NEW YORK (Nov. 24, 2008) – The hard-hitting South American welterweight champion has an unblemished record (24-0), a knockout percentage of nearly 90 percent (21 of 24) and a world top-10 ranking (World Boxing Council/WBC No. 7).
So is Luis Carlos Abregu a legitimate contender? As good as his report card indicates?
A simple answer is, stay tuned.
Much more will be known about the virtually untested Argentine after he faces the more experienced David Estrada (22-5, 13 KOs) of Chicago in the 10-round main event on ShoBox: The New Generation Friday, Dec. 5, on SHOWTIME (11 p.m. E/PT, delayed on the west coast).
“Estrada is the perfect test for an up-and-comer because he is established, as tough as anybody and has fought some of the very best,’’ ShoBox analyst Steve Farhood said. “It’s a good, fair test for Abregu at this point in his career and typical of the kinds of matches we see on ShoBox. The prospect is being tested for the first time … and this is a hard test.’’
In the ShoBox co-feature at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., undefeated Travis “GW Hope’’ Kauffman (13-0, 10 KOs) of Reading, Pa., will face once-beaten Malachy “The Seventh Son’’ Farrell (16-1, 12 KO’s) of Chicago in a solid eight-round heavyweight bout.
The event is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions.
Nicknamed “El Potro,’’ which means “The Colt,’’ Abregu, 24, of Tucaman, Argentina, has been unbeatable since turning pro in March 2005. He has won his last 17 starts by knockout. None of his fights have gone more than nine rounds; 21 have lasted less than six.
The majority of the undefeated Abregu’s fights, however, have been against mid-level competition while Estrada has been competitive against current or former world champions Shane Mosley, Andre Berto and Kermit Cintron. Both Berto and Cintron are ShoBox alums.
“This is a great opportunity to show my skills,’’ said the 5-foot-10, 25-year-old Abregu, who is making his ShoBox debut and fourth start in the United States.
“In my last fight (a sixth-round KO over Roberto Valenzuela on Oct. 4, 2008), I had some adjustments to make, being it was my first extended stay in the states.
“Now I’m ready for my best. My weight is good and not an issue. This is a very good fight. Style-wise, it’s perfect for me. Estrada is going to come to me. It will just be a matter of exposing him to my handspeed, which is underrated. I have good handspeed, better than you think.’’
Abregu’s trainer, Abel Sanchez, is no stranger to working with talented up-and-coming fighters, having led the Norris brothers, Terry and Orlin, among others, to world titles.
“Luis is learning that if he wants to be a success internationally, he needs to continue to make adjustments. He now understands that the system to success in America is not the same as in Argentina,’’ said Sanchez, who operates a gym in Big Bear, Calif., where Abregu trains.
“In the past, Luis would always cut a lot of weight the last day. But now he knows he needs to make the weight early. He now knows he can’t KO a guy with one punch like he did in Argentina. After this fight, the fans will see. Luis is legit. He is for real.’’
Estrada, a former United States Boxing Association (USBA) welterweight belt-holder, has an aggressive style, possesses good skills and works the body well. Always in peak shape, he can switch effectively to the southpaw stance, is physically strong, very tough and determined.
A fast starter, Estrada turned pro in October 1999 and won his initial 15 fights before losing a 10-round decision to Ishe Smith in his ShoBox debut July 31, 2003.
Estrada rebounded to register a fifth-round TKO over Nelson Manchego in his next start on May 25, 2004, before returning to ShoBox the following July 15 to capture the USBA belt with an impressive, unanimous 12-round decision over two-time Turkish Olympian Nurhan Suleymanoglu at Chumash.
In his next outing, Estrada registered an 11th-round TKO over previously undefeated Chris Smith on Jan. 21, 2005, on ShoBox.
The back-to-back marquee victories on ShoBox earned Estrada a shot at Mosley on April 23, 2005. As expected, Estrada gave his best and performed well against the future Hall of Famer, but lost a unanimous 10-round decision by the scores of 97-93, 98-91 and 99-91.
Not only has he fought much better opponents than Abregu, the 5-foot-9, 30-year-old Estrada has sparred with higher-profile fighters, including ex-world champs Fernando Vargas, Sharmba Mitchell, Andrew “Six Heads’’ Lewis and Zab Judah.
“I know I have an exciting style and I know people like to watch me fight,’’ said Estrada, a one-time top-10 contender. “I always keep the same strategy. I just put pressure on you, and that’s it. I like to have fun when I fight. I don’t want to have to chase you all over the ring. I don’t like chasing people. I like to stand there and fight like a man.’’
Estrada is trained by Anthony “Chill” Wilson.
A two-time national amateur champion, the 6-foot-3, 23-year-old Kauffman turned pro at the age of 19 on Jan. 26, 2008. He has stopped his last three opponents, and seven of the last eight.
Making his fourth start in ‘08, Kauffman is coming off a 2:43, first-round TKO over Josh Gutcher on Sept. 13.
“I beat Farrell in the amateurs. He’s not very skilled but he’s a big, tough Irish guy,’’ said Kauffman, who is making his ShoBox debut. “I’m versatile and have some of the quickest hands in the heavyweight division. (Fans) should expect my best fight on Dec. 5.’’
The 6-foot-4, 29-year-old Farrell won his initial 15 starts after going pro in April 2004. His only loss came on a majority eight-round decision to Mike Marrone on April 20, 2007.
“People tell me I have an awkward style,’’ said Farrell, who will be fighting for the first time since a victory via third-round disqualification over Marcellus Brown on Oct. 2, 2007. “But, basically, it’s conventional. I’m just not a big fan of letting guys hit me. Some guys like to show everyone how much of a punch they can take, I already know. I don’t need to show everybody.’’
Farrell got his nickname, “Seventh Son’’ because he is his father’s seventh son. “My uncle played the song for me and said, ‘That would be a good nickname for you.’ That was years ago, I just never used it. I said, ‘You know what? Let’s use it.’ People also call me ‘Seven’.”
Nick Charles will call the action from ringside with Farhood serving as expert analyst. Gordon Hall is the executive producer of ShoBox with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
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