By Jake Donovan
Ivan Najera certainly isn’t lacking confidence as he prepares for his first televised main event appearance this weekend. The unbeaten lightweight takes on Missouri’s Robbie Cannon at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas, with the bout to air live on UniMas (Saturday, 11PM ET/PT).
The headlining status came by accident, though was long overdue for the Texan. Najera received an upgrade when the original main event–Saul Rodriguez vs Daniel Diaz—fell through after Diaz was unable to secure a travel visa from Nicaragua.
“This is what working hard in the gym - and I sparred very hard rounds, over 60 of them - will mean for me when I go into the ring Saturday night,” said Najera (15-0, 7KOs), born and raised in San Antonio, four hours north from the hosting border town. “Fighting in the main event is exciting for me and my team.”
Najera has fought all but one career bout in his home state of Texas or neighboring Oklahoma. His most recent ring appearance came in November, scoring an eight-round decision at home in San Antonio on the undercard of super middleweight Gilberto Ramirez in his HBO Latino debut.
His ‘Bam Bam’ ring moniker makes the lightweight one of two notable fighters under storied promoter Top Rank to carry a ‘Bam Bam’ ring moniker. The other is the more famous Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios.
“A lot of people think I took that name from Brandon Rios but I didn't. I was a strong little kid while growing up and it was my parents who called me Bam Bam. I wore it on my trunks as an amateur. It just stuck with me.”
In the co-feature, unbeaten welterweight prospect Alex Saucedo (16-0, 11KOs) faces Ecuador’s Eduardo Flores. The bout marks Saucedo’s first since working with renowned trainer Ronnie Shields.
Tickets range from $10 to $50 plus applicable fees and are available at the State Farm Arena and on Ticketmaster.com
Doors open 6 pm and the first bell will be at 6:30 pm.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox