While undefeated prospect Jason Quigley looks to advance his career on Thursday, opponent Freddy "El Riel" Hernandez will attempt to revive a once-promising career that, after 17 years as a pro, has reached steppingstone status.
The scheduled 10-round middleweight match will headline a Golden Boy on ESPN card at the Fantasy Springs Resort & Casino in Indio, California.
Quigley (14-0, 11 KOs) will be making his second start since being sidelined for 12 months after suffering a broken right hand and a torn ligament while winning a 10-round decision over Glen Tapia in March 2017. In his first comeback fight, Quigley, 27, of Donegal, Ireland, stopped Daniel Rosario in March 2018.
Earlier in his career, Hernandez (34-9, 1 NC, 22 KOs) racked up notable victories over Alfredo Angulo, Luis Collazo, Mike Achondo, Ben Tackie and Jesus Soto Karass. These wins, however, were offset by loses to Erislandy Lara, Andre Berto, Demetrius Andrade and Brad Solomon. He last fought in December 2017, losing a 10-round decision to Wale Omotoso.
Hernandez also has been plagued with cuts throughout much of his career.
"I've been cut by headbutts, and even some good punches," Hernandez said. "It's just part of the game and is to be expected at times. You just have to keep your composure during the fight. I haven't had any surgery or anything for the scar tissue."
Despite everything he's been through, Hernandez, 39, of Mexico City, is looking forward to steering his up-and-down career in the right direction against Quigley.
"I feel excited because Golden Boy has given me this opportunity to fight," Hernandez said. "People enjoy my fights. I'm always throwing punches, throwing punches."
Since turning pro in July 2015, Quigley has not fought anywhere near the caliber of opposition Hernandez has faced. He's still cruising through the sort of adversaries "El Riel" beat when he began his career with a 17-fight winning steak.
"Hernandez has been in with a lot of good guys in his career," said Quigley's trainer, Dominic Ingle. "He's a tough journeyman gatekeeper and his record is very deceptive. He always comes to give a good fight. If you're not on the ball or take your eye off the ball and underestimate him, Hernandez can quite easily beat you."
In the co-feature, Eddie "E-Boy" Gomez (21-3, 12 KOs) will meet Shoki "El PV" Sakai (22-8-2, 12 KOs) in a scheduled eight-round welterweight bout.
Gomez, 28, of the Bronx, is still rebounding from a first-round knockout loss to Rashidi Ellis in December 2016. He's won two of his three bouts since then, including an impressive second-round knockout of Keandre Gibson in his most recent bout, on March 22, 2018.
Gomez had an outstanding amateur career, winning gold medals at the 2010 New York Golden Gloves and at the National Junior Olympics in 2008 and 2009.
Sakai, 27, was born in Amagasaki, Japan, but has lived and fought out of Mexico City his entire pro career. He is 2-2-1 in his five most recent fights, but one of those victories was an eight-round unanimous decision over Ashley Theophane, a well-regarded Englishman who once held the British junior welterweight title.
"Eddie Gomez is a great fighter, very strong. He liked to pressure his opponents, going forward," Sakai said. "I just want boxing people to watch me, to see that I have what it takes to be on a better position as boxer. Unfortunately, in all my of fights, I have been the B-Side, where you need to knock out your opponent in order to win."
Although he's not a big puncher, Sakai is at his best when he outworks his opponent and wears them down with his busy, grinding style.
"Shoki Sakai fights like a typical Mexican [boxer] going straight forward. You know -- you hit, I hit," said Gomez's trainer, Joey Valle. "Shoki very durable. He can take a punch. He's never been knocked out and I've seen him get hit with some monster shots. He just stays there."