By Fiona Manning
In a fight card worthy of a big Las Vegas casino, it’s California’s own big resort-style Pechanga Casino and Entertainment Casino in Temecula, which is holding one of boxing’s most highly-anticipated genuine grudge matches this Sunday.
Australia’s 130 pound superstar Robbie “The Bomber” Peden is set to take on Nate Campbell in what promised to be an explosive IBF junior lightweight elimination bout in the 12-round main event which also lays Peden’s USBA title on the line.
The winner of this fight goes on to face the IBF champ, Carlos “Famoso” Hernandez. Potentially, the winner of that bout goes on to meet newly-crowned WBC champ Erik Morales.
In a great co-feature, California’s rising featherweight phenomenon, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (11-0, 4 KO’s) from Gilroy, makes a welcome return to the ring in an eight round bout.
Guerrero, whose enforced layoff from an ‘extended’ elbow injury, is keen to show what he and trainer Joe Goos-sen have been working on in the gym. The young south-paw’s last three fights, all ended in knockout victories. None of them was more impressive than his last one when the 20 year-old stopped Jose Luis Tula in the first round on June 6 of last year in Las Vegas.
Peden (22-2, 12 KOs) of Brisbane, Australia is currently ranked #7 by the IBF, while Campbell (24-1-1, 21 KOs) of Jacksonville, Florida is ranked #4.
“I’m more than ready,” Peden said by cell phone as he prepared to leave his US base of Treasure Island in Florida for the warmer waters of the Pacific.
“It is going to be like all my fights, a very tough war. My style is the type that the fans and networks like to see, reality TV at it’s best.
Peden, 30, has won six of his last seven fights against top notch competition. A two-time Australian Olympian (92 & 96) as well as a former NABF featherweight champion said, “This is a very, very big fight. Two real fighters, an eliminator; I’m ready. I was ready last week.”
On August 7 of last year in Temecula, Peden stopped former #1 world super featherweight contender Lamont Pearson in the seventh round to win the USBA junior lightweight belt.
His arch-rival, Nate Campbell has won eight of his last 10 fights with one draw and a loss to former world champion Joel Casamayor at Pechanga on January 25, 2003.
“Peden is a solid fighter,” he said. “It’s a good match-up, but I totally expect to win. I take nothing from him, but I think I’m a superior fighter. Everybody’s like, ‘Robbie takes such a good shot,’ but that’s not necessarily a good thing when you’re fighting a guy with the kind of power that I punch with.”
Former two-time middleweight world champion Keith Holmes risks everything against once-beaten Kuvanych Toygonbayev from Uzbekistan in what is tipped to be an all-out 10 round war.
Holmes (37-3, 24 KO’s) a two-time middleweight champion from Washington D.C. is 2-0 since losing his title on points to Bernard Hopkins on April 12, 2001. Holmes first captured the 160-pound WBC crown in 1996 with a win over Quincy Taylor.
He made two successful defenses before losing his belt to Hassine Cherifi in a controversial decision in 1998, but regained his crown a year later by stopping Cherifi in the seventh round, he made one successful defense that time before losing to Hopkins.
On his most recent junior middleweight bout on October 4 of last year in Las Vegas, Holmes stopped Jason Papillion in the eight round to prove he can still compete and beat top opposition especially in the 154 pound division.
“I was never a big middleweight. Remember I was rated #1 to fight Pernell Whitaker at 147 and than #1 against Terry Norris at 154 pounds,” Holmes said.
“I got tired of waiting and was offered a bout at middleweight and the rest was history. That is until I decided to rewrite history and go back down to my natural weight at jr. middleweight. This fight is very important, and I cannot be denied. I will be the jr. middleweight world champion.”
Toygonbayev (23-1, 15 KOs) known in America as Kuna, is currently ranked #4 by both WBC (at middleweight) and WBO (at jr. middleweight).
He is taking a big step up in class against Holmes. He does have a win over former world title contender Oba Carr and a loss to current #1 ranked Kassim Ouma when both were just starting out as professionals.
“Holmes [is a] good boxing man,” Toygonbayev said. “Now training, ready for him. We watch tape. Good, I think good fight. He said to me, ‘Kuna is very slow, blah, blah, blah.’ I not say he’s old man. This is boxing! OK, I understand, he say too much. OK, no problem. We see in the ring, no problem.”
Malcolm “Showstopper” Tann (8-1, 4 KO’s) of San Antonio will also be featured in a six round heavyweight bout. On his most recent effort on Jan 30 of this year, Tann took home a four decision win over Rodney McSwain in Dallas, Texas.
The event is a presentation of Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with CMXsports. com and Pechanga Resort & Casino.
The card is to be taped and broadcasted by Fox Sports Net on Sunday, March 21 during its “Sunday Night Fight” series.
First bell is at 2:15 p.m., doors open at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $65, $45 and $35 and are available at the Pechanga Resort & Casino box office or by calling (909) 303-2507.