Yenifel Vicente has four losses and two draws on his record.
The 33-year-old Dominican veteran also has technically moved up two weight classes for his 10-round fight with Jessie Magdaleno on Thursday night in Las Vegas. Lou DiBella, Vicente’s promoter, cautioned anyone underestimating him, though, that Magdaleno is in for a dogfight against an appreciative opponent prepared to exploit this huge opportunity.
ESPN will televise the junior lightweight bout between Las Vegas’ Magdaleno (27-1, 18 KOs) and Miami’s Vicente (36-4-2, 28 KOs, 1 NC) as the main event of a five-fight card from MGM Grand Conference Center. The 28-year-old Magdaleno, a former WBO junior featherweight champion, is listed as a 10-1 favorite to win a bout that’ll be contested at a contracted catch weight of 128 pounds.
“I actually think this is one of those fights that some of the hardcore guys understand, but a lot of other people are sleeping on a little bit,” DiBella said. “I mean, Vicente’s an incredibly rough customer, man. He’s a strong, powerful kid who’s got balls the size of basketballs. He’s capable of knocking people out. You know, he’s taking this fight in the right spirit, which is, ‘This is an incredible opportunity for me. I’m on ESPN and I’m gonna cash in on the opportunity.’”
Two fights ago, unbeaten 122-pound contender Tramaine Williams (19-0, 6 KOs) out-boxed Vicente and ended his 10-fight winning streak. Williams, of New Haven, Connecticut, won a 10-round unanimous decision over Vicente on July 27 at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas.
“[That] fight was against a slick guy,” DiBella said. “It wasn’t a good style matchup for him. But this fight is a much better matchup. And frankly, from a matchmaking perspective, I give great credit to [Top Rank’s] Brad Goodman and Bruce Trampler. I consider them the best in the business. No offense to other matchmakers I work with, but I consider Goodman and Trampler the cream of the cream. This is a really good matchup if you’re looking to make a quality, cost-effective fight. Their styles should mesh, and I think it’s gonna be a war. I’m not gonna be at all surprised if my kid wins this fight.”
Magdaleno has beaten Rico Ramos and Rafael Rivera in back-to-back featherweight fights since Ghana’s Isaac Dogboe (20-2, 14 KOs) knocked him out in the 11th round and took his 122-pound title two years ago in Philadelphia. The southpaw is the WBC’s number one contender for Gary Russell Jr.’s 126-pound crown and the WBO’s fourth-ranked challenger for Shakur Stevenson’s championship.
“The kid knew he had a bad performance [against Williams],” DiBella said. “It was a bad style for him. I just think in every way he sees the big picture here. And I think maybe this fight is more important for him than it is for [Magdaleno]. If Magdaleno is looking past Yenifel, I think he’s making a mistake. You look past a guy like this, you’re making a mistake.”
ESPN will broadcast the entire Magdaleno-Vicente card, starting at 8 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.