With dreams of becoming the next great champion to come out of boxing-rich Philadelphia, welterweight prospect Mike Jones will face Irving Garcia in a 12-round main event bout on ShoBox: The New Generation on Friday, July 9, live on SHOWTIME® (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from the ballroom at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall.
Jones, 27, puts his perfect 21-0 record (17 KOs) on the line against Puerto Rico’s Garcia (17-4-3, 8 KOs), a tough, aggressive brawler who ShoBox fans might remember for twice knocking down undefeated Carlos Abregu before eventually suffering a fourth round knockout in his last main event fight on May 1, 2009. In an exciting co-feature, promising, once-beaten Antwone Smith (18-1-1, 10 KOs) of Miami, Fla., will battle Houston’s Lanardo Tyner (23-3, 14 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight tussle.
Jones is ranked among the Top 10 welterweights by all four major world sanctioning bodies in one of boxing’s deepest divisions: No. 2 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), No. 3 by the World Boxing Association (WBA) and No. 7 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Council (WBC). In addition to his camp touting Jones as the WBO’s top-ranked American 147-pounder, Philadelphia Daily News boxing writer Bernard Fernandez has suggested that Jones could possibly replace the late Arturo Gatti as the next big Atlantic City drawing card. This will be Jones’ fifth consecutive fight in Atlantic City and his first as a headliner at Boardwalk Hall. Not only will Jones’ unbeaten record be on the line but also his North American Boxing Association (NABA) and North American Boxing Organization (NABO) titles.
“There’s a lot at stake for me with this fight and other big ones in the future,” said Jones. “But all of my focus is in winning this fight and looking good in possibly my toughest fight to date.”
The Atlantic City fans will be rooting for Jones, who lives and trains in Philadelphia. In the weeks leading up to his fights, Jones takes to the Newtown Athletic Club in Newton, Pa. for final preparation. Jones has developed quite a following in Pennsylvania, so much so that the Newtown civic leaders proclaimed June 28 “Mike Jones Day.”
The 6-foot Jones is coming off a fifth-round TKO over Hector Munoz of Albuquerque, N.M., also at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall in April. In February, he scored a 10-round unanimous decision over Puerto Rico’s Henry Bruseles at Bally’s Park Place Hotel and Casino Ballroom.
Jones says he has “Tyson power” which was taught to him as an amateur by “Smokin” Joe and Marvis Frazier. “I was taught how to bang early on: just plant my feet on the floor and bang,” he said. “I have a jab like Ali; snap that jab and then throw combinations off that and my ring tricks are like Roy Jones. I have long, long arms, am tall for a welterweight and fast. I’m pretty good at blocking a guy’s shot. I really haven’t been boxing too long and I’m still learning every day.”
Garcia is no stranger to fighting highly touted prospects, having faced the world-ranked Abregu and the dangerous Said Ouali.
SHOWTIME announcer Nick Charles called the Abregu-Garcia fight “one of the most wildly entertaining fights I’ve seen in years” while SHOWTIME expert analyst and boxing historian Steve Farhood considers the Abregu-Garcia battle as the most exciting bout to ever air on ShoBox.
“This is a difficult fight but not an impossible one to win,” said Garcia, who turned pro in 1998. “I am working very hard to come into this fight in my best physical condition. I know how important this fight is for my future and the future of my family.”
The event is promoted by Peltz Boxing Promotions in association with DiBella Entertainment.
In the co-feature, all eyes will be on Smith, who is the early favorite to beat Tyner. Many feel that the winners from each of the night’s top fights will likely square off against each other in an upcoming match.
The 5-foot-7, extremely athletic Smith is a boxer-puncher who is not averse to trading punches. In his last fight on April 10 in Sunrise, Fla., the 23-year-old knocked out Franklin Gonzalez with a body shot in the third round on the Andre Berto-Carlos Quintana card. In November of last year, Smith earned a ninth-round stoppage against undefeated Henry Crawford in an all-out slugfest that ShoBox fans won’t soon forget.
Smith is rated No. 13 by the IBF and has been a pro since 2006. Smith also has wins over Jerome Ellis, Norberto Gonzalez and Richard Gutierrez.
Tyner, 34, is originally from Detroit. He turned pro in 2004 and has beaten Kenny Abril, Leo Martinez and Gilbert Venegas. He also went 12 hard rounds with Mexican knockout sensation Saul Alvarez, losing by decision last year in Mexico.
Curt Menefee 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 Chuck McKean 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.