Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Burgos aiming for another title shot
By Bernardo Pilatti
Junior lightweight contender Juan Carlos Burgos returns to the ring Friday after coming away with a controversial draw in a title fight against Rocky Martinez in January.
Burgos (30-1-1, 20 KOs) is in search of a victory that could open the doors to another world title opportunity when he headlines ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" card (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) in a 12-round bout against Yakubu Amidu at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Sacramento, Calif.
Nicknamed "The Black Mamba," Amidu, 28, was called in as a late substitute for Colombia's Daulis Prescott, who withdrew because of an injury. A native of Ghana, Amidu is managed by actor Vince Vaughn.
Holding a clear height advantage, Burgos is sneaky, fast and powerful with both hands. The 25-year-old native of Mexico is a dangerous fighter. Before the draw with Martinez -- a fight that many believe Burgos won -- his only blemish was a decision loss in 2010 against Japan's Hozumi Hasegawa. Since then, Burgos is 5-0-1, including knockout victories over Frankie Archuleta and Cesar Vazquez.
"Juan was very disappointed with his last fight," promoter Alex Camponovo said. "He didn't feel good, obviously, about the whole situation. He blames two of the judges.
"I think he learned a lot from that experience, but he's not dwelling on it. He's just eager to get back in the ring and get back in the limelight again. He really wants to get another shot at the world title as soon as possible."
Amidu (20-4-1, 18 KOs) is an aggressive boxer -- not as technical as Burgos, but one who usually puts a lot of pressure on his competition. He has faced a variety of experienced opponents, including Ricky Burns, Ali Funeka, Joseph Laryea, Emeka Kodo and John Revish.
However, Amidu enters Friday's bout off two consecutive defeats. He dropped a close decision in an intense battle against Korea's Ji-Hoon Kim in January before coming up on the wrong end of a split decision against Haskell Rhodes in April.
For this fight, Amidu was unable to make the 130-pound limit, and Burgos accepted the challenge to go up to 135. Burgos announced that he would be coming back down to the junior lightweight division for his next bout.
"[Amidu] is training at the Wild Card," co-promoter and trainer Baba Sumaila said. "He's always training. When there's no fight, he knows how to train, but not too hard. When we have a fight, he increases the tempo to make him more ready for the fight.
"We know our opponent is very good, but we're ready for that. We are ready."
As usual, Burgos will look to set the pace using his long reach to throw combinations. Amidu will look to counteract this strategy by closing the distance and fighting at close range.
The Ghanaian, faithful to his style, will risk more in the exchanges in an attempt to land his combinations. He is tough and determined, although this may not prove enough for him to defeat an opponent like Burgos, an ample favorite to win this fight.
On the undercard, Cleveland's Miguel Gonzalez (21-3, 15 KOs) faces Brazil's Josenilson Dos Santos (26-1, 16 KOs) in a junior lightweight bout.
Gonzalez, 27, is a prospect on the rise coming off a victory over former lightweight titlist Miguel Acosta in May. Dos Santos enters the bout on a 12-fight win streak, including his last victory in May against Argentina's Carlos Ricardo Rodriguez. His only defeat was in 2009 against former junior lightweight contender Diego Armando Magdaleno.