Jessie Vargas will move on to the Mayweather vs Cotto card on May 5 with a win over Lanardo Tyner tonight. (Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime)
Tonight's ShoBox: The New Generation is live at 11 p.m. EST on Showtime, and we'll have live round-by-round coverage immediately following ESPN Friday Night Fights.
It's a double-header with pay-per-view implications for one of the fighters, as Jessie Vargas (17-0, 9 KO) is risking a spot on the Mayweather vs Cotto card on May 5 in tonight's welterweight main event against Lanardo Tyner (25-6-2, 15 KO). Vargas, 22, is promoted by Mayweather and a win tonight and no injuries will guarantee him the opening bout in Las Vegas, which would make for his second straight Mayweather PPV support slot. Vargas defeated Josesito Lopez on September 17 on the Mayweather vs Ortiz card.
Tyner, 36, is no pushover, but certainly is the strong underdog tonight, and a win would be a major upset. He's given good rounds to a lot of fighters before, including Wale Omotoso, and he was the guy who ended the screaming, shouting, grunting rise of Antwone Smith in 2010. Tyner has also faced and lost to Canelo Alvarez and Lamont Peterson in the past, but is 1-3-2 in his last six fights. Given that this fight was put together on about a week's notice as far as anyone knew, it's not a bad matchup.
In the co-feature, former junior middleweight fluke contender Deandre Latimore (22-3, 17 KO) takes his first fight as a Mayweather-promoted pugilist, facing Colombia's Milton Nunez (23-3-1, 21 KO). Nunez, 24, has a height advantage tonight and looked like a much bigger man at the weigh-in:
Both are listed at 5'9". Once again, take listed boxer heights with a grain of salt. Or a big handful.
I call Latimore a one-time fluke contender because he got there on the strength of a debatable stoppage win over Sechew Powell, and really hasn't done anything since then except return to reality. He's just not that good; neither is Sechew Powell, who defeated Latimore in a 2010 rematch. He was the new hot fighter in St. Louis for about five minutes in 2008-09 -- after beating Powell, he sat around for 10 months and then fought Cory Spinks for the vacant IBF belt at 154, and the STL crowd booed Spinks and cheered Latimore at the outset. By the end, with Spinks winning the fight, they had changed their tune, and Latimore has largely drifted off into irrelevance. It's not really his fault, and he's hoping Mayweather will get him more fights. Considering Jessie Vargas hasn't fought since September, it might not be the smartest hope.
As for Nunez, he's got a phony Colombian record and has been knocked out in the first round three times, including twice in his last four fights. He's 2-2 in those fights, beating a guy who was 1-1 and a guy who was 0-8, and getting smacked down by Gennady Golovkin and Hugo Kasperski. Nunez also lost a TKO-1 in 2008 to fellow Colombian fugazi Nilson Tapia, another later Golovkin victim. He's a late sub opponent for Ryan Davis, who also wasn't a fitting ShoBox fighter against Latimore, and failed an eye exam.