Tonight at 9 pm EDT on NBC Sports, a triple-header of action is headed your way with three solid matchups, including an IBF junior middleweight title eliminator in the main event.
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Gabriel Rosado (20-5, 12 KO) will look to take a final step toward his first world title shot tonight, fighting near his Philadelphia home in Bethlehem, Penn. He'll be facing Charles Whittaker (38-12-2, 23 KO), a 38-year-old veteran from the Cayman Islands who hasn't lost since 2004, but also hasn't really fought tough competition over that stretch, either.
Rosado will be the clear favorite, as he's coming off of solid wins over Jesus Soto Karass and Sechew Powell this year, and seems to have started to come into his own in the ring. At 26, he's looking ready to make the move.
In the night's televised opener, Ronald Cruz (17-0, 12 KO) will face Antwone Smith (21-4-1, 12 KO) in a 10-round welterweight clash. Cruz, 25, was last seen on NBC Sports in June, when he beat Prenice Brewer on the Rosado-Powell undercard. Smith, still just 25 himself, has a reputation as a bit of a spoiler, owing to then-upset wins over Richard Gutierrez and Henry Crawford back in 2009. Since then, he's gone 4-3, winning when he should against lesser opponents, and falling short against Lanardo Tyner, Kermit Cintron, and Roberto Garcia.
The second fight of the night will see Sergey Kovalev (18-0-1, 16 KO) take on replacement opponent Lionell Thompson (12-1, 8 KO) in a light heavyweight bout scheduled for 10 rounds. The only blemish on Kovalev's record is a technical draw from last year, while Thompson is coming off of a split decision loss on the road in Canada. This was originally supposed to be Kovalev taking on former world titleholder Gabriel Campillo, who's still about as good as they get in the division, but Campillo pulled out with an injury.