Tuesday sees the third night of action in a week inside The Bubble at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, and it’s the first of three nights of Top Rank/ESPN action this week.
At the head of affairs of the Bob Arum lead promotional outfit’s latest show sees a decent battle of Bantamweight contenders.
The wonderfully nicknamed Josh ‘Don’t Blink’ Greer Jr (22-1-1, KO12) is in a ten-round action against a man with a similar record, and similar ambitions in Filipino, Mike Plania (23-1, KO12).
Greer has acquired his moniker after some eye catching knockout wins. He even brings his ‘Night Night’ pillow to the ring, and celebrates with it when putting victims to sleep. But, in his last couple of outings he has flattered to deceive.
The 26-year-old from Chicago began his campaign in September 2015, but after three wins, the wheels came off somewhat in a six round majority draw with the 3-2 Mario Ayala in November 2015.
He returned just over a month later, but bit off more than he could chew against the unbeaten Stephen Fulton, who took a majority decision over four. Fulton has gone on to become a title contender and is currently 18-0 so there is no disgrace in that defeat.
It’s been 19 fights unbeaten since for Greer and he has steadily stepped up in class each time.
Four early wins in 2018 were followed by an eighth round body shot knockout of Giovanni Escaner in February 2019. Greer had to get off the deck himself in the third round to come through with a win.
His last two outings have given cause for concern. In a decision that drew boos from the crowd, Greer took a hotly disputed majority decision against Nikolai Popatov in July.
His last appearance came three months later, with a tight unanimous points win over former world title challenger Antonio Nieves.
Greer started well enough, but faded in the middle rounds to let his opponent come into the contest. He will be looking to make a statement in his bout with Piania.
General Santos City native, Plania is just 23-years-old and has had just as many wins in his career thus far.
His first 14 fights took place in his homeland of the Philippines, but he has since divided his time between there and the USA.
His sole defeat was no disgrace as he floored former WBA Bantamweight champion, Juan Carlos Payano in the third round before losing out fairly enough on the scorecards. That was back in March 2018, and Plania is eight unbeaten against some modest opposition.
His best win of his current streak came in his last fight, where he outscored Nicarguan Giovanni Gutierrez over ten rounds in Miami.
Prediction: Greer will be looking for a statement win here, and Plania looks to be just the man for this to happen against. The Filipino has never been dropped or stopped, so an early win would be an eyebrow raiser. I think Greer can impress enough to take the fight on the cards.
In the co-featured attraction on this card, Californian, Giovani Santillan (25-0, KO15), looks to chalk up a faded former World champion to his CV. Giovani takes on California based Mexican, Antonio DeMarco (33-8-1, KO24) over ten rounds at Welterweight.
Although an attractive record on the surface, Santillan is looking for a decent name on his slate, and that should come against the 34-year-old DeMarco. 18 of his 25 outings have taken place at the Double Tree Hotel in Ontario, California, but he has only had two fights in the last two years, both at the venue.
He was last seen knocking out Wilfrido Buelvas in two rounds in November last year.
DeMarco is way past his best, and he began as WBC Interim Lightweight champion, before being the great enigma that was Edwin Valero’s last victim in February 2010.
Two wins later, he then gained the full WBC Lightweight crown by sensationally stopping Jorge Linares when well behind on the cards in the eleventh round. He would make two defences before shipping the belt to Adrien Broner in eight rounds in November 2012, and he has never really got close to those heights ever since.
He is 2-5 in his last seven fights, a run that began with a points loss to Jessie Vargas in a bid for the WBA Super-Lightweight title in November 2014.
He has gone the distance but lost against Rances Barthelmy, Omar Figueroa and the late Maxim Dadashev. His last fight saw him at his heaviest ever in a wide points loss to Jamal James in July 2019.
Prediction: There will be little ambition left for DeMarco, and a stoppage win for Santillan would be impressive. I think after halfway, the Mexican should unravel, and a corner retirement should occur soon after.
Elsewhere, there’s an eight rounder at Welterweight as the unbeaten Kazakh,Bobirzhan Mominov (10-0, KO8) takes on the experienced Cameron Krael (17-15-3, KO4).
Two six-round fights round off the card. At Middleweight, Georgia’s Nikoloz Sekhnashvili (5-0, KO4) meets Isiah Jones (8-1, KO3) and up at Heavyweight, Puerto Rican Hector Perez (6-2, KO3) and Juan Torres (5-2-1, KO2) collide.