Floyd "Money" Mayweather represents boxing's "one percent." Last Saturday, he and Canelo Alvarez generated record-breaking pay-per-view sales for their junior middleweight title fight in Las Vegas. It almost guarantees Mayweather a third consecutive year atop Forbes list of highest paid athletes.
This Saturday, another junior middleweight title will be at stake and the combatants represent a glimpse of boxing at its blue-collar best. New Hyde Park's Richie Neves (6-0-1 3 KOs) will fight Brooklyn's Frank Galarza (10-0-2, 6 KOs) for the vacant New York State junior middleweight title at the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack.
"I'm extremely excited to have the opportunity to fight for a New York State title," said Neves, 30. "When we were approached with the offer, my manager and I discussed the fight and realized we couldn't pass this up. We expect a tough fight. That's what we trained for. We know Frank is coming to fight and so we're ready for that."
Neves and Galarza are known for the lunchpail mentality they bring to each fight. When the bell rings, they wade in and wage war.
"They are going to put in a good night's work," said promoter Felipe Gomez. "The Galarza-Neves fight is going to be an exciting, non-stop, action-packed bout. I believe it's the best fight of the night due to their styles. Neither one of them know how to back up in the ring. The winner of this bout will be taking a huge step in their career."
Neves, a former running back for New Hyde Park High School, works a full day at Bonessi Auto Parts before training at the Westbury Boxing Gym. He winds down his evening with a five-mile run and repeats the routine five days a week.
Galarza, 28, has been fighting in one way or another for almost his entire life. By the age of 9, he lost both his parents -- his father was shot, his mother overdosed. He went on to win a New York Golden Gloves title and clearly represents Neves' toughest fight to date. The Brooklyn fighter has already gone the eight-round distance and has been featured on the undercard of prominent boxing shows at The Barclays Center and Foxwoods.
Still, Galarza knows it won't be an easy night's work.
"Neves is a straight-forward fighter," he said. "He keeps coming in and I have to be prepared for that. This is my second undefeated opponent, so this is nothing new. I fight top competition and I am trying to bring boxing back. The fans don't want to see fights where you basically know who is going to win. That takes away from the sport. People want to see competitive fights. I have something to prove to myself and fighting these kinds of fights is a learning experience."
The eight-bout card is promoted by New Legend Boxing, Old World Boxing and W.O.N. Promotions. In the co-main event, Leon Moore (30-2, 24 KOs) takes on Rafael Vazquez (8-1, 6 KOs) in a 10-round bout for the WBA-FEDELATIN and New York State super bantamweight title. Also on the card, is former women's WBC junior lightweight champ Amanda Serrano. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $125 for ringside, available at newlegendboxing.com or by calling New Legend Boxing at 718-487-4474.