One night before two-time world champion Edwin Valero (26-0, 26 KOs) defends his World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight crown against WBC 135-pound interim titleholder Antonio DeMarco (23-1-1, 17 KOs) in Monterrey, Mexico, on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT), once-beaten Freddy “El Riel’’ Hernandez (27-1, 18 KOs), of Lynwood, Calif., will take on former world champion, southpaw DeMarcus “Chop Chop’’ Corley (36-12-1, 21 KOs), of Washington, D.C., in the main event on ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast). In the co-feature this Friday, Feb. 5, at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., hard-hitting, undefeated Dominican Francisco Contreras (12-0, 11 KOs), of Livingston, N.J., should get what definitely will be the toughest test of his career when he faces Juan Castaneda, Jr. (16-2, 12 KOs), of La Paz, Mexico, in an eight-round junior welterweight bout.
The doubleheader is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC.
A winner of four in a row, Hernandez, who was born in Mexico City, is 10-0 with one No Contest dating to February 2005. The No. 14-ranked contender in the World Boxing Council (WBC) is coming off a clear-cut eight-round unanimous decision over Octavio Narvaez on Dec. 12, 2009, in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Two outings ago, Hernandez survived a 10th-round rally to register a convincing 10-round unanimous decision over then-once-beaten southpaw Damian Frias on Oct. 23, 2009 on ShoBox.
“I’ve fought three times since last July and I like that,’’ said the 5-foot-10-inch, 30-year-old Hernandez, who fought only one time in 2008 (in April). “I need to keep fighting on a regular basis and I thank my promoter, Gary Shaw, for getting me more fights now and for him and SHOWTIME believing in me. For the longest time, I had a lot of difficulty getting fights.
“I am slowly moving up the ladder and making a name for myself. Corley has a lot of experience and class and, on paper, could be my toughest fight. But I am familiar with left-handers and am confident of putting on a good show for the fans. I am in top shape and ready to go.’’
The 5-foot-7, 35-year-old Corley is a former World Boxing Organization (WBO) 140-pound champion who won the then-vacant belt with a first-round TKO over Felix Flores June 30, 2001, on SHOWTIME. Corley made two successful defenses against Ener Julio and Randall Bailey in January 2002 and January 2003, respectively. Both defenses came on unanimous decisions on SHOWTIME.
Corley lost the belt in July 2003 on a 12-round split decision to Zab Judah on SHOWTIME.
“I took this fight on short notice but I’m always in the gym training, so there will be no excuses,’’ said Corley, who has fought several past and current world champions, including Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Devon Alexander, Junior Witter and Jose Alfaro. “People will see I have a lot left. This is a good matchup for me and I am going to make the best of the opportunity.’’
Corley, who seldom gets the benefit of the doubt in close affairs – one third of his defeats have come on split decisions – had a three fight winning streak end in his last start when he lost a 10-round split nod to Fariz Kazimov on Nov. 28, 2009, in Russia. One judge scored it for Corley, 97-93, but the two others had it for the local favorite by an identical tally.
Contreras, who has been virtually untested since turning pro in February 2007, is stepping way up in class against the aggressive-minded Castaneda.
But, style-wise, the 5-foot-10-inch, 25-year-old Contreras relishes the matchup. “It’s easier for me to beat a brawler, somebody who comes to you, than somebody who boxes,” he said.
Contreras recently moved to New Jersey to focus fulltime on his career, yet still has a child and family in his native Dominican Republic. “I’m going to dedicate this fight to my mother and my son,” said Contreras, who took a unanimous six-round decision over Marteze Logan in his last start on Dec. 19, 2009, in Knoxville, Tenn.
Castaneda has fought his last six fights in Mexico. In the 5-foot-7, 26-year-old’s last outing in the United States he lost to Demarco on May 2, 2008, at Chumash, on ShoBox.
“I expect to (set the pace) and take the fight to him,” said Castaneda, who is coming off a unanimous 10-round decision over Alejandro Valladares on Dec. 19, 2009. “I’ll make him fight my fight. I’m going to be on him, throwing a lot of punches. I’m hoping for the best, and that I will get the win.”
Nick Charles will call the action from ringside with Steve Farhood and Antonio Tarver serving as expert analysts. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website at http://www.sho.com/sports.