Miura first came to the attention of international boxing fans back in 2011 when he fought WBA Super Featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama and although Miura came up short he did drop Uchiyama, hard, in round 3. For Japanese fans however he he had been "on the scene" so to speak since 2007 when he challenged Yusuke Kobori for the Japanese national title. Against Kobori fans saw Miura coming up short though less than 2 years later he would claim a Japanese title, on his third attempt, as he stopped Yoshimitsu Yashiro in 7 rounds.
As the Japanese national champion Miura would defend the belt 4 times before fighting Uchiyama in what was a huge step up in class.
The loss to Uchiyama was a set back in many ways though it also helped Miura get the attention of the wider boxing public and helped him transfer to Japanese promotional powerhouse Teiken promotions, Under Teiken we've seen Miura improve his skills and become one of the must watch fighters in the 130lb division. We've also seen him claim the WBC world title courtesy of a stoppage victory over Gamaliel Diaz in 2013 and defend the belt twice with a 2013 FOTY contender against Sergio Thompson, in Mexico, and an impressively destructive win over Dante on New Years Eve.
As a fighter Miura has all the qualities that fans love. He's got a monster left hand, an ultra-aggressive mentality, a warriors heart and the ability to beat up and break down foes with relentless aggression. We're not saying he's the most skilled fighter on the planet but that hardly matters when you're as destructive as he is. Defensively he is a bit weak but knows that his best defense is his offense and he seems very happy with that.
The 32 year old Mexican challenger is a man we need to admit we've not really followed despite the fact he has long held a high WBC ranking. Like Miura however he is heavy handed and has stopped 9 of his last 12 opponents whilst going unbeaten for more than 3 years. Whilst it's fair to question his opposition during that run it's hard to argue with his power which has stopped the likes of Javier Prieto, who has now been ordered to fight Miura's stable mate Jorge Linares. Aside from his most recent loss, in 2011 to Ramon Ayala, his other 3 defeats all came during a poor run in 2008 as he was out pointed by Jaider Parra and Daniel Lomeli whilst Jaime Maldonado stopped him in 2 rounds. With those all coming some 6 years ago it's hard to read much into them today with Puerta being a much different fighter to the one who fought back then.
Heavily tattooed Puerta appears to look the part of a hardman and he fights in a way that tough guy generally does with his punches doing the talking tather than defense. Like Miura this means he leaves himself open when he lets his shots go and in some ways it appears he's gotten away with it by being naturally bigger and stronger than some of his opponents, such as Abraham Rodriguez who he dwarfed in their January 2013 bout. Sadly due to his competition it's hard to get a great read on him though it is clear that he's very fun to watch, that however didn't help Dante Jardon when he challenger Miura at the end of last year.
From what we've seen this is a huge step up for Puerta who is really facing his first world class opponent. That doesn't mean Puerta isn't world class himself, just that he's not proven that he's capable of fighting at this level. Miura however is proven and it appears that Puerta is the sort of fighter who Muira loves fighting against, someone else who will meet him center ring and have a fight. With that in mind it's hard to not be very excited about the potential action here with both men enjoying a fight.
One thing we don't think any fighter at Super Featherweight can actually do, is win a war with Miura. Puerta's only style of fighting is to have a war and we suspect he'll go the same way as Jardon and be stopped somewhere in the middle of the bout. We're expecting a better effort than Jardon put up but a similar result over-all.
(Image courtesy of boxmob.jp)