Alvarez vs Golovkin Stacked Undercard Should Bring Heavy Action Saturday Night
September 14, 2017
Anthony Saldana (19 articles)
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Alvarez vs Golovkin Stacked Undercard Should Bring Heavy Action Saturday Night


By Anthony “Stacks” Saldaña

Follow @StacksRingside


LAS VEGAS — Saturday night before the “Super Fight” between Gennady “GGG” Golovkin and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at the T-Mobile in Las Vegas some of boxing’s top prospects will go toe to toe on the biggest HBO PPV card of the year. Boxing fans that are in attendance and who tune in will get to witness one of the featherweights top contenders as undefeated 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (24-0, 13 KO’s) will take on last minute replacement undefeated and former WBC FECARBOX featherweight champion Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera (25-0-2, 16 KO’s) in a 12-round WBC Title Eliminator. Rivera, a 23-year-old from Tijuana, Mexico, has steadily climbed the featherweight division defeating the likes of former Super Bantamweight World Champion Wilfredo “Papito” Vazquez, Jr., Ruben “Canelito” Tamayo and Ruben “El Tibio” Garcia Hernandez. Rivera is replacing Jorge Lara who was pulled from the fight Tuesday afternoon. Sampson Lewkowicz, the manager of Lara (29-0-2, 21 KOs) notified Golden Boy Promotions that Lara had hurt his back. “We said let’s get the kid on the scale,” Golden Boy President Eric Gomez stated, indicating he believed Lara was not hurt but overweight. “They never produced the kid, and we waited until 10 p.m., very mysterious.” Rivera was originally supposed to fight Diaz on Saturday’s card, but was forced to step aside for Lara, due to Lara being higher-ranked by the WBC. Rivera has already been training for a fight next week, and is in tip-top shape for his showdown with Diaz. “Originally, I was hoping to get a shot at JoJo Diaz,” Rivera said. “When that didn’t pan out, I took another fight for next week. I have therefore been training and am in the best shape of my life. I am grateful that I have this last-minute chance, and there is no way I am letting this opportunity pass me by.” Diaz, who has shot his way to the top of the featherweight division by defeating Manuel “Tino” Avila, Rene Alvarado and Jayson Velez to name a few was unfazed by the last-minute change of opponent. “I don’t care who is in front of me,” Said Diaz Jr. “I’m leaving with a win on September 16th. After I have my hand raised in victory, I will be one fight away from realizing my dream of winning a world championship.”

In what possibly could be fight of the night fans will witness a battle between two undefeated contenders from the Golden Boy stable as former IBF World Bantamweight Champion Randy “El Matador” Caballero (24-0, 14 KOs) will face WBC Youth World Super Bantamweight Champion Diego De La Hoya (19-0, 9 KOs) in a 10-round super bantamweight battle for Caballero’s NABF Super Bantamweight title. Caballero who recently pulled out of his match up with Oscar Negrete due to an ankle injury has been medically cleared to get back into the ring and will be in for a tough challenge against De La Hoya. “I accomplished winning the title the hard way, fighting on the road, it was tough, no family, no fans, just my corner,” stated Caballero. “I lost my title in the worst way any fighter could lose it, but I got to put that behind me, I want Diego, I want the names, I want the belts, and I’m ready to prove I’m the best at 122.” De La Hoya is very familiar with Caballero, and has sparred him several times in Indio and in Mexicali and understands this will be a very difficult fight “It’s an evenly matched fight, but my advantage is that I’ve been more active and he hasn’t been fighting very much. I have worked with sparring partners who replicate his style. They are not him, but they are close to him. It will be an explosive fight. We’ll see what randy [Caballero] has to offer and we prepared for the best of him.” Stated De La Hoya.

To kick thing off WBC Continental Americas Lightweight Champion, Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin (19-0, 11 KO’s), will take on Francisco Rojo (20-2, 13 KOs) of Mexico City, Mexico, in a battle for Ryan’s WBC title and the vacant WBA Intercontinental lightweight title. “We’re going to give him a boxing lesson come Saturday night. I’ve trained hard, I’m so happy to have my manager, Tom Loeffler, in my corner. Big things are coming, and this is just the first step in the plan. It’s so great to be here in Vegas. It’s such an exciting fight” stated Martin. “There are lot of projections and talks for me to be a part of some bigger fights, but right now I have to get past Rojo. Preparations are going good, and I will be as sharp as ever on that night. My team is amazing, and my trainers are pushing me really hard.” Rojo who will be fighting for the first time in the United States has other plans however. “It is an honor to be fighting on the same Mexican Independence Day weekend card as the great Canelo Alvarez,” said Francisco Rojo. “It’s going to be a great night for Mexico when we both leave the ring with all the belts wrapped around us.”

Canelo vs. Golovkin is a 12-round fight for the middleweight championship of the world presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions and sponsored by Tecate “BORN BOLD”; Hennessy, Never Stop, Never Settle; O’Reilly Auto Parts. Better Parts, Better Prices…everyday!; Fred Loya Insurance; Interjet; Thor: Ragnarok; Fathom Events; Tsesnabank; and Capital Holdings. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at a special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.

Tickets for the closed circuit telecast of Canelo vs. Golovkin at Bellagio Resort & Casino, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, The Mirage Hotel & Casino, Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, New York-New York Hotel & Casino, Luxor Hotel and Casino and Circus Circus Las Vegas are priced at $75, not including applicable fees. All seats are general admission and are currently on sale. Tickets may be purchased at any MGM Resorts International Box Office, by phone with a major credit card at 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

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(All photos:Tom Hogan for Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions)

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Anthony Saldana