By William Trillo
Photo-Chop: Bret “The Threat”
O.K… So I stole that line from Jay Leno, but really I couldn’t help myself. As I made my trek to downtown Los Angeles on Tuesday I ran into quite a traffic jam as I hit the Staple Center/L.A. Live area. Thinking there was no way they had the streets blocked off because of the Showtime Bantamweight Tournament press conference I was going to I wondered what was going on. It all became pretty clear to me as I got to L.A. Live and saw a hoard of teenage girls waiting in line to see the premier of Justin Bieber’s new movie. It was a madhouse of epic proportions.
But I digress.
As I got to my final destination inside The Conga Room, the principals were all on stage talking about the big show that would take place on April 23rd. The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All ,will be on SHOWTIME from Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. Joseph King Kong Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) will defend his IBF bantamweight belt against undefeated rising star Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs) in the tournament final. And former two-division world champion Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs) and former IBF bantamweight world champion Yonnhy “El Colombiano” Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs) will clash in the tournament consolation bout.
If I took anything away from the press conference of note it’s that Abner Mares, whom I considered the dark horse in this event when it all began, may very well come out way on top when everything is done. The young man seems very confident and although Agbeko is a tough customer I fully expect Abner to come out victorious.
After many ill-fated attempts to create the next “Golden Boy”, with a win Oscar may have finally found his heir apparent. As Richard Schaefer told me, “Abner has all the qualities to become a Super Star if he beats Agbeko, he is well spoken, bi-lingual and he has proven himself a true warrior in the ring after his last few fights.”
I could not disagree with that assessment. When Mares speaks he flashes that million dollar smile and if things go his way in April he could be looking at a career path paved in gold.
I also had a chance to speak with Gary Shaw about his fighter Vic Darchinyan and his chances against Perez. Shaw liked Vic’s chances but stated, “The one thing that worries me is that Vic’s head will still be in the Mares fight, he needs to focus on Perez.”
Vic would be well suited to listen to Shaw about this fight with Perez. Although it’s a consolation bout it will be a huge test and most likely a great fight. The entire night looks to be a huge score for Showtime and boxing fans.
I also spoke to Shaw about the rumor floating around that Jean Pascal would be taking on Bernard Hopkins in a rematch in May and how that sat with him and Chad Dawson. Shaw said, “First of all this is our fight and if we choose to let Jaen and Bernard fight we are going to have Chad fight a high profile contender on the undercard and the winners of each bout will face each other.”
Although Shaw did not tip his hand on the opponent it was no sooner than I got home that I found an Email from our Montreal friend and reporter Daniel Cloutier. He told me he spoke to GYM promoter Yvon Michel and it looks like the undercard fight that is going to HBO will be Dawson against either Adrian Diaconu or Librado Andrade. Reports on various sites on the internet confirm Cloutier’s revelation. The reports also confirm the winners will face each other at a later date, so basically what we have here is a little Light Heavyweight tournament that will eventually give us one of the top men at 175 pounds. It’s an interesting prospect for both HBO and boxing fans alike.
I told you this was going to be a good year!
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