Showtime Weekend Preview: Emmanuel Rodriguez-Reymart Gaballo, Gary Antonio Russell-Juan Carlos Payano, Jaron Ennis-Chris van Heerden
By: Sean Crose
Saturday’s Showtime card from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut won’t be what it was meant to be. Fighters, stepping aside, a feature attraction getting sick, no big names to draw in the viewers, there’s little doubt Showtime is facing an uphill battle if it wants to draw eyeballs to this one. To make things even more daunting, the card is on at the same time the Canelo Alvarez – Callum Smith card will be going down in Dallas. Sometimes it’s best to, well, just hope for some good fights.
With that in mind, the 19-1 Emmanuel Rodriguez will be taking on the 23-0 Reymart Gaballo in a scheduled 12 rounder for the interim WBC Bantamweight Title. Rodriguez was supposed to face Nonito Donaire in the main event, but, thanks to a Covid-19 diagnosis, Donaire had to step away from the fight. Gaballo, however, walks in with an undefeated record of 20 wins out of 23 fights by knockout. His last fight was against Chaiwat Buatkrathok, who he knocked out in the sixth round just over a year ago.
As for Rodriguez, he was originally set to fight Donaire as a replacement for Nordine Oubaali. Now that Donaire is out, the native of Puerto Rico will arguably enter the ring on Saturday as the night’s main attraction. Boxing is a strange business indeed. Rodriguez was last seen in the ring getting his clock cleaned by Naoya Inoue back in May of 2019. It was the man’s only loss, so he has every reason in the world to impress this weekend.
Undefeated bantamweight Gary Antonto Russell will also be on the card. The 27 year old Washington DC fighter will enter the ring with a 17-0 record as he sets to square off against the 21-4 vet Juan Carlos Payano in a scheduled 10 rounder. Russell’s last fight was a DQ win over Jesus Martinez back in February. Payano last saw action in December, when he dropped a UD to Daniel Roman.
The card will also feature a scheduled 12 round welterweight bout for the vacant IBO World Welterweight Title. The undefeated Jaron Ennis will step up with a record of 26-0 to face the 28-2-1 veteran Chis Van Heerden. Ennis was last seen stopping Juan Carlos Abreu in the sixth round last September while Van Heerden was last spotted scoring a UD over Aslanbek Kozaev way back in August of 2019.
The card will begin airing at 9PM eastern time on Saturday.