While the main event on Friday, July 29, at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and live on ESPN Friday Night Fights, a 12-round IBF elimination bout between Victor Cayo and Lamont Peterson, may be of more worldwide significance, the opening televised bout that night just might steal the show.
Given their aggressive styles, the 10-round light heavyweight showdown between murderous punching Colombian Edison "Pantera" Miranda (34-5, 29 KOs) and hard-nosed former Cuban amateur star Yordanis Despaigne (8-1, 4 KOs) is a can't miss all-action war.
The former multiple world-title challenger Miranda is having only his second fight at 175 lbs after campaigning as a middleweight and super middleweight, but his debut at the weight last June against the normally durable Ray Saunders became a track meet after Saunders tasted some of Miranda's power.
Eager to get back to world-title contention and finally win his first belt, the charismatic Miranda has been in heavy training for the important showcase. Through an interpreter, he answered the following questions.
What about the Rayco Saunders fight told you, you were ready for a big fight? Did you feel good in your first fight back in a year?
It felt great getting back into the ring. I wasn't looking for a knockout. We have been working on different things in the gym and I wanted the rounds to see how I felt. There were a few times I saw opportunities to throw a big punch, but I held back. Saunders was the perfect opponent. He is a tough guy who has a great defense. It was just what I needed to get me ready to fight someone like Despaigne.
How would you describe Yordanis Despaigne as a fighter?
I know Despaigne very well. He has a good amateur background. When we step in the ring next week, he better be ready for the big leagues. I am very strong at 175 lbs and I will not hold back from letting him feel my power. I am not looking past him, but I am very confident that this will be easy work for me. This is my world TV premier at 175 lbs on ESPN. You saw what happen to David Banks in my 168-lb world premiere. I hope this fight is not shown in 3D or Despaigne may end up in your living room. I will make a statement and people will be talking about Edison Miranda again.
What makes you know you will beat him?
My trainer and I have seen the tapes. He does not impress me. I am very ready for this fight and very hungry to get a shot at the light heavyweight title. When that bell rings I am going in for the kill.
You've always been sensational against second-tier opponents and then disappointed against top-level guys. What's going to be different this time if you make it back to a title shot?
I have to be at my best to fight the best. Making weight has always been my biggest struggle. I have made mistakes in the ring and have learned from these. It is not how hard you fall. It is how you get back up and learn from your falls. At 175 lbs I will not be losing muscle to make weight. The higher weight feels natural and I am able to work hard at boxing instead of working hard at losing weight. I have let down my fans when it mattered the most. I want to make my fans proud and be a champion.
You came in heavy for your last fight. Any weight problems this time?
No problems at all. I am right on target. I was looking at the fight with Saunders as another day in the gym. It was a good sparring session for me. Weight was not on my mind. I came in a few pounds heavier than the contract weight. Not a big deal.I would never let that happen for an important TV fight like I have with Despaigne.
Are you as powerful as ever at 175?
I can't tell you how great it feels not having to worry about my weight. I have always had so much power during training, but when it came down to losing those last 10-15 lbs it killed me. I never felt like myself in the ring when I needed to be at my best. I was able to be good enough against most fighters, but I didn't have the strength I needed against guys like Bute and Ward. I don't see me having this problem at 175 lbs. I am close to weight already and feel strong as ever. My hands are like TNT and they are going to explode when I land my fist on Despaigne's big head.
Will we ever see you as a cruiserweight?
I want the big fights at 175 lbs now. That is where I need to look. I want to stay at a weight that feels right. When the day comes that 175 lbs feels like a struggle then I will move up. I have been well over 200 lbs and I feel better there than I ever did at 160 or even 168. So you may want to ask if Edison Miranda will ever be a heavyweight.
In conjunction with Warriors Boxing Promotions and Blue Wave Group, "Fight Nights at The Cosmopolitan" combines the mystique and excitement of legendary Las Vegas boxing matches with a new and socially dynamic experience. Tickets are on sale now and priced at $250 for VIP tables, $150 for ringside seats, $100 for floor seats, $50 for grandstand seating and $20 for general admission tickets and are available for purchase by calling 877-551-7778 or at www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com.