By Peter Lim
Savarese Boxing Promotions' latest card has gotten back on its feet after a double knockdown courtesy of two monumental events in Houston, one negative and one positive. The card was derailed in August when Hurricane Harvey roared into Texas leaving much of the city submerged in floodwaters. The fight night was moved to Oct. 28 only to be postponed again when the Houston Astros roared their way into the World Series with Game 3 coinciding with the event. Rescheduled for Nov. 11 at The Zone, this time the event seems good to go.
Headlining the event is local welterweight prospect Arturo Marquez (8-0, 5 KOs) who will be taking on Rick Graham (4-18-2, 1 KO) over six rounds. The son of former US Olympian Raul Marquez, Arturo, 20, has averaged a fight every two months since making his pro debut last year. Although he has fought opponents with winning records in his last three bouts, Marquez is not taking Graham lightly.
"He comes to fight and it's not easy to knock him out," Marquez said. "We've been making a lot of improvements in the gym like working on the jab, more combinations and being more aggressive. I love it way more than the amateurs. You've got a lot more time to think in there. It's not really fast like the amateur where you're throwing punches and punches in bunches."
Competing in the most talent-rich division in the sport has fueled his desire to succeed even more, Marquez said.
"It's a stacked division," Marquez said. "It's the division everyone wants to be in right now. Errol Spence is the champion right now with Keith Thurman. Crawford has just moved up there so 147 would be the best division in boxing right now. One day I hope to be up there with them."
Returning from a three-yea layoff due to contractual disputes is heavyweight Darlington Agha (10-0-1, 7 KOs) who will take on Dominic Jenkins (14-11-2, 6 KOs). Over the last six months, Agha, 34, has been training under former cruiserweight world titleholder Vassily Jirov who has injected new life into his stagnated career.
"I understand why he was cruiserweight champion," Agha said. "He's teaching how to sit on my punches, punch in combinations and how to really put power behind my shots. Vissily's a very skilled boxer. We're talking about the guy who won the best boxer in the '96 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. He can box, he can fight and he can do a lot of things. He tells me how to play games, how to set up shots, how to feint jabs and how to get a guy to think twice about what he wants to do."
Standing six feet tall, Agha might be tall for the average man but he might as well be a midget in this modern era of gargantuan heavyweights. It need not be a disadvantage per se, Agha said, citing other short heavyweights who learned to overcome their lack of height and reach to summit the highest echelons of the sport.
"Hopefully in this fight what everybody's going to see that I bring to the table that old school head movement - the Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson style of head movement and even James Toney style of head movement," Agha said." You've got to move your head being a smaller guy. It's to our advantage to move and make the big guy miss. That's the thing that Vissily has been working on with me - make the guy miss and come back with a good punch placement."
In other bouts:
Super middleweight Raphael Igboke (6-0, 3 KOs) takes on Rudy Lazano (3-8-2).
Welterweight Marquis Taylor (7-1) faces Hector Mercado (2-9).
Cristobal Morales (5-0, 1 KO) takes on James De Herrera (3-3, 3KOs) in a lightweight bout.
Christian Montano (2-0, 2 KOs) and Hasam Mohammad (2-2, 2 KOs) clash in a cruiserweight bout.
Cruiserweight Kenneth Allen (3-0, 2 KOs) fights Dominique Smith (2-2-2, 2 KOs).
And welterweight Christon Edwards (7-2, 3 KOs) faces Yasmani Pedroza (1-2, 1 KO).