Yudel Jhonson faces Willie Nelson in tonight's ShoBox main event. (Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime)
Tonight at 11 p.m. EDT from Texas Station in Las Vegas, ShoBox: The New Generation goes live on Showtime with a double-header in the junior middleweight and super middleweight divisions.
In the 10-round, 154-pound main event, Cuba's Yudel Jhonson (12-0, 8 KO) faces late replacement opponent Willie Nelson (17-1, 11 KO) in a potentially intriguing matchup. Jhonson, 30, has good skills and a legit-looking future in the division, a 5'10" southpaw who has been impressive thus far against decent if shop-worn professional opposition.
Originally, he was supposed to face veteran Freddy Hernandez, a tall, lanky right-hander, but instead will be facing Nelson, a 6'3" righty from Cleveland who was seen last year on ShoBox in his first career loss against Vincent Arroyo. Arroyo is a scrappy, good little fighter, so it's not a bad loss, but on that night, Nelson frankly looked like he had little to offer beyond the club level outside of being freakishly tall. If he's tightened up his approach in the last year, though, maybe we've got a fight on our hands. He's 25 now, so improvement wouldn't be unheard of or anything. On paper, the fight is Jhonson's, but ShoBox has delivered more than a few stunners over the years.
The co-feature is meant to showcase DiBella Entertainment's Badou Jack (10-0, 8 KO), a Swedish-born super middleweight now living in and fighting out of Las Vegas. Jack, 28, has been very impressive so far, but against very, very limited competition. He's got the raw talent, and he's got a big attitude when he's in the ring, but it remains to be seen how he'll fare against, well, guys who can fight.
His opponent tonight is Colombia's Alexander Brand (17-0, 15 KO), who has a very Colombian record, but not that Colombian of a record, I suppose. It's worth noting that his only two non-stoppage wins are also his only two fights outside of his home country, as he's gone 2-0 in decision wins that took place in the United States and Dominican Republic. I've got a decent idea of what to expect from Brand, but again, you just never know. Milton Nunez was supposed to be a pushover for Deandre Latimore, too.