By Keith Idec
Glen Tapia cannot wait to show what he is capable of doing Oct. 27 in El Paso, Texas.
The undefeated junior middleweight prospect most known to date for working with Manny Pacquiao will encounter Juan De La Rosa that night in a televised, eight-round bout. The Tapia-De La Rosa fight will be broadcast as a co-feature on TV Azteca from El Paso County Coliseum.
Tapia, of Passaic, N.J., has won four straight fights by knockout, but mostly against pedestrian opposition. He is eager to prove to his promoters at Top Rank Inc. that he is ready to start making the often-tricky transition from prospect to contender.
“I’m ready for this,” Tapia, 22, said. “This type of fight was going to come anyway. It came a little earlier, but I’m training hard. I just can’t wait. I really don’t know much about him and I really don’t care.”
The 26-year-old De La Rosa is the most accomplished opponent Tapia will have faced since making his pro debut in December 2008.
But De La Rosa hasn’t fought since he out-pointed Guadalupe Martinez (16-3, 9 KOs) in March 2009. Five years earlier, De La Rosa was part of the first season of “The Contender” on NBC.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that [De La Rosa] is the toughest opponent he’ll have seen to this point in this career,” said Pat Lynch, Tapia’s co-manager. “We felt it was time, as did Top Rank, that he steps up because we’re looking to get some TV spots for him next year. This is the type of fight we have to take.”
Tapia tore through his last opponent, late replacement Franklin Gonzalez (15-11, 10 KOs), in just 2:05 on Aug. 18 at Bally’s Events Center in Atlantic City.
Top Rank’s matchmakers considered durable but less dangerous opponents than De La Rosa. Ultimately, along with Lynch, fellow co-manager Sal Alessi and trainer Alex Devia, they determined Tapia is more than prepared to take the next step in his career.
“I know [De La Rosa] can punch a little bit, which has me somewhat concerned,” Lynch said. “But these are the type of fights we have to win to get where we believe we can get. The other opponents they had for him, we felt like they weren’t going to help him because he would’ve just blown through them and he wouldn’t have gotten any real work out of it. He has had two blowouts in a row and it did us absolutely no good.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.