Richardson Hitchins feels like he has already beaten comparable or better opponents than John Bauza.
Hitchins thinks three of his past four victories confirmed that he is more than ready to battle the unbeaten Bauza on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York. Brooklyn’s Hitchins (15-0, 7 KOs) believes Bauza (17-0, 7 KOs) has much more to prove than him entering a 10-round junior welterweight fight that DAZN will stream as part of the Amanda Serrano-Erika Cruz undercard (8 p.m. ET).
The 25-year-old Hitchins has beaten longtime contender Argenis Mendez (then 25-5-3), Malik Hawkins (then 18-1) and Yomar Alamo (then 20-1-1) in three of his four appearances since December 2020.
“I’ve fought guys like Bauza before,” Hitchins told BoxingScene.com, “as far as I’ve been in fights where people thought it was gonna be a good fight or some people thought I was gonna lose. I don’t think Bauza ever was in a fight where people thought it was a good fight or he was gonna lose. I don’t think this is a step up. I just think it’s kinda like a credible opponent, and I feel like I got a few of those on my resume. I’ve been here before. I don’t think he’s been here. I just feel like it’s a whole different level, as far as fighting a guy like me and fighting the guys he’s been fighting.”
The 24-year-old Bauza, a Puerto Rican southpaw from North Bergen, New Jersey, hasn’t fought in 10½ months, not since he beat Canada’s Tony Luis (29-6, 10 KOs) by unanimous decision in an eight-rounder at the same venue where he’ll battle Hitchins. In Bauza’s previous bout, he stopped then-unbeaten Michael Williams Jr. by fourth-round technical knockout in December 2021 at Madison Square Garden.
Hitchins isn’t impressed by Bauza’s victory over Williams (20-1, 13 KOs), who is scheduled to face former four-division champion Adrien Broner (34-4-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) on February 25 at Gateway Center Arena at College Park in College Park, Georgia.
“I think everybody that Williams fought had a losing record,” Hitchins said. “Or if they didn’t have a losing record, they were like 22-18, something like that.”
Three of Williams’ 21 opponents had winning records when they faced him. Bauza nonetheless intends to upset Hitchins, who is listed by Caesars Sportsbook as a 9-1 favorite, and legitimize himself as a 140-pound contender in the first 10-round fight of his six-year professional career.
Hitchins, however, feels he’ll demonstrate his readiness for fighting top opponents in their division.
“My focus is just to dominate and to prove that I’m on a whole different level,” said Hitchins, who represented Haiti at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “I wanna prove that I’m something special, something great. I’m in a sport where you’ve just gotta keep proving that. My goal is not just to win, it’s to dominate.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.