There is a lot going on in local Pittsburgh boxing and I haven't really touched on any of it so I am going to compile it all together in this preview.
War in the South July 28, 2011
Carson Street Live, 7 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The doors will open at 7 p.m. and the card features many local fighters. The show is being headlined and promoted by 36-year-old Rayco "War" Saunders. Saunders (20-14-2 8 KO), who is an author, has lost his last two but they were against very good fighters.
He lost to Ismayl Sillakh in December of last year and Edison Miranda last month. Sillakh is one of the best light heavyweight prospects out there and Miranda has fought for world titles on two different occasions.
There is no shame in either loss and he went the distance with both, even though they are big punchers. He hasn't announced who he will be fighting but when I find out I will let you know.
The co-feature will be Jason Bergman (15-9-2 11 KO) against an opponent to be named. The 27-year-old Bergman is riding a six fight win streak and picked up a career best win in his last outing.
In that fight he knocked out Horace Ray Grant to win the vacant IBC Continental heavyweight title. Bergman is a prime example of a fighte who is better then his record.
The nine men who beat him were 88-20-6 coming in. 12 of those losses belonged to high end journeymen Zuri Lawerence. Most of them names are known ones such as Lawerence, Darrel Madison, Bowie Tupou, Nagy Aguilera, Nicolai Firtha, Seth Mitchell, and Grzegorz Kielsa.
Tupou, Aguilera, Mitchell, and Kielsa were all undefeated coming in. Bergman has very good power and uses it to his advantage. I underestimated Bergman myself, thinking he would lose to Grant, but he came out and totally destroyed him in two rounds.
Bergman is a can't miss fighter in the Pittsburgh area and I strongly suggest that you make the trip downtown to see him fight on July 28.
There are less then 100 tickets left for this show.
Kelly Pavlik vs Darryl Cunningham, August 6, 2011
Youngstown, Ohio. Covelli Center
Nine days after the "War in the South" former middleweight kingpin Kelly Pavlik makes a return, possibly for the last time, to Youngstown. Pavlik will face Darryl Cunningham on August 8 at the Covelli Center in Youngstown.
Pavlik is coming off a rust shaking win over Alfonso Lopez on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley. There was talk of putting Pavlik against Lucian Bute but his team wanted one more tune-up before that fight happened.
The 36-year-old Cunningham (23-2 10 KO) is a lefty like Bute but is nowhere near his skill level. He has beaten a lot of washed up contenders and not much else.
He hasn't lost since 2007 though and isn't the worst tune-up opponent ever. This may be the last time to see Pavlik close so take full advantage of it.
It appears that a rematch between Dannie Williams and Oscar Cuero will take place on the undercard. Williams (18-1 14 KO) beat Cuero on July 1 in a very close fight. The cards were wide but reports are that the fight was very closely contested.
The big punching Cuero (13-7 10 KO)has lost his last five, including to Monty Meza Clay, but hasn't been stopped and went into his opponents backyard every time.
The other fight set for this card is Darnell Boone (18-17-3 7 KO) against Romaro Johnson (11-3-1 6 KO). Boone is coming of an upset win over an undefeated fighter, while Johnson lost to Alfonso Lopez in his last fight.
Billy Lyell may be on this card as well as Jacob Giuriceo, but he is due to headline a card on August 13 (more on that later). These should be televised by ShoBox. Tickets go on sale this Friday, July 15, on Ticketmaster.com at 10 a.m.
If you want tickets for this show you better be on at 10 a.m. this Friday.
Destruction on the Diamond August 13, 2011
Struthers, Ohio. Bob Cene Park
This card is set to take place on August 13 at the Bob Cene Park in Struthers, Ohio (near Youngstown). Giuriceo will be fighting for the fifth time of the year on this card.
He is 3-0 right now with a fight on the August 8 card (see above) in Youngstown. 26-year-old Giuriceo (12-0-1 3 KO)is a fun pressure fighter without a lot of pop. He has kept a busy schedule this year and that is nice to see.
This card is stacked with local fighters including Miguel "Silky Smooth" Gonzalez (17-2 13 KO), 6'6" heavyweight Nicolai Firtha (19-8-1 8 KO), and Youngstown heavyweight Chris Koval (24-7 18 KO).
Almost all of the fighters are against the dreaded TBA. Koval is the only fighter listed above with an opponent.
August 13, 2011
Pittsburgh, PA. Rivers Casino
Monty Meza Clay will again headline this card just like he did last year. In the inaugural Rivers Casino card Meza Clay (30-3 20 KO) impressively took out Allen Litzau in three rounds.
He heads back to the beautiful Rivers Casino this August looking for another win. This card will again be promoted by Roy Jones Jr., his third since last August, and will feature local talent trained by Tom Yankello.
Meza Clay is riding a two fight win streak and is coming off a hard fought win over Oscar Cuero in the first show ever at Stage AE this April. I believe this was the best Meza Clay looked in a long time and came away highly impressed.
Meza Clay fights in Pittsburgh often but he may be out of the city for awhile with another win. He is the closest hope for a title in Pittsburgh and I believe he is getting very close to a shot.
The card will also feature Yankello product Andres Taylor. Taylor (18-1-2 7 KO) got a close win over Kamarah Pasley on the Stage AE card.
The 32-year-old Taylor works full time and drives three hours, from Johnstown, to train with Yankello in Ambridge.
August 26, 2011 Lightning Strikes
Courttime Sports Complex. Elizabeth, PA
This card has a wicked poster, so I made it the picture for this article, and is the first time Rod Salka (12-1 3 KO) has promoted a card. This will also be the first time he has fought in his hometown.
Salka is a smooth boxer and hasn't fought since losing to Guillermo Sanchez last Novemeber. He was slated to face Giuriceo on July 1 but had to pull out due to a blood testing issue.
He has been cleared to fight and will do so on August 26. He doesn't have an opponent yet but I will update you as needed.
It seems like everytime I go to a show people tell me how boxing is dead in Pittsburgh but I think this slate of fights disagrees strongly.