It's fitting that Marcos "Chino" Maidana will make the second defense of his interim WBA junior welterweight crown on HBO's 'Boxing After Dark.'
The hard-hitting Maidana has specialized in turning the lights out on his opponents throughout a rapid rise up the professional ranks, piling up 26 knockouts on a 27-1 record.
Fans can expect to see plenty of explosiveness Saturday, March 27 (10:30 p.m. ET) when the Argentina-native Maidana risks his title against unbeaten Dominican Republic star Victor Cayo (24-0, 16 K0s) in the 12-round main event of a world championship doubleheader from The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
In the co-featured bout, unbeaten former two-division world champion Joan Guzman (29-0-1, 17 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, and South African stalwart Ali Funeka (30-2-3, 25 KOs), will fight a scheduled 12-rounder for the vacant IBF lightweight championship in a rematch of their exciting 2009 draw.
"The fight fans of Las Vegas are some of the most knowledgeable in the world, and when we put on a show there, it's got to be top-notch,'' says Oscar De La Hoya, president of Golden Boy Promotions, presenters of the event. "We feel that two exciting and competitive world title fights in one night is just the type of event that boxing fans will rally around."
Many fans might remember Maidana as the virtual unknown who stole the thunder of highly-touted "Vicious" Victor Ortiz in an HBO-televised fight last year. Since stopping Ortiz in the sixth round for a stunning upset that won him the interim WBA 140-pound crown, Maidana, 26, has successfully defended his title with a third-round knockout of William Gonzalez.
He looks to add to his blistering 96.2 percent knockout ratio when he faces Cayo, who obviously has other ideas.
Cayo, 25, comes into the fight off a third-round TKO against previously unbeaten Julio Reyes and has built an impressive resume as a boxer-puncher.
A native of Santo Domingo, D.R., Cayo has his sights on capturing his first world title after winning three lesser titles in not yet four years as professional. He has notable victories against Julio "The Kid" Diaz, Noe "Plantanito" Bolanos and Arturo "Silencioso" Morua. Maidana would move to the top of that hit list if Cayo can pull off the win.
Not to be overshadowed, the rematch between Funeka and Guzman promises to be an electric affair if their first bout is any indication.
Funeka, at 6'1", is distinguished as one of the tallest lightweights in boxing history and he knows how to use the height and reach to his advantage. His fourth-round KO of Zahir Raheem in July, 2008, put him firmly in the mix as a top contender, and he has continued to impress with his cool and collected demeanor and his ability to keep firing under pressure. After fighting Guzman to a draw last November, Funeka, 31, wants nothing more than to take the decision out of the judges' hands with a stoppage.
That won't be easy against Guzman, whose nickname "Little Tyson," says all you need to know about his toughness and relentlessness as a fighter. A former junior featherweight and junior lightweight world champion, Guzman, 33, is unbeaten as a lightweight and would become a three-division world champion with a victory against Funeka.