By Jake Donovan
All systems are go for Friday’s telecast of Shobox, which airs live from the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California. A crossroads bout is on tap for the main event, as unbeaten prospect Art Hovhannisyan faces former lightweight titlist Miguel Acosta in a 10-round lightweight bout.
Hovhannisyan came in at 132 lb, a weight truer to the super featherweight division in which he normally campaigns. Acosta tipped the scales at 134 lb.
Neither fighter is riding a wave of momentum heading into the broadcast. Hovhannisyan (14-0-2, 8KO) made major waves with his six-round destruction of then-unbeaten Archie Ray Marquez last June, but has failed to properly capitalize on what remains his career-best win.
The lone ring appearance since then for the 30-year old prospect was a struggling effort against badly faded Cristobal Cruz. The former featherweight titlist went tooth and nail with Hovhannisyan before a headbutt-inducing cut brought an end to their fight prior to the end of the fourth round. The bout was scored a technical split decision draw.
Each of the aforementioned fights took place at the Chumash Casino. Friday’s contest marks the third straight appearance at the venue for Hovhannisyan, born in Armenia but now based out of the heavily Armenian-populated California town of Glendale.
Acosta (29-5-2, 23KO) enters the fight having lost two of his last three contests. The former lightweight champion went balls to the wall in a Fight of the Year contender with Brandon Rios last February, holding his own early before getting dropped three times and stopped in ten rounds by the free-swinging Californian. The loss ended a 1½ year stay as a lightweight titlist.
Two fights later, Acosta looked like damaged goods in suffering three more knockdowns in a lopsided points loss to then-lightly regarded Richard Abril last October. The performance looks less damaging in retrospect for Acosta, considering Abril’s success in a highly questionable split decision loss to Rios earlier this year.
Still, it’s been a while since Acosta resembled the resilient fighter who survived fire and brimstone in stopping then-unbeaten Urbano Antillon to begin his title reign nearly three years ago.
The co-feature pits a rising unbeaten prospect against a once-promising newcomer who has now fallen to gatekeeper status.
Roman Morales (10-0, 6KO) makes his Showtime debut as he squares off against Alexis Santiago in an eight-round super bantamweight contest. Both fighters weighed in at the divisional limit of 122 lb.
The telecast begins at 11PM ET (8PM local time) on Showtime’s flagship station. The card was originally scheduled to air as a tripleheader, but was downgraded to two bouts after an injury suffered by Said El-Harrak in training camp forced him to withdraw from his bout with Julian Williams.
WEIGHTS FOR FULL CARD
Art Hovhannisyan 132 lb vs. Miguel Acosta 134 lb - 10 rounds, lightweight
Roman Morales 122 lb vs. Alexis Santiago 122 lb – 8 rounds, super bantamweight
Francisco Santana 148 lb vs. Larry Smith 150 lb
Jonathan Maicelo 135 lb vs. Daniel Attah 135 lb
Rufino Serrano 125.5 lb vs. Rob Diezel 125.5 lb
Edgar Alvarado 157.5 lb vs. Erick Prado 161 lb
Tureano Johnson 160 lb vs. Arturo Rodriguez 159 lb
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox