ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (September 26, 2008) – Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall is three weeks away from “Unstoppable” — the light heavyweight rumble between undefeated world middleweight champion KELLY “The Ghost” PAVLIK and legendary two-division world champion BERNARD “The Executioner” HOPKINS, yet fight fans who are eagerly anticipating the showdown have more reason to want October 18 to get here quickly as an undercard packed with talent is planned for the show. The televised undercard features three compelling fights featuring fighters with a combined record of 168-12-2 (111 KOs) and a combined winning percentage exceeding 92%. WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano defends his title against top contender Billy Dib, undefeated NABO bantamweight champion Abner Mares battles Luis Melendez and in a WBC middleweight title elimination bout, Marco Antonio Rubio takes on Enrique Ornelas.
Presented by Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, in association with Caesars Atlantic City, “Unstoppable” takes place Saturday, October 18 at Boardwalk Hall and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.
STEVEN LUEVANO (35-1-1, 15 KOs), from La Puente, California, has reigned as the World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight champion for 14 months. He captured the vacant world title July 14, 2007, knocking the previously undefeated and current WBO junior lightweight champion Nicky Cook in the 11th round. Since winning the title he has successfully defended it twice, including a 12-round decision victory over mandatory challenger Terdsak Jandaeng and a draw against Top-10 contender Mario Santiago in March and July, respectively. Luevano’s third title defense of 2008 will be against anotherTop-10 contender in BILLY DIB (21-0, 11 KOs). Dib, an undefeated southpaw from Hurtsville, Australia, has knocked out over half the opponents he has faced in his four-year professional career. The former Australian champion returns to the ring fresh from his biggest victory on July 30, a 12-round unanimous decision for the vacant International Boxing Organization (IBO) super featherweight title, over Zolani Marali, ending the South African’s four-year winning streak.
North American Boxing Organization (NABO) bantamweight champion ABNER MARES (17-0, 10 KOs), from Montebello, California, by way of Guadalajara, Mexico, will be risking his undefeated record and WBO No. 1 world rating when he defends his title against LUIS MELENDEZ. Mares has successfully defended his title twice since winning it last year when he defeated former world champion Isidro Garcia, who retired on his stool after the seventh round. This year, he knocked out former world title challenger Diosdado Gabi in the second round and scored a 10-round unanimous decision victory over Jonathan Arias. Gabi and Arias had a combined record of 43-3-1 when they faced Mares. Melendez (25-3-1, 20 KOs), returns to the ring on the heels of one of his most exciting fights. The Colombian buzzsaw went toe-to-toe for 12 rounds with WBO junior bantamweight champion Fernando Monriel, coming up short in his first world title fight. Now fighting as a bantamweight, Melendez, who has won 13 of his last 15 bouts, is looking to return to the world championship picture by defeating the No. 1 contender.
The pay-per-view telecast will open with the World Boxing Council (WBC) middleweight title elimination bout the winner of which will be declared the WBC’s mandatory middleweight challenger to Pavlik. MARCO ANTONIO RUBIO (42-4-1, 38 KOs), from Georgetown, Texas, by way of Torreon, Mexico, enters this fight riding an eight-bout winning streak with seven of those win coming by way of knockout. Since moving up to middleweight at the end of 2006, Rubio has collected the Mexican, the World Boxing Association’s FEDECENT and the WBC’s FECOMBOX titles en route to becoming the WBC’s No. 1 contender middleweight contender. Rubio will be going mano-a-mano against ENRIQUE ORNELAS (28-4, 18 KOs), from La Habra, California, by way of Guanajuato, Mexico. Ornelas, the WBC’s No. 2-rated middleweight contender, has won eight of his 10 last fights, including NABF middleweight title fights against former world champion Bronco McKart and Norberto Bravo, stopping both in the fifth and seventh rounds, respectively. In his last fight, on July 4, he provided his own fireworks display, knocking out Daryl Salmon in the second round. Ornelas comes from a fighting family with his brother Librado Andrade being a top rated super middleweight contender.
Remaining tickets, priced at $700, $500, $350, $200, $100 and $75, can be purchased at the Boardwalk Hall box office, by calling Ticketmaster (800) 736-1420 or online at www.ticketmaster.com
The Pavlik vs. Hopkins pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT has a suggested retail price of $49.95, will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. For Pavlik vs. Hopkins fight week updates, log onto www.hbo.com