Friday, July 13, 2012
Campillo to headline 'Fight Night'
By Dan Rafael
When Main Events promoter Kathy Duva landed an exclusive deal to put on "Fight Night" cards for NBC Sports Network, she promised competitive and interesting matches and said she wouldn't take the series for granted just because her company had all the dates -- unlike other promoters who have had sweetheart output deals and taken the money and run.
So far, Duva's word has been her deed: The shows have been solid all the way around and have included the likes of Tomasz Adamek, Zab Judah, emerging heavyweight prospect Bryant Jennings, rejuvenated junior middleweight contender Gabriel Rosado and others.
The series is off for the rest of the summer because NBC Sports Network will soon be inundated with coverage of the London Olympics, but boxing will be back on Sept. 21 from the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., with yet another quality card.
In the main event, Spain's Gabriel Campillo (21-4-1, 8 KOs), a former light heavyweight titlist who is managed by middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, will face Russian prospect Sergey Kovalev (18-0-1, 16 KOs).
It's an interesting fight. Campillo, who got robbed in a split-decision loss to titlist Tavoris Cloud in February, is coming back to face a dangerous prospect. Kovalev is hoping to make a statement against a well-respected former titleholder who remains a legit top-10 light heavyweight.
Two other blemishes on Campillo's record are also highly questionable: a split-decision title loss to Beibut Shumenov in 2010 and a draw with Karo Murat in Germany in October.
"Campillo has arguably beaten two world champions and the No. 1 contender without receiving the decisions," Duva said. "After he stopped Darnell Boone on NBCSN in June, Kovalev stated that he is ready to fight for the world title. On Sept. 21, he will get the opportunity to prove to the world that he is worthy in a very tough fight. A win for Campillo would put him right back into the title picture."
To Duva's credit, she said she is putting Campillo on without asking for any options on him from his promoter, Sampson Lewkowicz. That's an unusual move in the brutal business of boxing, but Duva knows the key to making the series a success is to put on consistently strong fights -- even if that means using fighters she doesn't necessarily promote.
The co-feature also figures to be competitive with Bethlehem, Pa., welterweight Ronald Cruz (17-0, 12 KOs) facing Miami's Antwone Smith (21-4-1, 12 KOs). Cruz looked good in his most recent fight, rolling to a lopsided 12-round decision against Prenice Brewer on the June 1 edition of "Fight Night."