by Francisco Salazar
Sammy Valentin and Giovani Santillan square off tonight.
The clash between the two unbeaten welterweights is not an opening bout on an HBO 'Boxing After Dark' telecast.
Nor is it on ESPN.
The 10 round airs tonight on Telemundo from the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa, Florida (11:35 p.m. ET/ PT).
With the stellar fight cards that have already taken place during the first half of 2017, and much more to come this year, Valentin-Santillan should also be included.
The fight matches two fighters who have built their records against modest opposition thus far. They are also young (Valentin is 23 and Santillan is 25) and have their whole future ahead of them in this sport.
Tonight's fight really is a toss-up. The southpaw Santillan is likely going to attempt to box, while the more-explosive Valentin will look to walk down Santillan.
Valentin (12-0, with 9 KOs) will have the home-field advantage as he will be fighting in his hometown of Tampa. Tonight will mark the eighth time Valentin has fought at the A La Carte Event Pavilion.
Valentin's most notable fight thus far of his career took place in his sixth pro fight on March 6 of last year. Valentin dominated former fringe contender Cosme Rivera until the fight was stopped in the fourth round.
Four of Valentin's last five victories have been by knockout.
Valentin is promoted by Tuto Zabala Jr. and his All Star Boxing Promotions.
Santillan (21-0, with 11 KOs) does have the experience factor on his side. The San Diego resident has fought 95 rounds as opposed to Valentin's 36.
In his last bout on February 10, Santillan won a one-sided eight round decision over Omar Tienda. Santillan also has victories over Jose De Jesus Macias and Luis Solis.
Santillan has emerged as one of Thompson Boxing's top fighters.
"Giovani is facing an undefeated fighter with 12 victories," said Alex Camponovo, the general manager and matchmaker for Thompson Boxing Promotions. "This is not going to be an easy fight. The fighter who doesn't know how to lose is always dangerous, but Giovani has faced many different fighters and has gotten used to fighters with different styles. He has a lot of experience to his credit."
"A victory over Valentin would put Giovani in the rankings within the WBO. It's a big step up for him. He's ready for this step in his career."
Two fighters who fought in the 2016 Olympic Games and who fight under the Top Rank banner will also see action tonight. Telemundo is scheduled to air their fights.
Unbeaten lightweight Teofimo Lopez (5-0, with 5 KOs), who resides in Davie, Florida, will square off against Christian Santibanez (5-6, with 3 KOs) in a six round bout.
Bantamweight Antonio Vargas (2-0, with 2 KOs), who resides in nearby Kissimmee, faces Leonardo Reyes (7-13, with 3 KOs) in a six round bout.
Both Lopez and Vargas are managed by David McWater.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing