighters or if Arce has lost his edge and a step at age 31. Remember, Arce turned pro at age 16 (after a 37-3 amateur career) and has been in a lot of tough fights. To his credit, Arce looked in great shape physically, last time out, but there can be a concern that he is overlooking Castillo with higher profile bouts in the offing. Has been fighting top-notch guys since 1997 like Victor Burgos and Omar Nino Romero, so Arce’s body has seen better days. Nearly 67% kayo ratio is for real; stoppages have come against good opposition and are built upon a foundation of quality body work and constant pressure. Remains an offensive force with every punch still available to him; only his speed has fallen a notch. Still capable of throwing combinations in spurts but seems to be lucidly keeping reserves of stamina. Arce averages three to four fights a year; this is his third of 2010 already and logged over 340 quality rounds. A consistent pressure fighter, aside from the recent loss to underrated Simphiwe Nongqayi, Arce has not been defeated in a fight he was favored to win. Has good size for a junior bantamweight and has been maintaining the weight for the last three years. Must begin to use his ring intellect even more or there is the possibility he could become a good name on up-and-comers’ résumés.

Verdict – This is not the main event but I cover it last because of my respect for the two combatants. If Castillo had looked good in tune-up fights, I could see myself picking him on the strength of what he used to be. But Castillo is a shell of his former self and, in current form, Arce is the prudent choice. I also have the feeling Castillo did not make weight properly and will come in a weakened condition. Arce is the sharper puncher at this time and it will show in his accuracy and the stinging effect, given Castillo’s lack of quality in opposition. Castillo is prideful but will understand and succumb to the knowledge that he is in over his head by the fourth round. Look for him to minimize damage to himself by boxing from the outside. By the time the rounds reach double digits, Arce’s punches will snap Castillo’s head back, forcing the referee stop the fight while Castillo is still on his feet but clearly beaten on the cards.

Prediction record for 2010 to date: 82% (146-31)

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