One warrior has been a two-time world champion and looking to do it again; the other a former #1 world contender is seeking a first-time shot. Such are the stakes when former 2-time world champion Sharmba Mitchell steps in the ring to do battle with Mexico’s Jose Luis Cruz on the Goossen Tutor Promotions – in association with Ringway Promotions – presentation of ESPN2’s “Wednesday Night Fights” on May 3rd from Cathedral City, CA.
The famous and magnificent New York Yankee Stadium located in the baseball facility at Big League Dreams will be the site of the scheduled 10-round main event in which the winner puts himself in line for an immediate world welterweight championship fight.
The 35-year old Mitchell (56-5, 30 KOs), fighting out of Washington, DC, held his titles in the Junior Welterweight division. Managed by Nate Peake and trained by Marvin Simms, the southpaw known as “Little Big Man” has fought twice as a welterweight – a win via technical decision over Chris Smith and, in his most recent outing last November, he sustained a sixth-round TKO at the hands of the sports #1 fighter, Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Mexican-born Cruz, 29, is seeking his first chance at a world title and hopes a win over the former two-time world champion will provide just that. Among his 34 pro fights, Cruz (31-1-2, 26 KOs) earned a hard-fought draw with Argentina’s Carlos Baldomir in a 12-round WBC Welterweight Title Eliminator. Despite the draw, it was Baldomir who was eventually awarded the title shot and, earlier this year, pulled off an upset of Zab Judah to capture the WBC Welterweight title. After going unbeaten in his first 33 fights, Cruz lost a close 10-round decision to former world champion Shane Mosley in his most recent outing last September.
“This is the classic case of one fighter -- a former world champion coming off a loss to the best boxer in the world today in Mayweather -- trying to fight his way to one more go at a title, versus the young and hungry contender following his close and competitive defeat at the hands of another great former champion, Shane Mosley, trying to position himself into a title bout” promoter Dan Goossen explained.
“The key questions to be answered in this fight are: Does the former two-time champ (Mitchell) still have the ability to become a 3-time world champion? Will Cruz benefit from the experience of his back and forth battle with Mosley and fight at an even higher level? Either way, the winner will emerge as a serious contender for a world title shot against WBA Champion Arturo Gatti or, in Cruz’ case should he win – Mayweather.”
Ringway Promotions’ Denis Benoit and Ronald Sanderson in conjunction with Goossen Tutor matchmaker Tom Brown are assembling an impressive array of talent for display at Big League Dreams, which will feature local hero and former light welterweight world contender Steve “The Mongoose” Quinonez in a 10-round bout against tough Bronx, NY knockout artist Francisco Figueroa (13-2, 10 KOs).
A Palm Springs, CA native, Quinonez (31-10, 10 KOs) is probably best known for half of his losses coming by way of split decision. In order to turn the tide, he just recently joined forces with Benoit’s and Sanderson’s Ringway Promotions and hopes the arrangement will lead to finally capturing a shot at a world title.
“I’m very excited to be working with Steve,” stated Benoit. “Anyone that knows boxing knows that Steve is a real fighter. A break here or there, and he’ll get his opportunity.”
“We’re very excited at Ringway working with Goossen Tutor and bringing such a high caliber event to the fans. Denis and I both believe these are the type of events boxing needs,” said Sanderson.
The local undercard will be announced shortly. Big League Dreams is best known for its baseball/softball fields that are designed and built as replicas of famous, historic major league stadiums including Yankee Stadium, Chicago's Wrigley Field, Boston's Fenway Park, The Polo Grounds, Forbes Field, Ebbets Fields, Tiger Stadium, and Crosley Field. The company is the premier developer and operator of amateur recreational sports facilities in the country and its Cathedral City, CA facility has been recognized as the "Best Sports Complex in America" by the Sports Complex Owners and Developers Association, and the "Business of the Year" in Cathedral City.
Tickets for the May 3rd show at Big League Dreams in Cathedral City, CA are priced at $45 for General Admission and are available by logging on to www.ticketweb.com
. Additional tickets, VIP Ringside Table Packages and Sponsorship Opportunities are also available by calling (760) 328-0787. Doors open at 5 pm with the first bout scheduled for 5:30 pm (PST).