For at least one night, Twin River Casino will turn into 19th century Spain complete with the crafty matador trying to tame the hard-charging bull.
Sticking to its promise of bringing bigger, bolder main events to its loyal fan base in 2014, Classic Entertainment & Sports will kick off its Twin River Fight Series with an old-fashioned bullfight as former two-time world champion Ricardo “El Matador” Mayorga (29-8-1, 23 KOs) faces Raul “El Toro” Munoz (22-16-1, 16 KOs) in the eight-round super middleweight main event Friday, Feb. 21st, 2014.
The colorful Mayorga, 40, is a former World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) welterweight champion and WBC light middleweight title-holder. He spent the first seven years of his professional career fighting overseas in Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and his native Nicaragua — all 10- and 12-round bouts, which is unprecedented in this era — before making his U.S. debut in 2001 with a knockout win over Elias Cruz in Nevada.
Several months later, now sporting a 22-3-1 record, Mayorga took his first shot at a world title against WBA champion Andrew Lewis, but the fight ended prematurely due to an accidental head-butt. He got another chance the following year and this time stopped the previously-unbeaten Lewis in the fifth round to capture the title.
Six months later, Mayorga stunned the late Vernon Forrest, beating the undefeated WBC welterweight champ by third-round knockout to add another title to his collection. His short-lived reign included a majority decision win over Forrest in the rematch before he lost both titles to Corey Spinks in December of 2003, but Mayorga regained his footing two years later in a new weight class when he beat Michael Piccirillo to capture the vacant WBC light middleweight title, his third world championship.
Mayorga’s latest reign ended abruptly with a knockout loss to the legendary Oscar De La Hoya, but in a remarkable stretch between 2000 and 2006, Mayorga lost just three bouts, all against elite fighters in his weight class (Spinks, Felix Trinidad and De La Hoya), while winning 14 times. He bounced back from the De La Hoya loss with an impressive win over Fernando Vargas before losing to Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto, the latter in the 12th and final round of their scheduled 12-round world-title bout when Mayorga broke his finger. The Cotto fight was supposed to be his farewell bout, but Mayorga has decided to return for one last run beginning Feb. 21st at Twin River.
Munoz’s resume is a who’s who of boxing, including bouts against Jermain Taylor, Mike Jones, Alfonso Gomez, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Austin Trout, Dmitriy Salita and the late Hector Camacho Sr. The 37-year-old Mexican veteran, born and raised in Topeka, Kan., will be fighting for the first time since October of 2012.
The Feb. 21st undercard features the homecoming of Providence native Toka Kahn (9-0, 6 KOs), a former highly-decorated amateur and now an undefeated super featherweight prospect fighting under the promotional guidance of Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing. Kahn will fight in his hometown for the first time since 2012 in a six-round bout.
“The Vermont Bully” Kevin Cobbs (7-1, 2 KOs) will end his year-long layoff in a four-round light heavyweight bout while Pawtucket, R.I., middleweight Thomas Falowo (10-2, 7 KOs) will return for the first time since his loss to Chris Chatman in July of 2012 in a separate six-round bout. The undercard also features the highly-anticipated return of unbeaten Springfield, Mass., welterweight Zack Ramsey (6-0, 3 KOs), who will star in a six-round bout, and the Twin River debut of Louisiana cruiserweight Alvin Vermall (1-0, 1 KO) fighting in a separate four-round bout.
Tickets for the event are priced at $41, $101 and $126 (VIP) and can be purchased by calling 401-724-2253/2254, online at www.cesboxing.com or www.ticketmaster.com, or at the Players Club at Twin River. All fights and fighters are subject to change.