Don King rarely promotes fights in Las Vegas anymore, but the 81-year-old Hall of Famer will be at Treasure Island on Friday as lead promoter for the WBA interim lightweight title fight between Angelo Santana and Carlos Cardenas.
“I named this event ‘Fight For Freedom,’ ” said King, whose most recent card as lead promoter in Las Vegas was Oct. 31, 2009, at Treasure Island. “My boxer, Angelo Santana, risked his life on a raft from Cuba with 27 others, braving the hazards of the ocean and inclement weather to arrive in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”
The 24-year-old Santana (14-0, 11 knockouts) brings a seven-fight knockout streak into the 12-round main event, which will be televised by Showtime. But his longest fight has been six rounds, a unanimous decision of Miguel Gonzalez on the 2009 Treasure Island card.
“I’ve been preparing for this fight for three months,” Santana said. “I don’t know anything about my opponent. I don’t pay attention to that. I just make sure I prepare myself the best I can.”
The 28-year-old Cardenas (20-6-1, 13 KOs) was knocked out by Edgar Puerta in his most recent fight Aug. 11. He plans to exploit his vast experience advantage over Santana.
“I know my opponent is undefeated and he’s left-handed,” Cardenas said. “He’s quick and strong, but we have studied his style and we have made a plan to stop him.”
The first bell is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tickets, priced at $100, are available at the Treasure Island box office. The fight, part of Showtime’s “SHOBox the Next Generation” series, will be televised on tape delay in Las Vegas at 10 p.m.
■ USA NATIONALS — Local boxers Timothy Lee and Javonta Charles had good weeks at the USA Boxing National Championships in Spokane, Wash.
Lee, fighting in the youth male division (age 17-18) at 152 pounds, won a silver medal after losing 3-0 to Kareem Martin of Clinton, Md., in the finals Friday. Lee won his first bout by first-round technical knockout over Joshua Ramirez of McKinney, Texas, then defeated Fabian Alvarado of Irving, Texas, 3-0 to advance to the finals.
Charles, fighting in the elite men’s (19 and older) 201-pound division, lost 3-0 in the semifinals to Joshua Temple of St. Louis. Charles had knocked out Joseph Martinez of Duarte, Calif., in the first round.
It was a tough week for the other Las Vegas boxers. Losing in the first round were LaDarius Miller (elite male 141 pounds), Hasim Rahman Jr. (senior male 201 pounds) and Sharif Rahman (youth male 178 pounds).
■ COLLEGE NATIONALS — Jay Doh of UNLV lost to Roy Taylor of Air Force on Friday in the 125-pound semifinals of the National Collegiate Boxing Association championships at Mashantucket, Conn. Doh defeated Evan Kamei of California in the quarterfinals Thursday.
Vinh Thai of UNLV lost his 119-pound quarterfinal by decision to Army’s Ceon Harris on Thursday.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.