With seventeen different weight classes across and throughout four major sanctioning bodies, the sport of boxing has a professional matchup going on nearly 365 days per year. With the major fights reserved for weekends and the top networks, we don’t always get to see some of the more interesting matchups that happen in smaller markets and on other media outlets.
This Friday night at the BB&T center in Sunrise Fl, one such fight is being contested. Undefeated former lightweight titlist Joan Guzman will be entering the ring against Khabib Allakhverdiev for the vacant “regular” WBA World Light Welterweight title. This is a fight that has been flying under the radar but one that is expected to entertain regardless of how many people will tune in to see it.
Joan Guzman is undefeated throughout 33 fights, with his most notable wins coming against battle-tested veterans Humberto Soto and Ali Funeka. He is known for having very quick and accurate hands and a solid chin.
Allakhverdiev has been slowly climbing the ranks, fighting mostly in his native Russia and in minor fight cards on the east coast. He is currently listed as #6 on the Ring magazine rankings at 140lbs, above Guzman, undefeated countryman Denis Shafikob and hard-hitting Mike Alvarado.
The division is stacked with talent and notable big names so the winner of this fight will gain a belt and hopefully see some doors open up for potential fights against Brandon Rios, Amir Khan, Lucas Matthysse, and current Ring, “Super” WBA, and WBC belt-holder Danny Garcia.
A Guzman matchup, however, will be infinitely easier to market and promote than one against Allakhverdiev. So hardcore fans may be rooting for the veteran to have his hands raised at the end of the fight on Friday night.
After ending his agreement with Golden Boy Promotions earlier this year, his new promoters at Acquinity Sports hope to bring Guzman back into the real money and relevant contention. He has been on the fringe for many years, and many say that he could have been a real star, but his issues with weight and banned substances have let to promotional challenges that kept him away from the limelight. Guzman also made weight coming in at 138 lbs yesterday.
That having been stated, pressure comes with every fight but this could be a final opportunity for Joan Guzman, who has never seemed to break into the boxing mainstream, despite his flashy, fan-friendly style. At 36 years of age, Guzman has been known more for his speed than for his power, so those that tune in will be eager to see if he still has it.
On Friday night, at the BB&T center, fans that attend the boxing event will also be treated to a hip hop concert featuring the once-relevant Fat Joe, Fabolous, and DMX. If the younger Allakhverdiev beats the undefeated Guzman, will we be able to find a better metaphor than that show for being past your prime and wondering what could have been?