Two winning streaks are on the line Friday night in the main event as ShoBox: The New Generation returns to SHOWTIME at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast) from the Laredo Entertainment Center in Laredo, Texas. Cuban-born Damian Frias (16-1, 7 KOs) of Miami, Fla., has won his last 12 fights while Mexico’s Freddy Hernandez (25-1, 18 KOs), who resides in Lynwood, Calif., has been victorious in his last nine in a row. The welterweight battle is scheduled for 10 rounds. In the co-feature defending North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super bantamweight champion Al Seeger (28-4, 22 KOs) of Savannah, Ga., will risk his belt against Victor Fonseca (16-0, 8 KOs) of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, in what will be an excitement-filled 10-round battle of world-ranked 122-pounders.
Frias, 33, is defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) Latino welterweight title. A southpaw who’s campaigned at 140-147 pounds, Frias has been inactive the last couple of years. He is fighting for the first time in nine months, with his previous fight being a year before that.
“I don’t expect any ring rust and feel I’m 100 percent ready to fight again,’’ Frias said. “Getting an opportunity to fight on ShoBox is a great thing and a tremendous opportunity. There are lots of good fighters in my weight class, and I want to fight any of them. This is my chance to prove to everybody that I’m back.
“I can see that (Hernandez) likes to box, and sometimes likes to be aggressive. It depends, I guess, on the opponent he’s facing. He’s kind of versatile. He has a lot of different punches. I plan to mix it up. I’m going to come out in the first round and start working the jab. Everything is going to be off the jab.”
In his last fight on Jan. 16, 2009, in Key West, Fla., Frias registered an easy 10-round unanimous decision over Edwin Algarin (10-5-1), winning by the scores of 98-91, 98-92, 98-92.
Hernandez, 30, is an eight-year pro who returned to the ring in July 2009 after a 15-month layoff. The inactivity never showed as he recorded an eight-round unanimous decision against Hicklet Lau. One of Hernandez’ career-best triumphs came on a 10-round decision over welterweight prospect Jesus Soto-Karass in July 2004. His only loss came in February 2005 when he lost a 12-round decision against welterweight contender Golden Johnson.
Hernandez’ other impressive wins have come against former junior welterweight world title contender Ben Tackie in June, 2007, but his fight against prospect Roberto Garcia in November, 2007, ended as “no contest” after an accidental clash of heads.
Frias says he has gotten his life back on track after spending eight years in prison from the age of 15 to 23 for a shooting in which no one was killed.
“It made me the person that I am right now,” said Frias, on his time behind bars. “It taught me a lot. It made me a better man. I’m going to turn the negative into a positive, and so far, that’s what I’m doing. I’m not going to lie to myself — I disrespected my talent once. When I got out, I had people willing to help me. I was playing semi-pro football — that was my love. But I had this injury, I tore my ACL. My last chance to become a professional athlete was boxing, so here I am.”
The Fonseca-Seeger matchup pits two contenders in the 122-pound division. Fonseca is currently ranked No. 7 in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and No. 8 in the World Boxing Association (WBA) while Seeger is currently at No. 10 in the WBC and is a former junior featherweight world title challenger.
Seeger is coming off of an eighth-round TKO win against Benjamin Flores in his last fight in April, 2009, a fight that ended tragically with Flores passing away five days later from head injuries sustained during the fight.
Fonseca’s last fight was in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico, in September, when he won an eight-round unanimous decision against Alexander Espinoza. Fonseca scored a knockdown in the third round and won by scores of 78-73, 77-74, 77-74.
Curt Menefee, Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver will call the ShoBox action from ringside. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Gary Shaw Productions will promote the event.
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