It’s a Welterweight ten-rounder that heads the latest Top Rank bill inside the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas this Saturday night, as two men attempt to force their way into world title contention.
Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, KO17) was in that contention in his last fight, but sadly his dreams were crushed by the excellent Terence Crawford in a failed bid for the WBO title.
More commonly named ‘Mean Machine’, Kavaliauskas was dropped three times en route to a ninth round stoppage loss to the Nebraskan back in December 2019.
That was the California based Lithuanian’s first pro defeat, and he aims to bounce back immediately against Canada’s Mikael Zewski (34-1, KO23) this weekend.
Two-time Olympian Kavaliauskas has been a professional since March 2013, and came to wider prominence with a sixth round stoppage win against former WBA Champion, David Avanesyan in February 2018. And he backed this up with a points win over ten against Juan Carlos Abreu five months later.
He rounded out 2018 with a third round knockout Roberto Arriazu. That was his last victory, as at the end of March 2019, he was held to a majority draw with the under rated Ray Robinson, who also drew with Josh Kelly three months later.
His high ranking with the WBO rewarded him with a title shot, and he put up a spirited performance against Crawford before succumbing to defeat.
Mikael Zewski’s record looks good on paper, but in a 35 fight, ten year career, he hasn’t really threatened to take himself to the next level.
His sole defeat came against Konstantin Ponomarev in May 2015, when he was soundly defeated on the cards after ten rounds.
The Quebec native has since gone eight unbeaten, and his last four fights have seen him pick up various ranking building belts. He won the WBC International title and defended once, and won the IBF North American and WBO NABO crowns in June last year, outscoring Abner Lopez.
His last fight came five months later, defending the belts with a tenth and last round stoppage of the previously unbeaten Alejandro Davila.
Zewski will defend his WBO NABO title against Kavaliauskas, as well as challenging for the vacant WBC Continental Americas strap.
Prediction: Kavaliauskas can be a real handful, and he will be looking to send a message to the big boys at 147 pounds with a good win here.
Zewski is unproven, and doesn’t have the pedigree of his Lithuanian opponent, so I favour ‘Mean Machine’ to force a stoppage after halfway in this one.
Miguel Marriaga (29-3, KO25) returns to action after seeing a July date with Mark John Yapp scrapped at the weigh in with Yap weighing a whopping nine pounds over the agreed limit.
The Columbian has three times failed in world title tilts, bit against excellent opposition in Nicholas Walters, Oscar Valdez and Vasyl Lomachenko. ‘The Scorpion’ meets Joet Gonzalez (23-1, KO14) in a Featherweight ten rounder in Las Vegas.
The Californian was last seen at the back end of 2019, losing nearly every session in a failed attempt at the WBO Featherweight title against Shakur Stevenson. Marriaga should be able to negotiate a win on the cards here.
Genaro Gamez (10-1,KO7), who scored a first-round knockout inside the Bubble in July, meets Puerto Rican veteran Anthony Mercado (13-4, KO11) in an eight-rounder at Super Lightweight.
Undefeated Featherweight, Angel Alejandro (9-0, KO4), from Dallas, Texas, will face fellow Texan Jorge Ramos (7-2-1, KO4) in an eight-rounder.
At Bantamweight, Manuel Flores (8-0, KO5), will fight Jonathan Rodriguez (8-0, KO3) over six.
Lightweight prospect Eric Puente (3-0) features, and Thomas Wu will make his professional debut in a four-round Super-Lightweight.