The sweet science is making a high-profile return to Atlantic City. Garden State boxing fans can see potential future champions and sample a principle from the resort’s gloried past Friday evening as Bally’s Atlantic City presents a nationally televised triple-header on the Showtime network.
The 10-round main event between super lightweights Joseph “Blessed Hands” Adorno (16-1-2, 14 knockouts) and Hugo Alberto Roldan (21-0-1, 7 knockouts) headlines its “ShoBox:The New Generation” series.
In the 10-round featherweight co-feature, undefeated Filipino prospect Bernard Angelo Torres (16-0, 7 KOs) battles once-beaten Dominican Frency Fortunato (13-1, 10 KOs).
The televised portion of the card starts at 9 p.m. with an eight-round welterweight battle between undefeated Detroit-based welterweight Janelson Bocachica (17-0 with 11 knockouts) and Roiman Villa (24-1 with 24 knockouts).
The event is another reminder of Atlantic City’s ability to connect sporting events with gamblers and consumers, which forged its stature as the nation’s boxing capital in the 1980s.
ShoBox event details
The boxing festivities begin Thursday afternoon with the weigh-in taking place on The Yard indoor stage. The event is scheduled to take place between 1 and 3 p.m.
The Grand Ballroom (located on the sixth floor) is the site for the ShoBox card. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $75.
NJ sportsbooks are offering betting odds.
The Atlantic City pro boxing connection
Out of the nine Atlantic City casinos, it seems fitting the Showtime card is originating from Bally’s. For one, the property gets some national exposure. And it comes at a perfect time – following a $100-million transformation.
However, back in the day, events like this paved Atlantic City’s boxing rise – showcasing breakout stars and later making them headliners. Bally’s was the first Atlantic City casino to bring regular high-level network fights to East Coast gamblers in the early 1980’s.
Although the big events are less frequent now, they create a buzz at whatever property they occur.
Showtime not only has staged many Atlantic City cards, but it backed boxing enough to create a spinoff ShoBox series for up-and-coming fighters. The program began in 2001 as a second level for the Showtime Championship Boxing series, which features world title bouts.
The two-tiered setup not only brings more fights to casino-oriented resorts like Atlantic City, but motivates boxers to graduate from one realm into the other.
Several of the 86 fighters who have appeared on ShoBox advanced to capture world titles and become some of the biggest names in the industry.
That list includes:
- Errol Spence Jr.
- Andre Ward
- Deontay Wilder
- Devon Alexander
- Carl Froch
- Timothy Bradley
- Kelly Pavlik
And all of these fighters went on to obtain multi-figure paydays and high-profile matchups.
Pavlik became a major draw in Atlantic City. He is the one who filled a short-term role as successor to Boardwalk Hall megastar Arturo Gatti between 2007-10.
The popular middleweight brought scores of Ohio gamblers to the resort, while engaging in four nationally-televised Boardwalk Hall appearances.
Pavlik’s run included victories over Jermain Taylor and Gary Lockett, followed by losses to Bernard Hopkins and Sergio Martinez. All of them were the biggest event in the sport on that night.
Spence and Wilder, meanwhile, are still ranked in the top 10 of many pound-for-pound lists, denoting the world’s top 10 perceived fighters. Plus, Spence holds three of boxing’s 147-pounds belts.
A closer look at the Bally’s Atlantic City boxing card
Adorno, born in Union City, N.J. had a good amateur career at 178-22. He turned pro in 2016 and is 1-0-1 in Atlantic City. One of his two draws occurred at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City in 2020 against Hector Garcia Montes. He has won two straight. The second one came against Jamaine Ortiz last year, despite the fact Adorno dropped him twice.
Adorno appears on ShoBox after suffering his first loss to undefeated lightweight contender Michel Rivera via 10-round decision on March 26.
That would have been a big hurdle had Adorno cleared it. Rivera is ranked as high as No. 3 by the WBA and is in the top 15 in every sanctioning body. That could have been where Adorno would have ended with a victory. He’s not ranked.
That bout unfolded on Showtime Championship Boxing. Although it was a loss for Adorno, it was an excellent fight and gave him the chance to use the ShoBox platform to launch another career run.
Roldan, a native of Argentina, makes his American debut.
Bocachica, who opens the televised show, makes his Atlantic City debut. He has been a pro since 2016 and risen from local arenas to the casino circuit in recent years. He has fought at the Mohegan Sun and Sands Bethlehem casinos. Bocachica opposes a fighter whose victories have all occurred by knockout in the weaker Columbian circuit. Villa now steps up.