Tonight's "Double Assault" split-site pay-per-view from Puerto Rico and Mexico (9pm ET, $34.99) features a double main event with a couple of pretty interesting fights that will have an impact on two weight divisions that are or could soon be in a state of major change.
Note: The card will also be available at GoFightLive.TV for $9.99.
Bad Left Hook will have live, round-by-round coverage, scoring and analysis of the entire card. Now, we preview those two main events.
WBC Junior Flyweight Title: Rodel Mayol (26-4-1, 20 KO) v. Omar Nino (28-3-1, 11 KO)
Filipino Mayol had a big 2009, staying in major divisional fights against Ivan Calderon (twice) and long-reigning titleholder Edgar Sosa. Against Calderon, Mayol came away with a technical draw after six rounds in June (the first blemish on Calderon's pro record) and a close TD loss after seven rounds in September. He was matched with Sosa in November, and scored one of the major upsets of the year, dethroning the WBC titlist by second round TKO in Sosa's 11th defense of the title he won in 2007.
The win was highly controversial, however. Mayol hurt Sosa with a blatant headbutt, then put him away just moments later. Sosa protested, but Mayol holds the title for now, and will make his first defense tonight.
33-year-old Omar Nino Romero is no stranger to controversy himself. In August 2006, he took on then-unbeaten Brian Viloria for Viloria's WBC 108-pound title. He upset "Hawaiian Punch" by unanimous decision, then held onto the title with a majority draw result in a rematch three months later on the Pacquiao-Morales III undercard.
But Nino failed his post-fight drug test, vacated the belt, and was suspended. He was out of the ring for all of 2007, not making his return until June 2008, and upon return promptly lost a split decision to Juanito Rubillar. Since then he's gone 3-0, and has avenged the loss to Rubillar.
This is kind of a wild card fight. 33 is very old for a junior flyweight, and whether he employs dirty tactics or not (he does), Mayol has come into his own, and is one of the division's toughest opponents. The Nino that outboxed Brian Viloria would outbox this Mayol, too, but I don't know if that Nino is still here. Mayol is aggressive, does what he has to do, and is a good puncher. Nino has been stopped twice in his career (though both were a long time ago, 2004 and 1998), so he's got some vulnerability there.
This is kind of tough to call. Mayol is the best opponent Nino has faced since Viloria, which was over three years ago, and frankly Nino is the worst opponent Mayol has faced in a while now, but still a good boxer as far as we know, and Mayol's fight with Sosa barely counts anyway. Mayol will probably be coming to knock Nino out, because I don't think he expects any favors fighting in Nino's hometown. Mayol TKO-10
Vacant WBO Junior Featherweight Title: Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (17-0-1, 14 KO) v. Marvin Sonsona (14-0-1, 12 KO)
Two young guns in the 122-pound division, though who knows how long Sonsona will be staying here. After jumping from 115 pounds for having trouble with weight, Sonsona reportedly struggled to make 122 as well. It's not that surprising, really. At 19, he's still maturing and probably won't know his optimal fighting weight for another couple of years.
One thing I do know is Sonsona has serious talent, and is the most exciting prospect to come out of the Philippines in quite a while. He has mental makeup questions right now, but again, he's 19, and honestly I chalk a lot of that stuff up to simply being 19.
Sonsona didn't look good at all in his November fight with Alejandro Hernandez, leaving Ontario with a draw, two months after he put on a hell of a good fight with veteran Jose "Carita" Lopez in the same building, winning the WBO junior bantamweight title. We'll see how he looks at a new weight tonight as he travels to hostile territory to take on Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.
Though he's younger and has less pro fights, Sonsona has a big experience advantage in this fight, as Vazquez had no real amateur career. Vazquez also has yet to beat anyone quite as good as "Carita" Lopez, meaning Sonsona has the best pro win of the two of them.
Vazquez, trained by his father, has developed nicely, and clearly has natural instincts for the sport. He is a strong, accurate puncher, and has been running over solid gatekeepers like Genaro Garcia (TKO-7) and Jose Angel Beranza (wide UD-12). As far as international hype goes, the 25-year-old Vazquez Jr. hasn't gotten the push that a lot of young Puerto Rican stars do, as his climb up the ladder hasn't met the same U.S. fanfare that Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Lopez experienced. He has built up a following in Florida, fighting mostly at the Civic Center in Kissimmee. This will be his first fight in Puerto Rico since 2007, and just the second of his career.
In other words, it's a homecoming for Vazquez, and it could be an emotional one. I really like Vazquez, more than most do, perhaps. I already have him ranked top 10 at 122 pounds, but I'm struggling with this fight. There's a lot Vazquez has going for him -- talent, maturity, home field.
But then I look at Sonsona, and what I try to do is forget the last disappointing outing. Again, he's young, these things are going to happen. You don't just judge a relief pitcher on his last few innings, and with Sonsona, I'm trying to see the guy who fought Jose Lopez. When I do that, I see a very talented, fast, powerful southpaw fighter who can flat-out go when the bell rings.
I think that spells trouble for Vazquez. But if Sonsona struggled as badly with weight as some have speculated and reported, he could be in for a rude awakening in Bayamon. I'm tentatively taking Sonsona SD-12 in a competitive, entertaining fight.
On the undercard:
Lightweights: Daniel Estrada (21-1, 17 KO) v. Angel Alirio Rivero (21-7-1, 14 KO). Rivero has been stopped six times. This should be a win for Estrada in Guadalajara, and will be the only other fight from Mexico on the PPV broadcast.
Cruiserweights: Carlos Negron (7-0, 5 KO) v. Roy Ashworth (5-7, 1 KO). So guess what sort of fight this is? Most interesting thing is that Negron is 6'6". He looks like a basketball player, to be honest.
Flyweights: McWilliams Arroyo v. Eliecer Sanchez. Both are making their pro debuts. Arroyo is the prospect.
Bantamweights: McJoe Arroyo v. Giovanni Rivera (0-2, 0 KO). The other Arroyo is also making his pro debut. McJoe is an awesome first name.
Junior Featherweights: Jonathan Oquendo (17-2, 11 KO) v. Reynaldo Lopez (30-7-3, 21 KO). This won't be on the PPV show as far as I know, as it hasn't been listed in any of the releases I've gotten about it, while the other fights I've listed here all have. Considering how long those three showcase fights are likely to last, I don't know why not other than time concerns about the actual block of TV they have available. I'd rather see this than the showcases, but what can you do? At least I get to see McJoe.