Photos by Sumio Yamada
ERIC AIKEN vs CRUZ CARBAJAL
With Valdemir Pereira's availability to fight uncertain as of Thursday evening, Mexicos Cruz Carbajal is on standby to meet Eric Aiken in a 10-round featherweight main event on Friday Night Fights.
Aiken's last two fights were both for the IBF title the disqualification win over Pereira to win the championship, then his defeat in eight rounds by Robert Guerrero last September.
Guerrero did a good job of pinning him on the ropes and banging him to the body.
Carbajal is well able to rip in the body shots, but he is moving up from 122 pounds (in which division he was a world champion), and Aiken is a good puncher.
The 32-year-old Carbajal has stopped his last three opponents but he can be outboxed although he has not been stopped in almost seven years.
Aiken, 26, is the younger, fresher fighter and naturally bigger, having fought as a junior lightweight (although he, too, has boxed as a 122-pounder); Carbajal brings a lot of experience and proven toughness.
I have the impression with Aiken that he does not like pressure, and Carbajal could hustle him out of his stride. Aiken, though, has been in training for a 12-round fight (the bout with Pereira was to have been a championship eliminator) and he is dangerous, as he showed when knocking out former bantam champion Tim Austin admittedly when Austin was at the end of his career and in dropping Pereira twice. The question is whether he hits hard enough to keep Carbajal from crowding him out of the fight.
Due to Carbajal coming in at short notice and the fact that he is moving up in weight, I make Aiken the favourite but I am not sure he will be the winner. The 10-round distance could suit Carbajal because he can fight at a fast pace without two extra rounds to worry about. I have a feeling that the Mexican warrior can win on sheer grit and tenacity .