Gradovich and Velez Promise Action on the Undercard

By Nat Gottlieb

Saturday's co-feature matches up two unbeaten boxers, both with an aggressive, take-no-prisoners style. Featherweight champion Evgeny Gradovich will be making his fourth title defense against Puerto Rican boxer, Jayson Velez. This will be a step-up fight for Velez. That being said, Gradovich, a Russian, hasn’t faced the greatest of competition. Gradovich’s best opponent so far was Billy Dib, an Aussie champion. Dib lost a split decision to Gradovich last year and four months later was knocked out in a rematch. Trained by top-tier conditioner, Robert Garcia, Gradovich (19-0, 9 KOs) is called “the Mexican-Russian” for his all-out action style.

Gradovich’s experience in title fights will be a factor, but Velez (22-0, 16 KOs) has more punching power. The Russian has a very good chin, though, so it remains to be seen how much damage Velez’s fists can do. The key for Velez to score an upset is probably to try and slow down Gradovich, who throws a high volume of punches, and to take the Russian into the later rounds, where he could land enough power shots to earn the decision or, perhaps, knock him out. The best way for Velez to do that is to work Gradovich's relentlessly-charging body and try to land a high number of shots. Any way you figure it, the come-forward styles of these two boxers promises to be a crowd-pleasing fight.