By Chris Cella
In addition to the countless movies, series and specials offered by Showtime as part of their Free Preview Weekend—beginning tomorrow and running through Sunday—the network’s acclaimed series ShoBox: The Next Generation will be hosting a doubleheader live tomorrow night at 11:15 p.m. Eastern.
The fight card features two featherweight contenders as well as two up-and-coming undefeated light middleweight prospects.
In a 10-round fight, undefeated Ronny Rios (19-0, 9 KO) takes on Rico Ramos (21-1, 11 KO) for the vacant NABF featherweight title. Rios has quietly risen through the ranks as he took care of one journeyman after another who he faced over the past few years, and in his last outing put a hurting on David Rodela, earning a 9th round stoppage. He will face the toughest test of his career against the Puerto Rican former WBA world super bantamweight titlist.
Having won the belt in 2011, Ramos was upset in his first title defense against Guillermo Rigondeaux by way of a body shot in the 6th round.
This opportunity to fight tomorrow night as part of Showtime’s free preview is what these fighters need to fast track themselves in 2013. With the free preview being extended to nearly 80 million homes worldwide, each boxer has a great opportunity to make a name for himself and reach a whole new fan base.
“A great example of what TV exposure can do for a young fighter is Austin Trout,” says ShoBox analyst Steve Farhood.
“He was a world champion who was virtually unknown to even hardcore fight fans, but then he fought on ShoBox (Frank LaPorto), and then shortly thereafter on Showtime Championship Boxing [against Delvin Rodriguez]. That landed him a fight with Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden on Showtime. He won that and now everyone knows who he is.
“Friday is a huge opportunity for the four ShoBox fighters, who have never approached this level number of available viewers. When you deliver in a situation like this it almost guarantees that promoters and the TV networks will bring you back because the public wants to see you again.”
In the co-feature, undefeated light middleweights Daquan Arnett (9-0, 6 KO) and Brandon Quarles (10-0-1, 2 KO) will go to battle in an 8-round match to protect their unblemished records.
At the young age of 20, Arnett has shined since turning pro in December of 2011, stepping between the ropes eight times last year, winning six times by way of knockout. While his skills and maturity are still developing, the undefeated prospect must stay focused on his task at hand tomorrow night. Too often, we see young fighters go out of their way to impress when they are on television, only to fall short and abandon what they do so well.
Arnett has shown that he can become overanxious between the ropes, and despite Quarles not being known for his power, a careless mistake can lead to the end of his impressive unbeaten streak.
Quarles got a late start to turning pro, and although he has been consistent through the first 10 fights of his young career, he has yet to face a dangerous opponent like Arnett. Lack of experience may prove to be a difference in this fight. Quarles has been successful due to his ability to last late into the fight, but in order to get there he must be able to avoid Arnett’s power.
“What’s interesting about the co-feature is that we have Arnett coming off a fight in which he was dropped and almost stopped getting right back in with his second consecutive unbeaten opponent,” says Farhood.
“It’s time for Arnett to show he’s a legitimate prospect.”
The action begins live in Showtime tomorrow night, January 11 at 11:15 p.m. Eastern.