The two entities that pioneered the marriage between professional boxing and Las Vegas casinos are reuniting to present a special edition of “Latin Fury 13 / Pinoy Power 3.” The Las Vegas Hilton, then known as The International, presented the first professional boxing card ever held at a Las Vegas casino forty years ago on December 6, 1969, with a card headlined by former world champion Sonny Liston and featuring a 20-year-old George Foreman, one year removed from winning an Olympic gold medal, on the undercard. Nine years later, Top Rank promoted the first world championship fight to ever take place in a Las Vegas casino venue, also at the Las Vegas Hilton, where Leon Spinks upset heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali on February 15, 1978.
Nearly thirty-two years later to the day, Top Rank and the Las Vegas Hilton are going back to the future with a world championship doubleheader, on Saturday, February 13, featuring former world champions and current top contenders Eric “Little Hands Of Stone” Morel and Gerry “Fearless” Peñalosa, battling in a WBO bantamweight title elimination bout; two-division world champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire defending his WBA interim super flyweight title against knockout artist Gerson “El Nene” Guerrero; WBO bantamweight champion Fernando “Cochulito” Montiel defending his crown against wunderkind Ciso “Kid Terrible” Morales; and world title challengers Mario Santiago and Bernabe Concepcion battling in a 10-round featherweight rumble.
Photos: Chris Farina/Top Rank
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Latin Fury 13 / Pinoy Power 3,” produced and distributed Live on Pay-Per-View by Top Rank, in association with PR Best Boxing, ABS-CBN and the Las Vegas Hilton, will take place Saturday, February 13, 2010, at the Las Vegas Hilton. The four-bout pay-per-view broadcast will begin at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
Tickets, priced at $250, $150, $100 and $50, go on sale this Saturday (12/26) at 10 a.m. PT. They can be purchased at the Las Vegas Hilton box office, online at www.LVHilton.com, by calling (800) 222-5361 or (702) 732-5755, and at all Ticketmaster outlets.
Morel (41-2, 21 KOs), of San Juan Puerto Rico, captured the WBA flyweight title in 2000, winning a 12-round decision over defending champion Sornpichai Pisnurachank. His three-year reign as champion included five successful defenses. Since losing the title, Morel has won eight of his last night bouts, including two NABO junior bantamweight and one NABO bantamweight title fights, while elevating himself to become the WBO’s No. 1 bantamweight contender.
Peñalosa (54-7-2, 34 KOs), of Cebu, Philippines, first came to international prominence in 1997, capturing the World Boxing Council super flyweight by dethroning Hiroshi Kawashima via an exciting split decision. He successfully defended the title three times before losing it the following year to In-Joo Cho by decision. Nine years later, Peñalosa became the comeback story of the year, knocking out Jhonny Gonzalez in the seventh round to become the WBO bantamweight champion in 2007. After one successful title defense, Peñalosa tested the waters of a higher weight class where he unsuccessfully challenged WBO junior featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez In April. He is now back fighting in familiar territory fighting as a bantamweight.
Donaire (22-1, 14 KOs), a native of General Santos City, Philippines who resides in San Leandro, Calif., is in his second reign as world champion. Donaire burst upon the scene winning the Upset of the Year with the Knockout of the Year, at the expense of previously undefeated International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight champion Vic Darchinyan in 2007. Leading on all scorecards through the first four rounds, Donaire uncorked his vintage punch, “The Pinoy Noir,” known for its silky smooth delivery and powerful finish. And what a finish! It was a one-punch knockout that crumbled Darchinyan into oblivion. Darchinyan had to be shown the taped replay of the knockout he never saw coming because he had no memory of it. After three title defenses, Donaire vacated the title this year to capture the WBA interim super flyweight title, winning a 12-round unanimous decision over Rafael Concepcion in August. Riding an eight-year, 20-bout winning streak, 13 by knockout, he is a consensus Top-10 pound for pound fighter. He is now trained by former IBF junior lightweight champion Robert Garcia.
Guerrero (34-8 26 KOs), of Mexico City, has won 76% of his fights by knockout. He has won NABF, FECARBOX, WBO Latino and Mexican titles in the flyweight and super flyweight divisions. Unbeaten in 2009, he enters his challenge of Donaire on the heels of winning a WBC super flyweight title elimination bout, a ninth-round TKO of Enrique Ouevedo in June. He is currently world-rated No. 3 by the WBC and No. 10 by the WBA.
Montiel (39-2-2, 29 KOs), of Los Mochis, Mexico, is a four-time, three-division world champion. He captured his first world title, knocking out Isidro Garcia in the seventh round, to capture the WBO flyweight title in 2000. After three successful title defenses, two by knockout, he vacated the title to capture the WBO junior bantamweight title, with a sixth-round TKO of Pedro Alcazar in 2002. After losing the title to Mark Johnson the following year he regained it 2005 by knocking out Ivan Hernandez. After two successful defenses of his crown, he vacated it in 2006 to unsuccessfully challenge Jhonny Gonzalez for the WBO bantamweight title, losing a split decision. He regained the WBO junior bantamweight title for a third time, in 2007, winning a split decision over Zcy Gorres. He held the title through 2008, successfully defending the title four times, all by knockout before vacating it to capture the WBO bantamweight title in April, knocking out Diego Silva in the third round in March.
Morales (14-0, 8 KOs), of Bohol, Philippines, has been making it rough for all his opponents since making his professional debut in 2007. He captured the WBO Oriental junior featherweight title in only his 10th bout, winning a unanimous decision over Marangin Marbun in 2008. He successfully defended the title three times, two by knockout, through this year, elevating his rating to No. 8 in the WBO.
Santiago (21-1-1, 14 KOs), of Ponce, Puerto Rico, is one of the brightest contenders to emerge from Puerto Rico. With knockout victories of tough contenders Cornelius Lock and Daniel Attah, Santiago earned his first world title shot, challenging WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano in 2008. A Fight of the Year candidate, Santiago and Luevano battled to a draw in a fight many thought Santiago had won. Since that fight Santiago has won both his 2009 fights while raising his world ratings to No. 4 in the WBA and No. 7 in the IBF.
Concepcion (29-2-1, 17 KOs), of Rizal, Philippines, captured the NABF super bantamweight title in 2007, by knocking out Gabriel Elizondo in the fourth round. He successfully defended it twice in 2008 before moving up in weight to capture the WBC International featherweight title with a fifth-round TKO of Sande Otieno. Concepcion’s four-year, 22-bout unbeaten streak came to a controversial end in August when he was disqualified after the seventh round in his first world title shot, against WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano, for hitting Luevano after the bell to end round. It was a close fight with Luevano ahead on two judges’ scorecards 67-66 while Concepcion led by the same score on the third judge’s scorecard.
The Las Vegas Hilton, with a long history of hosting numerous world championship fights over the years, ranks among the world’s most famous and popular resort destinations, located blocks from the Las Vegas Strip and adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center, offering 3,000 luxurious rooms and suites situated on 59 acres. The property is one of the largest hotels in the world and features top-name entertainment, 11 distinctive restaurants, a full-service health club and spa, and much more.