By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York will be the host site of a Top Rank Promotions card being televised live on ESPN.
The main event of the night will be a light heavyweight clash between Eleider Alvarez and Michael Seals. Alvarez is a former light heavyweight world champion and Seals is looking for a title shot in the near future.
The co-feature of the evening will be a lightweight bout between Puerto Rican boxer Felix Verdejo and Manuel Rey Rojas. Other boxers on the card include Christopher Diaz, Victor Bisbal, Jonathan Guzman, and Abraham Nova.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Felix Verdejo (25-1) vs. Manuel Rey Rojas (18-3); Lightweights
Felix Verdejo was once considered a can’t miss prospect, but a stunning TKO loss to Antonio Lozada Torres has taken away some of his hype.
Verdejo will be facing a three loss Rojas on Saturday night, and on paper appears to have many advantages. Verdejo will have about a one inch height advantage but will be giving up about a half inch in reach. Verdejo has a significant edge in power. He has stopped sixteen of his opponents while Rojas has only stopped five. They are both of the same age at twenty six years old.
Verdejo has been fighting sporadically. He only fought once in 2019, twice in 2018, and once in 2017. Rojas fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and three times in 2017.
Verdejo has the edge in amateur experience. Verdejorepresented Puerto Rico in the 2012 Summer Olympics and is a former Pan American Gold Medalist. Rojas has no notable amateur experience.
Verdejo’s lone loss was to Antonio Lozada Torres. He has defeated the likes of Bryan Vasquez, Juan Alvarez, William Silva, and Ivan Najera. Torres has lost two bouts since defeating Verdejo.
Rojas’ resume is a little thin. His last two opponents had losing records. He has defeated the likes of Zhimin Wang and Andy Vences. He has losses to Casey Ramos and Alexis del Bosque.
This will be the first out that Verdejo will have while training under Ismael Salas. There’s some big money fights out there to be made for Verdejo but he first has to get past Rojas. It’s expected he will pass this test easily.
Eleider Alvarez (24-1) vs. Michael Seals (24-2); Light Heavyweights
Eleider Alvarez briefly held a light heavyweight title after he scored a shocking upset over Sergey Kovalev, but his reign was short lived in Kovalev defeated him in a rematch.
Alvarez looks to get back to his winning ways when he faces Michael Seals in the main event on Saturday. Despite the fact that Alvarez is thirty five years old, he will actually be two years younger than his opponent. However, Seals will have a three inch height advantage and a four inch reach advantage on Saturday.
Seals also appears to have an edge in power. He has stopped eighteen of his opponents while Alvarez only stopped twelve. Seals has also been the more active fighter, he fought twice in 2019, three times in 2018, and once in 2017. Alvarez only fought once in 2019, once in 2018, and twice in 2017.
Alvarez does have an edge in amateur experience. Alvarez competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics while Seals has no notable amateur accomplishments.
Alvarez has defeated the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Lucian Bute, Isaac Chilemba, Isidro Prieto, and Alexander Johnson.
Seals’ resume is a little thin. He has defeated the likes of Byron Mitchell, Andy Perez, and Carlos Cruz. His losses were to Michael Gbenga and Edwin Rodriguez.
If Alvarez was facing someone younger or in his athletic prime with the resume of Seals, this writer might think it’s a close fight. But since Seals is thirty seven year old boxer with no big name wins, this writer has to give a significant edge to Alvarez.