By: William Holmes
The Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley fight is on Saturday, and three fighters from Philadelphia will be featured on the undercard, and at least two of them will be on the PPV televised broadcast.
Photo: Chris Farina/ Top Rank
Mike Jones, Teon Kennedy, and Jesse Hart are Philadelphia natives who will be fighting on the undercard. Mike Jones and Teon Kennedy will be on the PPV telecast and will be fighting for legitimate world titles. Mexican boxing legend Jorge Arce will also be on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the televised undercard:
Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0) vs. Teon Kennedy (17-1-2); WBA Junior Featherweight Title
Rigondeaux is probably the only legitimate champion I can think of that won a title before he reached ten victories. However, when you look at his amateur record you can understand why he got a title shot so early. He had over 400 victories as an amateur, with only 12 losses. He is a seven time Cuban national champion at bantamweight, and he is also a two time Olympic Gold Medal Winner.
Rigondeaux is thirty one, so he’s on the fast track and has no time to slowly build himself up like other professional boxers. He has seven KO’s to his record. His only tough victory to date was against Ricardo Cordoba which he officially won by split decision. The other fights he won easily. He took the WBA Super Bantamweight Title with a 6th round KO over Rico Ramos in January of this year. In terms of pure boxing technique, there are very few boxers who are better than Rigondeaux.
Teon Kennedy is your prototypical tough as nails boxer from Philadelphia. Kennedy is six years Rigondeaux’s junior, and the 2004 National Golden Gloves flyweight champion. Kennedy will have a half inch height advantage on Saturday, but he will also have a six inch reach advantage. Kennedy is not known for his knockout power, he only has seven to his record. But he is known for his tenacity, work rate, and ability to take a punch. He will get in your face and fight you in close, and make the fight a brawl.
Kennedy’s biggest victory to date was a decision victory over the then undefeated Jorge Diaz in March of 2011. He had a majority draw in his last fight against Christopher Martin on ESPN Friday Night Fights, and suffered his first loss of his career against Alejandro Lopez the fight before that.
Kennedy has to fight the perfect fight to win on Saturday, but Rigondeaux has to be considered the favorite. Kennedy will make it tough for Rigondeaux, but I can’t see Kennedy pulling off the upset.
Mike Jones (26-0) vs. Randall Bailey (42-7); IBF Welterweight Title
Mike Jones is considered by most to be the best prospect to currently fight out of Philadelphia. He’s fought on the undercard of a Pacquiao fight before and has yet to taste defeat. On Saturday he gets the opportunity to officially remove the title of prospect off of his name, and become a legitimate champion. He’s a very aggressive fighter who can get a little wild at times, but he has serious power in his hands. He has 19 KO/TKO’s on his record. Jones has won the NABA Welterweight title, the WBO NABO title, and the WBC Continental Americas title.
Jones is best known for fighting Jesus Soto Karass twice, with the first one being a close bout that some felt Soto Karass won. Jones had a much easier time with Soto Karass the second time they fought. Jones was last seen in December of 2011 against Sebastian Lujan in an IBF welterweight title eliminator.
Randall Bailey will be Mike Jones’ opponent on Saturday. He has a ridiculously high knockout rate, with 36 of his 42 victories coming by way of KO or TKO. However, Bailey is certainly in the twilight of his career. He’s 37 going on 38, and this should be his last chance at a legitimate world title. Bailey has only lost once since 2008, and that was a 11th round TKO to Juan Urango at the junior welterweight division.
However, the power that Bailey is known for appears to be fading away. He only has one TKO or KO victory in his last five fights. Bailey is a tough boxer, but comes up short whenever he’s matched up with a top contender or champion. He’s also lost to Miguel Cotto and DeMarcus Corley in his career.
This is a fight that Mike Jones should win. A victory for Jones will net him a title, and a bargaining chip to be used to get himself a bigger fight and bigger payday in the near future.
Jorge Arce (60-6) vs. Jesus Rojas (18-1-1); Junior Featherweights
The 32 year old Jorge Arce is a Mexican legend, and has won world titles in four different weight classes. He has spent most of his career fighting in the flyweight division, and has only recently stepped up a few weight classes to win a title in the super bantamweight division with a major upset over Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.
Arce has incredible heart, and came on strong in the later rounds to wear down Vazquez with a 12th round TKO victory. Many thought Arce’s career was over when he lost to Vic Darchinyan and then Simphiwe Nongqayi in 2009, but he has proved his critics wrong by not losing since then.
Arce will be fighting the younger and not as well known Jesus M. Rojas on Saturday. Rojas has 13 TKO/KO’s on his record of his 18 victories, and is coming off a 2012 majority draw with Jose Luis Araiza in January of this year. Top Rank appears to be angling for a future and lucrative matchup between Arce and Filipino star Nonito Donaire, because Rojas has yet to fight anybody of note.
Before he fought Araiza, he fought the Miguelo Tavarez, who had a horrible record of 0-8. Prior to that bout the boxer with the best record he ever beat was Reynaldo Lopez who had a record of 31-8-2. Even that victory is questionable, because Lopez had lost four of his last five bouts.
Arce should continue his incredible run since 2009 on Saturday with an easy victory against an untested opponent. The very tough and talented Nonito Donaire should be next for Arce.