David Benavidez’s March 13th clash with Ronald Ellis is set to sit atop a Showtime tripleheader. Dan Rafael reports that the broadcast will also feature a lightweight clash between Isaac Cruz and Jon Fernandez alongside Kudratillo Abdukakhorov vs Javier Flores at welterweight.
This confirms earlier reports from various sources.
Cruz (20-1-1, 15 KO), a 22-year-old 5’4.5” tank of a lightweight from Mexico City, had a true breakout 2020 that began with a majority decision over Thomas Mattice on ShoBox. This set up an IBF eliminator against Diego Magdaleno, whom “Pitbull” obliterated in just 53 seconds on the Davis-Santa Cruz undercard. Despite the victory theoretically putting him next in line for a crack at Teofimo Lopez after George Kambosos Jr., he’s got a genuine opponent ahead of him in Spain’s Fernandez (21-1, 18 KO), winner of five straight since a 2018 loss to O’Shaquie Foster.
As Rafael notes, however, the matchup is contingent on Fernandez securing a visa, which is far from a given.
The opener will mark Abdukakhorov’s (17-0, 9 KO) first fight since leaving Top Rank for Sampson Boxing earlier this year and his first fight period since an August 2019 decision over Luis Collazo. He sits atop the IBF welterweight rankings and had previously indicated that his March bout would be a “keep-busy fight”, so it’s no surprise that he’s taking it easy against Puerto Rico’s Flores (15-2, 13 KO). Flores did blow up unbeaten Angel Ruiz in 2019, though, so perhaps a smidge of caution is warranted.
Not an awful card, especially that middle fight, but not exactly the sort of ammunition to pack when facing Estrada-Chocolatito 2.