In true Don King style, there has been much controversy over the card itself, and most importantly the main event. Chaos has reigned, as Manuel Charr, the WBA “Regular” Heavyweight champion, was forced to withdraw from a first defence in over three years.
Charr claimed there were contractual issues, while King’s camp insisted an uncompleted Visa was the reason that Charr could not appear. Whatever the ins and outs, we are now left with a new main event in what was an already bizarre King-promoted show.
Trevor Bryan (20-0, KO14) has been due to challenge for the WBA strap for some time now, as he currently serves as their interim champion, and it still remains to be seen whether the full title, or Bryan’s interim crown, will be at stake in Hollywood.
There has been an injunction filed by Fres Oquendo, the 47-year-old Puerto Rican that hasn’t fought since 2014, but has been in a wrangle with the WBA almost ever since, and Don King has lobbied for Manuel Charr to be placed in recess to allow a vacant title fight to take place here.
Little is known about the 31-year-old and he spent his early career between the USA and Dominican Republic, as well as boxing in Columbia after debuting in November 2011.
He hasn’t been seen since August 2018, when he picked up the interim version of Charr’s title with a fourth round stoppage of the badly faded, blown-up Cruiserweight, BJ Flores. Flores was floored six times in all before being stopped. His over two year lay-off has been mainly due to his on/off saga with Charr, with several proposed meetings falling through.
The replacement that steps in for Charr is Bermane Stiverne (25-4-1, KO21), the Las Vegas-based Haitian and former WBC Heavyweight champion.
Stiverne was due to appear on the card, but an opponent hadn’t been finalised, and he now walks into the main event here. Stiverne is now 42, and his best days are firmly behind him, with three defeats in his last four starts.
He came from behind to stop Ray Austin in ten back in 2011 in a WBC title eliminator, and nearly three years later, he got his shot, and stopped Chris Arreola in six to win the vacant Green and Gold Belt.
His reign was brief, but he took Deontay Wilder all twelve rounds before losing widely on the cards in his first defence in January 2015.
Stiverne’s last win came ten months later, coming off the canvas to take a close decision win against the well travelled Derric Rossy. A rematch with Wilder for his old belt in November 2017 ended in disaster as ‘B-Ware’ was floored three times in a first round hammering.
Stiverne returned in February 2019, but was a shell in a failed Commonwealth title challenge, stopped by Joe Joyce in six. That was the last time he was in action, and it’s unclear what his motivation is for returning to the ring.
Prediction: This is a hastily arranged contest, and may suit Stiverne, who should attack early for his best chance to secure a win here. Bryan, providing he can safely negotiate the first four rounds, should be able to pour on enough pressure to force a stoppage or corner retirement around the halfway mark.
A Cruiserweight six rounder sees Johnnie Langston (8-3, KO3) take on Demetrius Banks (10-9-1, KO5), and it’s a contest Langston can take on the cards.
Cuba’s Joahnys Argilagos (5-0, KO3) should have too much for Chile’s Juan Pablo Meza (4-1, KO1) in their Bantamweight four round contest, and can win inside the distance.