Unbeaten Peruvian prospect Jonathan Maicelo will be featured in the main event of this week's "Friday Night Fights" in a 10-round bout against Russia's Rustam Nugaev at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.
Maicelo, 29, is a celebrity in his country, where this week a documentary about his life, called "Road to Glory," will air on Peruvian television. He has appeared in TV commercials, represents his own line of clothing and boasts a rabid fan base that includes Ollanta Humala, the president of Peru.
Nugaev, 30, is a solid but untested opponent who is coming off a stretch of seven wins in his past eight fights. His lone defeat came at the hands of undefeated Alisher Rahimov in March 2011. Nugaev has never been stopped, although he hasn't fought since July 2011.
Maicelo (19-0, 11 KOs) hopes to continue his unbeaten streak after notching a second-round TKO of Tyler Ziolowski in January, his most recent bout. Nicknamed "The Cobra," he has a decidedly serpentine style, featuring defensive waist movements and a calculated but aggressive attack. Maicelo puts together fast combinations with both hands, although his most potent power comes from a nasty right hook. He manages his strategy from a distance and shows soild balance, but he rarely stands firmly on the ground when throwing punches.
When Maicelo takes control of the center of the ring and establishes the tempo of a fight, he usually neglects his guard -- an open invitation to his opponent -- and in those instances he lowers one of his arms and throws sneaky straight hands in the style of Sergio Martinez. He usually refrains from sustained toe-to-toe action, although he won't shy away from a good exchange, such as those in his 2010 win over Alberto Santillan -- a true war.
"On [Friday], you will see a technical fighter, a very dynamic fighter with a lot of hunger, and a fighter that you will want to see again," Maicelo said. "I won't let you down, and I promise to give the fans what they want: a lot of action."
Nugaev (22-6, 12 KOs) is a question mark due to the potential rust of a two-year layoff. His frontal style, tight guard and permanent search for a short-distance fight could be tailor-made for Maicelo, who figures to use the entire ring and throw punches from all angles.
Given the fighters' styles, a knockout seems unlikely. Maicelo is elusive and rarely takes flush shots. Nugaev is stiff, but he's also resilient and can take a punch. All signs point toward a decision in favor of Maicelo, who could be considered for a title opportunity with a good showing.