Art Hovhannisyan (14-0-2, 8 KOs) is a six-year pro who remains highly regarded even though he has fought only 75 rounds in his career - an average of about 12 a year.
This Friday, July 20, in what should be an exciting main event on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME (11 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast), the Glendale, Calif.-based Armenian faces always-dangerous, hard-hitting former World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight champion Miguel Acosta (29-5-2, 23 KOs) at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif.
In a compelling co-feature, talented unbeaten Roman Morales (10-0, 6 KOs), of San Ardo, Calif., meets Alexis Santiago (11-2-1 5 KOs), of Phoenix, Ariz., in an eight-round super bantamweight bout.
A scheduled eight-round junior middleweight fight between undefeated Julian "J-Rock" Williams, of Philadelphia, and Sid El Harrak, of Santa Clarita, Calif., was cancelled yesterday after El Harrak withdrew with a knee injury.
Morales, 23, and Santiago, 21, are making their ShoBox debuts. Morales, a top amateur who's making his sixth appearance at Chumash, hasn't come close to losing since going pro in February 2011. But he's only been matched with two fighters with winning records, and he's never fought more than six rounds.
Santiago, a pro since October '09, relocated to Las Vegas from Phoenix 10 months ago and is trained by former world champion Roger Mayweather. Santiago has fought much better and has twice gone eight rounds; one of his losses came against undefeated prospect Randy Caballero. He's won three of four.
Hovhannisyan will be making his first start in 11 months and second in a row against a former world titleholder. In his last outing, he fought a technical draw with ex-International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight champion Cristobal Cruz in an entertaining bout on Aug. 5, 2011, that was stopped at 2:36 of the fourth round due to a nasty, accidental head butt that opened a bad cut on Cruz' forehead.
The experienced, aggressive-minded Acosta captured the WBA lightweight crown in May 2010 but lost it in his first defense to Brandon Rios in a thrilling, fast-paced scrap with plenty of two-way action on Feb. 26, 2011. Acosta swept the first four rounds on two of the scorecards and hurt Rios on several occasions, but Rios rallied to win by 10th-round TKO.
Hovhannisyan, who scored a career-best victory with a sixth-round knockout over previously undefeated prospect Archie Ray Marquez on June 10, 2011, on ShoBox, knows this could be his toughest fight. But he desperately wants to jump-start his career, so what better time than now?