Here’s a list of the undercard bouts that will take place before the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin main event on Saturday, September 16.
Boxing fans all over the world have been waiting for a long time to see undefeated middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) take on Canelo Álvarez (49-1-1) in the sport’s first superfight since Floyd Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao more than two years ago (don’t pretend that Mayweather vs. McGregor was a superfight) and the wait is almost over as two of the best pound-for-pound fighters will finally clash this Saturday night, September 16. This fight should be a little more exciting than the 36-minute nap that was Floyd vs. Manny.
While this will be Canelo’s first time fighting at 160 pounds, Golovkin has defended the middleweight crown 18 consecutive times and will look to get one closer to Bernard Hopkins’ record of 20 that was set back in 2005. Golovkin is coming off a win by unanimous decision over Daniel Jacobs in March while Álvarez, whose only loss came to Mayweather in 2013, picked up his seventh straight victory with a win by unanimous decision over Julio César Chávez Jr. in May.
However, even with the monster main event that is Canelo vs. GGG, there are still other fights on the card on Saturday night. With a sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and a large pay-per-view audience expected, this is a chance for the fighters on the undercard to really make a name for themselves.
The broadcast, which begins on HBO PPV at 8:00 p.m. ET, kicks off with a 10-round lightweight battle with 24-year-old Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin (19-0, 11 KOs), who shares a promoter with Gennady Golovkin and is seen by many as a rising star in the sport, taking on Francisco Rojo (20-2, 13 KOs). While most of the hype is centered around Martin, Rojo comes into the bout having won his last eight fights with six of those victories coming by way of knockout. Martin’s WBC Continental Americas title, which he won just over a year ago, and the vacant WBA Intercontinental title will be on the line.
The second match of the televised undercard will feature another top prospect, 23-year-old Diego De La Hoya (18-0, 9 KOs), the first cousin of Oscar De La Hoya, making a big jump in competition to take on 26-year-old Randy “El Matador” Cabellero (24-0, 14 KOs) in a 12-round matchup for Cabellero’s NABF Super Bantamweight title. Both of these competitors are promoted by Golden Boy but with one having the same last name as the promoter, who also happens to be a Hall of Famer, the attention here is likely to be with Diego De La Hoya. However, Cabellero is a multiple-time world champion and should not be taken lightly. This will be De La Hoya’s toughest bout to date. The two were actually sparring partners years ago when Cabellero first turned professional and De La Hoya was an amateur.
The final undercard bout of the night, which is being advertised as the co-main event, will again feature two undefeated fighters as Jorge Lara (29-0-2, 21 KOs) will take on southpaw Joseph Diaz Jr. (24-0, 13 KOs) in a featherweight battle to determine the new number one contender to world champion Gary Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KOs), who currently holds the WBC World Featherweight belt. This will be the third consecutive Canelo Álvarez undercard bout for Diaz, who competed at the 2012 Olympics in London before turning pro later that year, so he’s no stranger to the big stage.
Diaz scored a win via unanimous decision over previously-undefeated Manuel Avila in May on the Álvarez-Chávez undercard. As for Lara, his biggest win to date was a first-round knockout of former three-time champion Fernando Montiel in April 2016 but a hand injury sustained during that fight and a crazy incident in Guadalajara that left him with a bullet in his leg resulted in him being out of the sport for more than a year. He returned to the ring in May and made quick work of Mario Briones, knocking his fellow countryman out in the third round to earn a spot in this match.
There will also be four non-televised bouts before the broadcast gets underway. Jesus Rojas (25-1-2, 18 KOs), who battled Jorge Lara to a draw in 2015, will take on Claudio Marrero (22-1, 16 KOs) in a scheduled 12-rounder for the vacant WBA featherweight title. Cesar Valenzuela (7-1, 2 KOs) will attempt to hand Vergil Ortiz Jr. (6-0, 6 KOs) the first loss of his career in a six-round super lightweight matchup. 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Marlen Esparza (2-0), who debuted for Golden Boy Promotions earlier this year, will have her third fight as a professional and will take on Tania Cosme (5-6-1, 1 KO) in a four-round flyweight contest. Rounding out the card is another four-round bout in the welterweight division that sees Serhii Bohachuk (4-0, 4 KOs) take on a yet-to-be-named opponent.
Which of the undercard bouts are you most looking forward to? Please feel free to join in the conversation in the comments section below and be sure to check back in with FanSided each and every day as we inch ever closer to Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Álvarez.