By Miguel Maravilla
South El Monte’s undefeated junior welterweight Arnold Barboza Jr. (24-0, 10 KOs) expects a tough battle as he takes on Oklahoma’s Alex Saucedo(30-1, 19 KOs) this Saturday night inside “The Bubble” at MGM Grand in Las Vegas live on ESPN as the co-feature to Vasyl Lomachenko vs Teofimo Lopez unification bout.
“I feel like my style and his style will bring out the best in both of us. We both need each other in some sense. He’s trying to get back to where he was, and I’m trying to get where he was at when he fought for the belt.” Arnold Barboza told reporters.
2019 saw an active Barboza scoring an impressive knockout over his former sparring partner and former world champion Mike Alvarado at Staples Center as Barboza rocked the LA Lakers colors on his trunks and robe. That was followed by a stoppage of tough Filipino Ricky Sismundo at the Banc of California Stadium and a knockout over William Silva to close the year. Barboza had a dominant performance over slick Canadian Tony Luis, winning a unanimous decision in his last fight this past August at the Bubble at MGM Grand on the Jose Ramirez vs. Viktor Postol undercard.
“I was another level than Tony Luis. We made some mistakes. This will be a different fight,” Barboza on his last fight.
Following his last fight, Barboza went right back to the gym for another camp to prepare for Saucedo.
“We took a week off and we got right back into it. The weight’s never an issue, but it was way easier. It was a great camp. Conditioning is perfect,” Barboza on camp. “Preparation was great. It was a great camp. My dad and I came upon a plan and trained for whatever fight he brings. We are prepared. I just can’t wait, I’m excited to show what I’ve been working on,” Barboza added.
His opponent Alex Saucedo a former world title challenger came up short in his bid a world title back in November of 2018 as he was stopped by then WBO junior welterweight champion Maurice Hooker in a valiant effort. Since his defeat to Hooker, Saucedo has won two straight a first-round knockout over the infamous Rod Salka and a unanimous decision over Sonny Fredrickson in his last fight at the MGM bubble in June.
“Me and Saucedo started at the bottom. He is a cool dude. He fought for a world title. He is tough and strong. I’m excited because I want to see where I stand,” Barboza on Saucedo
Barboza comes into this fight expecting a tough fight from the Oklahoman.
“He’s my toughest opponent yet, but I’ve got everything I need to beat him,” Barboza stated.
Finding himself in the heavily stacked super lightweight division which includes champions WBC/WBO champ Jose Ramirez and WBA/IBF champ Josh Taylor scheduled to fight a unification showdown to determine the best in that division. Other notable fighters in the division include Jose Zepeda who is coming off a thrilling knockout over Ivan Baranchyk in the fight of the year. Jose Pedraza who is coming off a very impressive win over Javier Molina. Regis Prograis and Maurice Hooker are also in the division but that would seem unlikely.
“Our division is so stacked. I think we are all in line for Taylor or Ramirez. I just want to focus on what is in front of me,” Barboza on the super lightweight division. “I don’t like to think about the future. I have to think about Saucedo,”
Barboza remains focused on Saucedo and not overlooking him.
“After this fight, there are bigger things to come, but I don’t really look at the future. I look at now because if I don’t take care of Saucedo, then there are no bigger plans,” Barboza said. “I don’t care about bigger plans or what people say about bigger plans. I have to take care of business Saturday.”
There is no question about it, a win here for Barboza gets him closer to the bigger fights, paydays, title, etc. One thing is certain that this matchup with Saucedo is a solid pairing as both come to fight. Barboza has a good shot at stealing the show this weekend leading to the main event.
“Saucedo is going to bring out the best me. I feel I’m finally going to get my respect in this division with a victory,”
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