Pair of highly-regarded 135-pound prospects each say they are prepared to jump up the next step when they meet tomorrow night in the main event of a PBC on Bounce card from Las Vegas.
In the top-heavy lightweight division ruled by elite-level talents like Mikey Garcia, young and hungry fighters keep working to step up and challenge the battle-tested stars.
Ladarius Miller and Dennis Galarza battle for the right to move one step closer to taking a stab at dethroning the reigning 135-pound kings when they meet tomorrow night in the main event of PBC on Bounce (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. P.T.) at Sam’s Town in Las Vegas.
This 10-round battle of well-regarded lightweight prospects promises to be an interesting contrast of styles as well as a true test of where each might stand on the world stage.
Miller (16-1, 5 KOs) is one of the top young prospects at Mayweather Promotions, recruited to “The Money Team” by Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe in 2014.
The 24-year-old Memphis, Tennessee native now trains out of the Mayweather Gym in Las Vegas and is clearly a product of the Mayweather boxing mindset.
Miller has good reflexes and quick hands from the southpaw stance, and not unlike Mayweather, likes to work up and down, shooting out a space-defining jab to the body of an opponent to set up potshots upstairs. He’s a cautious fighter by nature, sitting back and preferring to respond rather than initiate, but can also be an efficient attacker, especially with his solid jab and quick right hook off that lead hand.
If “Memphis” can tighten up his inside game and make better use of his left hand, which he sometimes swings from too far out, he’ll be a top-level star. His main stage potential was clearly evident back in August of last year when he beat former Olympic standout Jamel Herring via 10-round unanimous decision.
As it stands now, Miller is what he is—a high level prospect, still developing the skills and tactical ability to go along with his athleticism. Grounded and aware of where he is, Miller sees this upcoming challenge in proper context.
“Galarza is another step up for me and someone who I'm very aware of,” Miller said. “I have to be patient in this next fight. If I see an opportunity for a knockout then I'll go for it, but it's not the plan. I have the skillset. All I can do is go out there, download his plan, and react.”
“ I know Miller very well and I know a win here can put me into the upper echelon of the division. This is a coming out fight for both of us and I'm looking to win impressively. ” Lightweight prospect Dennis Galarza
Galarza (16-3, 9 KOs), meanwhile, is not as fine-tuned a fighter as Miller, but is a talented and tough 25-year-old who, despite experiencing a few bumps on the road to next-level success, is still very much a high-end prospect.
The Brooklyn-raised, Orlando-based fighter is long and lean and is most effective fighting from the outside, using a solid jab to set up long-armed power shots and a straight right hand. Aggressive by nature, Galarza is an entertaining ring presence that shows flashes of world class potential.
Defense, however, is a liability for the young pro. There are times when he pulls straight back, making himself susceptible to counters. He can also be predictable in his offense, something that leaves openings for well-timed return fire.
In his last fight, a close decision loss to veteran Edner Cherry, Galarza began brilliantly, but faded in the later rounds, allowing his well-traveled foe to steal rounds.
The loss may have been a setback for Galarza, but it doesn’t seem to have damaged the psyche of the promising battler.
“I don’t back down from anybody and Ladarius Miller is no exception,” Galarza insisted. “I walked out of my last fight against Edner Cherry knowing that I won the fight, even though I didn't get the decision. I won the respect of the fans and now I'm back with another chance to prove myself. I know Miller very well and I know a win here can put me into the upper echelon of the division. This is a coming out fight for both of us and I'm looking to win impressively.”
Miller-Galarza will boil down to Miller’s ability to box and pick his shots versus Galarza’s need to maintain an effective distance and stay active without gassing himself out.
Galarza, who is only one-inch taller than Miller with a two-inch shorter reach, will not hold any of the physical advantages he often relies on to aid in establishing optimal distance in a bout. He’ll also be at a disadvantage when it comes to raw athleticism. But he can punch and he can win rounds on activity, especially against a fighter like Miller, who can be a bit deliberate and careful when it comes to punch output.
Miller, though, is a more refined talent, riding the momentum of a seven-fight win streak, and the closer of the two in making that last leap towards becoming a world-class fighter.
But never take anything for granted when two young and hungry prospects are pitted against one another in a high-profile showdown. The only certainty in this Friday’s lightweight clash is that one young star will move up, towards bigger and bigger things, while the other will be left to regroup, rebuild, and fight for another run at the top.
For a closer look at Miller vs Galarza, check out our fight page.