As part of a Free Preview Weekend on SHOWTIME® that begins this Friday, Jan. 11, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 13, over 80 million households will be able to watch the fighters who will compete on a ShoBox: The New Generation doubleheader Friday live at 11:15 p.m. ET/PT.
Three of the boxers on the Jan. 11 ShoBox twin bill at Fantasy Springs Casino Resort in Indio, Calif., are undefeated. The other has one loss. Combined, they are 59-1-1, but for all their success, you can’t beat the kind of exposure they’ll get during a Free Weekend Preview that offers the opportunity to sample the premium network’s award-winning programming on SHOWTIME, SHOWTIME HD™, SHOWTIME On Demand® and SHOWTIME ANYTIME®.
“A great example of what TV exposure can do for a young fighter is Austin Trout,” ShoBox analyst Steve Farhood said. “He was a world champion who was virtually unknown to even hardcore fight fans, but then he fought on ShoBox (Frank LaPorto), and then shortly thereafter on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (Delvin Rodriguez). That landed him a fight with Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden on SHOWTIME. He won that and now everyone knows who he is.
“Friday is a huge opportunity for the four ShoBox fighters, who have never approached this level number of available viewers. When you deliver in a situation like this it almost guarantees that promoters and the TV networks will bring you back because the public wants to see you again.”
In the 10-round main event, always-exciting Ronny Rios (19-0, 9 KO’s), of Santa Ana, Calif., puts his unbeaten record on the line when he faces former WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion Rico Ramos (21-1, 11 KO’s), of Los Angeles, for the vacant NABF Featherweight Championship.
In a clash of unbeaten junior middleweights, Daquan Arnett (9-0, 6 KO’s), of Orlando, Fla., takes on Brandon Quarles (10-0-1, 2 KO’s) of Alexandria, Va., in the 8-round co-feature.
One of Southern California’s most popular fighters, undefeated NABO Bantamweight Champion Randy “El Matador” Caballero (17-0, 9 KO’s), of Coachella, will make his 11th appearance at Fantasy Springs when he meets an opponent to be announced in the top non-televised fight.
Farhood says the first ShoBox event of the year is atypical of the critically acclaimed series, which has been a hit since its inception in July 2001.
“The main event is another classic ShoBox fight with an unbeaten prospect moving up in class against a former world champion,” Farhood said. “It is an age-old tradition, but in this case Ramos is a younger former world champion and presumably has a lot of fight left in him.
“It’s also crossroads fight because Rios needs to prove he can become a contender and Ramos needs to prove he’s still a top-10 fighter. This is a fascinating style matchup with Rios being the pressure fighter and Ramos the boxer-puncher.
“What’s interesting about the co-feature is that we have Arnett coming off a fight in which he was dropped and almost stopped getting right back in with his second consecutive unbeaten opponent. It’s time for Arnett to show he’s a legitimate prospect.”
The 5-foot-6 ½ Rios, a former amateur standout who turns 23 on Jan. 22, is making his ShoBox debut. A stable mate of WBC World Champions Abner Mares (super bantamweight) and Daniel Ponce de Leon (featherweight), the crowd-pleasing four-year pro is taking a significant leap in class after being steadily stepped up in recent fights and giving solid performances.
“I’ve been training really hard, and we really want to take advantage of this opportunity that’s been presented to us,” said the offensive-minded Rios, who’s facing by far his toughest opponent on paper to date. “I’m looking forward to a good fight.”
The rising Rios is a gym rat who enjoys reading mystery novels in his spare time. A boxer-puncher with solid speed and movement, he’s campaigned at featherweight and junior lightweight the last few years. He made his 10-round debut in his last start, scoring an impressive ninth-round knockout over game veteran David Rodela in a thrilling all-action junior lightweight slugfest on July 28 at Fantasy Springs.
Ramos, 25, is a ShoBox alum and former amateur standout who captured the WBA 122-pound world title in his 20th pro fight with a spectacular, come-from-behind, one-punch, seventh-round knockout over Akifumi Shimoda on July 9, 2011.
The 5-foot-5 Ramos, currently ranked No. 7 in the IBF, No. 8 in the WBA and No. 23 in the WBC at 122 lbs., is seeking his second consecutive victory since losing the WBA crown in his first defense to unbeaten Guillermo Rigondeaux on Jan. 12, 2012. In his lone fight since, Ramos finished much the strongest to win an 8-round majority decision in a spirited encounter over previously undefeated Efrian Equiovoas last June 23 by the tallies of 78-74 twice and 76-76.
While his opponent’s weight fluctuates slightly from fight to fight, Ramos has been fighting at or around 122 pounds since going pro in March 2008. However, this move north in weight isn’t necessarily a permanent one.
“I just want to see how I feel at 126 because I know I’m strong at 122. We’re going to see where it takes us right now,” said the more experienced Ramos, a natural counterpuncher who possesses good natural athletic ability, skills, speed and movement. “I can still make 122, but I just want to see where the opportunities are. This isn’t a permanent move up in weight.’’
Reunited with trainer Charles “Chili” Wilson and re-energized after some time off, Ramos is primed for a top effort. “I’ve been working on a lot of stuff: throwing more punches, not tensing up too much, throwing more combinations with a lot of movement and not standing straight up,” he said. “I’m ready for all fighters from 122 to 126. I’ll be back on top. I’m happy to be back.”
Arnett will be making his eight-round debut and first official start on ShoBox although highlights of his last fight on Nov. 9 (a fourth-round KO over Jeremiah Wiggins) were shown during the ShoBox telecast. He also fought on SHOWTIME EXTREME, winning a six-round decision over Jesus Tavera last Sept. 8.
An accomplished amateur and 2009 Junior Olympic national champion, the talented, aggressive-minded 5-foot-10, 20-year-old Arnett has kept busy since turning pro on Dec. 1, 2011. He had eight fights in 2012, winning six by knockout. He’s gone into the fourth round four times and six full rounds once.
Arnett’s last fight was his roughest as he had to rebound from a knockdown to stop Wiggins. Arnett had dominated the first two rounds, but got nailed by a hard right hand by Wiggins during an exchange in the third. Visibly hurt, Arnett held on and got through the round. In the fourth, Arnett knocked Wiggins through the ropes from a barrage of punches and the referee stepped in and stopped it at 1:59.
One of three children, Arnett hails from a family of fighters. “My younger brother is a top amateur, my sister, who got into the sport pretty much for self-defense, knows more about boxing than a lot of people I know,” Arnett said. “My dad was a boxer, all of my cousins competed in the amateurs and my uncle was a Golden Gloves champion. Boxing’s my life. My dad literally introduced us to boxing when we were one and two years old – from the time we were able to walk.”
Quarles is a 5-foot-10, 26-year-old who is managed and trained by George Peterson, the career-long manager and trainer of former Two-Time WBO Welterweight World Champion Paul Williams.
A pro since July 2010, Quarles is coming off of a six-round draw in his last start on Oct. 27 against John Mackey. Quarles, who was decked in the first, registered a knockdown in the final 10 seconds to get the draw. Two judges had it 56-apiece; the other scored it for Mackey, 57-55.
“I’ve seen Arnett fight a few times and I’ve seen him hurt a few times, too,” said Quarles, a boxer with good speed and movement who was one of Williams’ top sparring partners. “My friend Jeremiah Wiggins just fought him. He told me, ‘just don’t wait on him. Take it to him as soon as the bell rings.’
“I’m just ready to fight. I’m ready to put on a show. It’s what it is – go for broke.”
Barry Tompkins will call the action from ringside with Farhood and former World Champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.