By Francisco Salazar
Christopher Diaz and Felix Verdejo have received much hype and press over the last couple of years as the next big fighters from Puerto Rico.
Verdejo suffered a knockout loss to Antonio Lozada, Jr. on Mar. 17 in New York City, so Diaz might be the fighter to become the face of Puerto Rico boxing. Diaz is penciled to fight in July for the vacant WBO junior lightweight title.
Then there is Subriel Matias, who is quickly making a name for himself and, if he continues winning in spectacular fashion, could become that fighter to carry the torch of box, so to speak.
Matias will face fringe contender Adrian Estrella in a 10 round junior welterweight bout tonight at the Parque de Pelota Pedro ‘Perucho’ Cepeda in Catano, Puerto Rico.
The 26-year-old Matias (9-0, 9 knockouts), who resides in nearby Fajardo, has generated a buzz on the island, not only for his victories but in the manner his fights dramatically end.
Matias has so far fought modest opposition, not opposition that could consists of stiffs and journeymen. Matias took a significant step-up in opposition in only his fourth fight, scoring an impressive second round knockout of former prospect Jeffrey Fontanez.
Matias’ most impressive win thus far took place in his last bout on Feb. 17, when he knocked out former world title challenger Daulis Prescott in the third round.
None of Matias’ fights have gone past the fourth round, something opponent Adrian Estrella is aware of and wants to expose, if the fight goes the distance.
The hard-hitting Estrella (28-1, 24 KOs), who resides in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, won an eight round unanimous decision over Jorge Batalla Martinez on Oct. 28. Estrella has won six last fights since losing his only fight by knockout at the hands of Eden Sonsona.
Estrella does have wins over former world titleholders DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley and Celestino Caballero, including contender Dante Jardon.
Unbeaten welterweight Derrick Cuevas (16-0-1, 13 KOs) will square off against Jesus Alvarez (15-4, 11 KOs) in an eight round bout.
Nestor Bravo (12-0, 8 KOs) will face Jean Javier Sotelo (26-15-2, 16 KOs), who has won seven bouts, in an eight round lightweight bout.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing