Maskaev, Aguilera weigh-in
Author: Mark Ortega
Thursday afternoon at the Red Lion Hotel in Sacramento, California, Oleg Maskaev [36-6, 27 KOs], the adopted son of Sacramento weighed in at 243 pounds for his ten-round heavyweight bout against Nagy Aguilera [14-2, 9 KOs], 229, of Newburgh, New York. The bout headlines a six-fight card that will take place at Sacramento's Memorial Auditorium tomorrow. If Maskaev is victorious, he will likely move forward with a final WBC eliminator against Ray Austin, a fight that could take place in Sacramento if the crowd turnout for this fight is respectable.
“I have more experience, and I am still physically strong,” said Maskaev before weighing in. “I know that when I was a champion I didn't finish my job. I want to bring the belt back to Sacramento, that's my goal, and I'm working on that now.”
Maskaev added Chuck McGregor to his corner, replacing Victor Valle, Jr., the man who helped guide Maskaev to a world title victory. “He's a well-known trainer. He's not trying to change me right away, just step-by-step, so this way he doesn't confuse me.”
Maskaev has lived in Sacramento for almost three years, but never had the opportunity to fight there while he was champion. He made one title defense of the WBC belt he won from Hasim Rahman in August 2007 via exciting twelfth-round knockout before losing it to Samuel Peter in March of 2008.
“There's nothing as great as home sweet home, and he very much wanted to fight in front of his community in Sacramento,” said Maskaev promoter Dennis Rappaport, who was integral to bringing this fight to Sacramento. “We sacrificed a lot, and there's a tremendous amount of drama surrounding this fight. He was guaranteed a title elimination fight, and he didn't have to come to Sacramento and take this chance. But Oleg believes he owed a commitment to the people of Sacramento, and the way we see the scenario is, if he is successful we come back with the title eliminator and then we try and bring Klitschko to Sacramento.”
A Klitschko fight would likely draw very well in Sacramento due to the large Russian contingency in the state capital. Maskaev holds a first-round TKO victory over the elder Klitschko when they were both amateur standouts, although the reason for the result is still held in question to this day. Maskaev's people claim that Klitschko was dropped three times before a towel came in while Klitschko's people claim that Vitali didn't want to risk hurting his right hand and his corner stopped the fight to keep that from happening. Still, to this day, the two have never met as professionals and it seems that Vitali has almost gone out of his way to keep the bout from happening.
Aguilera enters this fight in an interesting position. With sixteen professional fights under his belt, he comes into this fight vastly outmatched experience wise. But this is a situation Aguilera's opponent often found himself in early in his career, fighting guys with twenty-plus fights under his belt while he was still getting his feet wet in the pros.
“I know I'm coming in like the underdog, but there is no underdog inside the ring. It's just gonna be two people, him and me, and the best is gonna win,” said Aguilera, who doesn't seem too affected by the large stage.
This will be the first time Aguilera will be going ten, but he has gone eight rounds twice before. Aguilera is slightly more than half Maskaev's age at 23, so it will be interesting to see how he handles his forty year old opponent who is much slower.
The card is promoted by Rappaport Promotions in association with Uppercut Promotions, and will be broadcasted live over the internet at NESportsTV.com for $14.95. It will also be archived online for on demand viewing following the event for the same price. The first bout is at 7:30 PM PT.
In a six-round super middleweight bout, undefeated Russian Denis Grachev [8-0, 5 KOs], 170, will fight Sacramento native Ernesto Castaneda [11-8-1, 4 KOs], 169, in the co-featured bout. Castaneda last fought in September in Sacramento against Otis Griffin and was arguably ahead before he was stopped in the sixth and final round. Grachev is based out of San Diego, California and this bout will mark his first outside of the lower half of the state.
In a four-round over-the-limit junior middleweight bout, Vacaville, California's Gerardo Lopez [4-0, 2 KOs], 158, meets Kyle Dundas [0-1], 155, in a rematch of their January 30th bout won by unanimous decision by Lopez.
Fellow Vacavalle, California fighter Maximilliano Becerra [2-0-1, 2 KOs], 134, returns to Sacramento against Tucson, Arizona's Thomas Herrera [2-3-1], 135, in a four-round lightweight bout.
Also making his professional debut is local fighter Mike Guy, 165, against fellow debutante Ayo Olorunsola, 167 in a four-round super middleweight bout. Guy serves as one of Sacramento prospect Brandon Gonzales' chief sparring partners.
Amateur standout Richard Hargrave, 151, of San Francisco, California makes his professional debut against John Dunham [0-4-1] of Stockton, California in a four-round junior middleweight bout.