by Hans Olson
With the amount of attention focused on Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz, let’s take a closer look at what’s in store on the undercard to Saturday’s special split-site PPV telecast.
Photo: Gene Belvins/Hogan Photos
(Left to Right) Undefeated super lightweight contender Jessie Vargas, Five-Time and Three-Division World Champion Erik Morales, Six-Time World Champion Floyd Mayweather, WBC Welterweight World Champion Victor Ortiz, undefeated super lightweight contender Pablo Cesar Cano and super lightweight contender Josesito Lopez pose on September 14, 2011 in Las Vegas
Erik “El Terrible” Morales (51-7) vs. Pablo Cesar Cano (22-0-1)
Originally slated to feature Erik Morales taking on Lucas Matthysse, Morales now faces Pablo Cesar Cano. The undefeated Mexican took the fight on just 9 days notice after Matthysse regretfully pulled out due to a viral infection.
Although the fact that the fight is for the WBC’s vacant 140 lb. Championship is a little more than questionable, the fight should prove to be a good one nevertheless. Morales comes off of a razor-thin loss to Marcos Maidana earlier this year in what was certainly a “Comeback of the Year” type performance—even in a losing effort. Fighting with one eye for the better part of 12 rounds, Maidana’s skill, craft, heart, and ring savvy not only kept him competitive with one of the toughest dudes in boxing, it almost got him the W as well. Morales boasts a career of Hall of Fame credentials; his three fight series with Marco Antonio Barrera being one of boxing’s most memorable trilogies of all time. As the last man to defeat Manny Pacquiao, Morales has earned numerous titles in multiple divisions. Before his war with Maidana, “El Terrible” was riding a 3-fight win streak, beating the likes of Francisco Lorenzo, Willie Limond, and Jose Alfaro.
Pablo Cesar Cano might be just as unknown to the casual viewer as Lorenzo, Limond, and Alfaro—but he’s also much better. The draw that’s on his record came in just his 3rd pro fight, and he’s been dominant against what’s been put in front of him since. He boasts a high knockout percentage(73.91%), but hasn’t been tested on the level that which Erik Morales will test him.
It should be an action packed fight, and a great segue-way into the evenings headliners. Morales is never in a bad fight…and given the 21 year-old Cano’s youth and drive, we could see one of two things: a passing of the torch, or Cano getting torched. Be excited for this one.
Jessie Vargas (16-0) vs. Josesito Lopez (29-3)
Jessie Vargas, who fights under the Mayweather Promotions banner, turned pro just over three years ago. He’s shown throughout his first 16 fights that he could be something special. Boxing since the age of 8, Vargas has all the tools to become a top-tier prize fighter. Trained by Roger Mayweather, Vargas has terrific power, speed, agility, and a high boxing acumen. He was a Mexican National Champion twice, U.S. Junior National Champion twice, and represented Mexico in the 2008 Olympics.
Josesito Lopez should offer a step up for Lopez, who has thus-far been untested by relatively weaker opposition. Lopez, trained by Henry Ramirez, is coming off one of the best wins of his career, taking the zero off of Mike Dallas Jr.’s record back in January. There has been some chatter in the press about a potential scenario of Amir Khan needing to get through Jessie Vargas to secure a mega fight with Floyd Mayweather. It doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon, but Vargas got some decent ink from the press when those quotes from Floyd came out, which can never hurt. Vargas will get considerable more attention from boxing scribes and the media types if he impresses on Saturday, which many expect him to do.
It won’t be easy though. Lopez showed in his last outing that he is hungry, and would love nothing more than to take another zero from the record of an undefeated prospect.
Non-Televised Bouts at the MGM:
These fights won’t be available on the PPV telecast, but if you’re attending the live card, be sure to get there early…Quebec’s Adonis “Superman” Stevenson, hot off of his knockout domination of Derek Edwards in May, takes on Dion Savage…Anthony Crolla and Juan Montiel do battle in a scheduled 8-rounder…Marco Antonio Peribhan and Dhafir Smith are set to collide in a Super Middleweight bout…and veterans Said Ouali and Carson Jones square off for a scheduled for 10 rounds.
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (37-0-1) vs. Alfonso Gomez (23-4-2)
In the evening’s co-feature, HBO’s live feed will switch over to the Staples Center in Los Angeles where Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will be defending his WBC Jr. Middleweight Championship against Alfonso Gomez. Quickly becoming one of the biggest attractions in boxing, Alvarez takes on Gomez in what amounts to a showcase fight. It should bring excitement, as Gomez always comes to fight. The problem is, it’s doubtful that the former “Contender” star will have the strength and firepower to compete with Alvarez. That said, it’s still must-see-TV because Alvarez is a must-see fighter.
Non-Televised Bouts at the Staples Center:
For fans who will be in the live audience at Staples Center, the card is loaded with unbeaten prospects. Antonio Orozco (11-0), Mikayl Arreola (17-0), and Hugo Centeno Jr. (8-0) will all see action.
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson