March 5, 2016 looks to be a hot date on the boxing calendar as HBO and Showtime go head-to-head featuring rising fighters Julian Williams and Luis Ortiz in their respective main events. Both bouts are of the showcase variety as the two boxers need one more win to secure major fights in their respective divisions. Who will you watch live? Read the break down and let me know your thoughts…
Leading the Showtime triple header from the Sands Casino in Bethleham, PA is Philadelphia’s Julian “J-Rock” Williams (21-0-1, 13 ko’s), who enters the contest as the world’s #8 ranked Jr. Middleweight according to RING MAGAZINE. He will face an unknown commodity in Marcello Matano (16-1, 5 ko’s) of Occhiobello, Veneto, Italy. The stipulations of the bout state that the winner becomes the mandatory challenger for Jermall Charlo’s 154 lb IBF title.
This match will likely be fought in front of an extremely pro-Williams crowd as the venue is roughly an hour away from his native West Philadelphia. The locals are excited for a glimpse at a fighter they feel is a sure-shot future champion. On a national scope, they also like J-Rock but many boxing fans consider it a mystery how his Venetian opponent back-doored into a title elimination bout against such a highly regarded fighter.
For Matano, this contest will mark his first bout outside of his native Italy. Despite building a record in the boxing equivalent Parts Unknown, Matano seems to like his chances against his undefeated counter part.
He went on record to say “What will happen when Williams has to go to the championship rounds? Will he be ready? I know for sure that I will. This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I will do all I can to grab it.”
Matano has won four consecutive fights since suffering his lone career loss 15 months ago – a 9th round stoppage at the hands of an Italian club fighter.
How Matano got to this point is of no concern of Team Williams. The IBF pegged him as a worthy challenger – so one way or another – he must go if Williams is to fulfill his life-long dream of fighting for a world title.
“This upcoming fight will be the biggest fight of my career,” Williams said in a recent press release. “I’m chomping at the bit to get back out there. I am taking my opponent very seriously, and I refuse to let Marcello Matano stop me from being a world champion.”
To me, that sounds like trouble. I’m willing to bet the house that Williams gets his third straight knockout in this one. They should have just cut to the chase and sanctioned Williams vs. Charlo. Unfortunately the sport and business of boxing doesn’t work that way. On the flip side – maybe it isn’t so bad that the kid gets a nice payday on his last port stop before reaching the divisions shark infested waters.
Supporting this card will be undefeated middleweight contender Antoine Douglas taking on former world champion Sam Soliman in a 10-round middleweight bout. In the opening bout of the telecast, prospect Tony Harrison will face veteran former world title challenger Fernando Guerrero in a 10-round Jr. Middleweight contest.
Tickets to Marshall Kauffman’s King’s Promotions event at the Sands Casino are priced at $100, $75 and $45, not including applicable service charges and taxes and are on sale now. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster.com. To charge by phone, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.
On the same night in The National’s Capital, red-hot Heavyweight contender Luis “Real King Kong” Ortiz (24-0, 21 KOs) takes on two-time world title challenger Tony Thompson.
Many inside sources confirm that it has been a real struggle to find an opponent for the Ortiz. His most recent fight was a boxing masterpiece against Philly’s Bryant “Bye-Bye” Jennings, leaving no doubt that his is one of the sports truly elite boxers. At 36 years old, he still looks fresh as a daisy.
“This fight is just another stepping stone on my path to becoming the unified heavyweight world champion,” Ortiz said. “I came to the United States to chase my American dream, and fighting at the nation’s capital is a dream come true. My life is coming full circle, and I know that this fight will put me a step closer to achieving everything I have worked so hard for in my career.”
He is near the top now and most of his earlier career baggage seems to be in the rear view mirror.
While most of the heavyweights with rank were busy ducking the 6’4″ fighter who learned his craft in the Cuban amateur boxing system – it comes to no surprise that old school wily veteran Tony Thompson was willing to accept the assignment in his hometown of Washington D.C.
“The Tiger” has made a living on the road – and more than once he pulled off victories when the odds were stacked against him. During the course of his 15 year professional career, Thompson scored wins over world rated contenders in England, Canada, Germany, California, Tennessee and most recently – a win over another Cuban defector Odlandier Solis in Turkey.
His four career defeated come with no shame either. Two of which came to the hands of longtime Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (both KO losses), one to highly regarded Kubrat Pulev in Germany and his most recent bout was a decision against Philly native Malik Scott in Florida.
“Odlanier Solis was a great Cuban amateur, but he was also an Olympic gold medalist, and I beat him twice,” Thompson said. “Ortiz thinks he has it tough. I’ve been avoided for my entire career. Just about all my fights have been on short notice and in foreign countries. If I fought the guys Ortiz fought, I’d be undefeated too. If Ortiz is King Kong, I’m Godzilla — Godzilla coming to whoop some ass.”
While it has been one heck of a run for the now at 44 years old, many are thinking we have come to the end of the road. There is only one way to silence the critics in this sport – that is by winning! If odds are even placed on the fight – Thompson will surely be a huge underdog. Part of thinks he would have it no other way.
Supporting this bout is a Welterweight clash between Sadam Ali and Jesse Vargas for the vacant WBO title. This should be a barn burner.
This Golden Boy Promotions event will be held at the D.C Armory – tickets can be purchased through http://www.ticketmaster.com/
Where will you be watching on March 5th? How do you see these fights? Drop a comment to let us know your thoughts!