By Francisco Salazar
Repeat or redemption?
The clash and rematch between Danny Valdivia and Vladimir Hernandez could play out in either direction tonight.
The eight round bout will take place at the Tachi Palace Casino in Lemoore, California, about a 35-mile drive from Fresno.
Valdivia (14-1, 10 knockouts), who resides in nearby Tulare, tipped the scale at 154.8 pounds at Thursday's weigh-in. Hernandez weighed in at 153.8 pounds.
In their first clash on June 24 in Phoenix, Hernandez (10-3, 7 KOs) was able to out-hustle and grind out a unanimous decision victory. Valdivia suffered his first loss as a pro.
The loss for Valdivia is not the first or last time a prospect was bounced from the ranks of the unbeaten. The way a fighter bounces back from a loss will be the most telling part, according to Top Rank's matchmaker Brad Goodman.
"Hernandez used his experience to grind out a win over Danny," Goodman told Boxingscene.com Tuesday night. "It was a tough fight for both. It was not a surprise Hernandez got the win."
"Danny was favored to win the first fight and he's favored to win (tonight). He's had a longer period to prepare for this fight. He went to Oxnard (California) to get sparring for this fight. It's a fight for him to win. He's going to have the crowd behind him (tonight), so everything will be in his favor."
The fight will headline a seven-bout Top Rank card. Prospect from the San Joaquin (Central) Valley will fill up the undercard.
In a clash between unbeaten junior lightweights, Isidro Ochoa (3-0) from Fresno will square off against Gabriel Rodriguez (3-0) in a four round bout. Rodriguez hails from El Paso, Texas.
Super middleweight Joe Louis Lopez (9-2, 6 KOs), who also resides in Fresno, will face Calvin Metcalf (7-1, 2 KOs) in a six round bout.
Lightweight Bryan Lua (2-0) of Madera faces Mario Aguirre (2-10, 2 KOs) in a four round bout.
Also on the card will be unbeaten Victor Morales (7-0, 3 KOs) of Vancouver, Washington. He will face Edgar Cantu (7-2-2, 1 KO) of Laredo, Texas in a six round junior lightweight bout.
Top Rank may be enjoying a successful of televised bouts on ESPN, but Goodman is glad young talent will be in action near their hometowns.
"The people around the Tachi Palace love their boxing, but I'm glad the Isidro Ochoa's and the Bryan Lua's get to fight and stay active. They also get the opportunity to fight near their hometowns. There will be more opportunities for them to fight on our shows, especially those at Tachi (Palace)."
First bell is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. local time.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing