Some ruminations on this weekend’s event at the St Paul Armory…
- The Vanda train has to get back on the rails Saturday night. Vanda hasn’t forgotten how to fight in the last two years, but his level of competition has never been higher, so he’s mixed some losses in with the occasional wins. Vanda claims to be stronger and more skilled than ever, and the world needs to see that this is true – otherwise he’ll drop to “opponent” status and end his career far too late after a string of ten or twenty losses, as so many fighters do. Here’s hoping Vanda wins convincingly on Saturday to set up a rematch with Kenny Kost, which Vanda recently demanded: “I want a rematch with Kost. I want the rematch with Kolle that his team promised me after the fight. And I want a rematch with Bonsante…Its time for some of these guys to give me the opportunity I gave them.”
- According to Boxrec.com, Caleb Truax is scheduled to face Jason Medina (3-9 with 3 wins by kayo). But the internet bulletin board chatter is that he’ll actually square off against rugged veteran James Crayton. Crayton, despite his long-lived losing streak, is still a skilled tactician and should provide a good test for our favorite Gopher scholar/pugilist.
- Corey Rodriguez should defeat Raphael Magdaleno Saturday night, although there are no guarantees in life. And if Rodriguez wins, don’t be surprised if he shows up in a grudge match against Sam Morales later this spring. Rodriguez and Morales have been talking tough, and it’s time for them to back up their words.
- Brad Patraw will try to prove that he’s worthy of the hype and praise that’s been showered on him when he takes on Vlad Ustimchuk Jr – this will be Ustimchuk’s pro debut, so we won’t know what to expect from him until the bell rings. Many fighters look very different as pros than they did as amateurs, and I’m not talking about the headgear.
- Robert Kliewer will try to extend his hot streak. After starting his career with a disappointing 2-3-2 stretch, Kliewer has put together a run of 5-1. Odds are that Ray Walker (1-4 with no kayos) won’t be much more than a speed bump, but you never do know. That’s why they fight the fights in the ring and not on paper. Bottom line: if Kliewer doesn’t beat Walker on Saturday, he should probably consider a different line of work.