On March 22nd at the UIC Pavilion, Chicago’s Sergio Montes de Oca (7-1-1, 2 KOs) makes his television debut against Miami’s Hairon “El Maja” Socarras (6-0-1, 5 KOs) in a bantamweight clash that should add to the growing Mexicano vs. Cubano rivalry.
Although Montes de Oca is the one making his television debut in front of his hometown and has not lost a fight since 2010, most boxing experts view Socarras as the one more likely to win.
“Sergio is one of the most entertaining fighters in Chicago, and this will be a competitive fight between two promising Latino boxers, but I think Socarras has quicker hands, more power, and is better prepared for TV exposure of this kind,” said Craig Miller of Chicago’s 670thescore.
The fight between Montes de Oca and Socarras will be the opening bout for the ESPN FNF telecast. In his last fight, which was on January 4th, Socarras made his ESPN FNF debut by scoring an impressive third round knockout of previously unbeaten Josh Bowles.
“That victory took my career and popularity to another level. On March 22nd, I am looking to do it again,” Socarras added, “I want to win more fans in Chicago and throughout the country by scoring another knockout.”
Despite the views of the experts and the confidence of Socarras, Montes de Oca is poised to pull off the upset and sees his matchup with Socarras as a means of defending his hometown and his Mexican heritage.
“This is my opportunity. I’m in my house. This is my town, and he’s going to get beat,” Montes de Oca added, “This matchup is about representing your pride and heritage. The rivalry between Mexican boxers and Cuban boxers is becoming like the one between Mexico and Puerto Rico.”
While there aren’t many matchups more intriguing than those between Mexican brawlers and Puerto Rican technicians, as a result of an increase in the number of prominent professional Cuban boxers in recent years, the boxing rivalry between Mexican boxers and Cuban boxers has grown.
“I think the rivalry will continue to grow as more Cubans are enabled to enter the professional ranks,” said Eddy Marin, who works with Socarras and has worked with other prominent Cuban boxers like Erislandy Lara and Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Like Puerto Rico, Cuba has long been considered home to many of the best amateur boxers in the world. Unlike Puerto Rico, however, professional boxing has been banned in Cuba since Fidel Castro banned professional sports in 1962.
As a result, professional boxing fans have only witnessed a handful of Cuba’s best boxers in professional bouts. As relations between the United States and Cuba continue to change, more Cuban boxers are likely to immigrate to the United States with the hope of making it in the pros.
On Friday at the UIC Pavilion, boxing fans will be given the opportunity to witness this changing climate of professional boxing and the sport’s growing Mexicano vs. Cubano rivalry
The clash between Montes de Oca and Socarras is headlined by a ten round middleweight bout between Chicago’s Donovan “Da Bomb” George (24-3-1, 21 KOs) and David “The Destroyer” Lopez (41-13, 23 KOs) of Mexico and co-headlined by a ten round welterweight showdown between Chicago’s Adrian “EL Tigre” Granados (11-2-1, 7 KOs) and former world champion Kermit “El Asesino” Cintron (33-5-1, 28 KOs) of Puerto Rico.