An interesting fight announcement that slipped through the cracks on Tuesday: WBA “world” super featherweight champion Roger Gutierrez will compete in his native Venezuela for the first time in more than 2.5 years when he takes on Hector Garcia on July 10th in Caracas.
“It is a dream come true to defend my title in my country, in my land, with my people. I want to thank the authorities of Caracas for this effort, and God willing, I hope to give everyone who comes to see us that day a great joy, defending my world title for the second time,” said Gutierrez at a press conference.
This one’s got some odd history behind it. Gutierrez (26-3-1, 20 KO), who burst onto the world stage with a pair of wins over former conqueror Rene Alvarado, was originally supposed to fight former interim champion Chris Colbert as part of the WBA’s title reduction process. “The Kid” wound up catching COVID less than a month from fight night, leaving Colbert to fight Garcia (15-0, 10 KO) on three weeks’ notice.
Though Garcia had some impressive amateur accomplishments, including an Olympic appearance, his thin professional résumé made him look the part of a stay-busy opponent. Instead, he thoroughly dominated “Prime Time” and scored a heavy knockdown en route to a one-sided decision win.
It’s a very good fight that could produce some great action. I do want to point out something, though: the press release calls this a title defense for Gutierrez. The “super” belt’s been vacant ever since Gervonta Davis vacated it last August to focus on competing at 135. I’m not sure why they’re staging this matchup without the real belt on the line, and it’s giving me the sense that the WBA will do what they did with Alberto Machado and just put together a vacant “super” title fight without Gutierrez involved.