By Derek Bonnett: On February 12, at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, USA, boxing fans will be treated to a possible dark horse candidate for fight of the year when Ji Hoon Kim and Tyrone Harris square off in a junior lightweight bout televised on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights. The main event of the scheduled seven bout card was reason enough to purchase a ticket to the Banner Promotions event.
However, the deal just got a little bit sweeter. The main supporting bout featuring unbeaten prospect Ruslan Provodnikov has taken upon a whole new value as former lightweight champion, Javier Jauregui, 53-16-2 (36), has stepped in with about five weeks notice.
Jauregui has been inactive since dropping a highly controversial decision to Kid Diamond in September of 2008. In that time, Provodnikov, 14-0 (9), has won five bouts.
"After the loss against Diamond, Javier was pretty discouraged, but still wanted to continue on fighting," stated manager Charlie Perez. "He believed he had won that fight and so did a lot of people because we kept getting fight offers from Judah, Gamboa, Ortiz and about four or five others. After mulling it over a couple of days, they decided not to take the fight. It turns out the older fighters don’t want to fight Javier because he still has too much left and the younger guys don’t want to fight him because most of his recent wins are over up and coming prospects."
Jauregui’s last two wins were over unbeaten Adrian Mora and the streaking Miguel Angel Huerta. After a clear defeat at the hands of Anthony Peterson, Jauregui accepted the challenge of Diamond. Jauregui remains one of the most experienced fighters in boxing today, having fought Jesus Chavez, Agapito Sanchez, Acelino Freitas, Julio Diaz, and Joan Guzman. Among the Mexican ironman’s most impressive victories are a pair of stoppages of Jose Luis Castillo and his title winning victory over Leavander Johnson.
"The last couple of years have been good to older fighters. Experience has overcome youth and that will happen in this fight," Jauregui promised. "We were always ready to come back."
But how ready can the former champion be after a year and a half hiatus and fighting now at a higher weight class?
"Javier has never stopped training and we kind of knew this fight might happen about three weeks ago so he stepped it up then," Perez explained. "He’s very comfortable at 140, so that should not be a problem."
In his only bout as a full-fledged junior welterweight, the former IBF and NABF lightweight champion stopped Mora in eight rounds. Jauregui, called "El Chatito" by his fans from Guadalajara and throughout Mexico, has seventy-one bouts of experience to Provodnikov’s forty-eight rounds. The Mexican is only disadvantaged by his ten years senior to the twenty-six year old Russian.
Is this the last hurrah, for real this time, that we will see Jauregui secure?
"I’m not thinking about losing," Jauregui stated. "I’m thinking about getting back to the top again so that I can get another shot at a title."
Perez shared an anecdote between he and his fighter:
"Just as a side note, I always joke with him," Perez explained. "Javier called me not too long ago and asked, ’ When am I going to get a fight?’ I told him the way it looks, about a week after he’s dead and buried. Javier replied, ’Yeah they won’t take any chances. They want to make sure I’m done.’"
Those contenders just might have to wait. Perhaps even longer than expected. We just might find out one day, long after the apocalypse or nuclear fallout, that along with cockroaches and Cher, Javier Jauregui also knows how to survive.
February 1, 2010