Flyweight Patrick Gutierrez is going into his nationally-televised, main event showdown, March 25 in Kansas with high expectations against pro-debuting 2016 Olympic junior flyweight bronze medalist Nico Hernandez.
Gutierrez is training hard in Las Vegas for his scheduled six-round "Knockout Night Boxing: History Begins" headline bout to derail hometown hero Hernandez' coming out party
"This fight is make or break for me," the 22-year-old Gutierrez said about his 'Rocky'-like moment. "The crowd won't bother me because I enjoy fighting in front of large crowds. I've learned the hard way that, fighting my opponent in his backyard, I can't leave it in the hands of the judges.
"I watched Nico fight in the Olympics. I have a lot of respect for him and was proud of him for winning the bronze medal for our country. But, I also saw some flaws from the fight that he lost. He's in trouble if he hasn't corrected those flaws."
"Knockout Night Boxing: History Begins" will air live on CBS Sports Network. At 9:00 p.m. ET from Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas. Knockout Night Boxing LLC is the licensed promoter of the March 25th event, in association with Kansas Star Casino.
The CBS Sports Network all-star announcing team for "History Begins" will include Hall-of-Famer Jim "J.R." Ross, Sean Wheelock and Joey Varner. Justin Roberts will be the ring announcer.
Hernandez, 21, was a highly-decorated amateur boxer, with a record of 94-5, who is like a sports franchise in his hometown of Wichita.
A national Taekwondo champion as a youngster, Gutierrez played football in high school, at least until he realized that he had stopped growing, eliminating the possibility that he'd ever play college football. He had always liked combat sports and decided to try boxing.
"I fell in love with boxing right away," Gutierrez admitted. "I live in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas, and Floyd Mayweather (Jr.) was at his prime there when I first started boxing. I boxed in California (Orange County) and won a three-day tournament there as an amateur. I decided to turn pro but, due to some broken promises, I didn't make my pro debut for two years.
"So, I just focused on training. I broke my wrist in the second round of my first fight but decided to stick with boxing. Six months later, I fought a California kid (Alexander Enriquez) in Los Angeles and felt that I had won all four rounds. I could tell because the large crowd was silent throughout the fight.
"I've learned the hard way, the past four years, but I'm still young and getting better every day. I had an easy fight scheduled for March 11 when (promoter) John Andersen called offering me this fight. I wanted to restart my career and jumped at the opportunity to fight Nico. I decided to take the risk to fight an Olympic medalist in his hometown. I just love fighting and I'm not going there to lose."
The eight-round co-feature shapes up as a southpaw battle between a rooster and bull. Rising junior middleweight star Neeco "Rooster" Macias (14-0, 8 KOs) puts his undefeated record on the line against dangerous Arturo "El Toro" Crespin (13-8-1, 4 KOs). Macias is a showman from Palm Desert, California, whose non-stop style makes him an instant fan favorite wherever he fights. His "Rooster" persona will be perfect for his first pro fight in Kansas.
Kansas cruiserweight Jeff Page, Jr. (17-3, 11 KOs), will open the televised portion of card in a six-round bout against an opponent to be determined.
Scheduled to fight on the non-televised undercard, in separate four-round matches, are four Kansas boxers: Kansas State junior middleweight champion Efrain Morales (4-0, 1 KO), super middleweight Marcio Navarro and featherweight Eric Vargas (1-0, 1 KO). They will all face opponents to be determined.
All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Ticket prices are $115.00 (ringside, rows 1 & 2), $75.00 (floor seats, rows 3-5), $60.00 (floor seats, floor rows after 1-5), $35.00 (lower bowl) and $25.00 (upper bowl). Suites seating up to 22 people are available to purchase for $2,500 (includes non-alcohol beverages and food).
Tickets are available to purchase at www.kansasstarcasino.com/entertain/arena or www.ticketmaster.com. All ages show.
Doors open at 5:00 p.m. CT with the opening bout scheduled at 6:00 p.m. CT.