Cuba’s undefeated Livan “Machine Gun Kid” Navarro (8-0, 5 KOs) loves a good test.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, the Miami (via Havana) welterweight will be in tough once again this Friday night, when he takes on fellow Cuban Armando “The Gentleman” Alvarez (18-1, 12 KOs) of Key West.
The rare Cuban vs. Cuban showdown, also Navarro’s first fight scheduled for 10 rounds, highlights a stacked undercard on Friday, Sept. 28, at the “Rumble at the Rock 2,” professional boxing event at the Hard Rock Event Center at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
Presented by Kris Lawrence and The Heavyweight Factory, in the night’s 10-round main event, Honolulu, Hawaii’s undefeated Logan “The Korican Kid” Yoon (12-0, 10 KOs) will defend his WBO-NABO Youth Junior Welterweight Championship against John “El Emperador” Rentería (16-4-1, 12 KOs) of Panama. In the 10-round co-main event, Miami via Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan’s Mussa “Warrior” Tursyngaliyev (7-0, 6 KOs) will face Monteira, Colombia’s Deivi “El Cabo” Bassa (20-5, 12 KOs) over 10 rounds for the WBA International Featherweight Championship.
Tickets for “Rumble at the Rock 2” cost $60, $100, $150, $250 and $500 VIP and are available through ticketmaster.com.
So, is Navarro ready for a former WBC Latino Welterweight Champion in just his ninth fight?
“He’s a good fighter, but I feel my style will overpower whatever his so-called experience advantage is,” said a confident Navarro. “I was 312-17 as an amateur and I’m already 8-0 as a pro. I’ve been brought in as an opponent, supposedly to lose, on a Golden Boy card and a PBC show in Miami, and I knocked both those guys out. I fight my best when people don’t think I can win.”
To prepare, Navarro has reunited with trainer Herman Caicedo and gone back to what works best for the Cuban power puncher.
“I’m coming to scrap. This won’t be chess match. We’re going to scrap. That’s my style. I come to fight. I wait on the KO and when I see my opening I take it.”
Navarro says he doesn’t mind being part of an unusual “Cuban vs. Cuban” showdown.
“I’ll fight anyone. I’ve fought Cubans all my life back home, so no, it doesn’t bother me. This is a business. You see Mexican vs Mexican and Puerto Rican against Puerto Rican, so why can’t it be Cuba vs Cuba? Good fighters should fight one another, and the cream will rise to the top. It’s all business when I step in the ring. I wish Armando all the luck in the world. He will need every ounce.”
Alvarez says he knows he looked vulnerable in his last fight, a nationally televised loss to undefeated Jaron Ennis in July, and that’s why Navarro is willing to fight him.
But Alvarez says Team Navarro has made a big mistake.
“I’m 100 percent injury free and mentally ready,” said Alvarez. “That’s what his team didn’t take into account. I fought Ennis with an injury that badly affected my performance. They’re expecting that Armando Alvarez to show up that night, but I’m ready to prove ‘The Gentleman’ is here and alive. He’s a good boxer and he comes to fight, but amateur and pro are two different things and he’s not ready.”
Alvarez says he also doesn’t believe in the unwritten code some fighters carry that says Cubans can’t fight each other.
“It’s rare for two Cubans to face each other, but I think the best should fight the best. I don’t believe in not fighting another Cuban. He’s Cuban from Cuba from Cuba. I’m Cuban too, but I was born and raised here and I think anybody can fight anybody else.”
Alvarez says he’s looking forward to getting back in the win column in front of a large group of his fans.
“I’ll have the majority of the supporters at the fight. I’ll have lots of family and friends. It always helps me when my fans are there live. It pushes me to go that much harder.”
A treasure for Florida’s fans of live boxing, Heavyweight Factory’s fights at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino have become the nation’s strongest off-TV boxing series. On fight night, doors open at 6 p.m. and the action starts at 7 p.m. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is located at 1 Seminole Way in Hollywood, Fla. More exciting bouts will be announced shortly.