By Jake Donovan
On the heels of the news of recent conqueror Orlando Cruz contending for a major title, Aalan Martinez hopes his own next ring appearance will lead to a possible shot at redemption down the road.
The featherweight prospect isn’t taking the easy way, however. Martinez returns to the ring this weekend, back on Telemundo and in an opponent’s hometown, as he heads to Tampa to take on local favorite Charlie Serrano.
The bout headlines at the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa, with the show rapidly approaching sold-out status at the box office.
Martinez (14-2, 10KO) returned to the ring this past March following a nine-month layoff. The results proved miserable, suffering four knockdowns en route to a sixth round stoppage against Cruz, who has since agreed to terms to face Orlando Salido for a vacant featherweight title in October.
The consolation prize for Martinez is a chance to claim the same regional title that was at stake in his aforementioned bout with Cruz. It’s not an insurmountable task. Serrano (15-3-1, 4KO) comes in as the crowd favorite – Friday will mark his 17th appearance at the hosting venue. However, he is not necessarily an overwhelming in-ring favorite.
The Tampa-based featherweight hasn’t fought at all in 2013, and hasn’t beaten a fighter with a winning record in nearly two years. His last win came ten months ago at his favorite venue, with that victory serving as a bounce back from a close but clear points loss to unbeaten prospect Camilo Perez in March ’12.
Friday’s show marks the final leg of a four-week stretch which served as the summer season for Boxeo Telemundo. The long-running series embraced a new format beginning this year, airing in three separate stretches of four consecutive weeks each rather than one show per month.
The format change has promoter Tuto Zabala bouncing back and forth between Florida and Mexico, but has proven successful. Ratings are on the rise, and every show has been well attended.
UNDERCARD AND TICKET INFO
Unbeaten prospect Alexei Collado (16-0, 15KO) tops an undercard otherwise loaded with local talent. Collado’s opponent has yet to be announced.
Also appearing on the show are local favorites Alphonso Black (6-0-1, 3KO), Radivoje Kalajdzic (10-0, 7KO), Noemi Bosque (1-0-1, 0KO), Sullivan Barrera (9-0, 6KO), Manny Woods (10-3-1, 4 KO) and debutant Ricky Tomlinson.
The official weigh-in will take place on Thursday at the Wing House (7790 US 19 N, Pinellas Park, Florida). The festivities kick off at 5:00PM local time and are open to the public.
Tickets are nearly sold out, but remaining seats can be purchased by calling the box office at (813) 842-0338. Doors open on Friday at 7:30pm, with the first bout set to take place at 8:00pm. The televised portion of the show airs live at 11:35PM ET.