Earlier today the news broke in regards to who "King Arthur" would be fighting and it was an interesting announcement. That is because Villanueva's opponent on February 7th will be Mexican veteran Julio Cesar Miranda (38-11-2, 29), a former world champion.
In his prime Miranda was a highly entertaining, free swinging and heavy handed fighter who held the WBO Flyweight title. He wasn't the most skilled but he did always come for a fight and was involved in several memorable contests. His prime however was at Flyweight where he fought numerous notable fighters including Thai great Pognsaklek Wonjongkam, Moruti Mthalane, Ardin Diale and Brian Viloria. Whilst recently he has struggled to pick up wins and has won just once in his last 7 bouts. Of those 7 bouts 6 were losses, with one of those being a stoppage, to Felipe Orucuta, whilst another was a heavily one-sided loss to Rodel Mayol.
For a man in Villanueva's position this is certainly not the type of match up that will prepare him for a world title contest. That's not to say he's up against an easy foe, he's not and Miranda can still punch and fight, however it's not the type of bout that will ready him for any of the champions who are all much more rounded and faster than Miranda.
It's also notable that Miranda has only made Super Flyweight once in his last once in his last 6 bouts and twice in his last 8, dating back more than 3 years.
Whilst this should be an easy win on paper for Villanueva it does need noting that he has looked less than stellar in his last 2 bouts and will need to genuinely impress here for ALA to push towards his world title fight. Going on the evidence of his last 2 bouts he isn't ready.
(Image courtesy of boxrec.com)