By Jake Donovan
The 2017 season premiere of Boxeo Telemundo comes in with a bang, with the series due to launch February 24 at the Tony Rosa Convention Center in Palm Bay, Florida.
BoxingScene.com was informed by series content provider Felix ‘Tutico’ Zabala Jr. – head of All-Star Boxing – that the main event is set, along with the assignment of two key undercard slots. Headlining the show, super flyweight contender Ricardo Rodriguez – a regular on the Telemundo circuit – is given perhaps his toughest career test as he faces unbeaten Carlos Narvaez (16-0, 6KOs), a rising prospect from Manati, Puerto Rico.
The super flyweight crossroads bout is scheduled for 10 rounds with a regional title at stake.
As has been the case the past several years, the series will be broken up into three seasons – spring, summer and fall. The spring series has traditionally begun later – and actually running into the spring season – but in the past couple of years has kicked off in late February. The same holds true here, with episodes in store of February 24, March 3, March 10 and March 17, rotating between Central Florida and Mexico City. Mexico.
Rodriguez (15-3. 4KOs) – a 27-year old Mexico City native based out of Los Angeles – makes his ninth consecutive appearance on Boxeo Telemundo, including his fourth straight in Central Florida and three of his last four starts coming at this very venue. His lone two losses among his past 15 bouts have both come at the hands of title challenger David Carmona.
This particular occasion marks the second straight year he serves in the annual season premiere, having claimed a decisive 10-round points win over Miguel Cartagena in last year’s headliner exactly 52 weeks ago from the upcoming fight night.
Rodriguez followed up the feat with similarly dominant decision victories over David Quijano in June and October.
Narvaez makes his first appearance on Telemundo and just his second overall in the lower 48 states. The 27-year old protégé of former four-division world champion Miguel Cotto has fought primarily in his native Puerto Rico, along with the occasional trip to Dominican Republic.
His lone stateside appearance came in Oct. ’14, scoring a six-round win at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The most win for Narvaez came last August, edging out Juan Carlos Herrera over eight rounds in Catano, Puerto Rico.
The February 24 show will also feature the latest development in the careers of 2016 Olympians Antonio Vargas and Teofimo Lopez, both of whom inked promotional pacts with Top Rank upon turning pro shortly after the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Lopez – a super featherweight from Queens, New York who represented Honduras through dual citizenship – made his pro debut on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao’s “return” in his title-regaining effort over Jesse Vargas last November in Las Vegas.
Hours before that moment, Lopez claimed a 2nd round knockout victory over Ishwar Siqueuiros. It was a much better feeling than the manner in which he exited the Rio Olympics, landing on the business end of a highly questionable decision in favor of France’s Sofiane Oumiha in the opening round of lightweight competition.
Vargas enjoyed slightly more success, winning his opening round bout in the bantamweight division before succumbing to eventual Gold medal winner Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan. The 20-year old from Ocala, Florida waited a few months, fielding several offers before inking with Top Rank, a move that made sense given the company recently setting up camp in the Sunshine State for its renewed Unimas series, in addition to the occasional appearance on Telemundo shows promoted by Zabala’s All-Star Boxing outfit.
Opponents for Lopez and Vargas – as well as additional undercard details – will be announced in the coming weeks.