Nonito Donaire/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.
With all the hoopla being created by middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin defending his title against Marco Antonio Rubio on Saturday at StubHub Center in Carson (on HBO), let’s not forget that the main undercard fight shouldn’t be too shabby, either.
In it, Nonito Donaire (33-2, 21 KOs) of San Leandro via the Philippines will defend his featherweight belt against Nicholas Walters (24-0, 20 KOs) of Jamaica. This could be a good one.
“I am very excited for this fight,” Donaire said.
He’d better be as Walters is no slouch. And he’s hungry to make an even bigger name for himself.
“This is my dream fight,” said Walters, who also owns a piece of the title. “It’s now the time to show everyone who is the best 126-pound world champion in the entire world.”
Terence Crawford/photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.
Terence Crawford and Yuriorkis Gamboa both made weight Friday for their lightweight title fight Saturday night in Crawford’s native Omaha, Neb. Crawford weighed in at 134.8 pounds, just under the 135-pound limit. Gamboa came in at 134.4 pounds.
Crawford (23-0, 16 KOs) will be making the first defense of his title. Gamboa, of Cuba, has the identical record of 23-0 with 16 knockouts. The two will square off at CenturyLink Center and their fight will be televised on HBO.
Tickets for the May 17 welterweight title-elimination fight between Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico and Mike Alvarado of Denver go on sale Tuesday (April 1) at noon.
They are priced at $35, $75, $150, $250 and $400 and can be purchased at the Forum box office, or through Ticketmaster by calling 800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com or www.fabulousforum.com.
Anyone purchasing a ticket for $75 or $150 between Noon and 4 p.m. Tuesday (April 1) will receive a complimentary companion ticket with a limit of six purchased tickets per order.
Marquez-Alvarado will be televised by HBO.
Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs) made his bones at the Forum in the 1990s on his way to becoming one of Mexico’s legendary fighters. Alvarado is 34-2 with 23 knockouts.
The winner of this fight is expected to get a shot at the winner of the April 12 welterweight title fight between Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).
Top Rank Inc. vice president Carl Moretti on Thursday said that an agreement has been reached for former world champions Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico and Mike Alvarado of Denver to square off in the welterweight main event May 17 at the Forum in Inglewood.
“The paperwork was agreed to last night and this morning and is being sent out as we speak,” Moretti said of the fight, which will be contested at a catch-weight of 143 pounds.
The winner is expected to face the winner of the April 12 welterweight title fight between champion Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Moreover, Moretti said Top Rank plans to hold more big cards at the Forum, where Dr. Jerry Buss successfully promoted boxing in the 1990s.
Moretti said it’s difficult at times finding an open date at Staples Center, what with the Lakers, Clippers and the NHL’s Kings housed there.
“It’s a great option to have,” Moretti said. “With the history of the Forum, it’s a natural.”
Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico and Sergio Martinez of Argentina on Wednesday will play host to a Los Angeles-area news conference to formally announce their middleweight title fight slated for June 7 at Madison Square Garden in New York City (on HBO pay-per-view).
Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs), who is 33, has won titles in the junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight divisions. If he takes Martinez’s middleweight belt, Cotto becomes the first Puerto Rican to win titles in four weight classes.
Martinez, 39, is 51.2-2 with 28 knockouts.
Tickets are still available for Saturday night’s card featuring super featherweight prospect Diego Magdaleno of Las Vegas and Jorge Pazos of Mexico in the 10-round main event at C. Robert Lee Activities Center in Hawaiian Gardens (on UniMas).
Tickets for the Top Rank Inc. event are priced at $50, $75 and $100 and can be purchased by calling (562) 652-4424 or (323) 866-9943.
Magdaleno, 27, is 24-1 with nine knockouts. Pazos, 24, is 14-6-1 with eight knockouts.
Former lightweight world champion Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz of Houston has signed an 18-month promotional deal with Top Rank Inc., ESPN.com reported Thursday.
Diaz, 30, held three of the four major belts until he lost a split-decision to Nate Campbell in March 2008; it was Diaz’s first loss.
Diaz went 2-3 over his next five fights – losing twice to Juan Manuel Marquez and once to Paulie Malignaggi – before announcing his retirement after the second loss to Marquez in July 2010.
Diaz (37-4, 19 KOs) has fought twice since returning to the ring in April of this year. He is scheduled to take on Juan Santiago (14-10-1, 8 KOs) of Denver on Oct. 19 on the undercard of the Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov junior welterweight interim title fight at 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo. (on HBO).
Even when a boxer does very well as an amateur, he typically begins his pro career with four-round fights. Not Vasyl Lomachenko of the Ukraine.
Lomachenko won gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Games at featherweight and 2012 London Games at lightweight. Not only is he going to open with a 10-round featherweight bout, he is going to take on Jonathan Oquendo of Puerto Rico on the undercard of the Oct. 12 welterweight title fight between Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez at Thomas & Mack Center (on HBO pay-per-view).
Oquendo wonders about this move by Lomachenko.
“Lomachenko must have a lot of confidence making his professional debut against a fighter like me,” said Oquendo, 30. “He must think he’s really good. Let’s see what happens in the ring.”
Tickets remain for the Top Rank Inc. card. They are priced at $50, $100, $200, $300, $400, $600 and $800. They can be purchased by going online at www.unlvtickets.com or by calling 702-739-3267.
Mike Alvarado of Denver and Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia will square off in a junior welterweight title fight Oct. 19 at First Bank Center in Denver (on HBO), YahooSports.com and BoxingScene.com reported Thursday.
This could be a good one. Alvarado’s past two fights were against Brandon Rios. Rios stopped Alvarado in the seventh round of a slugfest in October at Home Depot Center. Alvarado boxed more in their rematch in March in Las Vegas and came away with a unanimous decision.
Provodnikov most recently engaged welterweight champion Timothy Bradley in a barnburner at Home Depot Center in March, Bradley getting a narrow decision.
Alvarado, 33, is 34-1 with 23 knockouts. Provodnikov, 29, is 22-2 with 15 knockouts.
The event is being promoted by Top Rank Inc.
Top Rank Inc. and promoter Bob Arum have signed Olympic gold-medal winner Ryota Murata of Japan to a promotional contract, and Murata will be introduced to reporters next week at a Los Angeles news conference.
Murata won the gold medal in the middleweight division in the 2012 London Games. It was the first gold medal won by a boxer from Japan since Takao Sakurai won the bantamweight gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Games. Murata’s medal also was the first medal won by a Japanese boxer in a division other than flyweight or bantamweight.
Murata, 27, will campaign in the middleweight division as a pro.
Top Rank not long ago signed Zou Shiming of China to a contract. Shiming won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games in the light flyweight division.