Kevin Lerena will be fighting for more than the cruiserweight “Super Four” title at Emperors Palace in October.
At stake, too, will be a chance to break into the lucrative American market.
Rodney Berman confirmed earlier that he had already broached the possibility of doing a deal with US promoter Art Pelullo of Banner Promotions, but it all depends how Lerena shapes against Micki Nielsen.
Berman has been motivated by what he says is the “whole Lerena package”.
“He’s a good looking, charismatic kid whose work ethic is really impressive. Best of all is that he can really fight. He didn’t box as an amateur and wasn’t well known, but he’s built himself up into a real contender. He has all the ingredients to make it.”
Berman expects that if Lerena makes a good impression in the Super Four – “it will be two good youngsters having a real go,” enthuses the promoter – he will be shipped to the US in early 2017.
“He’ll be like a breath of fresh air over there. He’s in good hands, too. Peter Smith has been through it all and understands the game. He’s teaching Kevin important lessons. If we put a good TV deal together and the right people see him, I’ve no doubt he could crack the hard-to-please US market.”
Berman makes a good point. The cruiserweight division is packed with talent, but it is ageing talent and, for the most part, lacks real buzz on account of the fighters being workaday types who don’t do great TV numbers.