Tonight's edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights is live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.com at 9pm EDT from the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Tex., headlined by a Bad Left Hook favorite taking on a tricky veteran in a fight that amounts to risky career move as much as anything.
Fernando Guerrero (21-0, 16 KO) is moving down from 160 to 154 pounds for tonight's main event, as the Maryland-based, Dominican-born prospect takes on Oklahoma veteran and former "Contender" winner Grady Brewer (27-12, 15 KO). Brewer, now 40, has not won a significant fight since 2008, when he squeaked past Cornelius "K9" Bundrage in a terrible TV stinker. In January 2010, he was used as a stepping stone for Erislandy Lara, who stopped him in the 10th round.
Guerrero, 24, is still young, but at 5'9" his height and lack of big power seemed to limit his opportunities to rise to the top of the class as a middleweight. If he's able to make 154 comfortably, I think his athleticism serves him better there. He's already become a hometown attraction in Salisbury, and is close to taking those next steps from Friday Night Fights and ShoBox appearances into a potential bigger fight. A good, decisive win over Brewer could inspire he and his team to take a big leap next, if a fight makes sense.
In the co-feature, Karim Mayfield (13-0-1, 8 KO) takes on Steve "2 Pound" Forbes (35-9, 11 KO) in welterweight action. Despite the record, Mayfield isn't particularly young at 30, and he also hasn't fought in a year. The 34-year-old Forbes is a fan favorite because of his willingness to take tough fights, and he parlayed his "Contender" final loss to Brewer in 2006 into an eventual money tune-up date with Oscar de la Hoya in 2008. Overall, he's just 3-6 in his last nine, and I have to guess the hope here is for Mayfield to get on the map by getting whatever rub Forbes has left to give.
Tonight's song choice courtesy Matt Miller, who notes, "The great songs always lend themselves well to stripped down acoustic versions." Well said.